Jessie & Brendan | Vintage Wedding at Alder Manor

Ever since I learned about Alder Manor, I’ve been itching to feature a wedding there, and today’s the day! “Charming” and “dilapidated” might not be words you’d imagine would go together, but once you see these photos from Jessie and Brendan’s wedding, I think you’ll understand how it’s possible…

Say the couple of their ceremony: “The ceremony held special meaning because it was the moment we actually committed to each other in front our community. We wanted an outdoor ceremony that focused on honoring our family and friends and the community that has helped us understand how to become our best selves, the selves we want to be with and for each other for the rest of our lives. A good friend officiated the ceremony and gave a beautiful talk that incorporated myth and literature, and really spoke to our values and the values of the communities we are a part of. Holding each other’s hands and hearing and saying the vows we wrote for each other was incredible. We stood on a little dais surrounded by our community, with afternoon sunlight breaking through the trees. We did not share the vows with each other until that moment, and in that moment, we felt the awe and wonder of committing to each other for the rest of our lives, and grateful to have our friends and family there to share it with us.”

The couple on what inspired them in their planning: “As writers, we wanted literature to be a part of the event. Our ceremony incorporated Homer, and contemporary poetry and fiction. We used an old library card catalog to hold the dinner cards, each table was associated with a literary figure we admire, the menus had a list of quotes about love by various authors, and the gift bags included contemporary literary magazines, Slice and The Coffin Factory.”

Yes, that is an empty indoor pool. Amazing! Say Jessie and Brendan about choosing Alder Manor for their wedding: “We wanted the reception to be a rocking party that was not too stuffy and overly formal, but that had enough grandeur to mark the importance of the day. Alder Manor had it all. We held our ceremony in the garden outside the manor. The cocktail party lingered until sunset and guests could wander the grounds of the manor, or nibble on appetizers on the enormous back patio. Dinner and dancing were inside the manor’s remarkable library, dining room, and marble-floored foyer.”

Brendan’s cousins led the crowd through a series of Irish step dances, honoring his family’s heritage.

The bride and groom answered some questions about their wedding for us…

Why did you choose this location for your wedding?  We fell in love with Alder Manor immediately, which has a charmingly aged and vintage feel. We met in a graduate writing program, and the space appealed to our love of literature. It felt like a mix of Great Expectations and The Great Gatsby. We are also both lovers of the classical world, and had the ceremony in a garden filled with crumbling columns and classical statues.

Do you have any budget tips for other brides?  Everything costs more than you think it will and unless you hold your wedding in a location that offers an all-inclusive package, be sure to set aside funds for innumerable incidentals that will arise as the wedding approaches.

Did you include any traditions in your wedding?  Both our ceremony and reception included traditions that are important to us. Brendan’s uncle Tim played guitar throughout the ceremony and many of his tunes were traditional Celtic compositions. He also played the hymn “Morning Has Broken” and everyone at the wedding sang along, honoring the Methodist tradition that is a part of Jessie’s family’s history. Our ceremony also included a minute of silence, a tradition that was an important part of Jessie’s life since she attended a Quaker school. Our reception included toasts by family and friends, and we had a first dance as a couple, a father- daughter dance, and a mother-son dance, all of which were very meaningful.

What was the best advice you received as a bride?  Numerous people told me to make sure that I really enjoyed the day itself, to be fully present and to take each moment in. I recommend trying to bring that mentality to the whole process. Planning a wedding can be very stressful, and there are thousands of unexpected details that crop up. But the process itself allows you to spend time with each other and with family members and friends in both formal and informal ways that are unique and meaningful. Looking back, I’m grateful not only for the day itself, but also for the many moments leading up to it.



Photography: Heather Waraksa / Venue: Alder Mansion in Yonkers, New York (914-964-8272) / Bride’s dress: Cymbeline / Bride’s shoes: GUESS / Hair stylist: Stacy Pitt / Groom’s suit: Hugo Boss / Flowers: Graceful Gardens / Catering: Chefs at Work / Music: DJ Shakey


This wedding submitted via Two Bright Lights.


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