Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Many a bride and groom have set themselves against the backdrop of the spectacular mountain vistas, open river valleys, and bucolic farmland of the western Catskills, to the delight of their family and guests. Weddings here offer the perfect outdoor setting at an affordable price while giving guests the opportunity to feel like they’re on a mini-vacation with so much to do before and after the main event.
Wedding season in the mountains runs from mid-June through the mid-October. Choosing the season is highly personal. Early summers is resplendent with brilliant hues of green as the trees leaf out and as the hayfields green up, while perennial flower beds and fruit trees can be found flowering everywhere. Summer’s warmth, evenings with shooting stars, and tables set with wildflowers appeal to many. Probably the most popular time, though, is fall with the sugar maples turning a kaleidoscope of colors from gold, to chartreuse, to pumpkin, to burgundy and bronze. A few intrepid souls do choose a winter theme – a wedding that probably has guests riding a chair lift, skiing down a mountain, and dining fireside as part of the festivities.
Many weddings are held here because couples are looking for more affordable options where they can do much of the planning themselves. Do-It-Yourself weddings are intimate and fun and offer plenty of opportunity for personalization and savings. Imagine: Rehearsal dinner hosted on the vintage train ride. The bride arriving by horse drawn buggy or vintage car. Ceremony next to a restored farmhouse out on the lawn. Wedding reception in the old barn or under a tent, maybe even pondside. Local fiddlers tapping out atune. A huge bonfire in a field maybe. And starry, starry skies for sure.
Another aspect much appreciated by the happy couple and their guests are the great locavore food resources. Creating the perfect menu featuring locally raised meats, cheese, and veggies is easy. Plan for a pig roast, chicken BBQ if your wedding is more casual. Local goat and sheep farm supply cheese, yogurt and organic milk to whip up delightful appetizers or desserts. Grass fed beef, pork and poultry farms provide delectable main dishes – remember to work far enough in advance to place your order. Organic vegetable farms provide everything from micro-greens to heirloom tomatoes to a bounty of root vegetables and squashes – as well as perennial flowers for the tables.
If you want a little help with the planning, wedding support services are growing in number. The quirks of hosting a wedding high up in the mountains is made easy when local planners know all the ins and outs to ensure everyone has the best time possible. Two local companies – Catskill Weddings www.catskillweddings.com, as well as Celebration Creations www.celebration-creations.net -- offer their skills and insider knowledge to help the happy couples out.
Most area lodging has a two night minimum, so wedding guests become vacationers as well. But they’ll never be at a loss for things to do or places to relax. Guests often amuse themselves with golf, fly fishing, biking on a rail trail or down a ski trail, horseback riding, kayaking, yoga, antiquing or simply lounging on the porch or next to a river or pond.
Great Western Catskills Tourism
The Great Western Catskills is a three hour drive from New York City metro area, and a great central location for guests coming from eastern Ohio, to Maryland to Boston. To learn more about outdoor fun for wedding guests to have, Stay-and-Play Packages or any other activities in the western Catskills, log on to: www.greatwesterncatskills.com.