Kaleigh & Mark’s Mountaintop Wedding

* Kaleigh, Program Associate at an education nonprofit & Mark, High School English Teacher * Photographer: Dennis Pike * Soundtrack for reading: “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” by Neutral Milk Hotel *

One sentence sum up of the wedding vibe: Ten years of love and growth celebrated with the people who have made us who we are, on top of a mountain on one of the loveliest days of fall.

The Info—Photography: Dennis Pike / Venue: Mohonk Mountain House / Kaleigh’s Dress: Morgane Le Fay / Kaleigh’s Sash: J. Crew Weddings / Kaleigh’s Shoes: Vera Wang Lavender / Kaleigh’s Headband/Veil: USABride and Sweetgrass Mill / Mark’s Suit: Kenneth Cole via Men’s Warehouse / Mark’s Shirt, Suspenders, and Accessories: Brooks BrothersBouquet and Boutonniere: Little Bouquet Shop / Place Cards and Table Numbers: evLien Designs / Programs and Menus: PGH Papercraft / Guestbook Poster: Personalized Prints / Centerpieces: DIY with materials from Ikea and Michael’s

Other cool stuff we should know about: We’re high school sweethearts from the suburban Midwest who’ve experienced ten years of living, loving, and growing by one another’s side. When we decided to get married, we knew that we wanted the wedding to be a celebration of both our love and the community of people who have supported us throughout our relationship. From the beginning, there was only one venue that made sense: Mohonk Mountain House, a nature preserve/resort/all around magical place in New Paltz, NY (about ninety minutes north of New York City, where we’ve lived for the past seven years). It’s a place we had spent many, many hours at before we ever even started thinking about a wedding, a dear place in our hearts that’s an important location in our own love story, and a place we were desperate to share with the important people in our lives who hadn’t spent time with us there before.

Fifty of our closest friends and family took planes, trains, and automobiles from points all over the U.S. to join us on top of Mohonk Mountain as we exchanged vows in a ceremony we wrote that featured Mark’s father as the officiant and two old friends reading poetry by Tony Kushner and Pablo Neruda. Everyone held hands as we said our vows. I felt at once both alone and together with Mark, committing ourselves to this shared vision of our future, and so supported, so enabled—so held up—by everyone who was there to love us and the baby family we are building together.

And after that, it was all drinks, dinner, and dancing into the night to a playlist we painstakingly created. (In the best of ways—it was a super-fun piece of wedding prep we did together, with tons of help from APW’s “How to DJ Your Wedding with an iPod” article.)

Favorite thing about the wedding: Looking out and seeing people from all parts of our lives gathered together to support and celebrate us. And of course, hearing their words during toast time.

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  • Dawn

    Short hair! Yay! As someone who has had that cut before and plans to get it again soon, I’d just like to say it’s so nice to see a short haired bride every so often.

    Oh yeah, everything else looks awesome too! But really, short hair for the win!

  • Kelly

    I used to work at Mohonk and always dreamed of getting married there. I’m not – but I am a program associate at an education non-profit! Aka, are you me? If so, awesome, because your wedding was beautiful!

  • I love shoulder shrugging smiles like the one in that photo up there where they first see each other. Those always seem the happiest.

  • Adi

    Oh man. Cutest bride ever? Definitely in the running! She just looks SO HAPPY.

    • Adi

      Wait. NMH for soundtrack? This is now my favorite wordless wedding ever. I got the chance to see Jeff Mangum last year and it was….. Transcendental. It was truly a religious experience, after being in love with NMH for a decade or so. Any wedding that includes them is awesome in my book. I mean, But for now we are young / let us lay in the sun and count every beautiful thing we can see”? Or “how strange it is to be anything at all”?? SIIIIIIIIIGH YESSSS

      • LIZ (SINCE 1982)

        RIGHT?? Such an amazing song. I love it so much it’s on my own shortlist for our first dance in September. I’m hoping it was in the actual wedding somewhere, because that would be awesome!

        • Adi

          We had “Everything Is” on our playlist, in addition to “Aeroplane”.. It was a hit :) Also, WOOP WOOP September weddings! Ours was this past September, the 27th.

          • LIZ (SINCE 1982)

            Oh my gosh, we’re going to be anniversary twins! :D

        • Kaleigh

          It was our first dance! We also played a lot of NMH during the cocktail hour. “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” is one of my all-time favorite albums and was particularly well-suited to this occasion because it’s really the album Mark & I fell in love to–we both discovered it right around the time we met each other, it was perfect then and it’s perfect now! Mark actually got me tickets to see Jeff Mangum for the first time in Poughkeepsie this February…I am SO. EXCITED.

          • Adi

            I’m so excited for you!! You’re going to be blown away. The show I went to was his first back, the one at Harvard. I wept. At one point the sound went out and he kept singing, and the audience was dead silent so we wouldn’t miss anything. And then he told us all to sing along and every. Single. Person. knew all the words and it was so beautiful. I almost don’t want to see him again so that I keep my perfect memory.

        • Adi

          YAYYYY!! The 27th is THE day to get married–my parents were married May27th, and my mom’s parents were married April 27th. Between them there’s 90+ years of rock-solid marriage. I figured I couldn’t go wrong ;)

  • Oh wow, so much fun. So joyful. And I agree, the bride was super cute, and she looked so happy, and everyone seemed to be having such a great time. Little girls doing splits and all.
    All the best wishes to you Kaleigh & Mark. This is why I keep looking at weddings: the happiness that exudes from the pics.

  • LOVE this song. Beautiful wedding, congrats to you both!

  • nicole

    Mohonk Mountain House?! YESSS!!! Are you climbers, or do you just live in New Paltz? Also, I thought it was really cool how crafting your wedding playlist was a sweet bonding activity for the two of you together. You could listen to the playlist on your anniversaries. :-)

  • Being a gal with short hair, I appreciate when other gals have short hair. I especially love when a bride does. So timeless and chic and so freaking cute! Love the photos, the wedding, the emotions and the couple! I can’t wait till a short haired bride books me!!!

  • Jen

    Love it! Everyone looks so happy and I love the high five shot and the little ones doing splits :) Congratulations! My fiance and I are high school sweet hearts as well, with the idea of celebrating our 10 year anniversary with a wedding :-p

  • Kaleigh

    Thank you for all of the love, guys!

  • Ahh! I love it! And ten years– wow! Congratulations. :)

  • Riah

    What Tony Kushner did you read? I love his work.

    • Kaleigh

      An excerpt from “An Epithamalion,” a poem that was published in his book “Thinking About the Longstanding Problems of Virtue and Happiness”. There were two really beautiful parts we were deciding between. Here is the one we went with (I am having trouble finding it in its entirety published online):

      Conjunction, assemblage, congress, union:
      Life isn’t meant to be lived alone.
      A life apart is a desperate fiction.
      Life is an intermediate business:
      a field of light bordered by love
      a sea of desire stretched between shores.

      Marriage is the strength of union.
      Marriage is the harmonic blend.
      Marriage is the elegant dialectic of counterpoint.
      Marriage is the faultless, fragile logic of ecology:
      A reasonable process of give and take
      unfolding through cyclical and linear time.

      A wedding is the conjoining of systems in which
      Neither loses its single splendor and both are completely
      transformed. As, for example,
      The dawn is the wedding of the Night and the Day,
      and is neither, and both,
      and is, in itself, the most beautiful time,
      abundant artless beauty,
      free and careless magnificence.

      • Riah

        Thanks for sharing that, it’s beautiful. I must have read it at one point, but it would have been years ago now.