wedding

vanilla greyhound pitcher cocktail

I know it’s still very much winter out there, but I couldn’t wait to share this super easy, super summery pitcher cocktail with you all.

vanilla greyhound pitcher cocktail | Brooklyn Homemaker

Now that I think about it, I guess I posted another citrusy cocktail recipe pretty recently didn’t I?

I think maybe this whole kitchen project has been driving me to drink! Thankfully I’m finally able to just sit back and enjoy the benefits of all my hard work! I guess this long, cold, wet, windy, snowy, awful winter hasn’t been helping either, and might be just as much to blame for driving me to drink too.

vanilla greyhound pitcher cocktail | Brooklyn Homemaker

I always crave citrus in the winter, especially near the end. Citrus fruit is so bright and sunny and fresh that I can’t resist it when everything else is so dull and dreary and dead. Not only does this cocktail have citrus in spades, but it also has a really fresh summery feeling that I think most of us could really use plenty of right about now.

vanilla greyhound pitcher cocktail | Brooklyn Homemaker

I first came up with this recipe for our wedding back in 2013. We were married outdoors on the first of June in a big white tent overlooking the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains. We were serving two signature cocktails in big drink dispensers at the bar and, while our caterer was providing the bartenders, we were in charge of supplying the booze and all the fixins. I wanted the cocktails to be so simple that all I’d need to do is give the bartenders the ingredients and a spoon, and just tell them what quantities to mix together.

vanilla greyhound pitcher cocktail | Brooklyn Homemaker

In the name of trying to please everyone (or mostly everyone) we served one signature cocktail with whiskey, and another with vodka for our friends and family who aren’t as crazy for the brown liquor as we are.  The first was a bourbon spiked Arnold Palmer and the other was one of my favorite summery vodka drinks, a vibrant greyhound made with pink grapefruit juice. To really make it our own, we added some vanilla to warm it up, and some rosemary for a little fresh herbal depth. In honor of Doris (this was before Betty joined our family) we called it the little grey dog.

vanilla greyhound pitcher cocktail | Brooklyn Homemaker

I was expecting the Arnold Palmer to be the more popular of the two drinks because most of our friends have the same penchant for whiskey that we do, but to my surprise our vanilla greyhound was a much bigger hit. In fact, despite bringing enough ingredients with us to fill our 2 1/2 gallon drink dispensers twice, we actually ran out of it before the sun went down! I think it may have had something to do with the fact that it was unbelievably hot that day, and that this greyhound is light and refreshing and oh-so-thirst-quenching.

vanilla greyhound pitcher cocktail | Brooklyn Homemaker

The other day we were having some friends over for drinks to show off our fancy new kitchen. We wanted to serve something that might help take our minds off of the frozen muck and slush outside and I thought this would be the perfect thing for it. It’s easy to mix up in advance so you’re not stuck tending bar all night, and it’s so light and bright that you can drink a few without feeling like you’ve had a few too many!

vanilla greyhound pitcher cocktail | Brooklyn Homemaker

The grapefruit juice really shines here so you want to make sure that you get a the best quality 100% pink grapefruit juice you can find. The addition of vanilla adds an unexpected homey warmth that doesn’t normally go along with grapefruit but somehow works really well. Despite the fact that grapefruit juice doesn’t taste all that sweet on it’s own, once it’s mixed with the vodka and vanilla it’s somehow perfectly (and surprisingly) sweet enough and doesn’t want for any additional sugar. For that reason, I’d advise against using vanilla flavored vodka for this, which tends to have artificial sweeteners already added.

Right at the end the whole thing gets just a hit of effervescent soda water to keep it feeling light and bright. If  you’re only serving a few drinks at a time I think it’s best to leave the soda water out of the pitcher and just top off each drink as they’re served, but if you want to make this in a big ol’ drink dispenser, just mix it all right in. With volume in mind by the way, this recipe is easily doubled (or quadrupled in the case of our wedding).

If you have time, I think the rosemary comes through a little better if you let it infuse with the vodka and grapefruit juice overnight. If you have lots of time (and love rosemary) you could even let it infuse in straight vodka for a couple days to really extract it’s flavor. Really though, the rosemary isn’t meant to be the star of the show here and you don’t want to overdo it, so adding to the drink just before serving is totally delicious too.

Drink up y’all!

vanilla greyhound pitcher cocktail | Brooklyn Homemaker

Vanilla Greyhound Pitcher Cocktail

  • Servings: Makes about 9 or 10 six ounce cocktails
  • Print
2 cups vodka
3 1/2 cups pink grapefruit juice
2 tbsp vanilla extract
4 to 5 rosemary sprigs
1 cup soda water

Mix vodka, grapefruit juice and vanilla in a large pitcher and stir well. If you have time, I think the cocktail benefits from letting the rosemary infuse overnight. If serving immediately, you can add the rosemary to the pitcher or use a single sprig as garnish in each glass. Just before serving you can either stir the soda water into the pitcher, or you can top off each glass with about 2 oz of soda as the cocktails are poured. In a drink dispenser or punch bowl it’s best to just stir the soda in, but if you don’t want the soda to go flat over time, it’s better to top off each glass as they’re served.
Either way top off each glass with plenty of ice.

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classic apple pie

A few times now, I’ve mentioned my good friends who have been planning their wedding.

classic apple pie & a rustic fall wedding | Brooklyn Homemaker

Well folks, they finally went and done got hitched.

Mazel Tovs all around!

classic apple pie | Brooklyn Homemaker

Back when Russell and I were married in June of 2013, our caterer’s mother baked us some pies for the dessert table at our wedding. Not only did having a variety of pies and treats alongside our cake look really festive and beautiful, but it felt like a really personal way to offer something extra for the sweets lovers at our reception.
I’ve also heard that there are some people in the world who don’t like cake, and as hard as I find that fact to believe, we thought this might be a nice way to make sure those people felt included. I mean, I don’t know why anyone who doesn’t like cake would have been at our wedding, but just in case we had pies and cookies for them to choose from too.

classic apple pie | Brooklyn Homemaker

That aspect of our wedding ended up being something that our friends really really enjoyed, so when it came to planning their own wedding, they were inspired to do the same and enlisted me to help them with it. In last month’s #bundtbakers post I mentioned that I’d be baking a few things for their big day, and that my apple-pear-carrot-parsnip-packed spiced harvest bundt cake won out in little a pre-wedding cake tasting. I also said that in addition to the bundts, I’d be baking a couple pies too.

classic apple pie | Brooklyn Homemaker

As you’ve probably guessed by now (the title of this post may have been a clue), the bride and groom-to-be decided on classic apple pies.  Their wedding was in the Catskill mountains on October 12th, so apple pies really could not have been more appropriate for the occasion. The fall has always been my favorite time of year, as much for the weather and scenery as for the food and sweets so, truth be told, I was thrilled to have an excuse to bake so many fall desserts in one fell swoop!

classic apple pie | Brooklyn Homemaker

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t know my way around an apple pie. Growing up, my grandfather had a dozen or so apple trees on his property and this time of year there were always plenty of fresh apple pies coming from grandma’s oven. As soon as I learned to make pie crust from scratch I set to mastering apple pie for myself.

classic apple pie | Brooklyn Homemaker

Over the years, I’ve baked approximately 42.6 million apples pies, so at this point I think I have my technique pretty well figured out.

I mean, I actually think that apple pie is kind of a personal thing, and different people like theirs made different ways. Myself, I tend to like a pie with a healthy amount of spice and a nice lemony boost. A lot of recipes recommend a bit of lemon juice, but I usually use a bit more and add the zest too because I think it adds a really interesting floral quality that I love. I also tend to use sweet soft apples that benefit from the extra bit of acidity.

classic apple pie | Brooklyn Homemaker

When it comes to the apples, there are a lot of options out there. A lot of people like to use Granny Smiths because of their balanced acidity and subtle sweetness, but personally I think their flavor is a bit flat, and their flesh a bit too firm for my liking. When I first started experimenting with different types of apples for pie, a few varieties quickly moved to the top of my list. If you like a firmer apple, Braeburns have a great flavor for pie. If you want an apple that softens a bit but still retains a good bite when baked, I think Golden Delicious are ideal. If you like something a bit softer when baked, McIntosh and Cortlands are some of my favorites, but they produce a bit more water so a bit more flour may be needed to keep the pie from getting soggy.

If you want to get really next level and pack your pie with as much complex apple-y flavor as possible, I recommend that you mix a few varieties together. For these pies I used a half and half mix of McIntosh and Golden Delicious, but you can play around and decide what you like best yourself.

classic apple pie & a rustic fall wedding | Brooklyn Homemaker

With the pies and bundts baked and ready to go, Russell and I piled into a car and made the short trip up to the Catskills for the wedding. The scenery was almost as stunning as the wedding itself. Our friends though, would not be outshone.

It was such an absolutely beautiful day. Every aspect of their wedding was perfect. Their vows were some of the most meaningful beautiful words I’ve ever heard, and there were gorgeous personal touches at every turn. I only wish I could have gotten more photos. Alas, I was too busy enjoying myself. Sorry guys!

I was able to sneak a few shots in though, and I’ve shared a few of my favorites below.

classic apple pie & a rustic fall wedding | Brooklyn Homemaker classic apple pie & a rustic fall wedding | Brooklyn Homemaker

Check out the insanely beautiful centerpieces at the reception. I can’t even.

classic apple pie & a rustic fall wedding | Brooklyn Homemaker

In the name of blogging, I made damn certain to get in a few shots of their dessert table so you could see it in all it’s glory. Just like the rest of their wedding, every detail was too adorable and perfect for words.

classic apple pie & a rustic fall wedding | Brooklyn Homemakerclassic apple pie & a rustic fall wedding | Brooklyn Homemaker

The bundts and pies were a huge hit. Having these homemade treats alongside their wedding cake was such an inspired way to make their dessert table feel more personal and thoughtful. Being surrounded by the stunning fall foliage of the Catskills, these desserts also brought that fall feeling into their reception in a really special way.

This apple pie is packed with sweet soft tender apples, a really healthy amount of spice, and a great citrusy floral twist from the lemon zest and juice. The all butter crust is the perfect compliment to the flavor of the baked apples; tender, crisp, flaky, and oh-so-buttery. To give the pie a bit of shine, an egg wash is brushed on before baking, and some coarse sugar sprinkled over the top adds a beautiful sparkle.

I’m going to go ahead and say that this is the perfect fall dessert. As well as being an incredible compliment to a wedding dessert table, this recipe would be an ideal addition your Thanksgiving spread. Just sayin’.

classic apple pie & a rustic fall wedding | Brooklyn Homemaker

Classic Apple Pie

All-butter pie crust

makes enough for 1 double-crust or 2 single-crust pies

3 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold
(up to) 1 cup ice cold water

Stir or whisk together flour, sugar, & salt in a medium bowl. If you have time, toss the bowl in the freezer for a 15 or 20 minutes. Cube the butter, add it to the chilled flour, and cut it in with a pastry blender, until it looks like coarse pea sized chunks. You can also do this by pulsing in a food processor. If you took very long to cut the butter in, you can toss the bowl back in the freezer for another 15 minutes, but if the butter is still firm and cold, don’t bother.

Start mixing in the water and stirring and tossing with a fork to distribute and combine. Try starting with about 1/2 cup, mix together, and add about a tablespoon or two at a time, until it starts to come together. The less water you use the better and flakier the crust will be, but you don’t want to use so little that it won’t hold together. If you can press it together with your hands and it mostly stays in a ball, with a few little bits crumbling out, you’re good to go.

Divide the dough into to balls, and wrap each tightly in plastic wrap. Try to handle it as little as possible so as not to warm or melt the butter. Press or pat the covered balls of dough into thick disks and refrigerate for at least an hour or two (or up to a few days)

Classic apple pie

3 1/2 to 4 lbs apples (I used about 1/2 golden delicious and 1/2 macintosh, but cortlands & braeburns are great too)
zest and juice of half a lemon
1 cup of sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons flour (4 for juicy soft apples like mcintosh or cortland, 3 for other varieties)
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
2 tablespoons butter, cut into several pieces
1 egg, beaten
2 to 3 tablespoons coarse sugar

Preheat your oven to 375.

On a well floured surface, roll out the first disk crust and line a 9.5 or 10 inch pie dish. Place the dish in the refrigerator while you prepare your apples.

Peel, core, and thinly slice your apples and place in a large bowl with lemon juice and zest, sugar, flour, and spices. Gently toss to combine. Transfer the apples into the pastry lined pie dish, and dot the apples with the butter. Roll out the other disk of crust and either top the filled pie with it and cut slits to vent the pie, or cut the crust into strips to make a lattice crust. If you’re interested, follow this link for a lattice crust tutorial. Either way, once the pie is topped, trim the edges to about 1/2 inch overhang, roll it under itself, and crimp the edges to seal the top and bottom crusts together.

Brush the top crust with the beaten egg, and sprinkle with the coarse sugar. You’ll want to arrange the oven racks so one is in the middle, and one is just beneath it. Put a foil lined tray on the lower rack to catch any potential drips and spills. It will likely boil over a little. Place the pie on the middle rack and bake for 60 to 65 minutes, or until well browned and nice and bubbly and smelling like heaven.

I’d recommend, especially with McIntosh or Cortland apples, that you let the pie rest for at least a few hours before slicing or it may be watery. I usually make mine a day ahead and reheat them just slightly in the oven if I want to serve them warm.

spiced harvest bundt cake with cream cheese glaze #bundtbakers

It’s that time again friends! #Bundtbakers is back, and this month is extra special to me for a couple of reasons.

spiced harvest bundt cake with cream cheese glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

It’s my first turn to host this month, which means I’m in charge of gathering the links to everyone’s bundts and sharing the list with each participant to share on their blog. Hosting also means that I have the honor of choosing this month’s theme! September is one of my favorite months of the year because it’s still warm and sunny enough to spend time outdoors, but there’s a slight chill in the air and you can literally smell fall coming around the corner. The best part of September to me though, is the produce. This is the time of year that all those fall flavors start making their way back into our farmers markets and kitchens, and I could not be more excited about it. Pumpkins and winter squash and apples and pears and root vegetables and cranberries and figs! Be still my heart.

Given my unhealthy obsession fondness for fall produce, I decided “Autumn Harvest” would be the perfect theme for September. Make sure you check out the bounty of bundts below the recipe! They all look soooo deliciously autumnal.

spiced harvest bundt cake with cream cheese glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

The other reason this month’s #bundtbakers is so special to me is the reason this particular cake came to be.

I’ve mentioned, a few times I believe, my good friends who are planning a wedding. Those of you who’ve been reading since the beginning may even remember that these friends inspired me to start blogging in the first place. Shortly after Russell and I were married, our friends were engaged and we had them over to our place to pass on some wedding supplies and talk through the beginning stages of their planning process. I made a big fancy brunch, and when I served a 3 layer pistachio cake for dessert they insisted that I start a blog about my cooking and baking. I habitually posted photos of my food to facebook and instagram, but I was sure that writing an actual blog was out of my league. After another glass (or two) of wine though, they had me convinced and the very next morning I started Brooklyn Homemaker.

spiced harvest bundt cake with cream cheese glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

As their date has drawn closer and closer, Russell and I have tried to do our part to help them through the stressful and complicated business of planning a wedding. They really enjoyed several aspects of our wedding, so we’ve been giving them tips and advice on how we pulled a few of those elements together. I know that wedding planning is torture to some, but I loved every second of planning my wedding, so I’m happier than you can ever know that I have the opportunity to help someone else with their planning.

spiced harvest bundt cake with cream cheese glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

One element of our wedding that they really enjoyed was that our caterer’s mother baked us some pies to serve along with our cake. Since my baking has played such an interesting role in our friendship, they asked if I might be able to bake them a few things for their dessert table. Of course, I was thrilled to agree. We decided on two different types of desserts; a pie, and a bundt cake; two of each so there will be enough to go around. Their wedding is less than a month away now, so I wanted the desserts to be appropriate for the fall season. The type of pie has already been decided, but I’ve had a bit of a hard time choosing what kind of bundt to make.

spiced harvest bundt cake with cream cheese glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

So, forever indecisive, I just baked two different cakes. NBD.
I thought it could be fun to have a tasting and let the bride and groom decide.

I loved the flavors of last month’s #bundtbakers cake, my honey glazed cornmeal cake, so much that I thought I’d try to give it an Autumnal makeover. Instead of blackberries I substituted diced pear, which I thought would pair well (get it? har har) with the flavors of rustic earthy cornmeal and sweet floral honey.
Next I made a play on a carrot cake, an autumn-produce-packed “harvest cake” with grated carrots, parsnips, apples, and pears. I made sure to add plenty of fall spices, and topped the cake with a cinnamon cream cheese glaze. Then I packed both cakes up in bakery boxes and headed over to their house for a fancy cake tasting.

spiced harvest bundt cake with cream cheese glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

While both were absolutely delicious, the clear winner was the spiced harvest cake.

This bundt has a flavor very similar to carrot cake, but with a bit more spice and a richer flavor. The addition of brown sugar helps keep the cake super moist and adds a caramel-y depth of flavor. The combination of apples and pears gives that traditional “carrot cake” flavor a slightly sweeter & fruitier edge, but the addition of parsnips with the carrots keeps everything perfectly earthy and vegetal. If you want to add walnuts or pecans I think they’d be great, but I left them out to accommodate wedding guests with nut allergies. There’s plenty of spice, with an extra boost of cinnamon in the sweet and tangy cream cheese glaze. The crumb is moist and tender and, well covered, I think this cake will travel really well upstate for their wedding.

I’m literally giddy with excitement.

spiced harvest bundt cake with cream cheese glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

Spiced Harvest Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze

adapted from Ree Drummond for Food Network

Cake:
Butter and flour for pan
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup grated parsnips
1/2 cup grated ripe bartlett pears (Bosc should work too)
1/2 cup grated granny smith apples (or any tart firm apple)

Cream Cheese Glaze:
4 ounces (1/2 package) cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2-4 tablespoons milk

Directions
Butter and flour a non-stick bundt pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix together the sugars, oil and eggs in a large bowl. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and combine. Then add the grated carrots, parsnips, apples, and pears, and mix well. Pour the batter into prepare Bundt pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 55 to 65 minutes. Leave to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the glaze: In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until it’s soft and smooth and light. Add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice and blend until there are no lumps. Add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating after each addition until the glaze reaches the desired thick yet drizzle-able consistency.

Well covered in an airtight container, this cake should keep at room temperature about 3 or 4 days.

spiced harvest bundt cake with cream cheese glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

I’m so excited about how many bakers are participating in this months event! There are a total of 20 outstanding Autumn Harvest themed bundts to drool over, so make sure you follow the links and check them all out. Every single one sounds unbelievably delicious and I wish I could have a slice of each and every one!

BundtBakers

Interested in learning more about us? #BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. You can see all our of lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the BundtBaker home page here.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com. If you are just a lover of Bundt baking, you can find all of our recipe links by clicking our badge above or on our group Pinterest board.

our wedding

– Originally posted on June 1st, 2014 –

Exactly one year ago today I married my best friend.

Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | marriage equality | Brooklyn Homemaker

Like so many modern Americans, Russell and I actually found each other through internet dating. In 2009, we turned to OkCupid and went on our first date in November. We were immediately inseparable and were planning our wedding color scheme within weeks.

In 2011 I started planning the proposal, and at midnight on New Year’s eve I popped the question. As a special surprise, I reached out to Russell’s favorite artist and asked her if she’d be willing to make us a custom save the date.

custom save the date artwork by Martha Rich | Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemaker

When we were first engaged, I was working in event planning at AIDS Walk New York, so I tried to take advantage of my experience to plan and organize our wedding. We gave ourselves 17 months to plan, prepare, and save; and we tried to DIY as many of the elements as possible.

We knew we wanted to have a big wedding with lots of friends and family, but we also wanted it to be a relaxed & informal event. When it came time to choose a venue, we immediately ruled out Brooklyn because, well, because we’re not independently wealthy. As we started thinking about different regions in New York, the Hudson Valley quickly moved to the top of the list. No matter where we chose, most of our guests would have to travel, and we thought that the Hudson Valley would be easy to get to even if it was a short drive from the city.

We found some venues in our budget, piled into a rental car with Doris, and drove upstate. After seeing a few places that looked great online but didn’t measure up to our expectations, we powered on to our last stop. When we got there we just knew. Not five minutes into the tour we were stealing glances at each other and nodding in agreement behind the wedding coordinator’s back. The place was a breathtaking estate with gorgeous sprawling lawns overlooking the Hudson river and the Catskill Mountains beyond. So, that was that. We were gonna get hitched in the great outdoors at the Clermont State Historic Site in Germantown, NY.

Tuxedo & Russell's hudson valley June wedding | Clermont State Historic Site | Brooklyn Homemaker

With the venue chosen, we asked my good friend Alix Sorrell to design our invitations and programs, and we were on our way.

grey gingham & green wedding invitations with vintage stamps | Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemaker

We started making decisions left and right, buying up string lights and chalkboards, hunting for shoes and rings, and looking into vendors and caterers.

grooms shoes | Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemakervintage glass ring box with moss

I was already completely addicted to Pinterest, but planning my wedding put me into overdrive. My wedding board quickly grew to over 500 pins, and it became a place I would store all sorts of design ideas and links to cheap supplies and DIY projects. I don’t think I could ever have made our wedding as beautiful as it was without all the inspiration I found on Pinterest.

I also used spreadsheets on google drive, like, A LOT. I made spreadsheets to organize our guest list, budget tracker, supply checklist, to do list, vendor contact info, project lists, etc., etc., etc. If you’re trying to plan and organize your own wedding without a professional planner, spreadsheets are sooo helpful. I would never have been able to keep track of everything without them, and I’m certain we would have doubled our budget if I hadn’t been so anal about it.

Speaking of sticking to a budget, some of the best advice I received came from a book called, A Practical Wedding. “F*ck ‘em if they don’t like chairs.” Those words really helped me to get over my anxiety about things we thought were expected of us but we simply couldn’t afford. We prioritized the things we thought would be important and memorable, and skimped on the things that we didn’t care so much about, like the chairs. Rather than gilded wooden chairs we opted for the white plastic folding variety, and I really don’t think anyone even noticed.

chalkboard welcome message | Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemakerwedding program hand fans | Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemaker

Russell’s Aunt Mimi officiated the wedding, and our wedding party was full of our sisters, their children and our best girlfriends. Even Doris joined in on the fun and walked down the aisle with the flower girls. (this was before Betty joined our family)

baby flower girl in painted wagon | Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemakerbaby flower girl in painted wagon | Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemaker puppy flower girl | Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemaker

We came on the scene to the sound of The Cure’s, “To the Sky”, and had a gorgeous, moving ceremony with the river and mountains right behind us. Our photographer, Jordan of Jordan Jankun Photography did such a beautiful job capturing our wedding along with all the beautiful scenery. All (or most) of the photos in this post were taken by Jordan, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn HomemakerTuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemaker Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemaker Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemaker Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn HomemakerTuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemaker Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | marriage equality | Brooklyn Homemaker

It was important to us that our wedding party would feel comfortable and confident, so we asked them to choose their own dresses. Our wedding colors were grey with hints of green and white, so we just asked that they choose dresses in a shade of grey with green and white accessories. This way everyone was able to find something flattering that reflected their personality rather than feeling forced into an ill-fitting uniform.

 mismatched grey bridesmaids dresses | Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemaker mismatched grey bridesmaids dresses | Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemakermismatched grey bridesmaids dresses | Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn HomemakerTuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemaker

Even my mom wore grey! She was a total rock star throughout the whole process, and spent countless hours wrapping bottles with ribbon, decorating baskets and a wagon for the flower girls, organizing comfort baskets for the bathrooms, transporting truckloads of decorations and beer and mixers, and helping to make sure every last detail was perfect on our big day.

Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemaker

Much like the grooms maids, the flower girls chose their own dresses, these in a pretty shade of mint green.

rustic grey and green wedding | Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemaker rustic grey and green wedding | Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemaker

The day before the wedding we got to Clermont just after Columbia Tent Rental finished setting up our big white tent and laying our dance floor. The rest of the setup was up to us. With our wedding party and some family and friends, we spent the rest of the day setting up tables and chairs, hanging strings of lights and paper lanterns, setting tables with white cloths and grey paper runners, topping them with candles and rolled napkins, organizing the bar, decorating the buffet and cake table, finding homes for chalkboard menus, and pinning escort cards to the cork board.

Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn HomemakerTuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemaker antique bottle wedding centerpieces | Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemaker

We didn’t even think to take this into consideration when planning our date, but the 17-year East Coast cicada was out during the time of our wedding. They weren’t really a nuisance, but they were definitely present and added a natural “hum” to the soundtrack of our day. All the kids at the wedding had so much fun with them!

cicadas at wedding | Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemaker

green suitcase card box | Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemakergreen suitcase card box | Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemakershipping tag escort cards on cork board | Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemaker

The morning of the wedding we went to the farmers market in Kingston, NY with our maids of honor to pick out flowers. We’d been in touch with a vendor called The River Garden beforehand to ask what they thought would be in season, and to let them know we’d probably clean them out. We chose a selection of purple phlox, green wheat and barley, and purple chive flowers. Along with some amazing and generous volunteers, we arranged the flowers in antique glass bottles and recycled wine bottles, many of which were used as table markers, with white house number stickers on them. Everything was so beautiful, and we couldn’t believe how affordable they were. They even had pre-arranged bouquets of yellow columbine and purple sweet pea that we just wrapped in floral tape and ribbon for our girls to carry down the aisle.

wine bottle wedding centerpieces | Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemaker wine bottle table markers and centerpiece | Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemaker wedding tables with wine bottle centerpieces | Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemaker

The DIY didn’t stop at the decor either. I also made my own slow baked apple butter using Hudson Valley apples to give to our guests as a thank you for making the trip.

homemade apple butter wedding favors | Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemaker

We chose the 1st of June as our date thinking that the weather would be mild and pleasant, but instead it ended up being over 90 degrees that day, so after our ceremony we both changed into shorts to be more comfortable throughout the day.

Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemakermismatched grey bridesmaids dresses | Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemakermismatched grey bridesmaids dresses | Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemakermismatched grey bridesmaids dresses | Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemaker

We really wanted people to feel relaxed and have fun, so booze was something we didn’t want to skimp on. Some of our family told us to cut corners by not serving alcohol, or just serving wine and beer, but we weren’t budging. The one thing we did do to save money was buy our own alcohol and have the caterer provide bartenders.  We also chose to offer only vodka and bourbon rather than a full bar, along with two signature cocktails served in drink dispensers, wines from the finger lakes region, and a selection of beers.

chalkboard wedding menu with summer signature cocktails | Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn HomemakerTuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemaker

Food is kind of a big deal to us, as you can probably imagine since I write a blog on the subject. We weighed several options when we started thinking about what we’d want to serve, but we knew that we didn’t want the same old “fish or chicken” wedding food. At first we were thinking about going for a Southern picnic menu, with cold fried chicken and sweet tea, but ultimately we decided on barbecue. Our budget sort of pushed us in this direction because whole hog barbecue is usually a cheaper option, but what we ended up with was much more than just a pig roast. We found an amazing family run restaurant called Hickory BBQ Smokehouse a short drive from our venue, and after one meal there we were ready to sign the contract.

pig roast chalkboard wedding menu | Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemakerpig roast | Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemakerpig roast wedding | Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemaker

When choosing a wedding cake, we wanted to keep it simple. We went for an elegant (and delicious) 4-tiered swiss dot patterned cake with classic white Swiss meringue buttercream. The cake itself was vanilla cake with chocolate mousse and chocolate cake with vanilla mousse. Then, to gussy up the dessert table and offer some variety, we served some pies (homemade by our caterers mother!) and a selection of cookies.

 chalkboard dessert menu | Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemaker rustic dessert table & white swiss dot wedding cake | Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemakerwhite swiss dot wedding cake on rustic wood cake stand | Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemaker white swiss dot wedding cake on rustic wood cake stand | Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemakercake cutting at same sex wedding | Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemakercake cutting at same sex wedding | Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn HomemakerTuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemaker

Russell chose most of the music for the day with our DJ, Russell’s good friend Cody, but he let me help choose “Islands in the Stream” with Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers as our first dance.

first dance at same sex wedding | Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemaker

Words cannot express, and photos cannot do justice to, what a beautiful, perfect, wonderful day our wedding was. We’re so glad that we were able to share it with so many of our friends and family.

Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn HomemakerTuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn HomemakerTuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn HomemakerTuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn HomemakerTuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn HomemakerTuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn HomemakerTuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn HomemakerTuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn HomemakerTuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemaker

Thank you everyone who helped make our wedding day the most beautiful and special day of our lives. Friends and family alike joined in to help make sure every last detail was perfect. Big thank yous go out to our DJs Cody and Catonia, to Zach for helping us get all our supplies upstate, and to Aunt Mimi for officiating. Extra big thank yous go out to our wedding party; Sonja, Beth, Jenn, Sharon, Nicole, & Alison; for helping us SO MUCH and putting up with my endless emails. The biggest thank you of all though, goes to my mom.

Thank you so much mom! Without your help we never could have had the perfect beautiful day that we did.

Tuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn HomemakerTuxedo & Russell's Hudson Valley June Wedding | Brooklyn Homemaker

Photo credit for this post goes to our awesome photographer Jordan- Jordan Jankun Photography