It takes a village…to host a Keuka Lake wedding

A year ago we didn’t think  about what would happen when our quest for lavender fields brought us back to the very lavender field we started from, less than a half-mile from our home on Keuka Lake. But a lot of things change in one year. The lavender we loved biking past last summer made its way into Liz and Jesse’s Keuka Lake wedding this summer…and delivered new friends from the villages around Keuka. We were really pleased to meet Leslie Belsito, whose lavender field photo has been our banner for this year of blogging. The actual lavender became a sweet scent throughout the wedding events. The wedding was a locavore’s wedding dream all around.


Leslie provided 11 bundles of lavender to use for the wedding. Could we possibly use it all? (Yes!)

Last summer Liz, Jesse, Mike and Nance (as Jesse calls his in-laws) biked around the bluff at the center of Keuka Lake’s Y shape. We hiked up a long hill to see Garrett Memorial Chapel only to find an event underway, so we couldn’t get close.


Garrett Memorial Chapel, a lovely spot.

A day or two later Liz and Jesse kayaked the mile across the lake and hiked up the long, long hill and walked around the chapel. Was Jesse already planning his proposal and thinking of this as his wedding venue? Could be…

The proposal happened in Nafplio, Greece in October. Just before leaving for Greece, Jesse, always the polite young man his parents raised him to be, contacted Mike and Nance to share his intentions. (We knew before Liz did!)


Happy day. Wedding planning countdown begins!

Garrett Chapel receives hundreds of requests a year for wedding events, but Liz and Jesse’s application saying how much they loved Keuka earned them one of the few remaining spots. Planning was on!

juliette garrett

Garrett Memorial Chapel, painted by Juliette Jardim! (Find Liz and Jesse in the picture.)

A month before the wedding, Marvin Anani was very busy. He visited Keuka to photograph Liz, Jesse, Paul, and Maynor in the Keuka triathlon and did the engagement shoot for Liz and Jesse in Virginia. (See photos from both at Marvin Anani‘s  website)

Jesse And Liz Engagement Shoot-321

Photo by Marvin Anani. Dogs from SBBS.

The couple quickly found a wedding planner, Nichole Dresser from Hammondsport, and a caterer, Jane Russell, from Around the Corner Catering, which is pretty much just around the corner from our house in Pulteney. These two ladies became immensely helpful, not only with their assigned tasks, but in providing ideas and support for many aspects of planning.

We booked Art and Missy Sable’s Manor House, just a few miles from our house, for a spot for Liz, Jesse, and many of the wedding guests to stay. We soon realized that it was a perfect location for the reception. We could set up a tent with beautiful views of the lake. Liz booked a luxury bathroom trailer from Crescent Moon Restrooms of Farmington. The tent came from Tailored Events in Canandaigua.


Looking out and looking in at the Manor House

Events began days before the wedding. Virginia and Philip, Jesse’s parents, arrived for a few days of assembly line wedding prep tasks broken up by paddle boarding competition. We picked blueberries at Jim Bedient’s Blueberry Patch near the top of the lake and made decorated jam for wedding guests.


Chris is now a fully certified jam-making expert. This is the “before” photo of one batch of jam.

Our long-time neighbor and friend, Sandy Pietropaoli, gave us some of her jars.


And the jam “after” photo with lavender or white covers (usable to loosen tight jar lids). Michael and Philip are now raffia artistes.

It was time for more prep at the Manor House, creating lavender garnishes to go around candle holders (made from Ball jars, many lent from Sandy), lavender sprigs tied around napkins, and lavender decorations for the chapel pews.

lavender candle

The warmth of the candles released lavender scents all evening.

Virginia also created personalized name “cards” from pieces of shale from Keuka Lake…when she wasn’t paddle boarding.


Local lavender and rocks

Thursday night, many of the folks who had already arrived in town gathered at the Waterfront restaurant to meet or remeet each other and enjoy the good food and lakeside ambiance. The restaurant is owned by the Sable family and easy walking distance from our house. (Check their website. It’s the same view with the same sailboats we see from our dock.)


Meghan, Liz, Nancy, Kathy at the Waterfront. Behind us is the bluff Liz and Jesse swam to.

Friday Liz’s NYU dance friends, Pamela and Colleen, hosted a ladies luncheon at Bully Hill Vineyards (1.6 miles from the Manor House) to help Liz transition from Miss to Mrs.


Pamela and Teddy made a tear-jerking speech at the luncheon.

Colleen celebrated Liz’s transition from Miss to Mrs. with a custom-designed t-shirt. The best truly is Yet to be.


Cousin Madison modeling the special shirt.


Liz, Jess, and Krystal at Bully Hill, a long way from the Lower East Side

From the luncheon it was on to rehearsal, with the Rev. Lynne Sharp, the Episcopal celebrant from Hammondsport’s St. James’ Episcopal Church reminding us all (mostly Liz and Jesse) to eat something the day of the wedding, stay hydrated, and not have any alcohol. (Note foreshadowing.)

Friday night things heated up with the rehearsal dinner, actually a pre-wedding reception for all wedding guests, with Marvin Anani the official rehearsal dinner photographer (and many others snapping candids).


Philip and Virginia getting in some precious hugs.

Jane catered the event with pulled pork and roasted corn, tasty food that fit the setting at the Abandon Brewing Company at the top of the lake, with local beer and wine. The great view from Abandon is the western branch of Keuka’s “Y.”


The SBBS team, able to relax together.

Leslie, our new friend from the lavender field, provided beautiful yellow and red flowers from her personal garden, with a bit of dill added in.


Colleen and Gavin enjoying the flowers (or about to eat them). The dill IS edible…

We learned that it wouldn’t be a Jardim-Charlton gathering without an impromptu music fest. We closed the place down with full stomachs and a festive mood.


Juliette and Michael creating music. Liz and Jesse dancing. Marvin Anani finding an innovative view from above at Abandon.

Before dawn Saturday the rains came. Our thought: There goes the wedding! Au contraire. By 8AM the sun was shining and the skies were clear. Chris was dispatched to Wegmans for impromptu wedding cakes. Nothing was reserved, which could have been catastrophic, but Wegmans (and Chris!) came through, as always. Philip and Jonathan picked more Bedient berries to garnish the cakes and the ladies of SBBS decorated. (Thanks, Lauren and Sarah.)


Can’t beat Wegmans cake and Bedient berries. Note the doggie caketopper.

The SBBS gang was working on last-minute setup at the Manor House. It included a team effort to help get Jesse ready for the wedding.

jessegetting ready

Joe, Maynor, Jesse, with Christian doing a final “inspection.”

Liz’s Aunt Kathy and Uncle Stephen invited the bride to get ready for the wedding in the historic 1870 Stonehouse they had rented, conveniently located rolling-down-the-hill distance from Abandon. Kathy arranged for Tabitha of Tropic Salon of Penn Yan to do hair.


The before photo of the bride. Lots of after shots to follow…

Liz’s village of friends (Krystal, Colleen, Devon, and Jess) did makeup.


The makeup team, nicely made-up.

Kathy put on a major spread to meet the “eat something and stay hydrated” requirements, but ignored the third part of Lynne’s advice.

girls at Kathys

A pre-wedding champagne toast.

Liz’s dress was by Nicole Miller and made in the USA. She picked it out from Lovely Bride in Washington, D.C with help from her grandmother Marcia and Aunt Linda. Susie, a neighbor of SBBS in Del Ray took care of tailoring her dress and Jesse’s suit.


Pretty on the hanger, even prettier on the bride.

Her veil was handmade by Emily of Bride’s Head Revisited. Jesse arranged for beautiful custom rings from Dejan Studio Jewelry.

three rings

Liz’s rings from Jesse: one-of-a-kind expressions of love, devotion, and commitment.

We picked up the wedding flowers from Mrs. Hoover, just around the corner from the Stonehouse. This lovely Amish lady and her daughters worried that the rains would ruin their flowers before they could be picked. In fact, they provided 20 beautiful arrangements and flowers for Liz’s bouquet!


One of many unique flower arrangements from Mrs. Hoover

It was time to work at the Stonehouse, finishing up the bouquet and making boutonnieres. Lynn Rhatigan McVey, the official wedding crasher, and Meghan showed off their Etsyable skills.


Liz’s bouquet of snapdragons, larkspur, alyssum, and more. Lavender, of course!


Meghan and Lynn finally resting after putting together a couple dozen boutonnieres.


Meghan giving Liz a final pep talk (scream) before the wedding.

On to the wedding at Garrett Memorial Chapel.


Happily anticipating the big event.

Liz walked down the aisle with musical accompaniment from Jesse’s cousin Connor.


Among other songs, Connor played the theme from Princess Bride, which Liz heard countless times as an infant waking up for feedings during the night.

Liz’s brother Chris and Jesse’s brother Jonathan ushered. Grandmother Marcia, Liz’s Uncle Stephen, and Jesse’s Aunt Judy did readings.

Garrett inside

Aunt Judy doing a reading from the Song of Solomon inside the beautiful Garrett Memorial Chapel.

Marcia’s heartfelt improvised additions praised Liz and Jesse and even brought SBBS into the ceremony. Pamela and Sal’s son James was the ring bearer. He did so well he was rewarded with candy.


“I’m the ring bear.”

The simple and elegant ceremony was officiated by Lynne (the celebrant, not the crasher), with a homily by Jesse’s grandfather, the Rt. Reverend Charlton, stressing the importance of forgiveness in a marriage.


It’s official. Elizabeth Bach O’Connell and Jesse Duncan Jardim are wed!

The reception at the Manor House began with Jane’s appetizers, mostly local: rainbow chard pastries, zucchini and carrot patés, cheeses, and so much more. The signature drink of Lavender French 75 had lavender ice cubes. (Lavender…the gift that keeps on giving!)


Meghan, Chris, and Tom comparing how many Lavender 75s each had had. Tom, 10, really?

Nichole and her right-hand-man, her husband Steve, orchestrated the evening. Steve’s emergency skills as a Hammondsport fireman were not needed, but it was nice to know we had a professional on the site. Liz’s brother Pat MC’d the evening with a sound system from Revolution Music Shop in Bath.


Pat and his girlfriend, Jordan, before the MC duties started.

Liz and Jesse entered the tent to the appropriate song of Jesse’s Girl, with Liz twirling to the max.


Is she happy, or what?

Jane’s dinner included tenderloin from Bedient Farms (a different Bedient) cooked to perfection, roasted vegetables from Hoover Farm (the same Hoover), lovely lentils, and multiple salads. Liz, the one-time vegetarian, does love her vegetables! Wines came from the two wineries nearest our home: Dr. Konstantin Frank on the hill behind the house and Ravines on the hill just opposite the house, a mile across the lake, or 22 miles by car. Beer was from Finger Lakes Beer Company, whose owner happens to live about six houses up the lake from us.

Michael and Liz danced to Tiny Dancer, so appropriate after nearly 20 years of seeing Liz dance in recitals and performances. Jesse and Virginia danced to Forever Young. Jesse and Liz danced to You Send Me, fitting for Jesse and Elizabeth, with all the travel that they do together.


Mr. and Mrs. Jardim dance their first dance…of many to come.

Sunny Sleuth, Sherlock Bones, and Dr. Angelica Spotson from SBBS joined the crowd for an outdoor photo shoot in front of beautiful lake views while official wedding photographer Erich Camping (of Rochester) and a cast of hundreds took pictures.


Liz, Jesse, and the dogs of SBBS (#dogsofSBBS) have a quiet moment in front of the Keuka view.

Liz’s Uncle Tom took live action videos with his mountain bike GoPro cameras. Michael welcomed everyone to the Keuka Lake wedding of the year.


Are we happy, or what?

Jesse toasted the guests with Dr. Frank’s champagne. Juliette, Meghan, Sung, and Jess O. provided warm and witty toasts as well. Guests wined and dined and danced and mingled.


Speeches, serenading, sitting, and standing on one’s head? (Marvin Anani is also a hip hop dancer in his spare time.) Truly a good time.

We finished the evening with the cakes, some special pastries from Jane, coffee from Keuka Lake Coffee Roasters, and another Dr. K. champagne. Maynor, once a bartender, made some killer after-hours drinks. As expected, a good time was had by all. Lots of planning, love and support from friends and relatives, and reliable local suppliers made it happen.

The rest of the world found out about the wedding couple, how they met, and plans for the wedding in their announcement in the New York Times. An infatuation, not an infestation! (We wager this is the first time the word infestation has appeared on the New York Times wedding page.)


Jesse and Liz with the bed-bug-hunting chick magnets, Sunny and Sherlock (read the NYT announcement to understand)

This wedding stuff was so much fun that Liz and Jesse wanted to have another ceremony, this one making the big marriage leap from the dock at Keuka.


They’re all in.

All the best to the new Mr. and Mrs. Jardim!

P.S. The couple headed to Canada for their honeymoon but returned early to spend a few days with Sunny and Sherlock and Mike and Nance back on Keuka Lake. The last bit of lavender was baths for the dogs with Dr. Bronner’s lavender soap.


Sunny gets a much-needed lavender bath.

A big thanks to all the suppliers and a final thanks to Marvin Anani, Sung Park, Erich Camping, and all the others who shared their photos of the events to #lizjesse2015.

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11 Responses to It takes a village…to host a Keuka Lake wedding

  1. Lynn says:

    Loved reliving the wedding of the century! And I do like my new title “Official Wedding Crasher”. I’ve already updated my stationary. 10 hours of driving were well worth the ideas I have stolen for my own child’s wedding someday. Thanks for including me as if the choice was yours, LOL! LOVE!!! XOXOXOX


  2. Marcia OConnell says:

    This is a virtual business plan for all who helped with the wedding. Any of their new clients can plug this in and add their cast of characters. Well done. It is the wedding I went to. Marcia



  3. Marvin Anani says:

    Wow Nancy. This was amazing, I’m tired just remembering all the work going in a wedding.
    It was such a fantastic weekend though. Thanks for having us for this celebration of love and family. Let’s do it again soon haha.


    • Cindy Hamilton says:

      Congratulations O’Connell’s! You couldn’t have picked a better place for Elizabeth’s wedding. (with the exception of Boldt Castle in the Thousand Islands, where our Elizabeth got married 🙂 )! Both outstanding venues!
      I’m so glad that you shared this special day…it was wonderful to see beautiful Elizabeth (Liz) celebrating her happily ever after.
      I’m sure all the vendors mentioned will be forever grateful to you, along with many future brides-to-be! By the way, could you bottle some Wegmans and send it this way?
      Looking forward to more O’Connell/Bach adventures!


    • noconbach says:

      Michael and I didn’t see your dancing. You’ll have to reenact for us when you come next summer.


  4. Wow! What a wonderful story. Well done. We would like to add that now… there is a beautiful new hotel where wedding parties and their guests can stay in Hammondsport. The Best Western Plus, Hammondsport Hotel is a new addition to the Keuka Lake Wedding Scene and we are ready to serve. Please check us out at


    • noconbach says:

      Thank you! Some of our guests for the 2015 wedding stayed in Bath so they had that extra few miles to travel after several long days. We watched your hotel being built and were very glad to see it. We may not have another wedding here any time soon, but it’s great to have such a wonderful option for accommodations close to our home. Good luck!


  5. Pingback: Our own private Finger Lake seaplane tour…It was great! | Finger Lakes to Lavender Fields

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