When Jared Mayer and Kristen Said first met, romance was the last thing on their minds. They were school kids at the time, and far more concerned with lunchtimes and recess than with date nights or wedding dresses.
As time passed, however, the two found themselves connecting over and over again. After growing up on the same street in Sugar Loaf and working together at a local mini golf center in the Hudson Valley, they settled into a comfortable friendship that lasted throughout the years. Five years ago, they took a leap and opened Sweet Onion Brewhouse in Florida together. Around the same time, they also started dating.
“It’s definitely brought us closer because the hours are so intense,” explains Said. “It’s one of those things that can either make or break you, but we work better together.”
As co-owners of the community eatery, Mayer and Said are together practically all day, every day. A true team, they must tackle entrepreneurial challenges and put out metaphorical fires as they occur. On the flip side, they also have the unique opportunity to create together, bond with locals, and provide a comfortable, welcoming space for the Hudson Valley at large. Their operation may be everchanging and sometimes stressful, but it’s strengthened their relationship like nothing else.
Even so, the proposal still came as a surprise.
“We were in the Hamptons and he wanted to propose on the beach,” Said recalls. She had no idea at the time, so, before they went for a walk, she went to put her watch in the hotel safe…before Mayer had a chance to sneak the ring out of it. Without wasting another moment, he dropped down on one knee and proposed.
“I was definitely blind-sighted,” notes Said, who thought Mayer was planning to pop the question during a cruise they had booked later that summer. She said yes, then the two got to work to curate the luxurious, summer camp-style wedding they envisioned in their minds. After scouting a few venues, they settled upon the all-inclusive Woodloch Resort in the Poconos, which offered top quality cuisine, picturesque outdoor views, and sufficient accommodations for all their family and friends.
On September 29, 2017, the Sweet Onion Brewhouse owners said “I Do” along the water at Woodloch Resort. They both wanted to get married outside and chose to hold the wedding in the fall to take advantage of the autumn leaves and multihued scenery.
At the ceremony, Mayer and Said surprised each other with vows that were almost exactly the same. Said, who beleaguered Mayer with two cats she adopted from the restaurant, promised him she wouldn’t bring home any more cats. Mayer, on the other hand, assured her that she can bring home as many cats as she wants.
Said walked down the aisle in a lacy Stella York dress, which she found at Blush in Kingston. Remarkably she only tried on three or so dresses before finding the one for her.
“I wanted a classic look, nothing too crazy,” she reveals. “The underlay of my dress is blush, which I loved.”
With it, she wore her sister’s veil, which the two will continue to hand down to all the girls in their family. She also wore her grandmother’s ring setting, to which Mayer added a glimmering emerald, her birthstone. As for the groom, he donned a custom suit from Alton Lane that featured a surprise paisley pattern inside.
The paisley made a repeat appearance later in the day as well.
“My husband has a thing for bandanas. His dad loved bandanas,” Said explains. To honor Mayer’s father, the couple chose to decorate their cake with flowers and a festive punch of paisley. Under the frosting, they surprised guests with three layers of flavor, so everyone could sample funfetti, lemon, or chocolate as they pleased.
Of course, cake wasn’t the only tasty treat at the destination wedding. The food-centric duo made a point to serve only top-tier eats to their guests, many of whom are also in the culinary industry. On their contemporary American menu, they featured fun twists on comforting classics. From butternut squash ravioli with truffle sauce to steak frites with shoestring fries, Mayer and Said made sure their friends and family ate very, very well.
For future brides in the Hudson Valley, Said’s advice is simple and sweet.
“Try not to overthink it and go with your gut.”
Event Planner, Floral Designer, Paper Designer: Ohana
Caterer and Cake: Woodloch Resort
Dress: Stella York via Blush
Bridal Hair and Makeup: RB Artistry
Bridesmaid Dresses: BHLDN
Groom Suit: Alton Lane
Photo Booth: New York Photobus
Photographer: Cassondre Mae Photography