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This Hudson Valley Couple’s Winery Wedding Is Swoonworthy

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Photos by Adriana Lombardi/HereNorth

After tying the knot, this couple celebrated with serene strolls, breathtaking views, and tons of dancing at Nostrano Vineyards.

Hiking makes for a great first date in the Hudson Valley. If you’re Lauren and Nathan James, it also makes for a great engagement.

“It was the day after Thanksgiving. I had all my family up, and I kind of wanted to keep the day open. There wasn’t too rigid of a plan there. I just wanted to wait for the right moment to propose,” Nate recalls. He took Lauren to a gorgeous hiking trail next to a massive waterfall, and the place was packed. Leaf peepers travel from all around the globe to catch a glimpse of peak foliage in the Catskills, after all.

Nostrano Wedding Reception

Lauren’s sister accompanied them, and helped Nate locate the perfect spot. She had inadvertently introduced the pair several years ago, when celebrating Lauren’s 21st birthday. Lauren had no idea that her future husband was sitting across from her during that fateful night out. The duo were both Ulster County locals, so she and Nate went on a few hikes, shared a few cups of coffee at Monkey Joe’s Roasting Co., and got to know one another. Lauren felt a special connection to Nate when they put their feet in the water at Kaaterskill Falls and bonded over the chills.

Almost four years later, they found their way back to Kaaterskill. It’s been a special place for the couple throughout their relationship so, if the “right moment” existed, it would be there. Duirng their visit, the couple moved to a clearing in front of a rock with a vast overlook behind it. Then, magic.

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Nostrano Vineyards

Nate popped the question, and Lauren joyfully accepted. She felt relief and excitement. Plus, before starting a new chapter, she was able to finish an old one. Lauren works in the medical field, and had spent a few years completing nursing school in Ohio. She and Nate were long distance for a while, but, leading up to the big day, she was able to plan her wedding right next to her fiancé.

And, after all, an unforgettable Hudson Valley proposal deserves an equally unforgettable wedding.

Altar

St. Joseph’s Church in Kingston

First, they needed a venue. Lauren knew exactly where the ceremony should be: at St. Joseph’s Church in Kingston, a place she frequented all her life. For the reception, she wanted to find a place that walked a line between elegant and rustic. She and Nate had natural chemistry that developed into a relationship organically. So, the aesthetic of her ideal venue had to match that.

Enter, Nostrano Vineyards.

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“They were very welcoming and accommodating. I mean, the place is gorgeous. There’s a big field, a gorgeous tree in the vineyards, massive barns. It seemed like the perfect spot to either fit in a small amount of people, or accommodate a larger number, depending on what we were allowed to do,” Nate explains. Their date, June 2021, brought some uncertainties. At this Milton winemaking estate, the couple had flexibility and peace of mind.

Bridal-Party-Willow-Tree

Falling in love wasn’t hard work for the Jameses, and many elements of planning their special day came just as easily. Lauren ended up picking the first dress she tried on—for any skeptics, it was love at first site for her mother and sister, as well. Of course, she tried on a few more just for fun. Their friends handled the catering, and they found amazing photographers and videographers.

Additionally, Lauren had the option to really take her time and soak in the magic of her wedding weekend.

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“I actually spent the night at the vineyard with just my maid of honor and a couple of my bridesmaids because Nostrano included this in their wedding package. You can get the farmhouse for the whole weekend, which is really awesome. It was very relaxing just having brunch while getting my hair and makeup done,” Lauren recalls. “Spending time with my mom at the winery was really special.”

Her mother was in the middle of chemotherapy treatments, so the added comfort meant a lot. While the girls were getting ready, Nate had a memorable breakfast experience of his own.

Dancing - Copy

“I had to stop at Sunrise Bagels before the wedding,” Nate enthuses. He went for a hair trim, finished getting ready, and went over to the church. He never saw his bride until the altar, which made the ceremony all the more magical. To emulate that feeling again on camera, their wedding planner set up a surprise “first look” in the reception barn, before any other guests arrived.

“She planned this surprise for us. That was probably my most special part of the day, because they ended up playing “Today Was a Fairytale” by Taylor Swift. I love her,” Lauren says. “We had a first dance in there, and it was really nice because no one saw it. It was just really intimate.”

Bride-Prep

The rest of the day consisted of DJ dancing, delicious food, and, of course, tons of photos. Lauren and Nate adored Nostrano Vineyards’ landscape as a backdrop for photoshoots. They found a particular connection with the estate’s grand weeping willow tree. Plus, the vast grounds offered fresh air and a bit of shade for anyone looking for a quick respite from the party inside.

Bridesmaids

Lauren had a lavender lemonade cocktail fashioned after her, and Nate selected a paper plane to represent him. They elected for light main courses, like salmon with mango salsa. Also, the vendors had access to Nostrano’s herb garden. Everyone was vaccinated or tested, so the newlyweds were able to host the celebration they always dreamed of.

“It was cathartic, after months of not being able to see family and friends,” Nate says.

Nostrano-Hill-Kiss

Vendors

Dress: Lily Saratoga
Bridal Hair: Bella Trucco  
Bridal Makeup: Bella Trucco 
Suits: Tuxego

Photographer: HereNorth 
Videographer: Hudson Valley Creative

Venue: Nostrano Vineyards 
Catering: Wilhelm Tell Catering in conjunction with the Hoffman House Restaurant, Erich and Erich Nägeli and Pedro Diaz 

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Related: Fall in Love With This Outdoor Hudson Valley Wedding

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