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Lauren’s Wedding Weekend in Upstate New York

On a Thursday after work, Greg and I drove out of New York City, through New Jersey and Pennsylvania, just to end up back in New York. There was a reason for this, I promise: we were headed to Upstate New York for Lauren and Taylor’s wedding, and that was the fastest way to get there!

We arrived in Clayton and checked into our suite at the McKinley House Bed and Breakfast, the cutest bnb with a turret and a big wrap-around porch.

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Then, upon the host’s recommendation, we walked to The Hops Spot for dinner. My eyes lit up when I saw it was a poutinerie! I love poutine, and because we were so close to Canada, I knew it would be good!

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

We decided to do our own poutine tasting, and ordered a few poutine dishes from the menu. We liked the Loaded Pots with fresh cheese curds, bacon, sour cream and scallions.

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

But our favorite was the traditional poutine with cheese curds and gravy. If you’ve never had it, I know it may sound gross, but it’s absolutely delicious!

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

I have a slight confession to make. Greg and I have gone to eight weddings this year, in a variety of places like Key West, Seattle, and California. When it came to Lauren’s wedding in Clayton, New York, I was excited for so many things, including spending time with her and being by her side on such an important day. But I wasn’t necessarily excited for Clayton itself. I figured the draw was the celebration, rather than the location.

I was completely blown away, however, at how beautiful Clayton is! It’s right alongside the stunning Saint Lawrence River, with the banks of Canada looming on the opposite side. And the river feeds right into Lake Ontario, meaning that everywhere you look, crystal-clear blue water surrounds you.

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

It’s the cutest town with stunningly gorgeous views, and it offers the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of New York City.

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

That evening, Lauren’s parents, Beth and Eric, hosted a bonfire in their backyard, and it was such a nice way to kick off the weekend. We relaxed, we laughed, and we toasted s’mores, all while discussing the most anticipated aspects of the weekend’s festivities.

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

The next day, Lauren and Beth hosted a bridal brunch at the Saint Lawrence Spirits Château as a thank you to the wedding party.

The weekend revolved around water, and this event was no different, taking place on an outdoor stone terrace with sweeping views of the Saint Lawrence River.

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Lauren gave a toast telling us how fabulous, wonderful, and pretty we are (she didn’t use those exact words, but that was the gist) and then she presented us with boxes filled with thoughtful gifts.

And she wasn’t just gracious with her bridesmaids. I thought Lauren handled the situation exceedingly well when the waitress dumped a tray of drinks on Lauren’s head and down the back of her dress. If only it had happened to anyone else, and not the bride-to-be!

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Because the wedding itself was taking place on the grounds of Clayton’s Antique Boat Museum, Greg and I arrived at the rehearsal early so that we could check out the boats. They were so beautiful, and made me want to zip along the Amalfi Coast in the 1960s with James Bond by my side.

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Then after we were well rehearsed, the bridal party, our plus ones, and Lauren and Taylor’s family all boarded another boat for the rehearsal dinner. The food was good but the views were the real treat, and we got to see much of Lake Ontario and the Saint Lawrence River as we went.

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Don’t worry, the boat was in good hands.

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

After the rehearsal dinner we returned to Clayton, had a few drinks, and headed home to bed. After all, the next day was a big one!

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Lauren woke up the next morning looking like this.

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Photograph by Janelle Rodriguez Photography

As did we!

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Photograph by Janelle Rodriguez Photography

As you can tell from the pictures, Lauren was an absolutely gorgeous bride, and it was fun spending time with her the morning of her wedding.

Because Lauren loves pictures as much as I do, we took a bunch that morning, working with Janelle Rodriguez Photography. Janelle was absolutely wonderful, and I was impressed with how she captured so many important moments of the day. If you’re getting married in Upstate New York, I definitely recommend hiring her!

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Photograph by Janelle Rodriguez Photography

After the pictures, we headed to the wedding itself.

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Photograph by Janelle Rodriguez Photography

Via the Gadfly, an antique boat!

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Photograph by Janelle Rodriguez Photography

We walked down the dock and hopped aboard.

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Photograph by Janelle Rodriguez Photography

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Photograph by Janelle Rodriguez Photography

And then we were off!

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Photograph by Janelle Rodriguez Photography

I have to say, arriving at the wedding via boat is the coolest bridal party entrance I’ve ever seen!

We touched up our makeup, kissed Lauren’s cheeks, and she linked arms with her father.

And then it was time for the big moment.

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Photograph by Janelle Rodriguez Photography

And all of the little moments too.

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Photograph by Janelle Rodriguez Photography

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Photograph by Janelle Rodriguez Photography

Lauren’s brother, Chris, performed a reading.

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Photograph by Janelle Rodriguez Photography

I’ve seen many ceremonies with the traditional unity candle, where each family lights one candle and the bride and groom use those candles to jointly light a candle, together, symbolizing the unity of the two families. But I’ve never seen a wedding where the families used wine instead of candles!

Lauren’s parents brought a bottle from Upstate New York, Taylor’s parents brought a bottle from New Hampshire, where they live, and the mothers combined the wine into one glass for the bride and groom to drink.

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Photograph by Janelle Rodriguez Photography

Lauren had a sip. Taylor finished the rest.

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Photograph by Janelle Rodriguez Photography

And then, while their friends and family looked on and a sailboat bobbed in the water behind them, Lauren and Taylor promised to love each other for the rest of their lives.

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Photograph by Janelle Rodriguez Photography

Afterwards, while we enjoyed cocktail hour, the newlyweds boarded the Gadfly for a quick spin so they could have a moment to themselves.

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Photograph by Janelle Rodriguez Photography

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Photograph by Janelle Rodriguez Photography

And then they returned to the party, where the evening flew by in a series of first dances, speeches, laughter and toasts.

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Photograph by Janelle Rodriguez Photography

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Photograph by Janelle Rodriguez Photography

The sunset over the water was one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen.

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Photograph by Janelle Rodriguez Photography

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

And I’m so thankful my friend Mary Elizabeth captured Greg and I appreciating the moment, and each other.

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

After the sun went down there was lots of dancing.

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Photograph by Janelle Rodriguez Photography

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Photograph by Janelle Rodriguez Photography

And a sparkler send off.

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Photograph by Janelle Rodriguez Photography

But the bride and groom didn’t go far. Rather, we all headed to an after party at a bar with local flavor… and by local flavor, I mean poutine! Lauren knows exactly how to get me to attend an after party, ha!

The next morning, we attended one final event with another nautical theme: a bon voyage brunch at the Crescent Yacht Club.

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

We gave Lauren and Taylor one more hug, signed their marriage license, and sent them on their way to Greece and Italy for their honeymoon.

And then Greg and I celebrated the fact that our wedding is next!

Lauren's Wedding Weekend in Clayton - Upstate New York dining and travel - Wanderlust in the City

Congratulations, Lauren and Taylor. The weekend was incredibly fun and we’re so happy we were able to celebrate with you!

~A

For all of my New York State travel posts, click here.

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