An Organic Garden Rehearsal Dinner in the Hudson Valley
In the summer of 2010, as Camryn Ginsberg prepared to attend college, her father asked Eugene Fiks (who worked for him sometimes) to set up her new computer for school. Her mom suggested they exchange phone numbers, and the pair hit it off. "To this day, my parents always brag that they knew Eugene before me!" she says.
No computers were involved in the first date—Camryn and Eugene went for a run in the park. Then they took it up a notch by skydiving on their second date. A four-year long-distance stint followed when Camryn went off to college. "I made so many trips to see her, by the time I turned in my car, I was over my mileage by 50K miles!" says Eugene.
After Camryn's graduation, the couple moved to New York City, where she now works for skincare brand Fresh and he owns a technology company called Fiks Consultants. One night in November 2015, they met for a dinner date, and Eugene showed up with a haircut, pressed shirt, and new jacket. "That's when I knew something was up!" says Camryn. "He nervously ordered way too much food and could not stop talking." After dining, they walked on the High Line, despite the chilly 40-degree temperature, and that's where Eugene got down on one knee and popped the question.
The pair wed on July 22, 2017, at Cedar Lakes Estate in the Port Jervis, New York. The night before the ceremony, they hosted a rehearsal dinner in the chef's garden of the upstate property, which was followed by a welcome party with an ice cream truck, s'mores, and cocktails. Fifty guests attended the pre-wedding bash, which featured lush greenery, a natural color palette, and a family-style meal.
Kelsey Malie Calligraphy designed the invitations with neutral colors and green accents, which played off the greenery of the estate. Calligraphy and hand-torn edges created a natural and earthy aesthetic.
Camryn and Eugene hosted their rehearsal dinner (along with their wedding and reception) at Cedar Lakes Estate in the Hudson Valley. "We fell in love with it because it offered a full weekend of fun for our friends and family who would be traveling from all over the country. It was a mini getaway for most of our guests," says Camryn.
Guests sat at a long wooden farmhouse table underneath twinkling lights in the garden. "It made for a very unique, intimate, and romantic dinner with our closest family and friends," says Eugene. The couple kept the guest list at 50 people to ensure everyone fit. To play up the lush, natural beauty of the venue, Camryn and Eugene decided against heavy decorations. Instead, Ariel Dearie Flowers adorned the tables with potted plants in aged terracotta pots, and the tables also had umbrellas for shade.
The Place Settings
"The food at Cedar Lakes Estate is farm-to-table. Some of the ingredients in the dishes came from the garden we were sitting in, which we loved!" says Eugene. A wedge salad with baby gem lettuce, cantaloupe, corn, scallions, baby beets, cucumbers, crispy speck, chevre, and smoked chili buttermilk dressing started the meal.
Cedar Lakes Estate prepared a family-style meal of beef short-rib cannelloni with melted fontina and jus; roasted chicken breast with dill mustard sauce; heirloom summer squash and cherry tomatoes; grilled nectarines and plums; and smashed red crescent potatoes.
Dessert was a cherry tartlet with whipped creme fraiche and rosemary honey.
A Cozy Affair
"My most memorable moment was when the dishes were on the table and all of our friends and family were truly enjoying their time with each other. Everyone was in the moment, laughing, and full of joy. It's difficult to put into words, but the feeling of closeness was really special to me," says Stephanie.
Lauren Fair Photography photographed the couple around the grounds of the estate, including at the amphitheater, near the lake, and inside the garden.
"Cedar Lakes Estate sits on 500 acres, so we rented four golf carts to get around the grounds all weekend!" says Camryn. The couple's nephew and ring bearer, Jacob, posed for photographs behind the wheel.
The Guest List
Camryn and Eugene's guests traveled from places like Chicago, Michigan, Miami, Las Vegas, and San Francisco, and they all wore "dressy casual" outfits.
During the festivities, Eugene's sister (Yana) and her husband (Patrick) gave toasts, which Eugene says was his favorite moment. "It brought back great memories from when we were kids. I am grateful that we have grown closer over the years," he says.
All Scream for Ice Cream
After the rehearsal dinner, Camryn and Eugene hosted a welcome party, with an additional 50 guests joining for cocktails, light hors d'oeuvres, and dessert. Local ice cream truck Mr. Ding-a-Ling served ice cream treats "as a throwback to our childhood days," says Eugene. "We wanted the welcome party to be fun and embrace the camp-style vibe." He added that nephew Jacob loved the truck, and probably had four servings of ice cream throughout the night.
The Cedar Lakes Estate pavilion has a fire pit and the couple took advantage of it by setting up a s'mores station with chocolate bars, honey graham crackers, and homemade marshmallows in pumpkin, vanilla, peppermint, and coconut flavors.
The next day, the fun continued. Camryn and Eugene hosted morning yoga lakeside, basketball, and swimming. Guests then attended the Saturday ceremony and joined the newlyweds for brunch on Sunday morning.
Photography, Lauren Fair Photography
Location and Catering, Cedar Lakes Estate
Event planning, White Hall Events
Flowers, Ariel Dearie Flowers
Stationery and Calligraphy, Kelsey Malie Calligraphy
Bride's dress, Johanna Ortiz
Hair and Makeup, Facetime Beauty
Groom's suit, Hugo Boss
Ice cream truck, Mr. Ding-a-Ling