One Couple's Laid-Back Wedding in New York's Hudson Valley
Vasthy Mompoint and Mason Granger were both working as professional performers in New York City in 2013—she as a Broadway actress and he as a poet—but their paths never crossed until a chance encounter at a bar after one of Mason's shows. They were there with separate groups but shared a mutual friend, who suggested Mason switch tables to introduce himself to Vasthy. The couple spent the rest of the night chatting, and Mason followed up the next day with a note to Vasthy—not a poem, but a faux job application, expressing his interest in "the ad you placed the other night…seeking 'tall, attractive male, mixed ethnicity, age 18-35. Must be willing to relocate tables…' I feel I am an outstanding candidate for the position and would like to arrange an interview for us to discuss this opportunity further."
He suggested meeting for brunch, and just over two years later, after a St. Patrick's Day night out drinking green beer and eating shepherd's pie, Mason proposed by asking Vasthy, "Hey, you wanna be my wife person?" She said yes (technically she said, "Hell, yeah!") and the couple began planning their 200-person wedding for September 4, 2017, at the Senate Garage in Kingston, New York.
Vasthy and Mason focused on two key elements for their big day: Incorporating their shared love of music and including their friends and family. "We definitely wanted the mood to be a mixture of a music festival and celebration of Vasthy's Haitian heritage," Mason says. They asked loved ones to stand in for many the usual vendors, turning to friends who offered their services as photographer, pastry chef, videographer, officiant, wedding singers, instrumentalists, and hair and makeup artists. With a roster of professional artists on the guest list, Vasthy, who's now performing in SpongeBob SquarePants, and Mason, currently part of Mayhem Poets and director of Bowery Poetry, put together a party with more than a dozen musicians, hours of dancing (which continued out into the streets after the reception ended), and a surprise flash mob.
Shortly after their engagement, Vasthy and Mason drove through the Hudson Valley, passing Kingston, New York. The town was love at first sight for Vasthy, who wasted no time researching local wedding venues. She found the Senate Garage, a modern space with exposed brick walls and Edison bulb fixtures that was built as a parking garage in the 1920s. "We didn't look at any other venue," she says. "We knew at first look."
Mason's morning was quite eventful, as he spent the night prior in a rental house with friends. The guys enjoyed breakfast and then he went on a "walking tour" of Kingston, dress shirt in hand, looking for someone with a working iron because he "couldn't be strutting down the aisle looking like an accordion." Thankfully, his sister and her husband had one. After getting ready, he slipped on his friend's bird's eye view goggles where he could see drone footage. "Picture swooping through a beautiful Hudson Valley town on the most beautiful day imaginable knowing it was about to get even more beautiful," he says. After that aerial tour, it was time to get the show on the road, so he walked the few blocks to the venue, passing guests and giving hugs and high fives on the way.
The bride started her day in a more low-key way. Vasthy and her friends enjoyed a yoga class while a friend played the guitar. After, the bride-to-be got ready with her immediate family and enjoyed Champagne and breakfast.
A Custom Suit and an Heirloom Wedding Dress
Mason went the custom route for his suit, choosing a sharksin blue-gray number from Indochino. He accessorized with a white pocket square with purple trim, a fresh white shirt from H&M, a purple bow tie with teal and gold accents, and Tom's wingtip dress shoes.
For Vasthy, finding the perfect wedding dress was simple: It was already in her mom's closet. "Ever since I was three, I knew that if I ever got married, I would wear her dress," Vasthy says. "It is a perfect flower child dress." Once the bride learned that her godmother, who is also her mother's godmother, had purchased the dress as a gift for her mom ahead of her parents' wedding in the 1970s, the garment because that much more special. Though it needed minor alterations for fit, the empire waist silhouette, lace sleeves, wide cuffs, and detailed trim were original to the gown. Instead of a veil, Vasthy wore a floral headpiece from Flower Girl NYC.
All in the Family
The couple's choice to use lavender as the primary flower dictated the rest of their color choices: The wedding's main elements were purple, while touches of aqua "felt bright and colorful, like our Caribbean roots," says Vasthy.
Mason's sister, Lindsay, the best woman, wore a deep violet V-neck dress from Azazie, while Vasthy's sister, Darnell, who served as matron-of-honor, had her lilac-colored dress made by a friend. Flower girl Marly donned a dress purchased in Haiti, and ring bearer Mason paired his suit and tie with dance floor-ready sneakers.
A Preserved Bouquet
Vasthy carried a bouquet of dried blooms. "They were the first flowers Mason gave me on my Broadway opening of Rocky," she says. "Dried flowers are my absolute favorite, so it was perfect."
Their First Look
Opting out of the tradition to wait until the bride walks down the aisle to see each other, the couple took pre-ceremony portraits in the courtyard at the Senate Garage, on the surrounding grounds, and in the shops nearby.
In Perfect Harmony
Rhino Records, a vintage record shop next to the Senate Garage, provided a colorful backdrop for portraits and a playful take on the couple's love of music.
One Last Touch
A handpainted wooden pallet welcomed guests to the wedding and laid out the timeline—thanks to a little serendipity and some eleventh-hour DIY. "We found that pallet at a liquor store two nights before the wedding and decided to paint the timeline on there," Vasthy says. "We went to Michaels, grabbed some paint, and went to town."
Down the Aisle
Hanging vases full of baby's breath marked the entrance to ceremony seating area, while the last-minute addition of a colorful runner gave the space a cozy feel. Family members entered as the bride's friend Alison Luff sang "Reflecting Light" by Sam Phillips—the same song playing during the first dance between Luke and Lorelai on Gilmore Girls, one of Vasthy's favorite shows. As the bride and her father walked down the aisle, another friend sang a ballad version of Beyonce's "XO." "I then had my friends sing backup from their seats," Vasthy says. "We are lucky our friends are professional singers!"
A Sunset Ceremony
The wedding took place around sunset, with the bride's best friend, actor Daniel Watts, leading the ceremony. "The first time I ever heard Daniel read his poetry, I knew that if I ever got married I would want him to officiate," Vasthy says. "He has a beautiful love of human connection that anyone of any background can relate to."
Singing and Dancing
Vasthy and Mason wanted to include the Haitian tradition of having the bridal party dance down the aisle at the end of the ceremony—but with a twist. They passed out scrolls with the lyrics to Ingrid Michaelson's "Everybody" and encouraged all 200 guests to join in for the chorus. After the bridal party exited, the rest of the group followed behind them, singing and dancing. "I wanted to feel connected to everyone who just witnessed the miraculous thing we'd just done," says Vasthy.
During the cocktail hour that followed, guests in the courtyard sipped lavender lemonade and played cornhole while listening to live music performed by another pair of the couple's friends.
Mason honored Vasthy's Haitian-American background and her home state of Alabama with a wedding band from Simply Wood Rings in Chicago: He presented his bride with a wood-and-metal band, which was made from wood grown in Alabama and a melted-down Haitian coin. Vasthy enlisted two friends to help her choose Mason's ring; the winning design was a hammered band handmade by jeweler Heather Naventi of Masterpiece Jewelry Studio.
A Welcoming Space
The exposed brick walls, Edison bulb light fixtures, and visible ductwork inside the venue's interior made the space a seamless backdrop for the couple's personal touches. The groom's sister, who owns stationery company Paperishness, collaged centerpiece table numbers, while open shelves were filled with photographs from the couple's collection. "We wanted the room to feel like a big living room," says Vasthy, "so all around the venue, we had framed pictures of everyone who attended the wedding."
A Sweet Finish
Choosing a pastry chef to make their cake was another decision Vasthy and Mason crossed off their list early in the planning: Vasthy's friend Steve Konopelski is a Broadway colleague-turned-pastry-chef who operates the Turnbridge Point bed and breakfast in Denton, Maryland. "I knew he'd go with whatever idea I had and make it better, which he did," Vasthy says. "Bacon is our favorite food so he decided to add that to our cake." The final product was a banana cake with peanut butter mousse, candied bacon, and vanilla marshmallow frosting, decorated with fresh lavender and a custom Wedding Tree Guestbook topper.
Their First Dance
Vasthy and Mason opened the reception with their first dance, to Gareth Dunlop's "How Far This Road Goes." "The music was the hardest part to figure out," says Vasthy. Since they couldn't choose between a live band or DJ they hired both, enlisting DJ Ari Grooves and the Hudson Horns to perform together. "This way we were able to play every genre, from Haitian music to Paul Simon to Harry Belafonte."
"Put all the official speeches and dances at the top of the dinner so once it's time to dance, that's all that's left to do," advises Mason.
For the reception, Vasthy changed from her mother's gown into an Adrianna Papell dress with spaghetti straps and a tulle skirt. "I need to be able to dance, and I did not want to rip my mom's dress," she says, "especially because I want my kid to wear it someday!" She also traded the blue embellished shoes she wore during the ceremony for a pair of rhinestone-encrusted high-top Converse sneakers from Divine Unlimited.
On a Mission
Vasthy's father told her he brought Bengay muscle cream to the reception in case his knees hurt. And that nothing was going to stop him from dancing.
Dancing in the Streets
One of the highlights of the evening: "Vasthy and her team of Broadway dancers choreographed a 50-person flash mob dance for me," says Mason. As a surprise, dozens of friends and family coordinated a performance set to Ray LaMontagne's "You Are the Best Thing"—the title phrase was also printed on the couple's wedding programs and cake topper—which made the groom tear up.
After the reception, the party continued outside. "We had a second line parade through the streets, which is a Southern and also Caribbean wedding tradition," says Vasthy. "The whole night ended with that parade through the streets to our after party at a local bar in Kingston. You get Haitians and Broadway dancers together and it could go on forever."
Photography, Emma Mead
Location, Senate Garage
Event planning, Lauren Brown of Hudson Valley Ceremonies
Catering, Bridge Creek Catering
Videography, Nicasio Zanetti
Stationery, Martiza Charis of Going Postal Designs
Cake, Steve Konopelski of Turnbridge Point
Rentals, Events Unlimited
Bride's reception dress, Adrianna Papell
Bridesmaids' dresses, Azazie
Groom's suit, Indochino
Cake topper, Wedding Tree Guestbook