This Indoor-Outdoor Wedding in New York Featured a Stylish Barn Ceremony and Colorful Tented Reception
Blind dates can lead to love—just ask Malissa Osei and Stephen Kovalcik. The couple have their dear friend, Christie, who was Malissa's college roommate and Stephen's colleague at a school in Brooklyn, N.Y., to thank for the set-up. Little did they know that a first date at a bar called Rosemary's was the beginning of their forever.
On May 28, 2021, the couple went out to dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant, Miss Lucy's. The space had once been a restaurant called Juniper, and, while it didn't survive the pandemic, it was the spot where Malissa and Stephen first shared a meal. Since it was also the place where Malissa first told Stephen she loved him, it seemed only right that its new iteration would be the site of Stephen's proposal (Malissa was delighted to say yes).
Exactly a year to the day later, the couple said "I do" in front of 175 friends and family at Hayfield Catskills in Maplecrest, N.Y. The scenic, spacious setting proved to be the serene, safe venue they hoped for, particularly following the spread of COVID-19. "We fell in love with the gorgeous, rolling green lawn that seemed to go on forever," says the couple. "Also, the layout of the venue provided us with the opportunity to have an indoor and outdoor event."
While the couple had a fabulous month-of coordinator—Kate Arel of A Charmed Affair—they handled all of the vendor sourcing, details, and vision on their own. Malissa and Stephen wanted an elegant, enchanting garden wedding in a palette of coral, blush, toffee, ivory, and dusty rose with pops of persimmon. Through a year of hard work (and Malissa's talent for styling, DIY, and planning!), they saw it all come to life.
The Lush Landscape
During the pandemic, the couple purchased a home in the Saugerties area and fell in love with the Catskills. Hayfield Catskills, which embodied everything they treasure about their home state, was the perfect setting for the lush, romantic garden wedding they had in mind.
The couple chose the timeless invites from Minted, which featured a coral foil font, and incorporated a custom monogram by LePenn Designs: The crest originally appeared on their save-the-dates and made its second appearance on the invitations and envelopes.
"What I See, I Keep"
Malissa wore a Martina Liana wedding dress featuring lace, florals, and a bit of sparkle; the number was customized by Crystal Bridal Boutique. The team removed the tulle skirt, added straps, incorporated boning into the sheer bodice and top, and converted the neckline to a sweetheart design.
The bride also donned custom jewelry from Emefa Jewellery in Accra, Ghana, which was a gift from Stephen. "The necklace and earrings have an Adinkra symbol for wisdom in Twi. It is called 'Mate Masie,' with the literal translation being, 'What I, See I Keep,'" she says.
The bride's white-and-coral garden-inspired bouquet by Flower Blossom Design mirrored the lush florals found at the venue's estate. The abundant, but light arrangement featured Iceland poppies, peach-and-blush ranunculus, spiera, Duchess peony, toffee, shimmer, phoenix roses, and bali spray roses.
An Ombré Effect
The bridesmaids each wore dresses that fit within a coral, blush, toffee, ivory, and dusty rose color palette. While Malissa didn't see the gowns together until the big day, they came together beautifully in an ombré mix of warm, nature-inspired colors. Each attendant carried a slightly different bouquet—but all echoed Malissa's arrangement.
The Sweetest Participants
Tears of Joy
The pair opted to share their first look next to Tannery Brook in Woodstock, N.Y. Looking back, Malissa says she had no idea how she would react (though she didn't want to ruin her makeup!), but, in that moment, she was overwhelmed with love and joy. "I definitely did cry. Not only did Stephen look so handsome, he looked like my husband," says Malissa.
Sip and Sit
Glasses of Champagne welcomed guests as they arrived at the venue and made their way into the barn for the pair's ceremony.
Plan B Was Meant to Be
Malissa and Stephen loved the indoor-outdoor option at their venue, and it came to the rescue when they woke up to cloudy skies on the morning of the wedding (storms were in the forecast). As heavy rains poured down that afternoon, they knew they had to make the call.
Kate went into overdrive, moving their outdoor ceremony space into the barn. This was no small task; the pair's flower arbor was deconstructed, split in two, and used to frame the exterior and interior barn doors—but the result was breathtaking.
An Intimate Setting
Malissa walked down the aisle on the arms of her mother and father; her uncle, Pastor Eric Ntim, officiated the ceremony. The couple exchanged their vows in an intimate, beautiful setting, and, as they stood in front of their loved ones, the sun came out, spilling light into the barn.
Sentimental, Personal Touches
The couple wanted the day to feel personal. So, their dogs, Clementine and Mavis, made a few appearances throughout the day, Stephen wore a watch to remind him of his late grandfather, and Malissa donned the custom jewelry made just for her to ensure that the day was a reflection of their lives and love story.
A Celebration With Loved Ones
Malissa is originally from Ghana, and nods to her heritage were woven throughout the day; several guests incorporated traditional African pieces into their big-day ensembles.
Seeing their friends and family come together was the reward of 365 days of planning, note the pair.
"It Will All Fall Into Place"
Malissa and Stephen were blown away when they saw the venue on their wedding day—and they say hiring Kate and A Charmed Affair was one of their best decisions. Looking back at the process, their advice is to "just breathe and take things day by day—it will all fall into place." With the right vision and vendors, everything will come together beautifully.
A Vision Brought to Life
The couple trusted Kate to bring their vision to life, which involved finalizing linen selections, choosing furniture, and designing and executing the reception tent, as well as the lounge area and dinner tablescape.
A few months after the couple started dating, Malissa got Clementine, a King Charles Spaniel. While she didn't make it to the reception, she was there in name—instead of place cards, each guest had a clementine at their spot with their name on it. Their cockapoo, Mavis, got his due, too. One of the signature drinks was named the "Mavis Mocktail."
Florist to the Rescue
With just five weeks until the wedding, the couple found themselves in a tough spot: They had to find a new florist—and everyone was booked in the rush of 2022 weddings. Flowers were a critical part of the elegant, enchanted garden vision, and, thankfully, Flower Blossom Design came to the rescue. Using shimmer, quicksand, country home, cumbia, and toffee roses, peonies, ranunculus, snapdragons, freesias, and even fruit, the floral team created abundant, gorgeous centerpieces and reception décor.
A waterfall of flowers cascaded along the scene-stealing sweetheart table, creating the most romantic setting for the happy couple to enjoy their first meal as husband and wife.
Commitment and Teamwork
The couple chose "By Your Side" by Sade for their first dance, swaying to the words about commitment, teamwork, and how to have a successful, solid partnership. But that wasn't the only musical highlight—Stephen performed Al Green's "Love and Happiness" with the band, and it's a memory they'll treasure forever.
The ceremony and setting were pure romance, but there was also a big dose of fun. DJ Quaz, a Ghanaian DJ, alternated sets with the band, and, as the dance floor winded down, the after-party celebrants moved to Early Terrible Woodstock. Guests feasted on delicious late-night eats, including burger sliders, chicken quesadillas, and grilled cheese.
Meanwhile, Malissa danced the night away in a second dress, custom-made by Ghanian designer Mimmy Yeboah, which featured floral applique, a tulle train, and a sheer top.
Photography, Bo Shim Photography
Venue, Hayfield Catskills
Month-Of Wedding Coordination, Kate Arel, A Charmed Affair
Event Design, Malissa Osei, ByOliv
Flowers, Flower Blossom Design
Invitations and Paper Goods, LePenn Designs (save-the-dates), Minted (invitations)
Menus and Seating Charts, ByOliv
Officiant, Pastor Eric Ntim
Bride's Gown, Martina Liana, Crystal Bridal Boutique
Bride's Second Gown, Mimmy Yeboah
Bride's Jewelry, Emefa Jewellery
Bride's Shoes, Jimmy Choo
Hair, Trachouse Beauty Salon
Bride's Hair and Makeup, SpicyLola
Bridesmaids' Dresses, BHLDN, Fame and Partners
Groom's Attire, Brooks Brothers
Groomsmens' Attire, The Suit Spot
Engagement Ring, Lorraine West Jewelry
Wedding Bands, Fantasy Diamonds NYC
Music, The Hook Club, DJ Quaz
Rentals, Events Unlimited
Welcome Bags, Malissa Osei, Bbnyc
Transportation, Coxsackie Transport
Lighting, DJ Quaz
Photobooth, BTTR Booths
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