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Atlanta Wedding Photographer

I’m always looking for an excuse to travel to another gorgeous destination. When Catherine and Keith asked me to come shoot their fall outdoor wedding in upstate New York, I just couldn’t say no! We went for a hike, played in the fall leaves, and ended the night with a bonfire and s’mores. Does it get any better than that?

Enjoy this intimate outdoor wedding in upstate New York. If you’re planning your own adventurous wedding, I’d love to chat!

A Quiet First Look in The Catskills

Catherine and Keith got ready at their venue, Old Dovers Inn, in Dover Plains, New York. The venue primarily serves as a bed and breakfast, but it also features an old barn for receptions and several beautiful ceremony locations around the property. It’s quaint colonial spot nestled in the Catskills, and it was absolutely stunning in fall.

While Catherine got ready in the inn, I chatted with Keith on the lawn. He and Catherine had found me via a long-time friend of mine. I shot his wedding a while back, and Catherine and Keith both loved the photos. I’ve always loved upstate New York. So when Catherine and Keith asked me to visit for their wedding, I packed a bag and made the trip. From my first conversation with this couple, I knew they were my kind of people. They’re chill, ready for adventure, and so in love.

These two had originally planned a different wedding, but due to COVID they were forced to make some changes. Instead of Plan A, they opted for a private morning together followed by a small ceremony and an intimate gathering of friends and family at the inn.

Once Catherine was ready, she and Keith met in this quiet stone nook for their first look. It was simple, sweet, and perfect for them. After some kisses, Catherine and Keith loaded up in their car for the most-anticipated part of their wedding day: their hike!

Hiking on Your Wedding Day

Come hell or high water, Catherine and Keith insisted they would be hiking on their wedding day. They’ve been hiking together since they met, so it was important to them that they spend time in nature together before they said “I do.”

My favorite couples to work with are the adventurous ones, especially when they’re down to leave the beaten path on their wedding day. Hiking on your wedding day make for unforgettable photos. It also gives you and your partner some alone time before the ceremony. You get to decompress, walk off the nerves, and enjoy some quiet time before the hustle and bustle of the day truly begins. If your schedule and venue allows it, I highly recommend it!

When we arrived at the trailhead, Keith helped his bride into her hiking boots. Then, Catherine scooped up her train, and we headed into the woods.

Wedding Photos at Dover Stone Chapel

The Dover Stone Chapel hiking trail is only about a mile away from Old Dovers Inn. Plus, the trail itself is pretty short, so we were able to slip away for a couple hours, enjoy the scenery, and snap some one-of-a-kind portraits.

If you want top-notch fall foliage on your special day, you should really consider an outdoor wedding in upstate New York. I love my hometown, but Atlanta has nothing on New York when it comes to fall colors. Catherine and Keith admired the scenery all the way down to Dover Stone Chapel. My favorite candids from the morning are the shots of them hiking together hand-in-hand and enjoying each other’s company.

When we finally reached Dover Stone Chapel, I was floored. The “chapel” (how perfect for a wedding day!) is made up of two rock formations that lean into one another, creating a crevasse between them where a creek runs through. Usually, the water keeps hikers from getting too close, but with the creek bed as dry as it was, we were able to hike right into the cavern. For a few blissful moments, we got to enjoy the cavern with no one else around.

Eventually, though, more hikers made their way down the trail and we had to move on. Lucky for us, the hike back to the car was just as beautiful as the hike down! I loved the way the wooded hills converged in this ‘v’ shape, almost like they were cradling Catherine and Keith. More than once, I caught these two just standing and admiring the scenery, holding onto one another in silence. You couldn’t have planned a more perfect morning.

They laughed, cuddled, and played in the fall leaves for a while longer, and then it was time to head to the ceremony.

Intimate Fall Outdoor Wedding in Upstate New York

For the ceremony, Catherine and Keith picked a quiet spot at the inn and exchanged vows under a simple wood arbor surrounded by family and friends. While it wasn’t the mountaintop gathering they’d originally planned, it was still so them.

One of my favorite details from this wedding – or from this marriage, really – are the rings. I have a soft spot for matching wedding rings. My parents, whose names both start with ‘A’, have matching wedding bands with an ‘A’ engraved on them. When I saw Catherine and Keith’s wedding bands with the coordinating triangle details, I couldn’t help but get a warm and fuzzy feeling. It’s such a small detail, but coordinating or matching rings serve as the ultimate symbol of togetherness. No matter where they are, Catherine and Keith will always have on them a symbol of their other half.

Ending the Night With Dinner & S’mores

While the reception space at Old Drovers Inn can handle a much larger crowd, the staff converted it into the perfect dinner venue for this intimate wedding. Catherine and Keith shared a banquet table with their nearest and dearest, and they spent the night chatting, laughing, and spending quality time with their guests. The images from dinner are so real and sweet, from Catherine and Keith laughing with their friends to showing off their rings their grandmothers. They stepped away from dinner for their first dance, but then they were right back to just hanging out.

This is, in my opinion, the greatest benefit to a small wedding. When you have a hundred guests, you unfortunately get just a few seconds to talk to each of them before you’re pulled in another direction. If your guest list is even larger, you’re lucky if you get to say “hello” to everyone there. But with an intimate wedding like Catherine and Keith’s, you’re able to spend the entire night enjoying each other’s company.

After dinner, the newlyweds stepped outside for a bonfire. They ended the night laughing over flaming s’mores and relaxing under the stars.

Planning your own adventurous wedding?

I’d like to say a special thanks to all the other vendors who helped make Catherine and Keith’s intimate outdoor wedding so sweet and beautiful.

Hair & Makeup: Kindred Beauty Co.

Dress: BHLDN

Florals: Farmhand Flowers

Venue: Old Drovers Inn & The Preston Barn in Dover Plains, NY

Wedding Planner: Corinne at Canvas Weddings

If you’re planning your own wedding or elopement, I’d love to be part of it! Head over to my contact page, shoot me a message, and let’s plan your adventure!

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