How One Couple’s COVID Escape Became Their Wedding Destination

Zac Denham and Clark Gale like to have a good time, and they always knew they wanted that vibe showcased at their wedding. Already longtime fans of Saratoga, experiencing the Caroline Street festivities on Thanksgiving Eve for the first time gave the New York City dwellers an idea. 

“We loved it,” Denham says, and a few months later they were back at The Adelphi. “We were talking about it and thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun to get married here? When we check out, let’s just ask.’ And we did. We weren’t even engaged yet.”

Fast forward more than a year to Gale’s proposal on Denham’s January 28, 2019 birthday, and then right past their original wedding date of October 4, 2020 (although they did throw a little party then, too, COVID notwithstanding); and straight to October 2, 2021, when a well-heeled crowd descended on The Adelphi for the happy couple’s welcome party. The band kicked everything off with rousing French jazz music, as guests snacked on tea party fare such as deviled eggs with caviar, tea sandwiches and petit fours almost too pretty to eat. Tea sommeliers poured sophisticated selections, and of course, there was enough bubbly on hand for the entire town of Saratoga to toast the couple. Then there were the outfits. 

“Everyone understood the assignment,” laughs Gale about his well-dressed guests. “We wanted the perfect garden party as the pre-party, with a Kentucky Derby flair.”

The fabulous event was all them. The music was a nod to Denham’s Louisiana roots; Gale, on the other hand hails from Messena near the Canadian border, and had been coming to Saratoga since he was a kid. Both work in the restaurant business,  so when it came to planning the tea party (and the sit-down reception dinner the next evening), they were very hands-on, not stopping until it was exactly what they wanted.

“Our guests are chefs and restaurant investors, and we were work in F&B, so it had to be right,” Gale says. “We were very involved. We had two tastings for the pre-party alone, and the wines were just right. It was a beautiful collaboration.”

Because of Gale’s upstate roots, the couple had always spent time in Saratoga, but when COVID-19 hit, it became their sanctuary of sorts, where restrictions were less strict than at home in NYC. “Thank god,” says Denman, “for Saratoga,” where they could sit at a bar and have a drink, and spend more time outside with their dogs, Max and Marvin.

Now they’ve taken all of their rich experience from their high-level jobs consulting on other restaurant openings and have chosen Downtown Saratoga as home to their very first establishment that’s all their own—Bocage, a boutique (you guessed it) champagne bar that will serve tea and light bites such as caviar, oysters and tea sandwiches. It’s set to open soon on Phila Street.

“Our end game is to be living here as quickly as possible,” Denham says. “We’re still based in the city but are looking for a second home here now. It’s city-adjacent, and there are good schools for when we have kids.”

Sounds like these newlyweds have a lot to clink together two champagne flutes for. Cheers.    

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