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“I Do!” 2023: From Saratoga, With Love

How Ali Finley’s dream of a lakeside Saratoga wedding turned into the ultimate celebration of the Spa City.

(Christian Oth)
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When Ali and Ryan Finley, Manhattanites who recently relocated to Dallas, decided to have their June 2022 wedding in Saratoga Springs, Ali had a one-track mind. “I’d heard about this beautiful farm that overlooks Saratoga Lake,” the horse racing fan says. “I was dead set on it. I always envisioned myself getting married on water.” The only problem? That farm—Old Tavern Farm—is privately owned and not, unfortunately, a wedding venue. But the soon-to-be-Finleys had an in. While Ali didn’t grow up in the horse racing/breeding world (her first horse race was the 2018 Belmont Stakes when Justify won the Triple Crown), her husband-to-be did, and you may recognize his last name.

Ryan’s father, Terry, of Saratoga-based racing syndicate West Point Thoroughbreds, got ahold of Old Tavern owner Walt Borisenok, who graciously agreed to let the couple host their wedding at his working breeding farm. (Two of Borisenok’s children got married on the farm, but this would be the first non-family wedding held there.) Once Ali’s dream venue had been secured, the rest of the ultimate Saratoga wedding weekend fell into place.

“We hosted our rehearsal dinner and welcome drinks at 15 Church, which was gorgeous,” she says. “We had all of our guests stay at The Adelphi and a bunch of hotels downtown, and Ryan and I got ready at the Adelphi.” But before the couple could say “I do,” they wanted to give their friends and family a taste of the Saratoga racing scene. “We obviously couldn’t host our wedding during racing season just because it’s so hectic, but we really wanted to give our guests a glimpse into what makes Saratoga so special,” Ali says. “We hosted a breakfast on the backstretch catered by The Bread Basket, so everyone got to learn about the horses and watch them work out, and right after we hosted a private tour of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame with Tom Durkin.”

Only after that super-Saratoga morning did the party make its way to Old Tavern Farm, which had been transformed into a picture-perfect wedding venue with florals by Hops Petunia, a circular bar and an aisle coming right out of the farm’s main horse barn. “Ryan and I did not do a first look, so he was a wreck,” Ali says of her husband seeing her for the first time as she walked down the aisle. “Honestly, I wanted that moment for us.”

After officially tying the knot on the spot where they’d buried a bottle of bourbon 30 days earlier (doing so is said to bring good weather on wedding day), Ali and Ryan joined their guests for a reception featuring catering by On The Marc, music by The Eleven and cake by Villa Italia. “Ryan’s one request was to have espresso martinis passed around
with dessert,” Ali says. “I don’t know how they did it, but On The Marc made it happen!”

The after-party was at track season hotspot Dango’s, and on Sunday morning, a farewell brunch was catered by Sweet Mimi’s. “We wanted to make sure to get all of our favorite spots and restaurants involved,” Ali says. “Saratoga is such a special place to Ryan and me, and we couldn’t wait to have all of our people experience the joy of everything it has to offer.”  

Natalie Moore

Natalie Moore is the director of content at Saratoga Living and Capital Region Living.

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