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The Obstacle: Not Even Mother Nature Could Ruin Emily Eldridge Korn’s Dream Wedding

A barge, an island and a torrential downpour were the ingredients for a wedding nightmare. But that's when the fun really began.

The Obstacle
Bride Emily Eldridge Korn, flanked by her bridesmaids, on the barge that shuttled guests to and from her Hudson-River-island nuptials. (Heather Bohm-Tallman Photography)

Before I wrote for saratoga living, I made my living as a professional guitarist. I taught lessons, performed at parties and worked my fair share of weddings. I’ve played them all: indoor and outdoor weddings, at a little wedding chapel, a big lakeside resort and even (once) in a botanical garden. Fortunately, I’ve never performed at a wedding disrupted to the point where I needed to use my guitar as an umbrella. Emily Eldridge Korn, who got married just outside of Saratoga Springs in 2014, didn’t have the same kind of luck.

Raised in Kentucky but having spent her summers in Ballston Spa with her grandmother, Emily was a regular in our neck of the woods. “We’d go up to the racetrack in Saratoga and loved it,” she says. She met her future husband, Steven, while attending college in New York City, and the couple dated for seven years before getting engaged. Soon after, Emily began brainstorming the ideal location for a country wedding. “I just wanted a traditional, Upstate New York, fall wedding,” says Emily, who decided on mid-September for the event.

The Obstacle
Emily Eldridge Korn making her way to her wedding ceremony amidst a torrential downpour. (Heather Bohm-Tallman)

She eventually landed on that perfect spot in Northumberland, NY, one that had a family connection, making it even more special. Her father’s cousin, George Story, owns a small island on the Hudson River near Schuylerville called Thompson Island, where he raises harness racing horses. (Story’s horses compete regularly at Saratoga’s harness track.) Talk about a romantic setting: “Half of the island is wooded, and there are waterfalls, as well as a cabin, two barns with horses and beautiful gardens,” says Emily. The ceremony was to be held entirely outdoors, with guests ferried over to the island on a barge and then transported uphill to the ceremony by horse-drawn carriage. Emily had every aspect of the day meticulously planned out—that is, except for the weather forecast. “It’s Upstate New York, so you can’t predict the weather,” she says, laughing. “The day we did the rehearsal, it couldn’t have been a more beautiful day.”

Come her wedding day, the tides had turned considerably. “It was just a torrential downpour,” says Emily. Imagine shipping guests in their finest across the Hudson, then uphill in a carriage, with the heavens raining down. And, well, also doing that with the bride-to-be in an all-white dress. Yikes. But Emily’s wedding party pulled off a minor miracle, with her Maid of Honor holding an umbrella over her the entire time, and her bridesmaids hovering around her, keeping her dress from touching the ground. “Getting down the slope onto the barge and getting off again was definitely the most difficult part,” says Emily. “I’m sure that all eight of my bridesmaids were pitching in at that point.”

Incredibly, though, despite the inclement weather and transportation obstacles—not to mention a horse breaking loose from its stall and running around covered in mud—Emily walked down the aisle in a spotless white dress. Sure, the weather made it chillier than expected, and the ceremony had to be moved at the last minute into the reception tent, but Emily says somehow that made it even more of an intimate affair. “The tent company pumped in hot air for us, so, really, it was nice and cozy,” she says. And the rain wasn’t so bad after all. “I think the disaster of it being so rainy made it more romantic, because it kept everyone in the tent together, dancing and drinking and eating.”

Now, if I ever find myself performing at a wedding and it starts pouring, I’ll remember Emily’s aplomb—and hope that there’s a cozy tent nearby.

Jeff Dingler
Jeff Dingler

Jeff Dingler is saratoga living's Senior Writer. He's a graduate of Skidmore College and a professional musician.

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