saratoga living tracked down seven brides—Emily Borisenok, Amanda Kriss, Shanley Henry, Masako Yamada, Tristina Torreggiani, Marissa Seagrave and Donna Wilcox—and interviewed them about their big day in Saratoga Springs. Below, find their incredible first-person stories.
Bride: Emily Borisenok, 27
Wedding Day: June 24, 2017
Venue: Old Tavern Farm
Current Home: Saratoga Lake
I was so nervous! Like, beyond. I was like, “If I’m this nervous the entire day, I’m not gonna make it.” So we started having mimosas very early to try to calm the nerves. On the 10- or 15-minute drive over to Saratoga Lake, I remember being in the car and looking at my makeup and just being like, “My makeup is too heavy, my hair is all wrong, like this is just…” I started freaking out. Then we pulled up to the farm and I could see the huge tent and everybody gathering, and I started to feel less nervous and more excited.
Right before I started to walk down the aisle—it was the weirdest feeling—you’re so excited and you’re so nervous, and it’s almost like all the feelings cancel each other out and you’re just so present in the moment. I just remember getting up there with Mike and not even thinking about anything, just being present.
During our father-daughter dance, which was the thing I was not expecting to be emotional during, because I thought it was fun—you get up, you dance—I was crying during the entire thing. My dad picked “Tupelo Honey” by Van Morrison and he was like, “Do you know why I chose that? Because you’re my angel and I love you so much.” I was like, “Oh my god, my makeup.”
Mike and his dad and some of his friends have this little band, and at one point in the night, they got up on stage and were playing a couple of songs. They were playing that song “Valerie” and they changed it to “Emily.” It was just so much fun. I remember being so happy.
Bride: Amanda Kriss, 34
Wedding Day: October 6, 2014
Venue: Canfield Casino
Current Home: Wilton
It was raining, of course, because that’s a wedding day for you. We stayed overnight at Longfellows and then got ready at Pin Ups Blow Bar. I remember one of the makeup artists telling me I was one of the calmest brides she’d ever seen. I was like, “What’s there to worry about? It’s happening. Here we are.”
Were there any surprises? No, it really all just ran, and I think a lot of that was just because of the people I was working with. I produce a wedding show at Longfellows every year, and that’s how I met everybody who had anything to do with our wedding: We had Longfellows cater; Blooms was our florist and Piano Man’s DJ was our DJ. I would say from the first day I met Rob Spring, I was like, “This man will take pictures at my wedding, whenever that happens.” They all just work well together, and if anything was to come up, they kind of just took care of it themselves.
We chose the Canfield Casino because we live in Saratoga, and my husband’s family is from Florida, so we wanted to choose something that really felt like the epitome of Saratoga Springs. And it was fancy. We like to be fancy. Our theme was black and gold and cream with sparkles, and that’s what I think of when I think of Saratoga—something grand.
Bride: Shanley Henry, 34
Wedding Day: October 4, 2014
Venue: Saratoga Polo Grounds
Current Home: Chicago
I live in Chicago, but my family lives in Saratoga Springs and has been there for generations. Before the wedding, we took first-look photos at my parents’ house, which is a huge barn they converted when I was three.
It was an absolutely horrible day—torrential rain from start to finish. The people at the polo field said if we were OK with having people stand, we could do the ceremony inside, in a building that’s like a house with a bar. We went that route. We had some chairs for our parents and elderly guests, but everyone else stood, which was actually kind of nice; it felt very intimate. Everyone was standing close—not too close—so everybody could hear. My husband’s best friend married us, which was really nice and special.
The ceremony went off without a hitch, and right after—it was kind of funny—everyone just turned around and the bar was right there. After the cocktail hour, everyone went into the tent outside for the reception. My brother-in-law plays for the New York Players—they were our wedding band—and he got up and performed, even though he had the night off.
At the wedding, we got up and thanked everyone for coming, and looking out into the sea of people, who took time out of their lives to be there for our marriage, was a really special moment.
Bride: Masako Yamada, 43
Wedding Day: October 20, 2007
Venue: The Wilson Memorial Chapel at Skidmore College
Current Home: Niskayuna
I’m originally from New Jersey, but both of my in-laws work in Saratoga, and my husband grew up there, so we wanted to have our wedding someplace where we could do the planning ourselves.
One of the things that really mattered to us was that, since I’m Japanese and Gautam’s Indian, we wanted to incorporate both of those elements throughout our wedding day, including the ceremony itself. So we had aspects of a Hindu and Japanese ceremony, along with the words of Skidmore chaplain Tom Davis.
I think my favorite part of getting married in Saratoga was that we were able to really incorporate a lot of our favorite haunts into the whole ceremony. For instance, our wedding cake was made by Mrs. London’s Bakery; the rehearsal dinner at Union Gables was catered by Karavalli; and the reception, at Saratoga Polo, was catered by sushi restaurant Mino’s.
At the time, we lived in Saratoga Springs and we were just able to add all of these aspects that were important to us in our daily lives, and it meant a lot for us to support local businesses as well. We weren’t just out-of-towners coming in and having some wedding planner put stuff together. These were people and businesses that meant a lot to us.
Bride: Tristina Torreggiani, 34
Wedding Day: June 30, 2017
Venue: Canfield Casino
Current Home: Troy
I grew up in Saratoga, and Ken and I met and had our first date here. So it meant so much to get married in my favorite city. We also were able to get our photos taken on Saratoga Lake and in Congress Park.
We got married at the historic Canfield Casino in the parlor, which we decorated in all-ivory drapery, flowers in high cases and gold Chiavari chairs. We wanted an elegant affair, so I chose romantic and luxe colors: blush, ivory, with some gold.
I was all about the little details to customize things, from the ceremony to our memory table (pictures of our relatives who had passed on so they were there with us); customized seating chart; and table numbers made by me, complete with childhood photos corresponding to our ages.
The big day was amazing, like a dream you want to relive over and over. We wanted a traditional ceremony, so we really put a lot of emphasis on that. Special touches included traditional music by Spa City Duo; my friend Tracy Corry singing one of our favorite songs, “The Prayer;” special roses handed out to our moms; and our unity candle ceremony.
Bride: Marissa Seagrave, 26
Wedding Day: June 10, 2017
Venue: Hall of Springs
Current Home: Vernon, CT
The big day was a dream, with all our plans falling into place perfectly. It was a gorgeous summer day. We turned the wedding into an entire weekend, hosting a great party the night before at the Pavilion Grand Hotel.
On our wedding day, I had so much fun with my husband! We truly enjoyed every single moment, laughing the entire day and partying all night with friends and family. Our venue was the Hall of Springs, and it was beautiful. We set up a large tent, highlighted by four tall flower displays and petals going down the aisle, outside near the reflecting pool. Our half-indoor/half-outdoor reception took place just around the corner, between the venue’s jazz bar, with outside overflow into the park.
After cocktail hour, everyone moved into the stunning hall, where tall, vibrant flower displays accompanied low-hanging chandeliers and ivory drapes. The venue (and our vendors) did a great job incorporating our theme into the expansive hall. The food and staff at the hall were incredible and a highlight of the day.
My favorite memory was being announced for the first time as husband and wife! Hearing John read his vows to me was such a humbling moment, and I was so honored to become his wife from that day forward.
Bride: Donna Wilcox, 71
Wedding Day: August 31, 1968
Venue: St. Peter’s Church
Current Home: Saratoga Springs
Believe it or not, this year is our 50th wedding anniversary! Both Michael and I are native Saratogians, so there was no way we would’ve gotten married anywhere other than Saratoga.
We were the second ecumenical ceremony allowed in St. Peter’s. Michael is Presbyterian, and I’m Catholic, so until then, you couldn’t be married inside the church. Vatican II was just over with, so they were trying to modernize the Catholic Church. That’s when English came in instead of Latin, and parishioners started singing in church. So all of this was brand new, and they said that you could actually get married, if you were marrying a non-Catholic, in the church, instead of in the vestibule. Michael’s minister and my priest got together and planned our ceremony. We couldn’t have a mass, but we wanted to have somebody from both of our religions present, and they did an absolutely beautiful job.
In 1968, Saratoga was starting to come back. I always hear these things about how you could throw a bowling ball down the street in Saratoga, and everything was boarded up, but I don’t remember that. Having been born and raised in Saratoga, both of us always remember Saratoga being this fabulous place to grow up.