Naudia & Nathan: Pure Joy at Hook Mountain
Fully reflecting their deep love of family and the great outdoors, Naudia and Nathan chose Nyack Beach State Park for their summer wedding. The couple and their 130 guests gathered on the “Upper Plateau” – a broad field that sits near the base of Hook Mountain. It’s flanked by dramatic cliffs and provides a unique and magical perch above the Hudson River. Though only 25 miles from New York City, it feels very, very far away. Nathan had grown up nearby, but it wasn’t until they moved into their house in Central Nyack from Brooklyn last year that they decided this was the perfect spot for them to celebrate.
“Our wedding was like a love letter to ourselves in a way – we wanted to be sure that things that make us “us” were integrated.” This meant finding a place where everyone could simply relax and be surrounded by nature. Guests took home little succulents and hot sauce the couple made, a nod to their passion for gardening, full-flavor foods and Naudia’s work as a Dietician. Lush hydrangeas and other florals were grown locally and arranged into the arch, bouquets, and centerpieces by Cottage Creek Gardens (which also happens to be owned by Nathan’s dad and stepmom).
And even a ride on their beloved – and fully tricked out – E-bikes got a special moment in the ceremony!
Naudia grew up on Wakenaam Island off the coast of Guyana in South America. It’s the kind of place that gives you plenty of skills in the DIY department. “My island is a little like Amish country. Everything we needed, we made it or did it ourselves,” explains Naudia.
Following her family’s traditions, the parents of the bride prepare the feast for the guests. The week before the event, her parents and four sisters went into overdrive. They prepared traditional Indian-inspired Guyanese dishes in the couple’s home (while they were sent off to the Hotel Nyack). Thankfully, Naudia’s mom has catered a number of weddings before, including for Naudia’s sisters. Together they crafted everything with love and set it all up under their tent – before getting ready themselves for the ceremony.
The couple was also very intentional about choosing local vendors. For their photographers, they worked with Kellie Walsh and Rupert Rogers of 4eyesphotography, who are part of the Nyack Wedding Collective (a group they found @NyackWeddings on Instagram). “They were really flexible and able to roll with the weather and shift their schedules and approach for our first look and couple photos.” These included shots taken along woodland paths and down at the beach.
Their Officiant was Kathy Gnazzo, a local actor with Elmwood Playhouse and friend of the family.
Though the bride’s sister prepared a traditional Guyanese Black Cake, they also worked together with local Patisserie Didier Dumas to create a passionfruit cake with a tumble of fruit.
The tent/chairs/linens came from Rockland County Party Rentals from Nanuet, who set up everything early on Saturday and carted it away on Sunday.
Pre & post-wedding fun
The night before the ceremony, the couple kicked things off with a welcome dinner for 30 in a private space at the Nyack Grill & Bar. According to Naudia, “The food was really delicious and staff so kind. We laughed and danced a lot! It really helped set the tone for the weekend.”
For the day after, they had initially planned on having a family picnic, play cricket, and go for a swim in Lake Welch (Harriman State Park). But because of an algae bloom in the lake, they decided to move the gathering to their backyard.
The couple spent their wedding weekend at Hotel Nyack, but then headed to the nearby Lake Sebago Cabins. “We were in nature. Done!” Part 2 of the honeymoon took them to Guyana, which included another family wedding.
Some tips for couples who might want to dance in their footsteps…
- Naudia and Nathan really enjoyed working with the folks at Nyack State Beach Park, who assisted them with booking the event and organizing the nearby parking. The site is wheelchair accessible.
- The couple rented the Upper Plateau for two days, so that they didn’t have to worry about cleanup or tent removal at night – instead they just locked important bits in a trailer they rented. They also set up a camping tent so that Naudia and her bridal party could get changed into their traditional Indian garb for the reception (even better for dancing!).
- A few more port-a-potties were rented for convenience; two were supplied by the park since nearby bathrooms were being repaired.
- To address bad weather & other pests: As their backup plan for rain, they would have moved it all under the tent. They wish they had planned in more time for the overall event to accommodate weather issues – since they did have a shower that pushed their ceremony back. They also incorporated citronella candles everywhere, which really helped keep bugs at bay.
- Guests stayed at Hotel Nyack or the West Gate Inn right in Nyack. Most came by cars that they either owned or rented for the weekend. A few came up from the city by train.
- If you don’t have happen to have parents who can wrangle florals and catering for 130, please check out the Nyack Wedding Resource Guide to find a list of professional catering options and floral designers. Another option: have your ceremony outdoors and then continue the festivities at an indoors venue nearby.
- Naudia is also listed in the Nyack Wedding Resource Guide – her company, Brooklyn Nutrition Practice, also counsels couples who want to feel their best as they get ready for a wedding marathon or sprint.