Lydia Melamed Johnson and Paul Shufro’s Artful Upstate Wedding

Lydia Melamed Johnson and Paul Shufro's Artful Upstate Wedding
The Couple
Roey Yohai

“The perfect pair,” recounts the bride’s maid of honor Claire Pillsbury when asked to describe the predestined Wisconsin alumni. “Since the beginning, the match just seemed right—from the way they seemed to bring a sense of calmness to one another, to always pursuing new and exciting activities and adventures together.” When asked to describe her connection to her husband in one word, Lydia was quick to dub their dynamic “complementary.”

The Venue
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On the search for a celebration that embraced a sophistication and a casual elegance, Lydia and Paul opted for Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Chef Dan Barber’s Michelin-starred farm and restaurant in the Hudson Valley.

The Fashion Details
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A component that the bride made sure to include in her day-of look integrated some of her family’s most precious heirlooms. “All of the jewelry I wore that day were family heirlooms,” recalls the bride, who used the accessories to pay tribute to her mother and grandmothers. “On my right ring finger I stacked the wedding bands of my mother and each of my grandmothers. My earrings were a gift from my father to my mother and my headpiece was a Victorian steel-cut necklace that was a gift from my mother,” she explains.

The Ketubah
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“The Ketubah was designed by one of my bridesmaids,” explains Lydia of the Jewish tradition of signing a symbolic agreement, “it includes our crest and drawings of the proposal and wedding locations.” The bride worked with artists at Fourteen-Forty Design Studio to create a crest that combined elements of their courtship and individual lives, while still managing to keep things tongue-in-cheek. “I love crests and monograms and so I had a great time putting it together,” says Lydia. “The Temple of Dendur is represented at the top with two sprigs of Sea Holly referencing our first date and engagement (Sea Holly is Lydia’s favorite flower, a fact that Paul made sure to remember every time he’s sent her flowers). The two animals, a Poodle and a Badger, represent the family dogs of our respective families—I grew up with standard poodles and Paul grew up with a Cockapoo—and the University of Wisconsin Badgers represents where we both went to university. The other items include a wave to represent the sea, because of our love of the ocean, and the beaches of Southampton where we spend summer weekends with Paul’s family. Finally, there’s imagery of a book, for the book club where Paul and I met in New York reading Tender is the Night.”

All in the Family
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Lydia’s mother was radiant on her daughter’s wedding day, sporting one of the coolest mother of the bride looks we’ve ever seen–a textured fit-to-flare skirt and blouson top, in alabaster.

Day-Of Looks
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For the ceremony, Lydia opted for an A-line Cortana gown that featured a fitted waist, ruched tulle top, and full skirt. She paired the look with her heirloom jewelry and a lush, trailing bouquet of jewel-toned blooms by Lyndsey Hamilton Events. Paul, a senior associate at Greyrock Capital Group, wore a bespoke suit for the ceremony.

The Bridal Party
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Paul’s groomsmen sported tailored suits in varying shades of navy, black, and gray, while Lydia’s bridesmaids opted for a long dress of their choice in black, each accenting their look with fresh blooms that complemented the bride’s bouquet.

The Ceremony
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One of Lydia’s closest friends, Robbie Gordy, served as her and Paul’s officiant. “The ceremony was short but meaningful because Robbie knows us both so well and knows how to land a joke!” exclaims the bride.

An alfresco ceremony fit with minimalist décor and a sleek chuppah, effortlessly complementing the natural foliage of Blue Hill’s outdoor courtyard. Guest seating arranged in a semi-circle set the stage for the traditional Jewish service, a set-up elegantly captured by photographer Roey Yohai.

Paul and Lydia chose to dedicate a moment during the ceremony to honor family members of both parties who had passed. “My father and grandparents have passed, and Paul has lost both of his grandfathers,” she recalls. “I wanted to make sure their presence would be felt.”

An Ode to Tradition
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“The overall atmosphere was a casual elegance, where people would look their best but feel free to enjoy themselves and have fun in this spectacular place,” recalls Lydia, who called on Laura Leonard of Lyndsey Hamilton Events to help with the planning, which included adding notable aspects of her and Paul’s Jewish heritage throughout the ceremony. “We both come from Jewish families that are not overly religious, but we are very proud of our heritage and we wanted to weave in elements of a traditional Jewish wedding into our service.”

Just Married
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After the ceremony, Paul and Lydia recessed down the aisle hand in hand, leaving their ceremony site, a traditional and simple chuppah made of greenery, behind them.

Cocktail Hour
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Guests gathered in one of the farm’s gardens for cocktail hour before heading into the indoor reception space for dinner and dancing.

The Food
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The couple tapped into Blue Hill’s signature bites for their cocktail hour and dinner, serving the fresh, seasonal, vegetable-focused menu the farm and restaurant is best known for as passed h’or d’oeuvres and dishes to their guests.

Roey Yohai The Reception
Roey Yohai

“The reception took place above the courtyard in the arched hall,” recalls the bride, who chose candlelight to set the ambiance amongst the area’s original stone walls, as well as soft lighting from the above chandeliers. “I work with Old Master paintings and have always loved the abundant and fantastical still-life’s of the period, so I collaborated with the Lyndsey Hamilton Events team and Sierra to create unique centerpieces for each table that echoed paintings in the Metropolitan Museum, a very special place to me and my husband.”

For the reception, Lydia traded-in her ceremony gown for a fitted organza dress with off the shoulder straps and a deep V neckline from Anne Barge. Even after changing, Lydia was able to feature unique accessories from her family heritage. “When I changed into my second dress, I wore pins on my belt from my maternal grandmother, who had a fabulous selection of bug brooches—I will always identify with her—and an Edwardian diamond pin my mother-in-law gave me from her family.”

The Décor
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Varying hues of red played with accents of eggplant, caramel, gray, dark green, and cream when it came to the color palette of the reception, which featured flowers in the corresponding shades, all arranged to mimic Dutch and Italian Old Master still life paintings.

Dinner is Served
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“For the reception, we placed guests at round tables ranging from 8–12 people and had one long table at the top of the room for us and our parties. It was the perfect way for us to be able to look over the room and see everyone there! Behind our head table was this large window with a deep sill that looked out on to the courtyard,” explains the bride, “I saw it as an opportunity to do a massive installation of flowers and fine objects to evoke the decadence, opulence and colors of the paintings that inspired my decor’s look and feel. The floral team at Lyndsey Hamilton Events pulled it off beyond my imagination.”

Song & Dance
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A haunting rendition of “Varsity,” the song of Lydia and Paul’s alma mater echoed throughout the reception space, followed by a rousing rendition of “Jump Around,” the University of Wisconsin’s unofficial fight song. The couple noted, “the reception was about eating the most marvelous food imaginable and dancing for as long as possible and it was perfect!”

The Cake
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To cap off a meal full of fresh, seasonal and locally grown produce, the couple opted for a strawberry shortcake rather than a rich, dense alternative.

The. End.
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Said the bride, “looking around a room and knowing that every person present either loves you or loves the person you love the most, and only wants to celebrate your happiness, is the most incredible feeling.”

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