Callison & Conrad married on a beautiful spring day in May at her family’s home in Narrowsburg, New York. You might recognize Callison & Conrad from their NYC engagement session or be familiar with Callison’s dreamy music. These two have an epic love story – they met by chance at Yosemite National Park when each were passing through the area.
You might recognize these two from their Sunrise in New York City Engagement Session.
“I was in California for my cousin’s wedding, and my mom and I decided to take a trip up to Yosemite National Park in the week before the wedding. On our last morning in the park, we visited Glacier Point, which we had been told had the best views of Yosemite Valley. I was standing at the overlook, feeling very contemplative and deep, when I felt something rustle at my heels. I looked down, and found a sweet little puppy dog looking up at me. He was soon joined by a jovial, puckish figure, an older fellow who identified himself as Harvey. He told me that his dog was named Reedley, named after the town he grew up in, which isn’t too far from here actually, and where are you from? New York City, wow! and don’t you have the prettiest red hair, you should meet my son!
Before I knew it, this strange man had taken me by the hand and led me across the viewing platform to a tall, thin, adorable man with, indeed, a tinge of ginger in his hair. We talked about music, drank hot cocoa from Dixie cups and sat staring at the valley together. We shared those fun bits and pieces of our lives that you share with total strangers to help them understand who you are in the shortest amount of time. I learned that this was their first day at Yosemite — we had nearly missed each other, but didn’t.
And then a funny thing happened. Just when I thought I may never see this sweet, funny guy ever again, he invited me to join them on a hike later that day. Mom laughed at the notion of hiking up a mountain and dropped me off with the boys while she went off to check out the Ansel Adams gallery. (Despite how well this has all turned out, to this day I am deeply disturbed by how willing my mother was to send her only daughter off into the woods with two men she had just met).
Harvey, Conrad and I walked down a dirt path together towards the trail, and just as we came to the trailhead, Harvey said “You know, kids, I’m not feeling so well. You have fun, I’ll meet you back at the camp later.” What a Yenta.
And so we walked and talked, and I tried to seem like a cool outdoorsy lady, and he tried to seem like a cool guy who hangs out with lots of cool outdoorsy ladies. We quoted our favorite movies, sang songs into the wilderness, and before we knew it, we were no longer strangers, but friends. Who both happened to be single.
Later that evening, we ate dinner in Harvey’s RV and sat around a fire singing songs with our fellow campers. I borrowed a guitar and sang a few of my own songs, wooing him by the fireside. We exchanged numbers and met up a few days later for a real date at Ventura Beach (he drove a casual 6 hours to see me). We spent another blissful day together, eating burgers and milkshakes and watching the sunset over the ocean.
And then we didn’t see each other again for 2 years. After many failed attempts to meet again in person, I decided to bite the bullet and buy a ticket to Montana and see that tall ginger fellow again. This time, we got a week together. Which turned into the rest of our lives. “ – Callison
Callison is one of my college roommates from Skidmore, and during those 2 years they were apart, I remember she would receive these amazing love letters from Conrad and I would think, ‘I didn’t know this could actually happen outside of romance movies.’
“It would be simple to say that we chose my parents house for the wedding because it happens to have a pretty gorgeous view of the Delaware River and there was enough space to fit a tent in the backyard. But it was also the place where we said “I love you” for the first time, and has become an important place in our story and a home base in our relationship. It felt comfortable to get married at home, and contributed to making our day unique and personal.
From the beginning, I was very into the idea of doing pretty much everything ourselves. I don’t mind that everything wasn’t polished or perfect, because it was entirely our own creation. Also, we knew we wanted to get married outside, so we let the space be the backdrop. What wedding decor could compete with the Delaware River valley? I am so inspired by the outdoors and the trips we’ve been on together, which is how we settled on a vague National Parks theme, and the song “America” for the processional. More than anything, we wanted our wedding to be completely ours, not a wedding that anyone else would have. So we took what we knew and loved and went with it. “ – Callison
Callison & Conrad have a favorite bench that overlooks the Delaware River, which felt like the perfect place to share their first look.
We planned ample time for group photos, and enjoyed first look with mom and dad, all the group and family photos and even had some down time before the ceremony.
As guests began to arrive for the ceremony, Callison found a quiet room and shared a beer with her Kiki, the Maid of Honor and Kirby, the Dog of Honor, and reviewed her vows.
“We chose Carson as our officiant because she is one of the people who knows us best as a couple. She was a dear friend and mentor while we were living in Montana, and she became an integral part of our family there. She is also an extraordinarily talented writer, and we knew she would craft something totally unique — and she did, striking the perfect balance of spiritual and down-to-earth. We let her take the reins on the ceremony, but she asked us such poignant guiding questions that she really let our voices shine through. The one quote we knew we wanted was from John Muir, since we met at Yosemite National Park:
“The sun shines not on us but in us. The rivers flow not past, but through us. Thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fiber and cell of the substance of our bodies, making them glide and sing. The trees wave and the flowers bloom in our bodies as well as our souls, and every bird song, wind song, and tremendous storm song of the rocks in the heart of the mountains is our song, our very own, and sings our love.”
Carson took that sentiment, of our love being bound to the earth that brought us together, and wove it into the entire ceremony.
The most emotional moment of the day was the ceremony. I was so nervous, and the only thing I could focus on was Conrad at the end of the aisle. I knew what was going to happen during the ceremony, but I couldn’t have known what it would feel like in the moment to hear our friends and family members reading from Yeats and Muir, to hear my mom read the original poem she wrote just for us, to hear Conrad’s vows spoken with such heart.” – Callison
The whole wedding was full of personal details and incredible things made by the whole family, and a lot of things made by Callison including the calligraphy, signs, napkins, and cake! The plates and teacups were also delightfully eclectic. I love the way they incorporated National Parks imagery for the tables and signage. It felt like a beautiful way to honor their history.
Hilarious and heartfelt toasts were in plenty. There was also a surprise dance routine featuring the groomsmen, which was truly wonderful!
I asked what advice Callison would have for a couple planning a backyard wedding.
“Just shell out for the day-of coordinator. I didn’t, and while it all turned out fine, it would have been worth it to have someone else fix the music when the sound cut out before our first dance! You just never know what’s going to be a problem until it’s already happening.” – Callison
“Although Julia is one of my dearest friends and I would happily go on and on about what a wonderful person she is, it’s secondary to the fact that she is a complete professional and an extraordinary talent. Julia is an artist first, a wedding photographer second. She captures moments you didn’t know you wanted to remember until you see the photos, and you have to catch your breath at the wave of memory and feeling that washes over you. She weaves in and out of rooms like a sneaky little camera ninja — she makes you so at ease around her that you don’t feel the camera on you at all, just the warm presence of someone who wants to sprinkle some magic all over your day. “ – Callison
The whole day was a dream!
Venue: Family Home // Coordinator: Amy Miller // Event Designer: Callison Stratton // Florals: Earthgirl Flowers // Catering: Early Bird Cookery // Pie: Beach Lake Bakery // Cake: Callison Stratton // Tent & Rentals: Events Unlimited Party Rentals // Bathrooms: Rent-E-Vent // Wedding Invitations & Calligraphy: Callison Stratton // Wedding Favors: The Tea Spot // Officiant: Carson Grace Becker // Dress: BHLDN // Shoes: Steve Madden // Jewelry: Etsy // Wedding Party Outfits: Lulus Azazie The Groomsmen Suit // Conrad Suit: The Groomsmen Suit // Shoes: Florsheim Shoes // #WildestDeans2019