What's the most exciting thing you can do in the great outdoors? Get hitched. Catskills weddings with an outdoorsy twist —in a barn, near a bonfire, on a ski lift or horseback — are on the rise, according to Lydia Castiglia, who runs Catskill Weddings, a wedding and event planning service in Clovesville.
“We've had brides — after they've had a few cocktails after their ceremony — do the zipline at Stone Tavern Farm," she said. “Last year, I had a client do a bounce house at her wedding. One of my brides this year is renting a mechanical bull."
Casper de Boer is the co-owner of the The Roxbury Barn, a 42-acre event venue in Roxbury where couples say their vows in the rolling fields, next to the pond, or in a secluded pine grove, and then party afterwards in the barn or around a bonfire.
At one ceremony by the pond,"the officiant started rapping, and a guy appeared with his electric guitar in the barn door and started this insane electric guitar solo," de Boer says.
"The vast majority of the couples who have a wedding at our place are kind of indie, independent, hipsterish people who are not necessarily dreaming of the typical wedding," he says. "A lot of the couples here tend to be kind of creative. I don't think it's necessarily the most important day of their life — it's just a great party."
For Andrea Girolamo (shown above), who married her husband Justin Goldman in 2011 on the bank of the Esopus Creek at Big Indian's Full Moon Resort, being outdoors in the Catskills was her top wedding planning priority.
"My husband learned to ski on the hill at the Concord; I have fond memories of the grand dining hall at the Nevele," she says. "It was really the only spot we seriously considered."
The Catskills region is home to a growing cottage industry of small businesses that specialize in weddings, from lodging and venues to local restaurants, caterers, florists, hairdressers, wedding planners, musicians, DJs, videographers, and photographers. A few appear in our Catskills Outdoor Guide as advertisers, and are also listed below.
This article originally appeared in the print version of the 2014 Catskills Outdoor Guide, our annual publication covering recreation in the Catskills great outdoors. The Catskills Outdoor Guide is distributed across the Catskills region and at select locations in the NYC metropolitan area. Find a copy near you here.