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The alarms go off early, and preparation for the big day begins in earnest. The bride-to-be and her bridesmaids are whisked away for hours of hair and makeup, friends and family are coordinated, and groomsmen shake off their hangovers just in time to throw on their tuxes for photos. The typical wedding morning can no doubt be a whirlwind, with places to go, things to do, and people to see. This past October, when it came time for my wife and I to tie the knot, we took a different route. One that reflected not only our love for each other, but also our love for the Adirondack wilderness and the part it played in bonding us together over the past year and a half. And what better place to celebrate all of these things than in a cozy cabin nestled in the mountains? The general chaos of a typical wedding morning was replaced with peaceful calm, as we kicked off the festivities by witnessing and photographing an incredible sunrise, with not another soul in sight. We watched colorful clouds roll over the summit of Whiteface while breathing in crisp morning air laced with the unmistakable scent of fall.
While cabins are found throughout the United States, in terms of quantity and diversity, there may be no better place in the country to experience the joy of the cabin than the Adirondack Mountains. Cabins of all shapes and sizes can be found throughout the six million acres of mountains, lakes, and charming towns that comprise the Adirondack Park. Some are small and rustic, whisking the visitor back in time to live the life of a homesteader, while others are large and grandiose, providing amenities and creature comforts that far exceed those that can be found at the finest hotels. No matter the cabin, though, the connection to the wilds that the inhabitant will feel and disconnection from everyday life will be achieved.
Adirondack cabins hold a special place in our heart, and my wife and I have commemorated several of our biggest moments at various cabins in the Adirondacks. We rang in our first New Year together at a cozy cabin in Jay, with the hum of the woodstove and rain tapping on the roof, replacing the sounds of a crowded bar filled with boisterous New Year’s Eve revelers. When the moment to propose finally arrived, I chose a cabin near North Creek as the destination, and we became engaged along the sunny banks of a pristine creek that ran right along the back of the cabin. It was then a no-brainer, really, to elope to an Adirondack cabin to become husband and wife. For each of these moments, the cabin was our haven, our private hideaway to immerse ourselves in the rejuvenating Adirondack wilderness and our love for each other.
After watching the sunrise and making a hearty breakfast, we had a relaxing morning taking wedding photos of ourselves and our “dog of honor,” Maggie, at our own pace. As the morning lingered on, the three of us picked out a pretty spot between the birches where we would exchange our vows. We were blessed with an exceptionally beautiful late October day, as puffy clouds filled the deep blue sky and bright sunshine illuminated the mountains and meadow that bordered our cabin. With Maggie as our officiant, witness, and dog of honor, we exchanged our vows surrounded by the Adirondack wilderness, and then popped some champagne and FaceTimed with our families to share our joy with them. We would spend the next three days reveling in our union, admiring our rings, and savoring the mountain views from the hot tub on the back porch of the cabin. While it may not have been the most traditional way to get married, it was uniquely us, uniquely Adirondack, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
JOEY PRIOLA is a photographer and scientist with a passion for exploring and photographing the Adirondacks with his wife and dog. More of his work can be found on his website, www.joeypriola.com, and on Instagram, @PriolaPhotography.