I Will: Engaging Engagements

Ties to Saratoga Will Bring Them Back for the Big Day

Compiled by ALICIA BRYAN and MARIA MCBRIDE BUCCIFERRO
Photographs by DAVID E. CUMMINGS, J.P. ELARIO, CORNELIA TRAYNOR

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ARIANA CONSTANTINE & NICK LOWE

A Christmas Letter, Sunflowers and Song by Adele

Occupations: Ariana, occupational therapist; Nick, senior coordinator, Newsday Transportation Department

Residence: Commack, New York

Engagement: Dec. 25, 2015

Date for Wedding: TBD (Enjoying being engaged)

How You Met: Nick: “We met in college. We were in the same seminar class during our freshman year. I started hanging out with another girl in our class… Ariana came up to me and bluntly stated that the girl I was seeing was crazy and that I should stop hanging out with her. So I did… Eight years later, here we are.”

How He Proposed: Ariana: “We were celebrating Christmas at Nick’s family’s house in Saratoga… Christmas day, I drove up with my mom and sister, and we met Nick’s mom at her house. I drove with his mom to a relative’s… On the way over, his mom handed me a letter (from Nick) and a sunflower (my favorite). At first I thought it was just a Christmas surprise (I love Christmas), but as I read the letter and Nick’s mom started crying, I started to understand. Nick’s little brothers were waiting in the driveway, each with another sunflower, and they took turns leading me part of the way into the backyard, where I could hear our song playing (‘Make You Feel My Love,’ by Adele).

Nick was standing on the deck next to a Christmas tree and a small table with champagne and more sunflowers. After lots of happy tears and hugs, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Of course, I said yes (through tears)! I was so completely surprised.”

Favorite Thing About Your Spouse-To-Be:

Ariana: “How much he makes me laugh… I love how attentive and genuinely selfless he is.”

Nick: “The way she looks at me, as if any time I am nearby is the best time she’s ever had.”

Ring: 1.2 carat round solitaire diamond, 14k yellow gold classic Tiffany setting. Vintage, from an estate sale in Saratoga.

Engagement photos: “We took them in Congress Park and downtown Saratoga in July 2016. We chose Saratoga because that’s where we got engaged, and it’s been a special place for us throughout our relationship.”

Engagement party: June 2016, The Fifth Season, Port Jefferson.

“We had about 60 of our closest friends and family there for a luncheon (with an open bar, of course). It was a perfect day, and we both always say we should’ve just found a [Justice of the Peace] somewhere in town and gotten married that day.”

Vision for Your Wedding: “Intimate, casual, nontraditional. We want to make sure that our day is a good representation of our relationship and us as individuals. No banquet halls, please!”

Invitations: “Minted.com is the way to go!”

Photographer: David E. Cummings

Word of Advice: “Don’t get overwhelmed with pressure from friends and family. Stay true to what you want and what is meaningful to you both.”

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TAYLOR MANN & KYLE HARTZELL

Finding Love at Log Bay Day in Lake George

Occupations: Kyle, pro lacrosse player in Major League Lacrosse for the New York Lizards; program director/head coach for a high school lacrosse team in Dallas; and director/partner at Rogue Lacrosse. Taylor, a clothing stylist and custom clothier for Trunk Club

Residence: Dallas, Texas

Engagement: Sept. 20, 2015

Date for Wedding: Sept. 9, 2017

How You Met: “Through our good friend, Josh Porcell, in Lake George at Log Bay Day.”

Proposal: “At Saratoga National, Prime Restaurant. Kyle had a long love message written out on their specials menu and passed it to Taylor, and then got on a knee.”

A Favorite Thing About Your Spouse-To-Be:

Taylor: “Kyle’s ability to walk into a room and make any person his friend and make everyone love him. He has SO many friends it’s hard to make a guest list. He is incredibly outgoing, loving and hilarious.”

Kyle: “My favorite thing about Taylor is how outgoing and fun she is. You can put her in any setting, and she is always going to light up the room and make others around her have a good time. Us meeting at a boat tie-up party fit both of our personalities. We are both fun and outgoing, and that is what I love most about my lovely wife to be!”

Ring: 2.3 carat oval in a halo, from Northeastern Fine Jewelry

Engagement photos: “End of summer, best weather. We did them around Saratoga because it is a beautiful place to be and there are endless options for a beautiful backdrop.”

Engagement party: “We have been engaged for over a year. When we first got engaged, we had a beautiful dinner at a restaurant in Baltimore where Kyle is from, with all our family and friends there. This past summer (year later) we had a pig roast, back yard BBQ with all of our closest family and friends in Saratoga. It was a blast. Kept it casual, like us.”

Vision for Your Wedding: “Tons of white flowers, minimal, elegant and modern. Bright and romantic… We want it to be a special moment for us, marking the start of our lives together. We also want it to be a fun and unforgettable time for everyone else. This is a wedding people might want to consider crashing; that is how beautiful but mostly fun it will be.”

Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties? Kyle: “Las Vegas (Top Secret)” Taylor: “Not quite yet. Definitely better than his 😉 Somewhere tropical.”

Wedding/Ceremony: The Lodge

Wedding Planner: Kristen Mann (Momma Bear)

Dress: Galia Lahav

Tuxedo: Trunk Club Custom

Theme: “Backyard Blacktie”

Invitations: East & Lake Design (Reilly Burke)

Hair stylist: The Strand Hair Studio

Photographer: Cornelia Traynor Photography

Videographer: Kirby Daly

Word of Advice: “Never stop laughing with each other.”

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TRISTINA MCDONALD & KEN TORREGGIANI

A Proposal with Roses Written in the Sand

Occupations: Tristina, elementary school counselor; Ken, pharmaceutical sales and rental property owner

Residence: Troy

Engagement: March 26, 2016

Date for Wedding: June 3, 2017

How You Met: “We actually went to college together at the College of Saint Rose. We knew of each other, but met years later through mutual friends. Timing is everything.”

Proposal: “I grew up on Saratoga Lake. Ken knows how much I love it there. On the beach in front of my family’s house, Ken had written ‘Will You Marry Me?’ in the sand, outlined by long-stemmed roses in the shape of a heart. Ken is a wonderful singer. He sang our song, ‘Thinking Out Loud,’ by Ed Sheeran. He changed some of the words, got down on one knee, and sang ‘Tristina, will you marry me?’”

A Favorite Thing About Your Spouse-To-Be:

Tristina: “It’s a mixture/combination for me: he’s got a great sense of humor (a top for me) and his work ethic.”

Ken: “Tristina’s laugh.”

Engagement photos: “We selected Saratoga Race Course and Saratoga Lake during the summer time because both places mean something to us. We spend a lot of time at the Race Course in the summer (we haven’t missed an opening day or Travers Day yet). Saratoga Lake… because Tristina’s family lives there, but we both absolutely love the water. Ken’s family has a place on Saranac Lake. We’ve both been on the water, on a boat since we were kids, and Tristina loves to waterski.”

Engagement party: “We did a day on Saratoga Lake on the boat with some of my bridesmaids and groomsman and went out to dinner after for our engagement celebration.”

Vision for Your Wedding: “We both are very traditional so there are many elements of tradition, such as doing a Catholic wedding ceremony. However, we want to throw in some modern ideas as well. Our vision is a Saratoga elegant and romantic wedding. The Canfield Casino was the perfect choice.”

Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties: “Currently, our Maid of Honor and Best Man are planning them.”

Ring: Ken bought my ring in New York City, one of our favorite places to visit.

Wedding/Ceremony: Canfield Casino

Wedding Planner: Christine Wheat

Florist: Fleurtacious Designs

Music: Grand Central Station Band

Invitations: Jenny C Design

Caterer: Mazzone Hospitality

Hair/Makeup: Make Me Fabulous, Alayne Curtiss

Photographer: Elario Photography

Videographer: Al Woodard

Word of Advice: “Communication is at the heart of planning a successful celebration, which is why wise couples approach the occasion using both their hearts and their heads.”

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MARISSA VALLETTA & JOHN SEAGRAVE

Favorite Places: A Vineyard and Saratoga Track

Occupations: Marissa, marketing manager at Primacy; John, financial advisor at Barron Financial Group

Residence: Vernon, Connecticut

Engagement: Oct. 10, 2015

Date for Wedding: June 10, 2017

How You Met: “We attended school at the University of Connecticut, where we both had a passion for sports. We worked for the Athletic Marketing Department at UConn, where we became good friends and co-workers. After three years, John took me out for a first date.”

Proposal: “John knew early on that I was the one, and set in motion a plan to propose so elaborate he couldn’t handle it alone… John wanted to bring me to our favorite vineyard, where he would first pop the question then be joined by our closest family and friends for a celebratory drink and dinner. They actually spent weeks making me believe that going to the vineyard on that date… and doing a hike on the property was my idea.”

A Favorite Thing About Your Spouse-To-Be:

Marissa: “He is everything I could ever want in a partner. He’s respectful, understanding, and most importantly, so much fun to be around. He’s as much of a big kid as I am, so we have fun with whatever we do.”

John: “That smile… contagious, sexy, playful, beautiful. It’s one of the many things about Ris that makes being around her so enjoyable.”

Engagement photos: June 13, 2016 at Saratoga Race Track. “I grew up in the Albany area, and always loved going to the track each summer. Once John and I started dating, we made it a yearly tradition to visit the track on opening day with close friends and family. When we picked the location for the wedding, we wanted to incorporate the race track in some manner, since we both have such a love for horse racing and Saratoga.”

Engagement dinner: “Sharpe Hill Vineyard for the proposal and drinks. Grill 37 engagement dinner with family and friends.”

Vision for Your Wedding: “The theme will be focused around a wine/winery setting since John proposed at our favorite vineyard. The vision for the ceremony is a romantic feel, with rich burgundy colors, cascading flowers, and dramatic decorations.”

Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties?

“John’s bachelor party will be in Savannah, Georgia, filled with golfing and relaxation. Marissa’s bachelorette will be in Nashville, filled with awesome music, food, and fun night life.”

Wedding/Ceremony: Hall of Springs

Rehearsal Dinner: Pavilion Grand Hotel

Wedding Planner: Katie O’

Dress: Angela’s Bridal, Lazaro dress

Florist: Surroundings Floral Studio

Music: The New York Players

Invitations: Jenny Shea

Cake: Cider Belly Donuts

Caterer: Mazzone Hospitality

Ring: James Allen

Hair/Makeup: Make Me Fabulous

Photographer: JP Elario

Videographer: NuVue Cinema

Word of Advice: “Always have fun! We have enjoyed every part of the wedding planning process and tried not to stress out over the details. We’ve tried not to lose sight of what’s most important, which is celebrating our future together! This will be the biggest party of our life, and will be amazing no matter what.”