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Mountain Home Magazine

More Perfect Unions

Jun 01, 2024 09:00AM ● By Karey Solomon

What could be more emblematic of two people formally pledging their lives to each other than fertile green vistas stretching to the horizon? Farms have been growing in popularity as wedding venues, with working farms and former farms increasingly becoming rustic yet elegant destination wedding sites. The added bonus of farm-to-table cuisine gives guests a true taste of the area.

Silver Creek Farm, 5286 Stillwell Road, Trumansburg, is known for its bounty of pick-your-own strawberries and its variety of fresh vegetables produced for farmer’s markets and more than two dozen local eateries. After building a new barn in 2008, farmer and owner Gordon “Gordie” Gallup was persuaded by caterer Stephanie Holzbaur, owner of Ithaca-based Serendipity Catering, to collaborate on weddings. Gordie is often the source of vegetables Stephanie uses in her menus.

“We’ve done more than 300 weddings,” Gordie says. “As a farmer, it’s ideal, showing people the farm.”

While he offers each couple information on area vendors for things like photography, music, and flowers, he adds, “I don’t serve as a traditional wedding coordinator. I think of myself more as a firefighter. If something is forgotten, or the caterer needs more ice, I’ll go and get it.”

In Gordie’s experience, those who choose farm weddings are “people with down-to-earth values, seldom anything pretentious. It crosses all spectrums—it’s a destination wedding on a budget. It’s for people who want something informal, relaxed, and want to have a good time.”

Two couples (so far) who came to pick strawberries on their first dates ended up getting married here.

Find out more at or call Gordie at (607) 227-4505.

For out-of-town friends and family, this type of wedding can offer a genuine taste of the area. And for those wondering specifically what that is, a poll of the Serendipity Catering staff came up with an answer—it’s the distinctive flavors of Finger Lakes wines and cheeses, enhanced with other locally-sourced foods including meat and produce. Farm-to-fork catering is Serendipity’s specialty.

Find them at or call (607) 273-2145.

Gratitude and Grace, 235 Harvey Hill Road, Ithaca, was a working horse farm in the 1870s, but has hosted more than 200 weddings in recent years. Its owner, renowned musician and composer Ron Riddle, bought and lived there as a family home, then began offering it for weddings just over a dozen years ago, after the death of his beloved wife, Andrea.

To do this, he first rebuilt the historic barn. “There are incredible barns in upstate New York,” he says. Inside, chandeliers were added; outside, a parking lot. “I could see it in my vision, even though I’d never done anything like that. This was the last thing I thought I’d be doing! But it was successful from the first year. We’ve had such great weddings here, all pretty memorable. I want to give a couple the best weekend they could possibly have. It makes me happy to make other people happy. I put this place together as a celebration of life, and that’s what it’s been at every wedding. It’s been an amazing journey.”

Ron converted a former garage into a small home and studio for his own use, leaving the farmhouse, with room for fourteen guests, to the wedding party. He favors a looser, life-affirming structure for celebrations here—the couple may choose any caterer they wish, and the party has no curfew. In these celebrations, he sometimes hears an echo of the legendary gatherings he and Andrea once hosted here. “It’s such a great place for being with people,” he says.

Ron, with advance notice, may be available as a musician with his band, the Riddlers. He’s on-hand to keep things running smoothly from behind the scenes. See more at or call (607) 280-0194.

“We attract maximalist personalities, people who love to celebrate and entertain, people who are family-oriented, who have tight circles of people they’re close to,” says Sharon Boustani, whose family turned their rural retreat near the small town of Gilbertsville into a picture-perfect wedding venue eleven years ago. After dividing their time for three years between the farm and their New York City home, the family moved in year-round eight years ago to devote their full attention to the wedding business. Their four children are involved as well, with the two oldest concentrating on sales and marketing while their younger two, still in school, work hands-on during the summer.

The Gilbertsville Farmhouse, 336 Coye Brook Road, South New Berlin (it’s east of Ithaca, northeast of Binghamton), offers in-house catering and four different spaces to enjoy during the event, as well as accommodations for sixty-two guests—some bed-and-breakfast style, some glamping. Their Hayloft venue is used for the rehearsal dinner and the after-party. The Milking Parlor hosts the cocktail hour and serves as a welcome center, as well a place to hold the ceremony if it’s necessary to be indoors. The Chandelier Barn houses the reception. There’s an after-party lounge with a disco vibe. Every wedding here is planned as a three-day event, making this a resort as well as the venue for the celebration. The weekend typically includes snacks, access to woodland walks, optional additional activities like yoga, and visiting the farm’s animals.

“Could be our city roots that influenced this perfect blend,” Sharon muses. “When I came into it, what I fell in love with was the charm of small-town living, the coziness of a less formal space. But at the same time, we didn’t want to let go of the luxuries we’re used to. As we developed the venue and redesigned spaces, we added elegant and chic touches to make a beautifully blended space. We have black-tie weddings here all the time and it doesn’t feel out of place or too formal. We have the best of both worlds. We can enjoy everything this part of the world has to offer without sacrificing.”

Their in-house catering service uses locally raised meat and produce, benefitting their neighbors by buying their products and creating jobs. The business is slated to expand further in 2025 when Gilbertsville Farmhouse begins growing more of their own food and flowers. “It’s a labor of love—that’s the beauty of it,” Sharon says. Learn more at or call (607) 783-9443.

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