A Gorgeous & Whimsical Summer Wedding

Last week I got an email from friend and Hammertown customer, Lynne Perrella.  Lynne is a talented visual artist and in her email she shared some photos with me of a recent wedding she “designed” for her dear friend (and former Gallatin resident) photographer, Sarah Blodgett.  I’ve known Sarah for many years and I was so touched when I saw the photos…she looks so happy (and gorgeous!).  From a design standpoint I loved the whole concept of this wedding…it was totally “outside the box”.  Clever…fun…beautiful…authentic and yes…whimsical.  I just HAD to share it with our readers so I asked Lynne if she’d do a guest post for us here on our blog about what went into creating (and being part of)  this joyous wedding celebration.  ENJOY!


bride and groom

Wedding of Sarah Blodgett & Michael Hilbig
Sunday, June 23, 2013

By Lynne Perrella

You might say that Sarah and Hilby got married on a whim. On June 23, (a weekend already notable for the summer solstice as well as the so-called “super” moon) this happy and uber-creative couple who have known each other for seven years, were married onboard an exquisite wooden sailboat named “Rozmar” (a Czech word for – wait for it –“whim”).

Sarah, a lovely and gifted photographer from Gallatin, married Hilby, an irrepressible performance artist also known as “the skinny German juggle boy”.  Nearest and dearest of both bride and groom were aboard – sons Haakon and Aviv, daughters Grace and Tivona, Sarah’s sister Julie, with longtime friend Reverend Tara Cafiero officiating. The moments onboard the sailboat, while a sudden summer shower on Cayuga Lake politely waited to roll in, were filled with marriage vows, laughter, a scattering of rose petals, celebratory pops of champagne corks, and more laughter. Then, it was time to drive off to the carefully chosen reception venue, The John Joseph Inn in Groton, New York, where guests gathered in theatrical clothing in accordance with Sarah and Hilby’s request…..”Attire may include a hat, a feather, or a frock from the earlier part of the 20th century”.  Top hats, flapper dresses, rolled stockings and garters, voluminous velvet capes, lavish feather fans and fascinators, and sequined vintage gowns were replete.

floral arrangements masks Sarah BlodgettFor years, Sarah and I had a “hand shake” deal that I would make decorations for her wedding, and her eclectic and whimsical theme of “Victorian scrap / Nature / Lavender and Soft Green / with a glisten of Mercury glass” inspired me. Using the art supplies that I use everyday for my mixed media collages, I worked with acrylic paints, color copies, ribbon, embellishments, and paper ephemera to create the table décor and accents. Decorated masks for each guest, a faux wedding cake made of paper, napkin holders, and colorful glittered and beribboned table numbers were festive, flamboyant and circus-like.

I also did custom-designed painted parasols for Sarah, Tivona and Grace. Flowers in tall vases, arranged by Ancram landscape designer Melissa Sorman, provided color and elegance in the party tent as well as the nearby 1852 Carriage House Inn.

The venue, with 13 acres of box hedges, clipped topiary and country meadows, became the scene of spirited revels; with a hip musical mix of Parisian tango music, Cole Porter love songs, roadhouse rock, and classical themes from Ravel and Mozart.  It was enough to make you want to stand up and shimmy….and many did.  For their official “first dance” Sarah and Hilby did a very flamboyant waltz to the Kermit the Frog classic, “Rainbow Connection”, setting the tone for heartfelt celebratory wedding toasts to and from the newly-combined family of the bride and groom. Costumed stilt walkers and jugglers lead everyone out to the lush green lawn, and the couple joyously stated their vows, were showered in bird seed, and surrounded by guests who pranced, twirled, and showed off their finery.  For anyone driving past on that sultry Sunday evening, it must have looked like a “Let’s raid the costume trunk!” masquerade, or a gathering of circus folk. It was all of that…and much more.

new family on the road Mr. OverbaughThe couple (who came with matching sets of children-from-previous-marriages of strapping twenty-something sons, and impish 9-year-old daughters) met on a blind date seven years ago, and instantly felt they had found the ideal Partners For Life.  Leaving the Gallatin area and relocating in Ithaca, the newly-blended family settled into a “fixer-upper” in the lively university town and began tackling the job of creating a personal and distinctive home. In their “spare time” they planned this unique and totally-festive wedding celebration that brought guests from all over, including Germany, California and Florida.

The glitter has settled, the birdseed has been swept into the flower beds, and it’s official:  Sarah, Hilby, Haakon, Aviv, Grace and Tivona get to spend the rest of time being one big joyous happily blended family…with a whimsical soundtrack from Kermit: “The lovers, the dreamers, and me”.  Hurrah!


Hope you enjoy the photo gallery below (click images to enlarge)



  • What an extraordinary event – so full of joy and celebration! As a friend of Lynne’s, I’ve followed along with her glee over preparing the decor, and it was such a treat to read her guest post and see all these stunning photos which capture so many delightful details. Congrats to Sarah and Hilby!

  • Thank you Lynne, Mary and Joan,
    It’s beautiful and captures our day perfectly!
    All the best,

    • Auntie M says:

      You are very welcome, Sarah. A wonderful day and a beautiful bride…your old friends in Ancramdale are so happy for you! Congratulations!

  • Lisa Evans says:

    This looks like sooo much fun. I love the pictures!

  • Crystal Milligan says:

    Congratulations to you both! Beautiful photos. Whimsical wedding done right! Delaware loves you Hilby!!

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