Planning a wedding or elopement in
Upstate New York
Upstate New York - the rest of the state beyond New York City and Long Island - is a lush, diverse, and peaceful place to plan a wedding. Being born, raised, and currently residing in this precious little corner of the country, I have a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to planning a wedding here.
From wine country in the Finger Lakes to mountain views in the Catskills, this guide shares all the best venues and vendors for your Upstate New York wedding.
Visiting Upstate New York
Best Time of Year to Visit
The best time of year to visit Upstate New York is any time between April and October. Although there are plenty of things to do in the winter months, this time is when the foliage really shines and everything comes to life. Spring is my personal favorite - it's when everything comes back to life and glowing with flowers, bumble bees, and singing birds. Summer time can be hot and muggy, but it is the most popular time of year for events and street festivals. Autumn seems to be the most popular time of year as the foliage changes from bright green to deep shades of red, orange, and gold.
Best Places to Stay
The best areas of Upstate New York to visit are one of three areas: (1) along the Hudson River from Whiteplains to the Catskills, (2) the high peaks of the Adirondacks such as Lake Placid, or (3) in the Finger Lakes region for wine country. Although Upstate New York doesn't have the widest selection of private rentals through sites like Airbnb or VRBO, every once in awhile you will stumble across a beautiful cottage or A-frame. Otherwise, I usually recommend people looking for boutique hotels or inns for their stay, as they tend to have more character than a chain hotel.
Things to Do
Upstate New York is a great place for the city-dwellers to escape the noise or for wine-country lovers to spend a long weekend. Our summers are always packed with events such as festivals and farmer's markets, and for everyone else there are plenty of hiking trails, golf courses and wineries. Other than the Adirondacks and a few smaller mountains in the Catskills, there isn't a huge outdoors scene in Upstate New York. However, this doesn't mean there aren't plenty of incredible views to serve as a backdrop for your wedding celebration.
Best Upstate New York Wedding Venues by Region
- Bark Eater Inn
- Stagecoach Inn
- Whiteface Lodge
- Moon Meadow (land only, no building)
Albany / Capital Region
Upstate New York Wedding & Elopement Vendors
Planners & Venues
- Beck&Forth Co (Buffalo)
- Flowerwell (Rochester)
- Pistil & Pollen (Rochester)
- Poet Floral (Albany)
- Ailish Floral (Hudson Valley)
- Nectar & Root (Adirondacks)
Hair and Makeup
- J Kohl Beauty (Rochester)
- Heart and Soul House of Beauty (Capital Region)
- Kindred Beauty Co (Capital Region)
- Julie Occhino (Capital Region)
- Joelle Eats Cake (Rochester)
- Scratch Bakeshop (Rochester)
- The Cake Shop (Syracuse)
- Wildflour (Syracuse)
- Baked by Jordan (Capital Region)
What weather can we anticipate?
Weather in New York State varies greatly throughout the year. On average, we expect to experience a near 90-100 difference in temperature throughout the year.
Our winters are cold and wet and last from around December through at least March, and sometimes last through April depending on the year. Most of our snow accumulation and snow storms occur between January and March.
Our Springs are temperamental and usually begin anywhere between early March and mid-May. One day might be 80 degrees and the next 40, so it's really difficult to predict temperature ahead of time. However, the foliage does consistently begin to fill out around early April, and by mid-May everything is vibrant and colorful. The months of April through June are my personal favorite for weddings - on average, the temperatures are warmer than the fall and nothing beats the smell of the fresh Spring air. Everything is in bloom and the blossoming trees, lilacs, peonies, and and shrubs give Spring in other parts of the country a run for their money.
Summer in Upstate New York is usually hot and humid. The mid-day sun is strong and chance of rain varies - some years are incredibly wet, and others are bone dry. You never know what you're going to get! Summer in Upstate New York is a very popular season for weddings. However, the mid-day heat combined with the average humidity can make an outdoor wedding in July and August pretty uncomfortable.
The most common time of year for weddings in New York State is fall, which lasts from end-September through November. During this time of year, the temperatures cool down and the leaves begin to change from a bright green to deep shades of orange, red, and yellow. Although the leaves in the mountains begin to change end-September, most of the state doesn't peak until mid to late October. The downside to a fall wedding in Upstate New York is the temperature and rain. Fall in New York State tends to be very wet and on average, colder than Spring. However, the color change throughout October and into November is a sight!
What's the best way to get around?
If you are traveling to Upstate New York, you will likely want to rent a car. Most locations are a drive from one another and it's very rare to find a town where everything is in walking distance. Most wedding venues are at least a 10-45 minute drive from amenities such as airports, grocery stories, and shopping centers and the cost of an Uber can add up.
Besides New York City, the rest of the state has virtually no public transportation system besides a bus and train system that connects all the major cities. However, Uber is common throughout most of the State and easy to access. Areas where Ubers are fewer and far between include the Finger Lakes, Southern tier, and Adirondacks.
Do you have any other general travel suggestions?
Cell service can be spotty in random areas including but not limited to Lake Ontario, the Finger Lakes, and in the mountains of the Adirondacks and Catskills. If service is lost while driving, it will likely find it's way within 10-20 minutes, but it might be helpful to download driving maps before you leave for the day just in case.
Plan for day time sun. Don't be fooled by the latitude of New York State - the mid day sun can get strong! If you plan on spending more than 30 minutes in the sun at a time, definitely bring protection such as sunscreen, a hat, or long sleeves.
Plan for winter snow. If you are coming from out of state between the months of December and March, don't be surprised if you end up in a snow storm! New York State tends to get hit with a few major snow (and sometimes ice) storms each year, and can happen anywhere throughout the state. Bring a coat, proper shoe boots, and be prepared for driving in such weather.
Hit up a brewery or winery. New York State doesn't have a huge outdoors scene, but what we do have are a ton of fun restaurants and great local breweries and wineries! You can find a brewery or winery nearly anywhere you go, or you can even likely set up a tour and make a day of it.
Plan for varying temperatures. Like I said earlier, weather in New York State can be temperamental and unpredictable. One day it can be 80 and sunny, and the next 40 and rainy - and this is not an exaggeration. If you or your loved ones are not used to this sort of weather, definitely come prepared with an assortment of clothes and layers.