from the desk of: Veronica
We all know location is everything when it comes to real estate, but what about weddings? Some weddings are really all about the location – it’s meaningful, it dictates other details of the wedding, and immediately sets the tone for the entire affair.
In the first of a series of amazing weddings in unique locales, may I present to you a couple who chose a fun and unique locale for their wedding: Nik Sushka and Dave Kunes. I asked Nik some questions, and she was kind enough to answer them.
(all photos courtesy of Nik and Dave; their families and friends via facebook; and their photographer, Philip Savard of Artistic Difference)
Location: Camp Puh’tok, Monkton, Maryland
How did you choose your venue? Does it have a special significance?
We started out looking for a place we could enjoy for more than just a few hours with our friends and family, who we knew would be traveling from all over the country to come. As a result, one-day rentals like big grand halls were at the bottom of our list right away. Camping and adventuring is something we try to do at least one a year, so I initially looked into a lot of state and local parks. But even those were pricey and came with a ton of limitations! After a couple weeks, I stumbled onto this post on the Knot and found Camp Puh’tok in the comments. After researching, I was really, really hopeful it was available and affordable (sort of, after you factor in savings from lodging, self-catering, and cutting a lot of costs for things like chair rentals, and I would encourage anyone thrown by the quote to do the math first and consider that the money is going to a summer camp where 25% of the kids are on scholarships).
The Camp also has a ton of amazing history. In the 1930s, it was relocated from Thurmont, MD to just north of Baltimore to make room for Camp David. In the 1940s, it was one of the only camps in the country that was racially integrated, and in the 1950s and 1960s, they worked with a great-grandson of Sitting Bull, Robin Jacobs aka Chief Sunrise, to create programs honoring Native American history. In 2002, they placed the camp land in permanent conservation easement through the Gunpowder Valley Conservancy.
How did you incorporate the camp theme into the wedding?
Friday night, we played a vicious game of capture the flag in Fort Mackinac. Saturday, we went hiking in the morning and played Ultimate Frisbee on the game field before the ceremony in the Council Ring and reception in the Thunderbird Lodge.
We kept decorations very low-key because the camp is already very decorative. There are amazing structures all over the grounds, from the Fort to an Indian Village with several model Native American dwellings. The wedding party wore very natural colors–gray, tan, navy, and white lace—with colorful spring bouquets and camp badge boutonnieres from Color Patch. For favors, we gave people keychain flashlights and take home cookie bags.
Food wise, BBQ was a natural choice for a summer camp, and we found a new favorite in Black Hog BBQ in Frederick. We served fruit cobblers and ice cream from a local deli instead of cake, and post-reception, a good friend built us a bonfire with s’mores that was a wonderful way to transition from the reception to late night fun.
One of my favorite details was totally unplanned though: Friday morning, we got a slightly terrifying call from our amazing wedding coordinators that began with “Lindsay just called. A giant tree fell last night and is blocking the entrance to the camp.” We were told they were waiting for the flash flooding (yes, flash flooding) to subside so they could assess and hopefully clear it. When my family pulled up at 1pm, we met Joe the groundskeeper with chainsaw in hand, who told us it’d be several more hours before he could finish moving all of the cuttings out of the way. We all rolled up our sleeves and had it clear in 20 minutes. At the end, we asked Joe to cut us a slice of the tree, then set it up for people to sign as a guest book.
Quick! What was one last awesome thing about your wedding?
My dad has a notoriously goofy dance he does to classic rock songs, so my family planned a surprise toast for Dave to initiate him into the family by teaching him to do the “Sushka Dance.” The DJ played the Stones “Start Me Up” and everyone did their best impression of my dad’s bicep flexing, knee bending boogie. It was hilarious and ridiculously special to me to see my husband and dad do that dance I’ve been laughing at my whole life.
Photographer: Philip Savard, Artistic Difference
Coordinators: Bee Happy Wedding & Event Planning
DJ: Jenny Z Mobile DJ Service
Catering: Black Hog BBQ and Santoni’s Marketplace and Catering
Flowers: Flowers by Dene
Thank you so much to Nik and Dave for sharing their wedding with us! I think I can speak for everyone reading when I say we wish we had all been there too!
If you would like to see your wedding featured in our Location, Location, Location series, please contact Veronica at veronicamdblog (at) gmail (dot) com