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Tuesday, 17 August 2021 18:17

Big Wedding, Little Chapel Featured

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Love has many faces. 

This was easy to see in June when 30 couples gathered on the grounds of the Beekman 1802 farm in Sharon Springs for the “Let Love Bloom” marriage marathon. 

“I should’ve invested in Kleenex,” said Event Manager Alan Edstrom.

Love Changes Everything

People came in from around the country for the unique event. 

One bride crawled out of her car’s back hatch door so she wouldn’t wrinkle her fashionable white gown. Another couple came dressed in matching camouflage John Deere hats.  

Some ceremonies were surprises, others were long-planned vow renewals that had been delayed because of the pandemic last year. 

It was their faces however, that said it all. 

“This moment in time changed their lives,” said Edstrom.

How Transformation Happens

For the event, Alan Edstrom added marriage officiant to his resume, which also includes stints in film, television, theater, and even magic. 

Yet, never has he been in a role that transformed him as much as the one he had that day, which also happened to be his 58th birthday. 

“I was so invested in their stories. It was very emotional. I asked everyone three questions; ‘How did you meet? Why did you choose this space? And, ‘What would be your one wish be for people who are in the same kind of situation?’”

As varied as their stories were, their answers were also quite similar – the year had focused their priorities – which included how important it is to celebrate love.

“They all had heartfelt meaning. It gave me hope and joy. It was a turning point where people reset their lives,” he said.

Embrace the Rainbow

Edstrom, who was ordained online by the Universal Life Church, performed four ceremonies that day in the 10’ x 10’ pop-up chapel constructed from multi-color tiles by artist Tom Fruin. 

Once light hit the tiny structure, a fantastic mosaic of colors glistened atop “Matrimony Hill” in the same grassy location where the farm’s owners, Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge, were married in 2015. 

“The summer sunlight was encompassing you and you felt like you were being embraced by nature. It was an indescribable experience,” said Edstrom.

Simple is Beautiful

Love isn’t always simple but the ceremonies at Beekman 1802 were. 

Each couple was given a script (which they could change slightly but were instructed to keep short).

“They leaned into the limitations. There was no freezing up and no boring speeches. It was focused on exactly what they wanted to say,” said Edstrom. 

Michael and Alice Corey, who were originally married in 2009, rewrote their renewal vows to include the love they have for their two daughters, ages 8 and 11. 

“It was a joining together of our family in a way that solidifies it more,” said Alice. 

Edstrom is a friend of the family, so for him to preside over the ceremony at the farm, gave it added meaning. 

“We love Beekman 1802, the whole company, their focus on kindness and how they are able to capture beauty,” said Alice.

Living the Brand

Beekman 1802 is a mercantile shop and 59 acres of pastoral bliss. It is home to more than 100 goats, 42 bee hives, and beautiful gardens.

“Being at the farm and playing with the baby goats changes your aspect of what life is all about,” said Edstrom. 

After the ceremonies, couples also took in the charm of the lovely lavender and the fragrant hydrangeas. The property is typically only open to the public for large-scale events, including farm tours, kindness workshops, and a huge harvest festival that draws in as many as 20,000 people in a single day.

This year, in addition to the marriage marathon, they focused on smaller happenings and helping their neighbors. They invited artists and photographers in, held an outdoor dinner, and hosted a showing of the movie, “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”.

“We’re a living brand, not a lifestyle brand. Beekman 1802 is not just about soap, buying and selling stuff. It’s not about the rat race. People often spend their lives in careers and on pathways that someone else paved for them. Here, we create an atmosphere that is focused on the community and taking that feeling out into the world. It’s about just taking a moment to recognize that kindness is transformational, just like these weddings were. It’s like letting all the pieces fit together to create a fantastic mosaic of a new future,” said Edstrom.

For more information, find them on Facebook, Instagram, and go to

Photography by Alice Corey Photography (unless noted)

Read 1445 times Last modified on Tuesday, 17 August 2021 19:51

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