A Revolutionary Wedding in Troy

By Maria Buteux Reade | Last Updated May 31, 2017
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Photo courtesy of Krystal Balzer

Brittany Barrett and Benn Kornstein’s life revolves around their Labrador retrievers, and their wedding was no exception. They found exactly what they envisioned in Troy, working with a variety of local, sustainably minded artisans and producers. The result was a heady, delicious, celebratory wedding infused with personal DIY touches. 

Brittany Barrett and Benn Kornstein’s life revolves around their Labrador retrievers, and their wedding was no exception. “We needed a venue that was dog-friendly because our boys mean everything to us,” explains Brittany. Perhaps the invitation should have read, Brittany and Benn, along with Winston and Bear, request the honor of your presence... 

The couple sought a unique and intimate outdoor venue for their September wedding and found exactly what they envisioned in the Lafayette Courtyard of Russell Sage College, a quiet oasis of manicured lawns and resplendent gardens amidst the handsome brick buildings. The courtyard has been a stop on the popular Hidden Gardens of Troy tour each spring.

“The first time I did a walk through with Sarah Angrisano, Russell Sage College’s events coordinator, I fell in love with the sheer beauty and character of the courtyard,” Brittany recalls. “The turquoise window shutters and flags added so much charm, and it felt like a secret garden, tucked in the middle of a historic urban city. The college also provided a beautiful parlor just next door, which was perfect for putting my dress on and gathering with family and friends beforehand for a little Champagne. I could peek out the windows to ensure everyone was there before making my way down the aisle with my dad.”

Once Brittany and Benn exchanged vows, Winston and Bear appeared on the scene and walked their newlyweds back down the aisle. The well-groomed hounds stopped to sniff the roses, of course.

After the ceremony, guests traversed the short mile over to Brown’s Revolution Hall on River Street. “We chose Revolution Hall because we knew Brown’s has excellent beer and great food, and I used to go to jam band concerts at Rev Hall when I was in high school,” says Benn. “Meeting Carrie Harkin, the events manager, sealed the deal,” Brittany adds. “She was so professional and helpful.”

The pair did a tasting at Brown’s to sort through potential menu selections. “Benn and I should have invited people to come with us— there was so much food! We were treated like royalty and everything we tasted was mouthwatering. Carrie offered suggestions on how to make our offerings well-rounded.”

The creative Brittany handled most of the wedding details on her own, infusing the wedding with personal DIY touches. “The B&B logo was designed on InkRevival.com and we used that on all our invites, signage and glasses.” Brittany designed the invitations and printed them on special stationery. For guest favors, she prepared “doggy bags” with home-baked vanilla sugar cookies for bipeds and dog bones with pumpkin, peanut butter and whole-wheat our for the quadrupeds. Benn made a specially etched glass with their “B&B” logo for each guest. “Yeah, that was pretty close timing. The glasses arrived Thursday, I started etching Friday and finished Saturday morning....”

Benn works for a local beverage distributor so he wanted their guests to enjoy his products. “We met with the bar manager to select the wines and cocktails that would complement the food and atmosphere.

We created two signature cocktails that featured my company’s spirits and captured the mood we were trying to convey. We even named one of them the Beary Winstini, after our dogs.”

Villa Italia, located in Schenectady, made six di erent cakes along with Italian specialty cookies and cannoli so guests could sample the variety. “Unfortunately, I didn’t need a taste testing because I’ve eaten their cakes for years,” Brittany laughs.

As the reception wound down, hot soft pretzels with signature dips (Brittany’s favorite!) were available as departure snacks. “My friend was outside on River Street offering them to wedding guests and passersby like she was working a carnival!”

To celebrate their union and honor the Labs who tend them, the Kornsteins made a donation to the American Humane Association. “They do such amazing work with rescue animals and give them a chance for a better life after a crisis situation. Our boys have brought so much joy into our lives, and we hope our gift provides the opportunity for others to experience this bond between humans and animals.” 

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