You can find romance anywhere, whether city living or country life. Each have their distinct interpretations of love, laughter, and life—the three qualities that make romance exuberant, cherished, and possible. But it’s the curious moments when the worlds, both rural and urban, come together to offer the very best of their cultures that really sets the heart aflame. Escape to the rolling hills of Central New York to see what we mean. There, you’ll find Hayloft on the Arch, once a family-run dairy farm that’s now a deeply revered venue.
Hayloft on the Arch enchants guests at first sight or step inside. While a rustic heart beats at its core, the glimmering barn dresses to the nines in modern elegance. A sanctuary surrounded by storybook forests and open skies, the indoor-outdoor 4,500-square-foot venue is lovingly cared for across 18 acres of verdant green. At its center is the picturesque restored barn, all aglow with tiny lights come the warm summer night’s slow roll over the sprawling, dazzling landscape.
Such adoration led us to Harlow Bliss Photography, who shot the spectacular wedding of Hayloft on the Arch owners Mike & Alisha Mathalia, you see here. The wedding is practically a contemporary fairy tale, and it had everything from adorably well-dressed kids to legitimate fireworks. The photo album for this wedding will go down as one of the best there ever was and so we simply had to know more.
Imagine being a blissful bride, getting married at the very own venue you poured your heart and soul into! Lucky for us, we got a chance to sit down with both Harlow Bliss Photography as well as bride and owner, Alisha Mathalia for all the beautiful inside scoop.
Tell us a bit about how Hayloft on the Arch came about/how it was started?
Alisha Mathalia, Venue Owner: After my husband, Mike and I had our son, Wyatt we had talked about making a change to get me out of the 40+ hour a week grind so I would be able to spend more time with our new baby and have a more flexible schedule. I have always wanted to own my own venue and step away from the food and beverage end of the industry, and I had told Mike about how barn venues have become huge down south and out west, but it hadn't quite caught on in Upstate New York. It took him a day or two to grasp the concept, like many people who hear about getting married in a barn for the first time, it does sound a bit bizarre. Mike told me to take a look online and see if I could find any barns for sale, without exaggeration, we found our barn in 20 minutes.
Alisha Mathalia, VBride/Venue Owner: To say the building was in disarray is an understatement, but we had a vision we wanted to see come to life. We knew when naming the property we wanted to have a connection to Vernon Centers history, so after some brainstorming we decided to use "The Arch." The stream that boarders the property had a stone bridge that crossed it many years ago in the shape of an arch, the locals had called the area The Arch. In all, it took 18 months of renovating to complete the project, working non stop. Mike did most of the renovation himself. Looking back, it was so much work and we laugh that it makes us tired just thinking about how much was done to the property. But today we are right where we planned to be, spending more time together as a family on our off season, and as a bonus I get to do what I love in a place that is loved by so many!
Tell us a bit about the direction of your wedding.
Alisha Mathalia, Bride/Venue Owner: Seeing so many weddings take place at the barn we knew exactly what we did and did not want. We wanted a more laid back, and relaxed feel for our guests and we think they felt that as soon as they arrived. As guests pulled in they were greeted and handed refreshments, Mike & I were a part of the cocktail hour that preceded the ceremony so we were able to mingle with our guests before we got down to business. The ceremony took place on the back patio, and our son Wyatt walked me down the aisle. We had a cocktail hors d'oeuvre dinner with an assortment of passed hors d'oeuvres and live stations, rounded out at the end of the night with a late night BBQ menu for anyone who could still fit another bite in.
Tell us about the venue from a photograhpers perspective.
Harlow Bliss Photography: It’s so picturesque. It feels like you’re in the middle of nowhere but you’re 10-15 minute drive to entertainment, shopping, restaurants, etc.
What have been some of the highlights of your experiences at the venue?
Harlow Bliss Photography: I’ve shot at Hayloft at least a dozen times in the last 2 years. I love seeing what everyone does with the same venue and seeing their personalities come through.
What made the venue a great backdrop and setting for photos?
Harlow Bliss Photography: There is a ton to work with! Whether it’s creekside near the willow tree, against the renovated chapel, in the shade alongside the treelined path, the big open field or the beautiful barn itself, there are a ton of options.
Favorite existing design elements of the venue?
Harlow Bliss Photography: Definitely the original woodwork inside. It’s so authentic.
Did you do anything in the surrounding area while you were there?
Harlow Bliss Photography: I conveniently live about 5-10 minutes away from Hayloft (Clinton) so I’m pretty familiar with the area. Clinton itself is a quaint little village and home of Hamilton College. Turning Stone Casino and Resort is close by for entertainment and Syracuse is about a half hour drive for even more to do.
Did you meet anyone at the venue that you connected with or made a lasting impression?
Harlow Bliss Photography: The owners! We’ve developed a great relationship both personally and professionally. I feel so spoiled when I shoot at Hayloft because Alisha takes care of me.
Any inside tips to share with celebrators looking to host an event here?
Harlow Bliss Photography: Plan your photography during golden hour (1-2 hours before sunset) to take the most advantage of the property. That’s exactly what we did with Mike and Alisha’s wedding and the light/photos were stunning!
Did you incorporate any pre-existing elements from the property into your wedding?
Alisha Mathalia, Bride/Venue Owner: We had a very special guest attend our wedding who had known the property as a working dairy farm, Earl Dorn, a prior owner of the property was thrilled to be able to see a wedding take place at his former property. Throughout renovations he had popped in from time to time to see what changes Mike had made. We were so happy to have him be a part of the day.
We always loved an old willow tree that stood by the stream, so we wanted to incorporate that into the day. This is where Mike and I exchanged our private vows we wrote for each other, it is my favorite memory of the entire day.
Credits Venue: Hayloft on the Arch | Photography: Harlow Bliss Photography | Florals, Styling & Decor: Affections Floral Design & Event Planning | Hair/Makeup: Tease & Makeup | Bridal Dress: Maggie Sottero from PhiaJames | Cocktail Dress: Cache | Shoes: Michael Kors | Jewelry: David Tutera | Birdcage veil: Mon Cheri | Rings: Tacori | Signage: The Adirondack Ink | Invitations: Paper Plus Love | Catering: Michael’s Fine Foods & Spirits & The Limp Lizard BBQ | Desserts: Desserts Beyond the Ordinary | Uplighting: Black Tie Entertainment | Fireworks: Majestic Fireworks
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