Photo Journal


The Promise Gardens of the Adirondacks | Featured Wedding Vendors of the Capital Region, NY

I first met Terri Larson, owner, operator, and the incredible jack-of-all-trades behind The Promise Gardens back in 2013.  I arrived on her property on a stunning September day to shoot a wedding and she greeted me with a kind smile and a bright disposition – two characteristics I have come to see as her trademarks.  Since that day I’ve put seven more weddings under my belt at The Promise Gardens, and along with anticipating being surrounded by the natural beauty of the Adirondacks, it is Terri’s signature smile I look forward to seeing most each time I make the drive up the Northway toward her venue.  Terri may not have been born and raised in the ADKs, but she embodies that good old Adirondack hospitality and she isn’t afraid to get her hands a little dirty to make something sparkle.  In just four fast years, Terri has built a venue that holds its own among local barn venues and that folks flock to, and for obvious reason. As a photographer, I could never, ever tire of shooting there.  For one, going to B and B is like going home.  I have come know every inch of it – the lay of the land, the light, and its best angles, and I’ve gotten to experience it in all sorts of weather.  No matter the conditions, it never disappoints.  But what continually surprises me is that upon each new visit, I get to see it anew.  Terri is always adding and changing and improving the venue in ways I’m always in awe of and as she says in her interview – every single couple who marries there takes the property, the land, and the amenities and makes them their own, so that no matter how many times I return there it always feels unique and special.  I am so excited to return again this season to photograph three more weddings and to see what kind of shine each couple brings to this gorgeous, wide open, free-flowing space!

To see just what makes B and B so magical, take a second to thumb through this gallery from Jessica and Ryan’s July 2016 wedding day and then scroll down to read my interview with Terri, who shares so much insight into the history of B and B.

How did The Promise Gardens begin?  Was owning a wedding venue something you always dreamed of doing?  Did you choose and purchase the property with the hopes of one day making it a wedding venue, or was it something that slowly took shape?

Around eleven years ago, I bought this property with the barns and farmhouse.  I fell in love immediately with the breathtaking views of the mountains, the peaceful sound of the creek and I felt at peace I felt whenever I was near them.  The farmhouse was so appealing to me and it was filled with the rich history of the folks that grew up there.  I particularly fell in love with the old barns. In a way being there reminded me of my childhood.  Old barns have always held a special place in my heart ever since I was a little girl and my four sisters and I would ride our horses and play in our old barn that my family owned in Vermont.   So when I saw this property for the first time, I felt very connected to it.  I did not know then that it would become a wedding venue, but somehow I knew this was a special place and I am so thrilled I found it.

The Promise Gardens all began with a question.  I have been a third-grade teacher for 11 years and one day a friend I work with, who wanted to get married in a barn, asked me about my barns and I told her they were in no shape to have a wedding, but she still wanted to see them.  She and her bridal party came up to look around at the barns and property in hopes of using them. Even though we didn’t have her wedding here, her question and awe at the sight of the mountains and barns got me thinking… ‘Why not?’  Why not share the property and their history and charm with other people who love the Adirondacks and old barns as much as I do?  I was extremely lucky to meet people along the way that helped me pursue this idea of sharing my property for weddings. What was simple curiosity and a question got me inspired and so became the Wedding Barn at The Promise Gardens. It took a lot of hard work and determination, but little by little we have grown and created a unique and beautiful place to have a wedding.

What do you think sets The Promise Gardens apart from other venues?  What is it about your venue that makes couples say “This is it!  This is the place we want to say ‘I do'”?

One thing I have learned through the years of meeting couples who book at my barns is that they choose The Promise Gardens for a reason. I realize they have many choices, especially now with the high interest in couples wanting barn weddings, the number of barns being built for weddings has increased since I first opened. But fortunately, the couples who come here and fall in love with The Promise Gardens are looking not just for a barn, but a barn with rich history.  They notice the hand-hewn beams and the untold stories of times past of the farm that was once here, or maybe they feel a connection with the Adirondack Mountains because they grew up in the area and always dreamed of getting married here.  The truth is, you simply cannot replicate the appeal and distinct beauty of an old barn that has been around since the 1800s…. Luckily it turned out that the couples who book here love these old barns and property as well and want to share their wedding day at The Promise Gardens because of its historical beauty.  I feel very blessed and fortunate not only to have this property, but to be able to meet these remarkable couples and their families and friends.  I get to hear the comments when they walk into the barns for the first time, their heads looking up at the work that was put in to build this barn and the beauty of the sunlight shining through the old barn boards as the sun goes down.  We are adding new stories to our barn’s rich history with each wedding we have here… They now tell the stories of the couples that have come together with their family and friends and share the happiness of their wedding day.  It’s an honor; I cherish each wedding that takes place here at The Promise Gardens, knowing it is now part of the ongoing history of this historical site. It’s a beautiful thing.

Additionally, I like to think that we hold a certain charm at The Promise Gardens that can’t be duplicated.  The setup is one of the things I find most appealing to couples. The cluster of barns, bridal suite, and groom’s room are all centrally located near our white peak tent, which is connected by our barn beam walkway to the main barn. No matter where you choose to be, you are only steps away from the other locations. You will never feel disconnected from the reception.  With our setup here at B and B, you don’t have to be in one room to be part of the celebration and this allows for choices as to where your guests want to enjoy their time at your wedding. Maybe they want to sit at the fire pit or play yard games while others are dancing under the stars or are in the barn listening to the band kicking it up!  No matter what your guests prefer –quiet conversations by the fire pit, dancing outdoors or inside the big barn, sitting in the beautifully lit white peek tent, chatting with friends and family having deserts and coffee– they can do it at B and B.  It’s a venue that I have not seen anywhere else. It sets us apart and keeps guests happy all night long.

Another thing I like to think sets us apart is that I truly love what I do. Detail, details, details! Even the small ones make such a difference!  I have always had a love for gardening and decor.  I have built all the gardens from scratch. We do not hire out to do the gardening or the grounds; we do it all ourselves.  Tim, my son, and I take care of all the behind the scenes work for our weddings. This I believe is so important because we see things that others may not.  Every Spring I get so very excited to add and take care of the beautiful gardens, which grow each year and become even more beautiful. There are flowers for each season and always something beautiful in bloom.  I start a lot of flowers from seed and I take the time to ensure they are healthy, gorgeous and mulched for every single wedding. I’ve been known to be working out in the gardens right before the wedding to make them look spectacular for the big day.  I take pride in every aspect of The Promise Gardens.  It is my passion and I want every couple getting married here to have the most beautiful backdrop ever.

Going antiquing with my mom hoping to find that special item is another one of my favorite pastimes. I guess you can say I have a love for old things. I am always on the lookout for new items for the barns that compliment them. I am also always adding to each barn to make them even more beautiful and bookable for my couples.  Every year I envision what I can do to make it even a little better. For example, after our first year I decided to add a stamped concrete dancing patio between the tent and the barn.  Huge hit! At night the lights are lit and it’s a wonderful place for dancing. Who doesn’t love dancing out under the stars? The next year I decided to do something about the ground under the tent.  After hundreds of people walking on it for each wedding, the grass would take a beating. So what better than adding a floor that looked like wood but was stamped concrete?  The following year came the hand built farm tables, Adirondack furniture, more new gardens, and new chairs.  Then finally last year we added the new parking lot and amazing barn beam walkway.  The walkway was a difficult task due to the fact I did not want to lose the feel of the open night sky for dancing outside but I wanted to be able to cover the walkway if there was rain. Well, we did it.  I had it designed and finally built from the original beams of an old barn.  I was adamant that it had to compliment the barns, not take away from them, and I feel like we did just that.  It’s charming and, as I say, one of a kind.  2017 brings even more outstanding additions for our couples. We have added the lovely little cabin that sits right near our creek for couples to rent or use as their bridal suite for day of preparations. There is a beautiful grand entrance in the works for guest drop off, and I can’t ruin the surprise of the two other big additions until the spring… so keep checking in to facebook for new updates. I love to surprise my couples and make them happy!!

The last thing that I know is a huge determining factor is location!  We are so lucky to be ten minutes away from Lake George NY.  Many of my couple’s biggest concern is where will my family and guest stay?  And what is there to do right nearby? Lake George is bustling with restaurants, shops, and nightlife.  This is a huge selling point for many couples.  We work with many hotels and couples get a discount if the book with them.  There is also no short supply of amazing restaurants to choose from for your rehearsal dinner or day-after brunch.  We have it all here. The Promise Gardens is the perfect wedding venue if you want to ensure plenty of options for your family and guests.  Who wouldn’t want to go to a wedding in the heart of the Adirondacks?

Here’s what one of my beautiful brides last year wrote to me and I feel it sums up why The Promise Gardens is such a special and place to have your wedding:

“We chose The Promise Gardens for obvious reasons – the venue is stunning. We wanted to do something different, not your regular wedding hall venue. We didn’t want a ‘just add water’ wedding; we wanted to piece it together ourselves. And your venue allowed us to do that. It was special for me to get married with the three sisters behind us, the same backdrop that I grew up with. We know how beautiful the location is and we knew it would blow people away. Scott is from downstate, Rockland County, about 40 minutes north of the city. Luckily for us, his family grew up vacationing in Lake George, so we knew your venue was perfect for us for those reasons alone. My immediate family were the only people who didn’t have to commute for our wedding. Trekking everyone up to the mountains could have been a problem; we were concerned that asking our guests to travel upstate when they are on Long Island or city slickers (ha!) would be an issue. But The Promise Gardens is so accessible – a quick scenic ride right off 87N. Everyone stayed in Lake George, a painless drive from the venue, where there was ample parking. Our guests had a great time in Lake George on Friday night before the wedding and Saturday night after the wedding…especially the young people. Everyone felt like they had a mini vacation! With B&B, we aren’t asking our guests to travel out of their comfort zones. It was remote enough where you can unplug but you don’t feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere. Also, being so close to Warrensburg or Lake George, guests have more options of where to stay or what to do for fun on their free time. The further north you travel, the fewer options you have.  You have trusted vendors, Terri. Everyone we worked with had nothing but wonderful things to say about you. I felt confident working with you and the vendors who were well versed in your venue. Relationships were already established and they already knew how to work your barns, which meant that we didn’t need to worry or think twice.  Oh, and not to mention the love and care you put into your venue. I am jealous of anyone getting married after us because each year, you add something more beautiful than the year before! That is part of what makes it so unique; it is ever-changing. Not one wedding is the same. Every couple brings different elements to the table and every wedding looks different than the last. You aren’t just swapping out linen colors. The barns and the field are the beautiful constants that keep couples coming to you. If a bride is looking for a unique venue where she will truly have a one of a kind wedding, it is at The Promise Gardens. This is such an advantage because who wants to have a wedding like everyone else?”

If you could offer some advice to the couples who marry at The Promise Gardens, what would it be?

First, I recommend a wedding planner!  This will, without a doubt, ensure a smooth day for you and your family and make it a stress free wedding.   Second, use our preferred vendors. I have many recommendations of amazing professionals that have been to The Promise Gardens and their knowledge of the grounds will also make the day run effortlessly. Who you choose will make such an amazing difference in your wedding. Give them a call; they can help you every step of the way in your planning! But most importantly, always know that when you book at The Promise Gardens you can call me or email me any time you have a question or need any guidance or support.  I will always be here and will help in any way I can to make your planning process and wedding day go off without a hitch. Every wedding here is different from the last because of the couple’s desires. You can create the wedding you always dreamed of at The Promise Gardens and it truly be one of a kind!

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Specializing in Wedding & Lifestyle Photography in New York's Capital Region & Beyond