This Woodsy Wedding Is Low-Key Elegance Mastered

Despite all the months and years of planning that often go into weddings, some manage to look totally effortless, as if 200 people just showed up to a field and had a dance party. Completely unpretentious, unfussy, and a total blast. And, Christine Bartolillo and Robert McMillen's nuptials are the perfect example.
The two met working at the Blind Barber (yes, that super-cool barbershop/speakeasy in the East Village), so it made sense that they wanted a creative and chill ceremony in the Catskills. The decorations and flowers were simple, and the dancing was, well, intense. Click ahead for all the dreamy pictures by Phil Chester , and you'll never want to have (or attend) a wedding in the city again.
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Photo: Courtesy of Phil Chester.
How did you two meet?
"Three years ago, I moved into a new apartment in the Lower East Side and met my downstairs neighbor. He worked at this little barbershop in the East Village with a cocktail lounge in the back, and they were looking to hire a stylist. I'd never worked in a barbershop before, always salons, so I was extremely nervous but took the job. Before my first day, I stalked the Blind Barber's website, Instagram, Tumblr, etc., and stumbled upon photos of their newest addition to the team before me, Rob. I walked into the barbershop on my first day, and was greeted at the door by none other than him. Immediately following his introduction, he told me I had lipstick on my teeth, and I may as well have curled up into a ball and died! We worked side by side in this tiny, two-chair shop for months before one drunken evening when he confessed he thought of me as more than just a coworker."
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Photo: Courtesy of Phil Chester.
How did he propose?
"I walked into my room only to find a bouquet of white flowers, a door knocker, a wallet, a handkerchief, a T-shirt, and a journal laid out on my bed. He wanted to marry me, I would carry a bouquet of flowers like these. The door knocker would go on the door of our first home, and photos of our kids would go in the wallet. It was his grandfather's handkerchief, to let me know he wanted me to be a piece of his family, and the T-shirt we'd gotten in Montauk. The journal had page after page of 'reasons why I know.' The last two pages said, 'Take me back and we can live forever, will you marry me?' He sat next to me and pulled out a beautiful sapphire ring, his birthstone, and I said, 'Yes!'"
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Photo: Courtesy of Phil Chester.
What is this gorgeous woodsy location?
"The place where we got married is called Full Moon Resort, and it's in the Catskill Mountains of Upstate New York. The place was absolutely perfect for us, about two and a half hours outside of the city. It was a nice escape for our guests, and everyone got to stay in cabins and cottages on the property. That was very important to us. We didn't want our guests to worry about drinking and driving, and it was so great being able to have breakfast the next morning with everyone to say proper, sober goodbyes.

"Another nice thing about the venue is they give you so many options for setting up the day. There's multiple ceremony sites, a backup ceremony tent for inclement weather, the big white tent we used for dinner, a beautiful refurbished barn, the main lodge where we had cocktail hour, and the bar across the street. You can use any of the locations, which is such a fantastic plus when there are so many places out there that force you into using certain locations and vendors. Plus, the food was fantastic, the service unbeatable, and the grounds breathtaking."
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Photo: Courtesy of Phil Chester.
Did you set out with a specific vibe you wanted?
"We both knew from the get-go that all we wanted was to have a really great party. We didn't want anyone to feel like they needed to abide by a particular dress code (check out Rob's dad in the Ohio State sweatshirt) or feel that they couldn't let loose! We wanted something woodsy and natural without the whole theme being "rustic."

"We were also on a very tight budget, paying for the entire wedding ourselves, so that left me no choice but to resort to doing a lot of things myself. Lucky for me, I'm pretty crafty and actually enjoy doing those things. I made every single thing by hand, even collected all of the bottles that were used for the flowers on a dirty beach with two of my bridesmaids. During the process, there were certainly things that I wished I could afford, but in the end, I think the vibe of the day ended up being easy and relaxed. It was the most amazing feeling, seeing every little project I had come together."
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Photo: Courtesy of Phil Chester.
What do you both do now?
"We both do hair for a living, him at Blind Barber and me at a salon called Fox and Boy. We both work a lot, but in our spare time we like to take day trips outside of the city, eat good food, and explore! Rob is a big gym buff (I wish I was), and I enjoy painting and designing. On Rob's off days, he does a lot of other creative and managerial work for Blind Barber, and I have a very small greeting-card and wedding-invitation business on Etsy called Houseman Paper Co. I got into designing when I started making our own wedding invitations, and I've since really enjoyed creating them for other brides."
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Photo: Courtesy of Phil Chester.
What was the day like?
"It was a cold day, so that didn't help my shaking, but the sun was out with not a cloud in the sky. I couldn't really ask for more! We walked down to the ceremony site, and as soon as I had a view of him through the trees I felt like I could finally breathe. From then on, the day is such a blur, part of me feels like I watched it all happen and I wasn't really there, but it was the most amazing day of my life. We had cocktail hour on the lawn, dinner under a beautifully lit tent, an after-party in the wood-panneled bar across the street, and then a bonfire with s'mores outside the bar. I think mixing up the locations kept things interesting."
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Photo: Courtesy of Phil Chester.
Your dress. Divine. Please tell us about it.
"Thank You! I found myself going back to the BHLDN website over and over. None of the dresses were exactly what I wanted, but they were beautiful and at the very least had the vibe I was looking for. One thing I knew I wanted was a boatneck (nothing outside of strapless seems to exist these days), and I found this designer through BHLDN named Gregory Nato for Fancy Bridal who creates many vintage-inspired period pieces, many of which were boatneck. I contacted him and asked him if he would alter one of his dresses for me. Add a sheer lace back from the waist up, take out the crinoline, add a layer of tulle on top, etc., and he could! He was amazing to work with — he literally crafted a dress from the images in my mind, and at my original budget to boot! Getting a dress custom-made is scary, because you can't try it on until after you've already bought it, but it was well worth the anticipation."
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Photo: Courtesy of Phil Chester.
What would you have done differently, if anything?
"To be perfectly honest, I wouldn't have changed a thing besides my nerves, and that's not something I could control anyway if I went back! Everything happened exactly how I envisioned it, and that feels amazing to say after so much hard work."
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Photo: Courtesy of Phil Chester.
Any advice for future brides/grooms?
"My three biggest pieces of advice would be calm your nerves, enjoy the planning, and expect some mild post-nuptial...for lack of a better term, depression. Try to enjoy the entire planning process, as stressful as it may be, because once it's all over it's actually a little bit sad! It's a weird mix of feelings, because you're on this high from actually getting married, but this moment you've been talking about and anticipating for a year or more is now passed. By the time we were about two months out, I found myself being like, 'I can't wait until this is over, there's more to me than just my wedding!' because it's all people want to talk to you about. But, try to relish every minute, from the second you get engaged until after the wedding is over, because when it is, you're not a bride anymore, you're just you! That's a great thing, because you're you in your beautiful new marriage with the love of your life."
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Photo: Courtesy of Phil Chester.
How would you both describe each other in three words?
Me about him: "Crazy. Sexy. Cool." (He made me say that!)
Him about me: "Happily. Ever. After."
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