All You Need Is Love And A Dog

Photo by Hitches and Unions

BY: Holly Boname
When you meet Andrea and Matt Roden, it’s easy to see that they are filled with love – But not just for one another, which runs strong and true – they have deep love for their family, their friends, the community they live in. This is especially true for their favorite local brewery where their story begins and never to be left out, their dog, Miller.

    The couple met when they were just 18. Andrea recalls that she was dating a friend of Matt’s at the time and that was their first introduction. As years passed and life took them in different directions, it wasn’t until later that the couples paths crossed again and from there, their story begins.   

    “Matt was brewing beer at the time at the Woodboat Brewery,” said Andrea.  “We just met there through mutual friends and we ended up dating for three years. It was actually our third anniversary when Matt proposed.”  

    The couple had planned on spending their third anniversary at the place it all started, the Woodboat Brewery. Nerves were running high for Matt as he had kept this secret to himself.   

    “Nobody knew,” said Matt. “Absolutely nobody knew that I was going to propose, so it was a perfect time and a perfect place.”  

    Andrea without question said “yes!” and the couple’s journey into wedding planning began. Luckily, Andrea is no amateur when it comes to planning events.   

    “I have planned probably a dozen weddings in my career. And then you add a whole lot of fundraising events,” said Andrea. “It was one of those things where I had to make it not feel like a job, which was hard.”  

    She continued that many times Matt would have to remind her, “this is about us, it’s not work,” which she says was not easy when she did it for a living. But the first step in any wedding is selecting the perfect date.       

    “When we got engaged back in February 2018, it took us a couple months to just finally get a chance to talk about when, and we knew it was going to be the summer 2019. We didn’t really have any sort of specific date we were really just working around work events that I had and other stuff going on,” said Andrea.   

    But inspiration soon came to them in the most sentimental places. The ring that Matt had proposed with was a ring his father had given him.  

    “We looked at the ring and I said, ‘there’s a date in here,’ so we looked it up on the calendar, it was a Sunday. Ever since we started dating, Sundays were always our day. So, the fact that it fell on a Sunday was perfect and then you had Sundayfunday with the Rodens and so it just it all worked out.”  

    With wedding planning something that Andrea was well versed in, she knew who to call and exactly what she wanted her day to include   

    “It was easy to know who we wanted to be part of our day and who we could trust, because that’s the biggest thing, you know, not only is it probably one of your biggest expenses, besides buying a house,” said Andrea. “And so for us we made sure that it was people that we worked with that we really felt a connection with that we trusted to make this all kind of come together.”  

    And, with Matt knowing that she would build a team of trusted planners and vendors he told her that she was not allowed to do anything, even joking that the wedding would be off if she picked up one chair.  

    “I was dead serious,” said Matt jokingly.   

    So, knowing he was serious, Andrea begin hiring a team of trusted day-of-event planners.   

    “Luckily my sister who has worked with me on a million events, who also is doing day-of wedding coordinating was able to help, and then I called in Sarah Compo, who we had worked together in our professional careers and we’ve always kind of gone back and forth. If I couldn’t do a wedding and got asked, I would recommend her, and vice versa,” said Andrea.   

    The wedding was coming together, and vendors were falling into place. The couple chose to have a smaller wedding with only 160 guests. The venue was a no-brainer for the couple, the Antique Boat Museum, which conveniently is directly across the street from the Woodboat Brewery.  

    “So, there was a lot of people that took our vision and ran with it. Will Salisbury, who is near and dear to mine and Matt’s heart, we had joked when we first got engaged that he was ordained and we joked with him, “Hey, you can marry us!”  

    With Will in agreement to conduct the ceremony, there was also a major contribution that he made for the couple. Will, a well-known sculpture artist in the Thousand Islands, also worked side-by-side with Matt in his studio on welding projects. The couple knew they had a vision for their arch and Will was the only one who could execute.   

    “If you look at all our printed material it all had that geometric shape. So, Will made us our arbor and married us,” said Andrea. “He was a big part in making us feel very comfortable in front of 160 people, even though they were all our nearest and dearest.”  

    From colorful flowers, to geometric shapes, the wedding included so many elements of the couple’s passion and love for one another, even in the moments leading up to the ceremony.   

    Andrea and her bridesmaids got ready at the Harbor Hotel, not far from the Antique Boat Museum. But, before she started the day off she wanted to shake some of her nerves and headed to a yoga class at River Yoga.   

    “My dear friend Kara Healy is an instructor at River Yoga. It was a really nice relaxing way to get in a good frame of mind. I walked out of there without a nervous bone in my body,” said Andrea.   

    For Matt, relaxing before the wedding meant hanging out with the couples beloved lab, then meeting his groomsmen at, where else, but the Woodboat Brewery for a few pints of “liquid courage” to shake his nerves and get ready for the big day.   

    “Well, it was just me and Miller, my dog, for most of the morning and probably half hour before the groomsmen showed up my uncle showed up and we chatted for a little bit,” said Matt. “When the groomsmen showed up, which are all dear friends of mine, I consider them all brothers, and the day began without a hitch.”  

    As the ceremony ended and guests moved to the tents for the party, guests were able to enjoy a non-traditional DJ and what you usually don’t see at weddings – food trucks serving up snacks and dinner.   

    “It started a few years ago I had taken Matt to Ontario, where I grew up, and introduced him to his first chip-truck. A chip truck is the most amazing creature on the face of the earth if you ever want good poutine,” said Andrea.  “We joked about, ‘wouldn’t it be cool if we ever got married to have a food truck wedding?’ And so that gave us our idea, and we found a couple food trucks out of Syracuse, a taco truck and a barbecue truck.”  

Andrea, Matt and Miller Roden

    But this story wouldn’t be complete or even as magical to the couple if we didn’t mention the most important guest Miller Roden, the couples loving black lab.   

    “He’s an actual angel. People joke because we call our sweet baby angel but he’s an angel and a 120 pound dog. He just wants to love everyone,” said Andrea.   

    Miller not only sat at the ceremony with the couple, walking down the aisle with them once the ceremony was complete, but he also had a special trick that the couple had planned on executing at the moment the rings were exchanged.   

    “The only thing he didn’t do was the one thing that like we asked him to do,” said Andrea jokingly. “There’s a picture of him like sitting on his hind paws up in the air, we call it his Meerkat pose. And we had trained him that when he had a treat, he would do that. So we thought, when we had to go get the rings that we could get Miller, in his meerkat pose, to give us the rings.”  

    Though Miller didn’t execute the plan, he remained by their side throughout the entire day and as Andrea says, recalling the magic of her special day of celebrating her love for Matt, “All you need is love and a dog.”   

    And that is exactly what they have.   

Day of: Soirée NNY, Sarah Compo
and Pineapples and Peonies
Venue: Antique Boat Museum
Makeup: Megan Bristol
Hair: Renee Shockley
Nails by Tammy
Party Rentals
Pretty Little Vintage
DC Rental (linens)
Florals and events by Vinnie
DJ: Johnny Keegan
Snapshots Photo Bus, Heather Gill
Limp Lizard BBQ
Lil Twisted Tacos
Jodi’s Dairy Bar/Jodi’s on the Go
Popcorn bar: Navs Popcorn
Buttertarts: Wolfe Island Bakery
Bar: TIPS, George Kittle
Officiant and arbor: Will Salisbury
Ceremony music: Gary Walts
Photos: Hitches and Unions,
Eddie and Angela Culp
After party: Wood Boat Brewery