Lakeside Chautauqua has always been a special place for the Smith family. Kevin Smith started visiting as a young boy at his family’s cottage. When he was a teenager, the family bought the Upper Shelf, a small shop in the business district, where they lived upstairs for several years.
Years later, after Kevin was married to Kim, the couple bought a cottage of their own on Peach Avenue and Fourth Street. For more than 20 years, Kevin and Kim have been spending their summers together with their children at Lakeside Chautauqua.
The Smith family enjoys the serenity of Lakeside. Kim said, “When we’re here, we’re away from the stress of life. It’s peaceful and quiet and you can be as busy or as lazy as you want. Lakeside is a separate world, a parallel universe frozen in time.”
When their daughter, Abbey, became engaged to Jordan Poppe, she knew Lakeside was the perfect place for her special day.
Abbey said, “Every memory I have of Lakeside is a happy one filled with love, sunshine and family. When we started thinking about our wedding, we knew those things were a priority. Lakeside was a natural choice.”
While making plans for their Lakeside wedding, the family worked closely with Amber Schlering, Lakeside’s Director of Conference & Event Planning.
Kim said, “Amber saved our lives. She answered questions before we even knew to ask them. When the day came, everything went so smoothly. We were able to just relax and enjoy it all without worrying about the details.”
“It was a beautiful morning with a light breeze off the lake,” Kim reminisced. “All the girls got ready together in one cottage, with the guys in another. It was so much fun!”
The bride and groom chose to take “first look” pictures before the ceremony on the Lakeside dock.
Abbey said, “Strangers passed us and were so friendly. They stopped and waved and cheered and some even gave us friendly advice and wished us well. That’s some of the charm of Lakeside – the friendliness of strangers whom you immediately like and share a bond with – because you know a shared love of Lakeside.”
Abbey and Jordan were married on September 15, 2012 at the Steele Memorial Bandstand/Gazebo. The bridal party drove in on golf carts, and Abbey’s grandfather performed the ceremony.
In between the wedding and reception, the family arranged hors d’oeuvres out on the sidewalk and had a photo booth and miniature golf open to guests.
They said, “We wanted to make sure there was always somewhere to go and something to do. You just can’t pay for the kind of scenery that Lakeside offers.”
The reception was held in the candlelight of the Hotel Lakeside Dining Room. Kim said, “The atmosphere was stunning and the food was delicious. We really wanted to take care of our guests, and Lakeside helped us do that.”
After dinner, they set up a dance floor and tents on the Hotel Lakeside lawn. Kim shared, “You wanted to cry watching it; it was so beautiful.”
As the evening came to a close, Abbey and Jordan were sent off with heart-shaped sparklers, as they drove away together in a golf cart.
Lakeside, especially the Steele Memorial Bandstand/Gazebo, offers a unique and meaningful wedding destination like none other. The Smith-Poppe family explained, “It’s all of those things you think your wedding day should be like – the setting, the people, the love and support and the peacefulness. It’s the things you can’t buy that make your special day the very best. The perfect things are the memories we made, the lake in the background and the beauty of God’s natural gifts.”
Lakeside wants to keep the Steele Memorial Bandstand/Gazebo strong and beautiful for special moments such as this for years to come. Having received only minor updates since its dedication in 1979, the Gazebo is need of revitalization. Lend a hand this #GivingTuesday so that we can ensure that this gift will last for years to come.