Get to know Stephanie + Lisa


The two young entrepreneurial sisters behind Cedar Lakes Estate

Stephanie and Lisa’s earliest memories were on the grounds of Cedar Lakes Estate. Growing up here was any child’s dream– White Christmases, fresh mountain air and lazy lakeside summer days make up the fabric of their childhood. They fell in love with the peace and tranquility of this special place immediately; even when they left their magical childhood home they would always find their way back.

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THE SISTERS DECIDED TO BUILD A BUSINESS WHERE THEY COULD FOSTER THEIR LOVE FOR FOOD, EVENT PLANNING, AND AFFECTION FOR THEIR OLD HOME. 

Stephanie attended Clemson University where she studied management and more importantly, the elements of a successful party. After college, she moved to NYC to work for one of Manhattan’s high-end wedding planners. Stephanie’s sharp attention to detail and knack for diffusing any and all issues before they arise inspired her to bring these talents to fruition.

After graduating summa cum laude from Vanderbilt University, Lisa graduated as valedictorian of the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan, officially making her love affair with food a lifelong vocation. Her time in Manhattan allowed her to work directly with some of the world’s finest chefs, from French Master Chef Alain Sailhac to television personality Tom Colicchio. Eager to learn from the masters of the Old World, Lisa moved to Italy where she worked in Tuscan and Sicilian kitchens.

In 2011, the sisters decided to build a business where they could foster their love for food, event planning, and affection for their childhood home. They spent 1 year perfecting their business plan and building charming cottages, a modern barn, and stunning venues for weddings and retreats. Now as the business’ Co-Founders, they work each day to share their combined passions with their visitors.

Everyone's Talking about Cedar Lakes


THERE'S PLENTY TO SAY

Since its inception in 2011, Cedar Lakes Estate continues to receive praise in many different realms of the media world. From Vogue to Forbes to Martha Stewart, everyone is buzzing about Cedar Lakes.

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Love from Our Clients

We love hearing feedback from our gracious couples after their special day.

My husband and I got married at CLE in August and it was without a doubt the most incredible weekend of our lives. From the moment we toured the property, we fell in love with the vast grounds, beautiful property, incredible ceremony and reception locations and the genuine, loving family that runs it. Stephanie, Lisa and the entire CLE team made us feel like family from the very beginning. They went above and beyond to give us the wedding weekend of our dreams, and they even managed to surpass every single one of our expectations. I know this is probably rare to hear, but the entire weekend went off without a hitch. From the moment we all arrived, our friends and family could not stop saying how incredible everything was and how no detail was left untouched. The food was AMAZING – Lisa is the most talented chef we have ever met. Her food it not only delicious, but it is presented so beautifully that you really feel like you are in a 5 star restaurant. Stephanie is an incredibly talented logistics coordinator. She made it so that I did not have to worry about a thing for the entire weekend. If you want a unique, glamorous yet rustic wedding, Cedar Lakes Estate is the place for you. We are still over the moon with the entire experience and cannot wait to return!

- Sarah

Reading all the other reviews, it seems that I am not alone in thinking that Cedar Lakes is one of the most magical places to get married. Not only is it beautiful, but it has everything that my husband and I wanted for the perfect wedding weekend–excellent home made food, one-of-a-kind venues for different weekend events, activities for everyone, comfortable accommodations that enabled all of our friends and family to be together, and an amazing staff that made us feel that the place was our own. CLE is rustic and unconventional in many ways, but still has all the luxuries and beauty of a more a traditional venue. Guests are still telling us that our wedding was one of the warmest, most exciting and gorgeous weddings that they’ve been to.

If it weren’t for CLE’s wonderfully kind and accommodating staff, my husband and I might not be married right now. We were supposed to get married in August, but had to cancel our wedding due to an an unexpected family emergency. As soon as I told Stephanie the news, she immediately offered to let us transfer everything to the only remaining date they had for the rest of the year in October. Everything. I truly don’t believe that any other venue would have made that offer to us and, for that, I am eternally grateful. The weather during our “second” wedding weekend was less than perfect, but it didn’t matter at all because we were just so happy to be there and the CLE team turned a freezing torrential downpour into one of the coziest, most magical and one-of-a-kind weddings. I know we’re biased, but we also know it’s true 🙂

We feel so very lucky to have been married at CLE.

- Naomi

Cedar Lakes Estate is a dream venue. Everything was absolutely perfect. the grounds are stunning, the team is diligent and thoughtful and the food is delectable and by far the best I (or any of my guests) have ever had at a wedding (or pretty much anywhere). Our guests are still having about the meals. If you want a location where all of your loved ones can stay on property and/or have lots of space to socialize, play games, swim and jump on the blob and have the best times of their lives – CLE is for you. A fantastic option for folks who want to be relatively close to NYC. We played capture the flag, had a Roast, and had some incredibly dance parties. The Karvellas family and their teams are so loving, understanding and attentive — they will make your wedding weekend the dream experience. We love them and want to go back every year!!

- Olivia

Having a wedding at Cedar Lakes makes you feel like you’re getting married in your own backyard (only your backyard has a lake, sports facilities and an epic mountain view). From our first visit, Stephanie, Lisa and Ashley made us feel like family. They helped us create the ultimate camp weekend, customizing every detail of our nearly 300-guest, 4-day wedding. They told us to reach out whenever we had questions, and they really meant it. They were always responsive, attentive and excited to help. They worked so well with every one of our vendors. They really made us feel like we had nothing to worry about, and they were right – it couldn’t have been more perfect.

Every member of the Karvellas and Cedar Lakes family went above and beyond to make our weekend what it was. With Stephanie and Ashley, planning was genuinely fun. The food by Lisa and her team was fresh, delicious and prepared with love. Gina helped us be in the right place at the right time, and Steve and Lisa made our guests feel at home. Not to mention Brian, Amanda, Charlie and the nearly 100 other members of the team who made sure the weekend went off without a hitch.

Our friends and family are still telling us our wedding was the best they’ve ever been to (not something you hear every day), and we know this wouldn’t be the case if it had been anywhere else. Now we’re just waiting for one of our friends to get married at CLE so we can see what it’s like to be guests!

- Miles

I can’t say enough glowing things about Cedar Lakes Estate and the pros who run it. Stephanie, Lisa and the entire team are so organized and accommodating and such genuinely warm, lovely people. Thanks to them we were able to give our daughter and (now) son-in-law the wedding of their dreams. Our guests are still talking about how amazing everything was. The setting is just gorgeous, and the grounds and facilities are impeccably maintained. These women know how to run an event and do it with class and style! Do yourself a favor and book your event here.

- Mindy

Our wedding at Cedar Lakes Estate was the most magical weekend of our lives! We got married 6/20/15 and we held our rehearsal dinner, ceremony, reception and brunch ALL at CLE. We worked with Alimay Events as our wedding planners because we knew that there were a ton of logistics to coordinate, but if you are more of a DIY bride, then having a wedding planner isn’t 100% necessary. From the minute Stephanie gave us a tour of the property, we instantly connected and I knew that I had found exactly what I was looking for in not only the property and functionality of the venue, but that I would be working with a family that poured their heart and soul into making couples wedding dreams come true.

There are a few locations options to use for your ceremony – the Mountaintop, Amphitheater, Great Lawn, etc. and it was really awesome to follow along through the summer (on Instagram) to see how each couple made their wedding unique. We had planned to get married on the Mountaintop, but due to rain we held our ceremony in the Pavillon. I was devastated until I saw the stunningly beautiful transformation in the Pavillon. It was dreamy, romantic and cozy and our guests had no idea that it was our plan B!! CLE provides an incredible canvas to build from and create the wedding that dreams are made of! We had ~30 guests stay on the property in the Sleepy Pine Cottages, Bluebird, Poolside Cabana and I used the Lakeside Cottage as my bridal suite for the weekend. The other guests stayed at two hotels nearby and we had buses shuttling people to/from CLE throughout the weekend. I can’t say enough good things about the food! Lisa blew us away with customizable menus and our guests raved that it was the best food they had ever had at a wedding! My husband has a ton of food allergies and Lisa went above and beyond to make sure all of the dishes were made without any cross-contamination. I can’t speak highly enough of Stephanie and Lisa and the magic that is CLE, LOVE IT!!

- Rebecca

Everything about Cedar Lakes Estate was perfect for us. The beautiful grounds, rustic reclaimed wood barn, mountaintop view, THE FOOD, the cabins…I can go on and on. CLE is Family Run and their attention to detail was unbelievable. Every email, every phone call, to the actual Wedding Weekend…they were on point. Lisa is an unbelievable chef. My guests are still raving about the food. My guests are still raving about everything. I have been told that our wedding is the BEST Wedding they have ever been to. I feel proud, of course, but I really have Stephanie, Lisa, and their family to thank for that. As soon as we got to CLE, our nerves were calmed and we could immediately feel that our job was over and everything was going to be smooth sailing. If you are looking for a relaxing wedding weekend, I highly recommended putting your trust in CLE. I had a vision of what I wanted my Wedding to look and feel like…CLE surpassed my imagination…and beyond my expectations. They know what they are doing! We can’t wait to go back for weekend visits 🙂

- Alicia

I don’t know where to begin when it comes to Cedar Lakes Estate. Family run CLE didn’t just host our dream wedding, they made it personal and special and made us feel like ours was the only wedding they’d ever had the pleasure of planning. The venue was exactly what we were looking for; rustic and serene but with the perfect element of fun. We wanted gorgeous mountaintop toasts at sunset and a rousing wedding day kickball game followed by water sports. We wanted a romantic ceremony tucked in the trees near the lake and a big rowdy reception with wild flowers and candle light. We wanted an after-party in a laidback setting with a campfire and s’mores and we wanted a poolside Sunday morning brunch. We got all of this and then some. From the first moment we met Steph and Lisa at CLE, until the moment we drove away the day after our wedding, everything about our weekend was exactly as we’d hoped. Planning was low-stress and so much fun, and the weekend itself was the most wonderful time we have ever had.

Sure, we got lucky with the weather, but nothing else was luck or chance. Every single aspect of our weekend came from planning and working with people who are not just professional, but who are friendly and helpful and excited to be a part of your special day. Stephanie thought of everything to make our wedding extraordinary, and Lisa designed a menu with us that had even our most skeptical guests positively raving. From a Friday night BBQ with perfectly fried chicken to the many food stations at our reception, including shrimp fra diavolo, miniature reubens, and homemade burrata, Lisa knocked it out of the park.

If you’re looking for a wedding mill with set menus and a handful of events each weekend then this is not the place for you. If you really want to plan something magical, something so special that all of your guests will be talking about it for years to come, then check out Cedar Lakes Estate. They made us feel like family, and we had one wild time.

- Laura

Well our wedding has come and gone and I am sad about one thing. Its over. Cedar Lakes EXCEEDED our expectations. We had about 1.5 years of planning with the Cedar Lakes Estate staff and they did exactly what they said they would. They are a newer venue so we were expecting a few hiccups and over sights-and there were none. Our guests were floored by the perfectly groomed grounds, the attentive staff, the 5 star restaurant cuisine and the unique weekend that was offered to our guests. When serving at a camp to over 220+ you would expect standard wedding food. No, the entire weekend Chef Lisa Karvellas went above and beyond with her intimate touches and made the food a roaring hit. From the summer salad perfectly blended with dressing and toppings, to the ribs falling off the bone- people were in awe and going up for seconds.

This privately owned estate allowed for all my DIY touches, no noise restrictions, beautiful accommodations on site. From our parents questions (and boy did they have questions) to the continuous one on one attention from Stephanie & Lisa, they made planning a wedding from the west coast seamless. I wouldn’t say I am a bridezilla, but I have a vision and a particular style. When you do planning for a living, its challenging to give the reigns to others. After our wedding, my husband and I would have changed NOTHING and we owe it ALL to Cedar Lakes Estate. I am happy to speak to anyone regarding my process, vendors and further experience as this truly was a wedding to remember. Thank you Stephanie & Lisa- you started our marriage out perfect, just like you both know I like it.

- Sydney

The moment we found Cedar Lake Estates we knew it would be the perfect place to have our dream wedding. It fit all of our criteria to a tee: It was beautiful, unique, we could have a weekend event and our bridal party and family could stay on site, and we could have an outdoor ceremony.

Our wedding vision was of a fun weekend full of activities and a laid back vibe. That is exactly what we got. From the lake activities, the lodging, the food, to the beautiful setting, it was just perfect. Not only is the property absolutely gorgeous, the staff and service were top notch.

Stephanie + Lisa really let us control how everything would happen and they were flexible on letting us make decisions. They were so easy to work with and their entire family was so warm and inviting. They really made us feel at home. Chef Lisa went above and beyond to accommodate my families special dietary needs.

The food was delicious and months later all of our guests are still raving about it. All of our guest were raving about the food and their experience. We are already planning a trip with our friends there next year! Best Place Ever!

- Kate

Cedar Lakes hosted our dream wedding this October. It was a perfect setting for our “rustic chic” theme. This is a family owned full service operation and they couldn’t be lovelier. They saw to every detail we requested and made us feel like family. The grounds are huge and breathtaking – there’s a private lake on site, a huge barn, 2 pools, and an incredible scenic mountaintop.

There are private luxury cottages available for about 30 people or so, with the rest of our guests given the option to stay in camper style cabins. Those unenthused about staying in the camper cabins were given the option to stay in a Holiday Inn 20 mins away. Stephanie prepared all these gorgeous luxury cottages onsite to be occupied by our bridal party and close family. She saw to it that not only did the event run smoothly but that all needs of our guests were met.

Our ceremony was held on the mountaintop. It was **breathtaking** The reception in the barn was even better; all done in stunning reclaimed barn wood with low strung soft lights, like a page out of a magazine. Chef Lisa executed the culinary delights; home-style feel & far from typical wedding food. Everything was homemade with pride. We teamed up with Chef Lisa to fine tune the menu for the entire weekend. She was accommodating & her excellence shined through at each gathering.

Our guests were blown away; many of them commented that it was the best wedding they had ever been to. Every aspect came together to make a remarkable day and quite an impression. What we experienced is something you could never get from your typical venue. When we look back, we have Cedar Lakes to wholeheartedly thank.

If you’re looking for a cookie cutter place like every other wedding you’ve been to, this isn’t for you. But if you can get a little creative, aren’t a bridezilla, and appreciation for touches only a family business can offer, you will be more than pleased.

- Jennifer

We cannot say enough glowing, effusive, wonderful things about the venue and the Karvellas family. They are so warm and welcoming, and despite seeing 1 million weddings a year, still managed to make me feel like they were genuinely excited for mine. We were there with family and friends for an entire weekend, with about 55 people staying in cabins on site, which created a really special, intimate experience that was exactly what we had in mind. The food for every single meal was out of control delicious (and food was my #1 priority during event planning), which we kept hearing from every guest throughout the weekend. We really wanted to play with the traditional wedding dinner, and Lisa worked with us to create a family style meal (even though they had never done one there before) that was elegant and DELICIOUS and struck exactly the right tone. Stephanie was great at always keeping me in the loop about details, while making everything happen behind the scenes so that I never felt overwhelmed or worried about anything. We tried our best to make use of all the spaces they have (movie on the lawn, ceremony on the mountain, reception in the barn, meals in the pavilion, afterparty in the treehouse, etc.) and each one was perfectly well-kept, while still feeling intimate and just the right touch of rustic for a bunch of city folk. The whole experience was truly special and breathtaking.

The one thing I will say is that it is definitely expensive. All the little gorgeous details do add up. However – 1) it’s your wedding and that’s what happens, and 2) we always felt that this was a business run by human beings. In no way is this a faceless moneymaking venture. They are completely reasonable whenever they can be, and they worked with us the whole time to make every detail feel special and make compromises where possible. They even found canned wine for daytime festivities since I’m allergic to beer! I love them. Can I do it again?!?

- Lily

I absolutely could not have been happier with my decision to get married at Cedar Lakes Estate. The grounds are stunningly beautiful (in every. single. season) and the accommodations are just as perfect. With so many options for ceremony, pictures, cocktail hour, brunch, rehearsal dinner it was hard to choose just one for each! The team at CLE is meticulous in their planning and ensured that we felt taken care of from the time we said “yes to the venue” to our big day. Lisa is beyond helpful in planning all of your menus for the weekend – we even trusted her so much to say ‘make whatever you think is best’ – and we could NOT have been happier. Guests are still talking about our wedding food and it’s been a month!

Stephanie is clearly a professional in the event planning world and ensured that every detail was handled – I would trust her with any of my events…I just only wish I had another reason to go back to Cedar Lakes!

- Danielle

A few weeks before getting engaged I found Cedar Lakes Estate on Instagram after using a #outdoorwedding search. I fell in love immediately and told my then boyfriend I had found our wedding venue. Unfortunately, after getting engaged, we found out that they were booked every weekend we were interested in. Stephanie, however, promised to be in touch if anything changed, and as soon as she heard of a cancellation she made contact. This was just the beginning of the CLE team going above and beyond to accommodate us and our needs.

Since we live overseas Stephanie and Lisa met with my parents on site several times and spent many hours figuring out how to help us throw a weekend-long Kosher and observant Jewish event. They made sure to strike the perfect balance between respecting our traditions and all the while making sure everything still felt like CLE. When my fiancé and I were finally able to visit the venue for ourselves Stephanie gave us the full tour, despite having already spent so much time showing my parents around. By that point our relationship with Stephanie felt more like friendship than vendor and client. Once the Friday of the wedding weekend arrived, everything from the grounds to the amenities to the cabins to the staff was absolutely lovely and perfect! During the dancing after the wedding ceremony, I suddenly didn’t feel very well and Stephanie stayed by my side and gave me food and drink until I was ready to get back up. It’s hard to imagine many venues where the owner and event coordinator double as care taker for the bride.

Simply put, we couldn’t be happier with how everything turned out, and friends and family continually tell us it was one of the best and most beautiful weddings they’ve ever been to. It’s hard to find the words to express just how grateful and appreciative we are for everything the CLE staff did, and we literally feel that our wedding dream came true thanks to CLE. You won’t be disappointed if you choose to marry there.

- Razie

My husband and I were married at CLE last May, and I can’t imagine a better wedding venue. We rented CLE for the whole weekend and many of our guests stayed in the cabins from Friday to Sunday. Those who wanted more conventional lodgings stayed at the two hotels that are about 15 minutes away. We had approximately 240 people for the wedding itself and 150 on the grounds for most of the weekend.

Stephanie made sure that the grounds were perfect and anticipated so many things that our guests enjoyed (games for the younger people, bonfires, smores, etc.). Lisa’s food was incredible and our guests are still talking about it. Also, we wanted pies instead of a cake and Lisa arranged for us to have delicious seasonal pies from a local baker.

We were married on the hilltop, and our photographer told us that the views were some of the best he’d seen at any wedding. The barn (reception hall) is also fantastic. If you go to visit during the day, you won’t be able to appreciate how beautiful the lighting is at night. The barn is lit up with strings of lights and the whole place glows a soft red/orange that’s beautiful in photos.

If you’re looking for a lovely, rustic outdoor location where you can celebrate for days with all of your family and friends, this is the place for you.

- Linda

My Husband and I got married at Cedar Lakes in July of 2015 and it was truly everything we envisioned for our wedding. We wanted a location that was elegantly relaxed and allowed for us to spend multiple days with friends and family in a beautiful setting. Cedar Lakes definitely provides that plus much much more. The property itself is expansive and stunningly beautiful, but not in an overly manicured way. (Read Luxury Glamping, but not Country Club Stuffy).

From the moment I arrived for our first visit I knew CLE was the right place for us to celebrate our marriage. The lake, the pool, the ceremony locations, the barn and the cottages are all equally exquisite – and then the blob, basketball courts and and sports fields added a playful feeling to the weekend that everybody appreciated. In addition to lovely event spaces and accommodations, the service and food provided by CLE cannot be outdone. The week of our wedding I knew that every detail would be taken care of, which allowed me to relax and enjoy our guests.

Stephanie does an exceptional job of managing all of the service, their exceptional taste in decor and much more, and the food and beverages from Lisa and her team are truly gourmet (and also modern – ie mini chicken and waffles, not just typical boring wedding fare.) I honestly still dream about the food from the rehearsal dinner and wedding – everybody was raving about it all weekend. (A perk: The option to have your rehearsal dinner at a gorgeous long wooden table in a garden lit by twinkle lights, surrounded by flowers and fresh veggies – reminiscent of a dinner in the Italian countryside and exactly what we had hoped for.)

After it’s all said and done I truly cannot imagine us getting married anywhere else, and we’re both so happy we made the choice to spend one of the most special weeks of our lives there. If you’re on the fence about getting married at CLE, don’t think, just jump over the fence. You won’t regret it : )

- Courtney

Lauren Fair Photography