We love how Rachel and Chris described their intimate summer wedding: “Hamptons Midsummer Night’s Dream: Two New Yorkers-turned-Californians celebrated their nuptials with a romantic Hamptons garden wedding under a super moon starring peonies, garden roses, mint and lots of magical details.” And it was just as beautiful and special and it sounds…
“The bridal party consisted of my closest friends including my sister-in-law,” shares the bride. “They wore flowy, chiffon dresses in dove gray that had convertible panels attached that could be styled in various ways, so that each girl could express her own unique style. It was important to me that they felt beautiful. One of my oldest friends isn’t the dress-wearing type, so we decided she should be herself and wear a suit in a matching grey. My friends are all so different, so I’m really happy that they were able to be their true selves.
“We worked very closely with our floral designer and my bouquet was a romantic assortment of my favorites – peonies, garden roses, sweet pea, astilbe, clematis and lots of mint that looked as if it was floating above the bouquet. I can still smell the enchanted scent of mint and roses since we used them for my bouquet and all the centerpieces. That combination will always remind me of our wedding day.”
“I had a recurring dream a few months prior to dating Chris about a French blue door in the middle of an enchanted garden. After dating Chris for a few weeks, I mentioned the dream and he immediately grabbed his laptop to pull up pictures of his family’s home in the Hamptons – Villa des Amis – complete with European-inspired gardens and blue doors. It’s one of the most magical properties on the East End of Long Island, and I knew that I would marry Chris in that garden and walk through the blue door as his wife one day. For the ceremony, our guests were greeted with welcome drinks and a whimsical bud vase tree as they entered, with wedding programs displayed in a French country basket on a vintage nightstand beneath the tree.”
Your ceremony in three words. Spiritual, romantic, whimsical.
Who officiated your ceremony? We interviewed several officiants but when we met Rev. Annie Block Pearl, we knew she was the one. We visited her at her home two days before the wedding and meditated with her outside. She really got us and her positive energy and understanding of spiritual partnership is powerful. We ended up including two minutes of silent meditation at the beginning of our ceremony to center everyone… especially us!
Seating of Parents: “O Mio Babbino Caro” by Puccini
Processional: “Flower Song” by Delibes
Bride’s Processional: “Ave Maria” by Schubert
Recessional: “The Arrival of The Queen of Sheba” by Handel
What were your ceremony readings? “Love Sonnet VXII” by Pablo Neruda and The Buddha’s Sermon at Rajagaha, verses 19-22
What were your vows like? We wrote our own vows along with the entire ceremony script. Our vows were very personal, slightly traditional, and reflected our shared spiritual path and practice, and of course our personal feelings and commitment to one another. We each wrote our own in small vow books and surprised each other at the ceremony. We kept our vow books and look forward to sharing them with generations to come.
What was your favorite part of the ceremony? From the bride: Two days before the wedding, we decided to write the entire ceremony script ourselves not just the vows. We pulled an all-nighter and ended up writing the script together in my in-laws’ kitchen. That probably sounds crazy but in the end, we’re really glad we did it because that one project led us into a beautiful conversation about our vows and what our marriage means to us. The ceremony was very personal and unique, and writing it together ended up being one of our best memories. // From the groom: I’ll never forget the feeling when our eyes met as Rachel walked down the aisle through all those rose petals while the string musicians played ‘Ave Maria’. In that moment, it was as if we were the only two people on the planet. I was completely overwhelmed with emotion and love for her.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? #1 Make sure you practice using the restroom in your gown before the actual wedding day because surprisingly this can take up to 35 minutes depending on the gown! #2 Hold hands with your husband so that you share the same experience and don’t get separated during the night. Kiss often! You won’t regret the pictures. #3 When your wedding day finally arrives, it’s time to let go and be present for what really matters. You’ve found true love and that is a rare blessing in these times. Focus on the love and savor every second because the day goes by so quickly.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Do yourself a favor and hire a day-of coordinator, if not a full planner. There’s no need to stress over what time to cut the cake or start the toasts. The coordinator will enable you to truly relax and enjoy your big day.
“We had a tented reception at dusk just beyond the ceremony location. After the cocktail hour by the swimming pool, guests were led through the garden ‘hallway,’ past a reflecting pool, through the blue door, and into an artist studio where Pablo Neruda Love Poem books with escort card bookmarks awaited. We wanted the entire weekend to be a romantic and whimsical celebration of love, not just ours, but the collective love of everyone in attendance since they’ve all been an integral part of our journey. It was pure magic and we even got fireflies at dusk and a Super Moon; love was definitely in the air.”
Tell us about your special escort cards. Chris’ brother read a Neruda poem during our ceremony, so the escort cards were bookmarks tucked inside Pablo Neruda Love Poem books. Each bookmark had a Neruda quotation printed on them and the poetry books served as our wedding favors. We love hand calligraphy so we had the bookmarks and menus done by hand with each guest’s name.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? The lush beauty of the property and its emotional connection to family, plus my obsession with all things timeless and romantic inspired our design concept for the entire event. We describe it as a Hampton’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. Our color palette was blush, dove gray, white, with darker shades of pink for some contrast. There was obviously tons of green from our natural surroundings, plus we added mint and fresh herbs whenever we got the chance.
What was your first dance song? “Myth” by Beach House. In the midst of all the wedding planning, we completely forgot about the first dance, so we choreographed something really late the night before our wedding day. I’ll never forget how much we laughed while trying to come up with dance steps at 3 o’clock in the morning. By that point, we were beyond delirious but it’s one of those memories that we’ll always remember.
Menu: Signature Cocktails: Moscow Mule / Watermelon Mojito // Appetizer: Artichoke, Tomato and Avocado Napoleon, Micro Greens, Tomato Vinaigrette // Entree: Organic Crispy Salmon, Tuscan Farro, Sauteed Summer Greens, Basil Butter / Roasted Crystal Valley Farm Organic Chicken, Early Girl Farm Vegetables, Lemon Thyme Jus // Dessert: Macarons / Artisan Chocolates / Vanilla Wedding Cake with Fudge and Fresh Berries // Late Night Snack: Mini Banana Dulce de Leche Sundaes
Tell us about your reception decor. Centerpieces included white porcelain pedestal vases with surreal floral arrangements including white, blush and magenta peonies and roses, mint, sweet pea on the vine, herbs and more. Eclectic silver mercury glass votive candles in two sizes and porcelain white lovebirds discreetly perched on satellite arrangements of bouvardia. White Irish linen napkins were tucked with hand-calligraphy menus and tied with swigs of fresh herbs.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? Our wedding felt like one big love fest and I’ll always cherish the burst of joy I felt watching our two families become one. There was an incredible Super Moon and I remember walking with my Dad through the garden towards the end of the night feeling incredibly blissed out, and it was in that moment that I realized that this was it…I finally got my happily-ever-after.
I loved our first dance. I honestly felt like we were in a dream. We danced to a song that we both love and had seen performed live by the artist. The night we went to that live show, Chris decided that he wanted to marry me. He stuck the concert sticker onto his steering wheel after dropping me off at my apartment and it’s still there!
Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception. One of our happiest memories was also the most unexpected. After most of our guests had gone home, a small group of us walked out to the labyrinth and set off flying Chinese lanterns. Our friends wrote prayers on them with Sharpies and we all watched these bursts of light fly through the sky. After the remainder of the night owls left, Chris and I took off our shoes and walked through the gardens under the full moon until the wee hours, arm-in-arm, chatting away – full of joy and excitement about our future. It was really late so the grass was wet with dew but we didn’t care. For as long as I live, I’ll never forget that experience. It’s probably my most meaningful memory.