Erica & Michael | DIY Summer Wedding at Bridge Gardens

Today’s laid back DIY wedding from Select vendor Cappy Hotchkiss has us dreaming about sunny summer days. Says the bride: “We knew we wanted to be married on the East End of Long Island – it’s truly our happy place. As soon as we saw Bridge Gardens, we knew it was meant to be. Michael and I are both Californians who have fallen in love with the East Coast, in large part, due to the East End. Our wedding weekend was the first time we were able to share this special place with our family. It was so great to see the people we love fall in love with a place we love!”

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“My parent’s song was Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles, which played during their recessional. My oldest sister used this as her recessional music too, and it has become a Perth girl tradition – I was the third and final daughter to have this song play as I walked down the aisle hand in hand with my new husband!”

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The wedding included lots of personal touches: the bride did a drawing of Long Island used on the save-the-dates; an uncle officiated the ceremony; the cake was Michael’s mom’s famous mud pie (“Our caterer used the family recipe tweaking it only to make it into a beautiful three tiered cake. It is our favorite dessert and was a special way to incorporate her memory into our special day.”); the signature drink was called Mikey’s Mystery Cocktail (“because the groom famously has never had an established drink of choice”); the DIY table numbers were made from vintage botanical books found by the bride’s mother; the bride and her mother also went to the local nursery and bought tons of different potted plants for the escort table (“We later replanted these in our garden.”); the bridesmaids and flower all wore wreaths in their hair, made by the bride’s sister and sister-in-law.

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Centerpieces were clusters of mason jars filled with cream-colored dahlias and greenery. Each table also had a couple mason jars of grissini (skinny breadsticks) for guests to nibble on.

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What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  We were inspired by the outdoors. We wanted our evening to capture what we love most about summer nights in the Hamptons. Our look was laid back, yet timeless and classic. We didn’t want to compete with the natural beauty of Bridge Gardens so we went for a very organic and natural look – like our very own little garden party.

What was your favorite moment or part of the day?  My favorite moment from the day was when Michael was giving his toast and asked for a moment of silence to just look around the room and take in all the faces. Holding hands, we stood there together, and did just this. I have never felt such overwhelming love – having my husband by my side and feeling the love in the room is a moment I will never forget.

What was the best advice you received as a bride?  There may only be one time in your life where you stand in a room full of people that have all joined together to celebrate you. Don’t let this moment pass you by. Make sure to take a minute, to look out at that crowd and feel their love.

What advice do you have for other brides?  Enjoy the moment! Don’t get too caught up in the fuss of creating the perfect day – in the end, it is the moments that you can’t plan for that end up being the most cherished memories, so just sit back, relax and soak it in!

Do you have any budget tips for other brides?  Prioritize! There are a lot of expenses that go into making a night an amazing party. Decide what you think is most important and then stick to it! In our minds we placed the value of the guests’ experience above anything else – as such, we prioritized things like music, food and venue.

Is there anything else that helps tell the story of the day?  The earrings I wore were my “something borrowed.” They were borrowed from one of my best friends who couldn’t be at the wedding, and I loved knowing that a piece of her was with me on our big day. The necklace I wore is by Tiffany, and was given to me by Michael on our wedding day. The bracelets I wore, I wear everyday – the gold bracelet was my dad’s and the delicate rose gold bracelet was a gift from my parents. // Michael’s mom passed away from cancer in 2005 during the first year of our relationship. As a gift to him on our wedding day, I sewed his mom’s initials into the lapel of his jacket as a memento and tribute to her that he could carry with him on this special day.

Vendor Credits

Photographer: Cappy Hotchkiss / Venue: Bridge Gardens, Bridgehampton, New York / Dress: Priscilla of Boston / Shoes: J.Crew / Earrings: Steven Fox / Necklace: Tiffany / Suit, Shirt, Cufflinks: Ralph Lauren Black Label / Tie: Tom Ford / Shoes: Bergdorf Goodman / Bridesmaid Dresses: Paper Crown, Armani Exchange, Rachel Pally, J. Mendel, Peter Cohen / Wedding Map: Kelly Benton / Welcome Booklet: Designed by bride, printed by Village Printers / Invitations: Paper Source / Floral Designer: Pennington Flowers / Rentals: Party Rentals LTD / Tent: Sperry Tents Hamptons / Ceremony Music: Bon Musique via Elan Artists / Reception Music: Nancy Atlas / Catering: Catering By A Small Affair

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