If you loved Molly and Thomas’s clambake welcome dinner earlier today, then you are going to adore their incredible wedding, courtesy of Jonathan Canlas. And the gorgeous, luxe details here – like the bride’s detailed sheath gown (paired with a cathedral length veil), and her cascading bouquet of orchids – are just the beginning. You won’t want to miss what’s in the full gallery (for example, hanging arrangements of succulents and moss framed like artwork)!
The bride’s dramatic bouquet included phalaenopsis orchids, stephanotis vine, and garden roses.
“The ceremony was outside and we took the less is more approach, as the gardens are so pretty and we were positioned beside a pond with a fountain,” says Molly. “We had wooden benches for guest to sit – again very natural. Guests walked along a garden path and under a stone walkway to arrive at the ceremony area. We had two large white stone urns framing where Thomas and I got married. In the background, guests could see stone ruins…just amazing.”
Says the bride, “Consider a long veil. Antonio Berardi who designed my dress encouraged me to go with a long veil. It is such a special occasion, why not mark it with a special veil. How often do you get to wear one?”
Peacock blue and shades of green were incorporated throughout the wedding, including the bridesmaid dresses and bouquets.
“The history, charm and beauty of this 27 acre estate overwhelmed us. On our first site visit, we noticed a distinctive stone sculpture of a peacock perched on the corner of the house, alongside the driveway. It was then explained to us that peacocks used to roam the grounds, guarding the property. The peacock then became the inspiration behind our invitation suite. It felt fitting to incorporate the connection into the invite, almost like playing homage to this historical home.”
Molly wanted the escort card display to be an unusual, organic focal point. Semia from Flowers by Semia created framed living art by growing moss and nestling succulents in wooden picture frames (starting months in advance!). A calligrapher wrote guests’ names on metal garden tags which were tucked into the moss, and the frames were then hung on a stone wall where guests would find them as they walked from the cocktail hour to the dinner tent.
Table “numbers” were London tube stops, made with white stickers on lucite plastic. “We wanted to bring our home (London) into the mix and thought it was a fun way to distinguish the tables,” says the bride. “We chose to make them transparent so to not distract from the table décor.”
“Swedes love a speech and traditionally, there can be 10-15 speeches throughout the dinner during the reception. Dinner usually lasts 3–4 hours. We didn’t think the Americans could handle that long of a sitting, so we allowed speeches from our groomsmen and bridesmaids on Friday night and then the best man, bride’s father, groom’s father and groom addressed the crowd during dinner on Saturday night.”
Why did you choose this location for your wedding? We chose Newport for its charm and we wanted to get married in a seaside New England town – I spent every summer in New England, and the landscape shares some similarities to Sweden (Thomas is Swedish). We thought our international guests would really take to Newport’s charm and effortless elegance. We chose Gray Craig because we wanted an unexpected venue that was special and memorable, as well as an ‘at home’ setting which would serve as a blank canvas, so I could have creative license with the events. It was amazing luck and our good fortune that we were able to rent Gray Craig for a week, especially as it had never been done.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? We were inspired by our wedding venue for its effortless seaside grandeur and the surprise hidden nature of it, tucked away from the town of Newport. Also, “Sweden meets New England” was a theme that represented both of our origins and cultures and brought together the best of both worlds.
What was your favorite moment or part of the day? It’s funny as most brides find it terrifying to walk down the aisle, but it was my favorite part of the day – I felt confident and happy with my Dad by my side, knowing I was about to start my new life with Thomas and being surrounded by our closest family and friends. It felt so fulfilling and took place in the most idyllic, dream setting.
Did you include any traditions in your wedding? Also, there is the Swedish tradition of guests kissing the bride and groom when one of them leaves the table. When the groom leaves the room, all the male guests line up and kiss the bride and the women clink the sides of their glasses while this is going on. And vice versa when the bride leaves the room. Creates a fun stir.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? Once you arrive at your venue, let go and enjoy it.
What advice do you have for other brides? Do not overfeed your guests. / Know your crowd and plan a party that is going to make it memorable for both yourselves and your guests. / Investigate noise and alcohol restrictions pertaining to the location – you never want any surprises on the big day. / If couples come from different countries, inject some local customs or flair into the wedding. Put your stamp on it. Make it a new experience for each guest. / Personalize as much as you can. Your guests will appreciate it. / Think hard about a Sunday (day after) gathering – lunch or breakfast. Often guests are tired the next day and have had enough of socializing, especially if you bring them together before Saturday. / Stay as natural as possible when it comes to makeup. Nothing worse than the Groom not recognizing you. Less is more. Happiness is the best beauty remedy and every bride benefits from this blessing. / Rather than hiring a band, think about a DJ with a live music element, such as a singer.
Is there anything else that helps tell the story of the day? The style and look inside the tent was very important to me. I wanted a variety of everything – from varying shapes and sizes of tables, to a mixture of chairs – and I wanted everything to look bespoke and considered. Loads of detail was taken with how the tables were styled – we used six different types of tables (whitewashed farm tables, circular glass tables, square glass tables, circular tables with Italian linen, circular rustic wood tables, and the head table which we called the Living Table because the table top was a sliced tree slab held up with tree stumps). I wanted to use as little linen possible and fill the room with living elements. All of the tent poles were wrapped in grapevine and moss to make it feel enchanting, organic and give off an earthy feel.