Every day I wake up and pinch myself because I love my job so much. Day after day of pretty wedding after oh-so-pretty wedding makes for a seriously amazing gig. But there are some days I have to pinch myself twice because the pretty just doesn’t seem possible – and today is one of those days. I should have seen it coming, because anything Beth Helmstetter touches I die over, and Corbin Gurkin can do no wrong in my book. So when you put those two lovelies together and THEN add my calligraphy crush – Laura Hooper – well, you know the pretty is going to be unmeasurable. And this gorg-fest in the Hamptons has a level of pretty that just can’t be explained. So I’ll let the images do the talking, and with a gallery full of this much pretty I don’t think I’ll stop pinching myself all day…
Do you see what I mean? Have you stopped pinching yourself yet? Have you scrolled up an down over and over just to try to process the pretty? Well take a deep breath, because the lovely Corbin Gurkin and Beth Helmstetter have even more gorgeous to share with us in the form of this adorable couple’s seaside chic rehearsal dinner. This, my friends, is a good day.
From the Bride…Austin and I met thirteen years ago — when he mistook me for someone else and kissed me! I was sitting at our college hangout, when he came up from behind, planted his greeting on my cheek, and then realized that I wasn’t who he thought I was. From that day forward, each time he saw me on campus, he came over to apologize for the confusion. Eventually, one of those apologies became an invitation to dinner, and the rest is history. We attended Rollins College in Florida, but we’re both native New Yorkers and returned to Greenwich Village together after graduation. Several years ago, we moved west to California, where Austin proposed during one of our daily sunset walks on the beach of Santa Monica. We later decided to make a big leap to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. In the U.S., I worked as freelancer producer for magazines, music videos and commercials, and Austin was an actor, but when we moved to Nicaragua, we turned our focus to sustainable development, and are building environmentally conscious homes and schools.
When it came time to decide where to wed, we considered both California and Nicaragua, but because we live so far away, returning home to New York seemed like the natural choice. We retreat to the Hamptons each summer for vacation, and it holds so many happy memories, so we decided to marry in East Hampton. It was important to us to have the ceremony and reception outdoors, and fortunately we stumbled upon The LongHouse Reserve. The moment we walked upon the Reserve’s grounds, we were moved by its extraordinary beauty. The circular amphitheater seemed a sacred place for a ceremony, and we knew that the art sculptures, the lawns, the pond and its lily pads would be an enchanting backdrop for a celebration.
Our most profound moment came during the ceremony, when we were standing beside each other exchanging vows in the center of the amphitheater, standing on rose petals and air, encircled by the love of our family and friends. We felt blessed in that sacred moment. Of course (of course!), walking down the aisle towards Austin felt fantastical, and he says that seeing me walk towards him was incredible. Another delightful moment came minutes before the ceremony began, as I walked through the set-up for the cocktail hour and reception, and saw the marquee tent with its lovely chandeliers, the tables with their romantic settings, and the long bar waiting for its guests, and I knew that this completely magnificent setting was for our wedding! Every detail we had desired (and had spent months thinking about!) came together on this one gorgeous day. I was breathless, and so grateful to Beth Helmstetter, our wedding planner, for capturing every idea we had and realizing it. Though some couples are anxious to greet their guests immediately after the ceremony, Austin and I really enjoyed setting off with our photographer, Corbin Gurkin, for our bride & groom shots. We got to relive the ceremony and revel in the knowledge that we had just tied the knot. It provided us with a moment of peace in that big, beautiful, busy day.
An indelible moment was when we walked towards our reception tent as the band began to play a Jack Johnson song, and we took to the dance floor for the first time as husband and wife. We were euphoric to begin the celebration and our lives together in such a happy way. The cake cutter and server that we used to slice our delectable cake had been given to me as a shower gift, and my sister had them engraved with our new monogram and wedding date. Each and every time we use that pretty silverware, we will be reminded of our wedding day Because we are now living in Nicaragua, we wanted to infuse a bit of Latin culture into our wedding, and decided upon the band Jose Conde Y Ola Fresca, who were simply amazing. Our family and friends spent the entire evening on the dance floor! We both wanted to keep our wedding as green as possible, so employed local vendors who utilized regional, in-season goods. Our caterer, Brent Newsom, served local sea bass along with the Hamptons’ famous sweet summer corn and tomatoes. Our florist, Claire Bean, arranged seasonal flowers into our sumptuous centerpieces and bouquets.