Martha's Vineyard Wedding from Jocelyn Filley Photography
December 2, 2013
New England
Classic WeddingsRomanticTented
Let's talk about Martha's Vineyard weddings for a minute, shall we?  Because this beautiful backyard affair?  It's the epitome of Martha's Vineyard perfection, with an extra dose of pretty.  Think beautiful blooms from Tea Lane Farm, a crazy gorgeous tented reception and one heartwarming moment after another captured by Jocelyn Filley.  See them all right here in the full gallery.
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From the Bride... James and I met in New York and now we live in London, but I always knew that I wanted to get married on Martha's Vineyard. I have been going to the island since I was born and James has joined for the past few years. It is the only place where we can both completely unplug and unwind and we wanted to share that relaxing experience, as well as the beauty of the island, with our closest friends and family. We decided to keep our invite list small (under 40) and most of our guests stayed close by in houses that we rented. It was a great way to bring our friends and family from both sides of the Atlantic together!

Having our wedding on the Vineyard made planning much simpler, as we only had two or three vendors to choose from for each category. For me, the highlight of the process was designing and personalizing our invitations, right down to creating a font with my handwriting. We screen printed the invitations in white on kraft paper and included in the package a weekend schedule, packing checklist and detachable RSVP postcard. I had a lot of fun searching on eBay to find vintage stamps that fit our Martha's Vineyard theme, including a ferryboat, an egret and a Coast Guard tribute, all in the blue-green colors of the ocean. I also designed welcome tote bags for our guests that featured a hand-drawn map of the island. Inside we included snacks (Cape Cod chips, chocolate with sea salt and bottled water), sunscreen, the Vineyard Gazette and a fun beach game (Kadima, frisbee, etc.). I also designed a map with illustrations of all of our favorite places on the island and short descriptions. Instead of a guest book, we included vintage Vineyard postcards in the welcome bags and asked our guests to send them back to us so we would have mail waiting when we returned to London.

Our invitations invited our friends and family to "a relaxed weekend of feasting and sunbathing."  Even though our wedding weekend was cloudy, we still spent every day at the beach and we certainly feasted in the evenings. We kicked off the weekend with welcome drinks on Thursday night, featuring seafood chowder, lobster rolls and a make-your-own G&T bar. People stopped by as they arrived on island and we danced the night away to the tunes of our friend, DJ Sinton.

On Friday night, we hosted drinks and dinner at Beetlebung farm, a quintessential Vineyard experience that showcased local produce and culinary talent. Our guests sipped Bramble cocktails with blackberries from the farm and nibbled on yummy appetizers, including green beans fresh off the vine and red and yellow tomatoes. We then sat down to dinner in the greenhouse--a pasta course with summer vegetables followed by chicken and whole fish roasted in the outdoor kitchen. We finished with a simple dessert of berries, fresh cream and Chilmark chocolates.

The wedding was held on Saturday at a private home in Chilmark. We set up a tent at the top of the hill, overlooking the water. Mike Benjamin played an acoustic rendition of Van Morrison's Crazy Love as my parents walked me down the "aisle," a freshly mown path that sloped down to a small rise where our guests were waiting. We knew we wanted to keep the ceremony short and sweet so we nixed the idea of chairs and just asked our friends and family to gather around us. James and I stood on a sequined Moroccan wedding blanket, a tribute to my grandmother, and exchanged vows that we had each written. Given that I had planned every detail of the day, it was nice to know that I could look forward to at least one surprise. It turned out the big surprise was that our vows were very similar!

After the ceremony, everyone climbed up the hill for cocktails (Moscow Mules and Roasted Orange Negronis), appetizers and oysters. We set up two long farm tables in the tent and I found great pink and orange napkins at Anthropologie to set the color palette. With the napkins as inspiration, Krishana Collins did a phenomenal job with the flowers, creating small arrangements in vintage glass and milk glass containers. Each one was unique and they looked beautiful scattered along white linen runners on the farm tables. The final touch that pulled the tent together came from our wedding coordinator, Emily Coulter. She strung hundreds of peach lisianthus flowers on fishing line and suspended them over the dance floor. As they bobbed on the line, the flowers looked like they were dancing in the wind and gave the tent a magical feeling. By far, the best part of Saturday night was Mike Benjamin and his seven-piece band, who kept us on our feet dancing all night long.

Since most of our guests weren't leaving until Monday morning, we capped the weekend off with make-your-own pizza night at the Orange Peel Bakery in Aquinnah. Everyone gathered around the outdoor oven, drinking wine and coming up with creative topping combinations. It was a fun and delicious way to end our weekend of feasting!