SMPers, consider your day officially made because we’re about to begin a day-long party with Judy Pak. She’s the photographer behind some of the most incredible weddings to hit our pages, and today she’s sharing three “I dos” set across the country. First up? The quaintest New England wedding you ever did see with 20 (yes 20!) darling flower girls and ring bearers. It’s all the reasons we love fall with a nautical, seaside twist and an awesome crew including Hana Floral Design, Daly Planning, and Ripcord who made it happen. Hop to The Vault, and sit tight for more Judy Pak up next.
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From The Bride…My husband and I met while working as lawyers in Washington, D.C. We quickly hit it off based on our shared love of music, history, and traveling, and came to discover, strangely enough, that we grew up in neighboring towns along the shoreline in southern New England. We also realized that we crossed paths multiple times in our old stomping grounds.
The Connecticut and Rhode Island shoreline mean so much to both of us. It shaped the people we grew up to be, and in many ways defines who we are as a couple. As a result, when planning our wedding over the course of our year and a half engagement, we strove to craft a wedding weekend that highlighted the area, and was simultaneously a true reflection of us as a couple. We centered our wedding festivities around Little Narragansett Bay – the small body of water that is at the mouth of the Pawcatuck River, which forms the state line between Connecticut and Rhode Island. Positioned on either side of the Bay are the quaint seaside towns of Watch Hill, RI and Stonington, CT. We held our ceremony at beautiful seaside Watch Hill Chapel in homage to my husband’s Rhode Island roots and our reception just across the bay at Saltwater Farm Vineyard, a converted WWII-era airport hanger, near my own home town. Both venues are on either side of Little Narragansett Bay, and in fact, you can even see the top of the chapel from the balcony of the vineyard.
Our theme was seaside coastal elegance – a “wedding by the sea.” We worked with our amazing vendors to bring our vision to life, and to incorporate local, coastal, and seasonal elements. Ladyfingers Letterpress did an amazing job with their personalized invitation suite, which included hand drawn maps and illustrations of the area. They perfectly captured our theme, and laid the groundwork for the esthetic of our wedding.
We held our rehearsal dinner at The Cooked Goose, a warm and cozy restaurant that has long been one of our favorite brunch locations. It was a perfect space to make a large wedding party feel like an intimate family gathering, and the restaurant did an excellent job of crafting a menu that complemented our coastal theme.
We had a Catholic ceremony at the Watch Hill Chapel. The Judge I worked for, who is also a deacon, officiated, with the assistance of Rich’s father, who is an Episcopalian priest. My two cousins (one of whom is my godson) served as altar boys. The ceremony was unbelievably personal because were were surrounded by our families and loved ones, and all of them participated in the consecration of our marriage. We also had 20 children in our wedding, 8 bridesmaids, 7 groomsmen, and 3 ushers. Thanks to our phenomenal wedding coordinator, Daly Sanford of Daly Planning, all the children made it down the aisle flawlessly – even the 3 one year olds who were pulled in a wagon down the aisle.
My dress was a Monique Lhuillier “Azure”, which I fell in love with for being simultaneously timeless and modern. It was soft, romantic, and most importantly, fun to dance in! My bridesmaids wore champagne floor-length Monique Lhuillier bridesmaids dresses of different styles — some included touches of lace. We put our nine flower girls (ranging in age from 12 months to 10 years) in tulle ethereal long sleeve dresses from Nellystella. The flower girls wore baby’s breath flower wreath crowns — they looked like little pixies! Sam Slocum and her team did an amazing job with all of our hair and Shauntelle from Larissa Lake Makeup was incredible in doing everyone’s makeup,
Our groomsmen wore single breasted, peak lapel black tuxedos from The Black Tux — a traditional look with a modern cut. The eight junior ushers also wore black tuxes (mini-James Bonds!), and the three smallest ring bearers wore knee length pants with suspenders and bow ties, with knee socks. Rich is in the Navy and he wore is uniform–we also had a sword arch filled with our dear friends and family in the military.
We worked with our caterer, Thyme to Cook, to incorporate local and seasonal cuisine. We were even able to include produce from local farms where I grew up picking strawberries and getting our christmas tree each year, LoPresti Farm and Maple Lane Farm in Preston, Connecticut. We included locally caught seafood as well—including local bomster scallops and New England Clam Chowder. My favorite element during cocktail hour was our own Butternut Squash station, which included three unique takes on our favorite fall vegetable: Butternut and Apple soup shots, Butternut Squash Arancini, and Buttnerut Squash, Ricotta, and Sage Crostini. We served our main course family style to capture a fall harvest feel–this allowed everyone to try a bit of everything!
Our cocktail hour featured a tasting of Salt Water Farm’s fantastic selection of wines. Thyme to Cook also prepared three specialty cocktails, one named after our cat Emma (a traditional old fashioned), another after my father, the Jim n’ Tonic, (a cranberry gin and tonic), and the third after my husband’s family, the Captain Morgan, (hot apple cider with rum and a cinnamon stick). We even had a special Shirley Temple Bar for the 25 kids in attendance! We topped the evening off with hot apple cider and apple cider donuts from American’s oldest cider mill — the legendary B.F. Clyde’s in Old Mystic, CT.
Paper Tangent created all the signage for the wedding, and did a fantastic job incorporating our palette and bringing everything together. Our favorite was their cocktail sign–which featured a portrait of our cat!
Our biggest challenge was finding a photographer that could capture the feel and look we were going for. We struck gold when we found Judy Pak Photography. Her photography is soft, romantic, and timeless–we knew she would be able to highlight the beauty of the shoreline in a way that we would treasure forever. Her photos were nicely complemented by the work of our videographer, Dean Rocha, who perfectly captured the joy and beauty of our big day. Both Judy and Dean were a delight to work with!
Rich went to college for music composition, and I grew up playing piano, so we knew music would play important part of our day. Ripcord performed for our ceremony (trumpet and piano), our cocktail hour, and our reception. They even learned a song that Rich had written for me for the wedding! Ripcord was exceptional, and had all of the guests dancing all night — especially the kids.
We held our wedding in October and wanted to highlight fall by the sea without defaulting to the typical orange color scheme. Instead, with the help of Yumiko Fletcher of Hana Floral Design, we were able to craft a pallette that was seasonal and autumnal, but also soft and romantic. Our wedding colors included champagne, mauve, blush, with pops of deep wine, gold, and copper elements. We included lots of greenery in our flower arrangements, and garland on the long tables. She executed my vision flawlessly — and is a true artist and a pleasure work with.
We wanted to include a few small, personal details to tie together our theme and venue. Our tables were named for locations along the Connecticut and Rhode Island shore that held special meaning to the two of us growing up. We spray panted small white pumpkins with gold paint to create a varied ombre look and used them for escort cards. Michele Clark of Staten Island, NY did all the calligraphy for our wedding — and did an amazing job. Instead of using a traditional guest book, we had our guests sign a wine barrel, which we are using as a cocktail table in our new home. Finally, our favors were small jars of honey produced from my mother’s beehives.
The most important thing for us was to have a warm, fun wedding full of joy and surrounded by all the people we love. I can’t describe the magical feeling that overcame me during the ceremony, enveloped by the love of my family and friends, when walking down the aisle. Our wedding is something Rich and I will cherish for all of our days — and we could not have dreamed of a better day. It is true that the day goes by so quickly. However, thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make the day special, we will have memories to last a lifetime.
Photography: Judy Pak Photography | Cinematography: Dean Rocha Films | Coordination: Daly Planning | Floral Design: Hana Floral Design | Wedding Dress: The Plumed Serpent Bridal Salon | Cake: Lynn Palmer Cakes | Stationery: Ladyfingers Letterpress | Ceremony Venue: Watch Hill Chapel | Reception Venue: Saltwater Farm Vineyard | Bride's Shoes: Monolo Blahnik | Bridesmaids' Dresses: The Plumed Serpent Bridal Salon | Catering: A Thyme to Cook, Inc. | Makeup: Larissa Lake | Calligraphy: Calligraphy by Michele | Lighting: Ryan Designs, LLC | Band: Ripcord | Groom's Attire: Turnbull and Asser | Groomsmen Attire: The Black Tux | Bridal Boutique: The Plumed Serpent Bridal Salon | Flower Girl Dresses: Nellystella | Flower Girl Shoes: BabySouls | Penants: The Ritzy Rose | Programs: Elise Sousa Of Luxe And Fresh | Signage: Paper Tangent | Veil: Monique Lhuillier