Everyday we open up the submissions like it’s a pretty package – anxious to see what’s inside. It never disappoints, but sometimes it produces so much pretty we can’t contain our squeals. This Berkshires beauty by Shawn Connell and Rob Northway of Christian Oth Studio definitely produced those squeals. Because it is gorgeous, it is timeless and the Groom even sent in a description! I melt every time when that happens. From the hundreds of origami birds the couple folded together to waltzing to the song the Groom created especially for their proposal – this couple really enjoyed the planning process, and boy did it show. You can see all the lovely in the full gallery!
From the Bride…Kenji and I really enjoyed the wedding planning process. We worked together on everything and we both greatly appreciated everyone who helped us – our wonderful and loving family and friends and our very talented and extremely knowledgeable vendors. We wanted to incorporate aspects of our different heritages into the wedding: Norwegian, Japanese, Irish, and Italian. As well as personal touches, such as the motif we designed – two letter K’s, one reversed, together forming a butterfly. Our florist, Crocus Hale, was just wonderful, and worked closely with us to transform our ideas into an elegant and timeless wedding design that represented us as a couple while enhancing the architecture and decor of the Wheatleigh. Kenji and I spent numerous hours at Paper Trail, a chic little shop in the village of Rhinebeck, NY. Serine and her staff helped us choose our invitations, the various paper goods and ribbons we used, and welcome gift bags. With all of the detail in our wedding we decided to have two photographers. We were very happy with this decision as it relaxed the photography schedule for the “getting ready” pictures and pre-ceremony portraits, provided different perspectives during the ceremony and other key moments, and provided enough coverage for lots of fun, candid shots of the guests, and special attention to all of the details. Shawn Connell and Rob Northway from Christian Oth Studios were an absolute delight to work with, and we are in love with all of the precious memories they expertly captured.
The weather was just perfect to hold our ceremony outside on the terrace. My dad walked me down the aisle while the string quartet played Pachelbel’s Canon in D. Kenji was looking so handsome and the moment took my breath away. Our guests looked just exquisite in black tie dress, the mountain view backdrop added to the drama, and the ceremony flowers of hydrangea and orchids complemented the scene perfectly. Kenji and I wrote our own ceremony, so personal and meaningful to us, and had our very dear friend, Keith, officiate. We included a handfasting ceremony to honor my Irish heritage, as well as a traditional Japanese saké ceremony, using a saké set given to Kenji by his family in Japan. My godmother read “An Irish Blessing”, and another spiritual reading was done by Kenji’s godfather. Our close friend, Alex Neyman, captured the priceless moments with his artist’s pencil. We said our vows, exchanged rings, and with the power of the State of Massachusetts bestowed upon Keith for that day… We Were Married!
The Wheatleigh dining room was decorated beautifully. Tables were draped with white floor-length linens and topped with taupe, silk dupioni overlays. The floral centerpieces consisted of hydrangea, garden roses, dahlias, orchids, and hanging amaranthus in muted autumn colors. Votive candles, some in mercury glass, illuminated the tables as the sun set behind the mountains. We designed the menus with our butterfly motif to also serve as place cards by folding a calligraphed band around the menu. We had fun with the menu for Kenji’s two year old nephew by replacing the text with cute pictures. The string ensemble played beautifully, and emotional and entertaining speeches were given as we enjoyed a delicious five course meal with special wine pairings. It was an amazing culinary experience created by Chef Jeffery Thompson and the Wheatleigh staff.
After dinner, everyone returned to the candle-lit Great Hall where we cut our wedding cake. A scrumptious three-tiered cake decorated with Swiss dots and handmade sugar orchids – two tiers of almond chiffon cake layered with marscapone cream and raspberry preserves, and one tier of chocolate chiffon layered with chocolate mousse and raspberry preserves. We shared our first bite of cake and it was now time for our first dance, a waltz to the song Kenji created for his wedding proposal. Kenji’s voice teacher, Machan Taylor, had altered the timing to a waltz meter, and also sang the vocals. Kenji played the violin part, and Kathie, my matron of honor, played the flute part that gave the music an ethereal quality. It was all professionally arranged and mixed by Pete Levin. It was so beautiful and something we will treasure forever. In the months prior to the wedding, our dance teacher, Linda Rowland, taught us the waltz and worked with us to choreograph our first dance. With our dance shoes on, the music started and I was so nervous. Kenji was calm and confident as we floated across the dance floor underneath our origami cranes. I tear up just thinking about it!
From the Groom…Kelly is beyond a dream come true, and our wedding was a metaphor for this. Every detail, finely sculpted, was a result of Kelly’s wonderful touch, and her ability to work well with everyone, including me. I cannot even say that the process was difficult – long, yes, effortful, yes. But joyous, always. Even folding 1000 paper cranes over the course of months was a task that we took up together, with each other in our hearts and the results in our hands. Our wedding celebration was the culmination of months of planning and perseverance, and the fact that it reflected such joy in its loving details is a testament to the bond we were making, and continue to make strong. For our guests, I hope we were able to transport them to another time, another place, one where things were beautiful and wonderful, one that provided a state of true enjoyment, if not blissfulness. But I hope they then had the further realization that in fact this was not some alternate life, but actual reality, brought about by Kelly’s fantastic creativity and organizational abilities, crystallizing in the here and now. I remember when I first saw Kelly on our day, preparing to walk down the aisle to join me. She was radiant, and I myself had the realization that this was in fact happening! Right there and then! And to me! This was the wonderful reality we had brought about, composed like a song, reviewed many times on how it might be, but the full emotional impact only being known on opening night. The music, the flowers, the candles, the food, the cake, thousands of tiny and meticulously chosen elements, all worked harmoniously together to create our event in a beautiful venue. And when the party was over, what remained were wonderful memories, for us and for our guests. The farewell brunch had many smiles – it was as if we were all checking back in to make sure that it was not all a fleeting dream. For me, it was all a dream come true, that remains to this day – every day I look at Kelly and remember the day I married her, and have the same realization that this beautiful life we share is continually made real by us, and made stronger and more joyful with each day that passes. I am honored to add my strength to her grace, my tenacity to her creativity, my love to her light. She is my butterfly, her flight is one of beauty and will. And my life now, just as this paragraph, begins and ends with Kelly.
Venue: Wheatleigh / Wedding Photography: Shawn Connell + Rob Northway of Christian Oth Studio / Floral Design: Crocus Hale / String Ensemble: Art Strings / Band: The Stingers Band / Voice Teacher + Music Composer: Machan Taylor / Musical Arrangement: Pete Levin / Dance Teacher: Linda Rowland / Artist: Alex Neyman / Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier via Mark Ingram Bridal Atelier / Bridesmaid Dress: Badgley Mischka / Undergarments: Bra Tenders / Groom’s Tuxedo: Armani / Pearl Earrings: Mikimoto / Engagement Ring: Custom / Wedding Band: Tiffany & Co. / Bride’s Shoes: Grace with Soul Mates / Bride + Groom’s Dance Shoes: World Tone Dance / Parasol: Lace Parasols / Hair: Glenda Connors / Make-up: Sarah of SEVEN salon.spa / Invitations: Elum via Paper Trail / Paper Goods: Paper Trail / Calligraphy: Rita / Custom Wine Corks: Jelinek Cork Group / Wedding Favors: L.A. Burdick Chocolate / Wedding Dress Preservation: J Scheer & Co.