I stared at this wedding for a long time before putting it up in lights. Because every little detail is class. Pure, unabashed class. From the images of the bride standing so beautifully in her gown to the perfect florals tucked into cut crystal vases and the moments of pure romance on the beach at belle mer, it’s all so beautifully done. And thanks to photos Melissa Robotti … there is so much more to devour.
From the bride...Adam and I met on our first day of college at Georgetown University and were friends right away. Love came a few years later and grew beyond graduation, despite careers in different cities and stints on separate continents, to a life together in New York City and a down-on-one-knee proposal in the West Village streets. Looking back after ten years together, who would have known that the boys I met at a campus party on my first night as an undergrad would someday be standing at an altar as my husband-to-be, wedding officiant, and groomsmen?
A long-time lover of all things wedding, I was thrilled but a bit overwhelmed in deciding on a style for my own big day. While Adam and I live in Manhattan, we spend any chance we can at his parents’ home in Rhode Island. We are a little bit big city, and a little bit sleepy seaside town. I have always gravitated toward a romantic, vintage style, but also find a more modern look with a crisp color palette and clean lines appealing. When we found Belle Mer, it was as if someone had mixed all of these elements into our planning bowl and baked it to a warm and bubbly wedding perfection. Add to that the wonderful times that Adam and I have shared in Newport over the years, and we were sold.
We decided on a color scheme of neutral tones to highlight Belle Mer’s ethereal elegance, with just a few pops of color and soft-hued lighting to echo the sunset views over the Narragansett Bay. The bridal party’s attire and accessories tied in the seaside feel, with eight bridesmaids in blue chiffon gowns and one ‘usher-ette’ in green. The groomsmen and ushers wore black tuxedos accented by simple paisley pocket squares coordinated to the color of the maids. Each bridesmaid wore a different piece of hand-made jewelry in emerald and aqua tones, and for the reception I changed from pearl drop earrings to a pair in a shade called ‘Bermuda blue’. We were so lucky to have a beautiful April day to top it all off. The sky and ocean were maybe the best accessories we could have asked for!
The building blocks of inspiration for the reception decor were found in, well, building blocks: the colors of the fireplace in Belle Mer’s Water Salon set the tone. The invitations, flowers, and table linens were designed to mirror the white fireplace and its champagne accents. Our incredible florist, Toni Chandler, created soft, romantic arrangements that brought a vintage twist to the contemporary space. Antique silver bowls and trays filled with garden roses in shades of white and ‘latte’, white hydrangea, tulips, and sweet pea were the perfect complement to tall, clean white balustrades topped with puffs of baby’s breath. Bud vases and candle holders in mercury glass, silver, and crystal were focal design elements decorating the fireplace mantle, stairway balcony, and tables.
For me, treasured elements of the wedding are those that incorporated family traditions and ‘something borrowed.’ The stems of my bouquet were wrapped with Alencon lace from my mother’s veil, and I wore the antique white-gold watch that my grandfather gave to my grandmother after their engagement. In my dressing room was a photo of my mom’s bridesmaids getting ready on her wedding day that I always used to admire as a little girl. During the ceremony, the grandmothers presented our wedding bands on family heirlooms – my ring tied with a champagne satin ribbon to the prayer missal that both my mother and grandmother carried down the aisle on their wedding days, and Adam’s to the prayer shawl that he and his grandfather wore for their bar mitzvahs. The wedding ceremony incorporated both Christian and Jewish influences to mix our different faiths, my favorite being seven secular readings delivered by family and close friends to represent the Seven Blessings read during traditional Jewish wedding ceremonies. We even cut our cake with the same silver knife my parents used on their wedding day.
My mother, sister, and I planned the wedding weekend together (with the assistance of incredible vendors!), and I have their boundless creativity, impeccable sense of style, and careful attention to detail to thank for bringing this dream to life. When I think back on the months leading up to the big day, I remember a series of opportunities to share this exciting time with those most important in my life: dress shopping with my future mother- and sister-in law … picking out registry items with three generations of the women in my family … the endless back and forth that my sister tolerated to help me select nine Amsale bridesmaids gowns that would ‘go’ but not ‘match’ (bless her for knowing exactly what I wanted but couldn’t articulate throughout this entire process) … and the one-woman event designer, baker, sewer, calligrapher, and printing press that is my mother (Programs? No problem. Place cards? Sure. All with individually hand-cut edging? Cake.).
A wedding is first and foremost about the love between two people starting a life together, but it is also about families celebrating new bonds. Our goal was for this love and energy to shine through all the details of the day, and Adam and I could not be more grateful for the amazing people that supported us through the process of becoming Mr. and Mrs.
Photography: Melissa Robotti Photography | Flowers: Toni Chandler Flowers & Events | Invitations: William Arthur | Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids: Amsale in Pacific | Entertainment: Brick Park Entertainment | Ceremony & Reception: Belle Mer | Dress and sash: Martina Liana | Female Usher: Amsale in Ocean