Martha’s Vineyard Wedding from Yuna Leonard Photography
November 6, 2013
New England
CasualRusticRustic Weddings
So... I'm pretty much obsessed with this wedding.  Like that swoon over every last detail and memorize every moment kind of obsessed that sort of goes hand in hand with a breathtaking Martha's Vineyard affair.  You know what I am talking about - sweet blooms from MV Florist and Gifts, fab paper goods from Paperless Post + Minted and one drop-dead gorgeous moment after another captured by Yuna Leonard Photography.  See them all in the full gallery.
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From the bride... Vlad and I met in Sydney, Australia while we were in college on a study abroad program. On our six-year dating anniversary, he got down on one knee in our Boston apartment and asked me to marry him with a rose gold ring his grandmother had brought with her from the Ukraine.

As we began to plan for our wedding, we tried to stay focused on creating a day that felt true to us, rather than following conventions. We were both intrigued by the idea of a destination wedding, but didn’t want the location to be too limiting for our guests. One place that had been special to us through the years was Martha’s Vineyard, an island off the coast of Massachusetts. We decided to travel there the weekend after Thanksgiving to see what the possibilities might be. We rented mopeds and rode around the island, checking out a few places. When we arrived at the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society barn, known to locals as the “Ag Hall,” we knew it was the perfect spot for us. Not only had we met on an island (albeit a very large one), now we’d be married on one as well!

The very first vendor we booked was our photographer, Yuna Leonard. She has a way of capturing moments that look real yet dreamy. The next decision we made was food. One of our favorite things to do is eat, so it was really important to us to create a delicious experience for our guests, and ourselves. We decided on Southern barbecue from the amazing Blackstrap BBQ. With the major necessities in place, a theme of casual, festive elegance emerged. We chose gray, navy, and shades of coral to help us plan the details for our day.

A few of the most special touches were designed by family members. My mom and grandparents built a gorgeous chuppah out of bamboo and a tablecloth that had belonged to my great-grandmother. Vlad’s grandmother made stunning tablecloths for the reception using fabric we picked out. We weaved the letters M and V throughout different parts of the day, as they are not only the first letters of our names, but also form the abbreviation for Martha’s Vineyard.

The week of our wedding, we rented a historic Gingerbread-style house on the island. Some of our friends and family stayed with us, and others stayed nearby. This allowed us to really take in the whole wedding week and spend time with our guests watching sunsets and eating lobsters fresh from the fishing boats.

On the morning of the wedding Vlad and the groomsmen got ready on the upper floor of the house, while the girls and I were glammed-up downstairs. Two vans then came to pick up Vlad and I, and we rode separately to the historic East Chop lighthouse where we did our first-look. It was such a special moment when we saw each other and we will never forget it. After that we went to the beach to capture some shots with the wedding party, and the sun came out just long enough for us to take our photos. As we were finishing, the sky suddenly opened and we all ran back to the vans as quickly as we could!

Our guests arrived at the ceremony on Martha’s Vineyard sightseeing buses. While they were getting seated, we had our ketubah ceremony under one of the alcoves of the barn. Vlad helped design our ketubah with an image of the island and nautical ropes, using our wedding colors. Our Rabbi worked with us to create a ceremony that was everything we envisioned and more. We wrote our own vows, and I would recommend doing so, because it made the moment very personal and meaningful. Vlad’s grandfather, a talented musician, played violin during the processional and recessional, which was truly special.

During planning we always talked about wanting to have a really fun party. At the cocktail hour we had an oyster shucking station with our favorite oysters, which was a big hit. I created a photo-booth-like area using a banner, chalkboards, and props, so that guests could stop by and take photos throughout the evening. Our southern barbecue buffet created a relaxed and delicious dinnertime. I surprised Vlad with a robot-surfer groom’s cake that combined two of his favorite things, and even had a bathing suit that matched one he always wears surfing. With the huge barn doors open on three sides of the building, guests could wander in and out as they pleased to gaze up at the stars as it got dark. A very close and talented friend of ours DJ’d, and created a vibrant atmosphere for dancing, getting everyone up on their feet.

The most important thing Vlad and I needed to keep reminding ourselves of throughout the planning process was to create a day that was true to us and what we wanted. With that in mind, we were able to bask in a truly memorable and celebratory day, that was absolutely “us.”