A Black-Tie Museum Wedding in Palm Beach, Florida
In the fall of 2010, Denis J. O'Kane II and Catherine Kirchhoff met while touring vineyards on Long Island for a mutual friend's birthday party. The Manhattan-based pair started dating, eventually planning a vacation to Jupiter, Florida, in December 2014. Cat grew up in the coastal city, and Denis coincidentally spent childhood winters there. Eager to start their trip on the right note, Denis (a portfolio manager at an investment management firm) suggested they stop by a Japanese garden. Given his appreciation for landscape architecture, Cat (an architectural and interior designer) didn't think the itinerary unusual—until Denis got down on one knee and proposed. "It was private, personal, and perfect," says Cat. "Denis's family also flew down from New York for the occasion, which was so thoughtful, allowing us to celebrate our engagement together with both of our families in South Florida!"
The duo, their families, and just under 200 guests returned to the sunshine state on April 23, 2016, when Cat and Denis got married at The Royal Poinciana Chapel in Palm Beach, then held a reception at the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum. The black-tie celebration, which had a blue and white color palette and elegant details, was "a timeless Palm Beach wedding, with a nod to old Florida whimsy and charm," according to the bride.
The Stationery Suite
Cat and Denis wanted to wed in South Florida, but were hesitant about choosing an outdoor venue because of the region's unpredictable rain showers. They ended up tying the knot at The Royal Poinciana Chapel in Palm Beach, which is a non-denominational chapel built by industrialist Henry Flagler in 1897. "We have always loved this chapel. It reminds us of a friendly seaside chapel in the Northeast," says Cat.
Denis sported a Giorgio Armani tuxedo, custom monogrammed Stubbs & Wootton slippers (a Palm Beach tradition and wedding gift from Cat), and his father's watch and cufflinks. Cat wore Carolina Herrera's "Constance" wedding dress and veil, plus diamond earrings and a tennis bracelet. "I tried on many dresses before finding 'the one.' The structure and simplicity of the dress was so stunning!" she says.
Cat's sister served as her maid of honor, and the other bridesmaids were Denis's sister, his sister-in-law, and three of Cat's friends from college. The ladies wore chiffon dresses by Amsale, along with solitaire diamond necklaces gifted from the bride. They also carried bouquets of cream garden roses and white lisianthus by Tom Mathieu & Company, Inc.
The groom's eldest brother served as best man, and his groomsmen also included two other brothers, Cat's sister's husband, and two childhood friends. They wore black tuxedos, as well as blue and white suspenders and socks provided by the groom.
The First Look
Before the ceremony, Cat and Denis met at the botanical gardens at The Society of the Four Arts for a first look, which was Cat's favorite part of the day. "It was amazing to have that special moment to ourselves before the wedding festivities began. Plus, he looked so handsome waiting for me in the garden!" she says.
For the ceremony, the chapel was adorned with a white damask aisle runner, white and green floral wreaths, and arrangements of hydrangeas, white delphinium, stock, roses, and amaryllis. Cat's father walked her down to aisle to "Trumpet Voluntary" by Jeremiah Clarke. The traditional service included three readings: Colossians 3:12-14, Corinthians 13:4-7, and "For Marriage" by John O'Donohue.
After the ceremony, guests traveled through gardens to reach cocktail hour at The Henry Morrison Flagler Museum, which was built in 1902 as Henry Flagler's winter estate. "I loved that all of our venues throughout the weekend are historical landmarks in Palm Beach. My father is a local architect in Palm Beach. Combined with Denis's and my appreciation for architecture and gardens, they all seemed like a perfect fit to highlight the island for our out-of-town guests," says Cat.
Attendees listened to instrumental arrangements of upbeat classic rock songs performed by Music Works Talent. A full bar was available, as well as passed trays of Champagne, white wine, white wine spritzers (the bride's favorite!), and sparkling water. Passed hors d'oeuvres by Christafaro's Catering included beef tenderloin with green peppercorn mustard on croustade; sesame seared tuna skewers with sake compressed watermelon; homestyle chicken pot pies; cocktail franks in puff pastries; caviar spoons; and tomato and cheese Caprese skewers.
Around 80% of the wedding guests traveled for the celebration, and many arrived early to attend pre-wedding festivities like welcome drinks and the rehearsal dinner. At the party, they looked elegant while adhering to a black-tie dress code. "We loved that so many of our friends and family traveled to join us for our special day, which became a weekend affair celebrating with friends and family!" says Cat.
The reception also took place at the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum. Natural white linens and neutral-colored decor elements put the focus on the venue's elegant columns and molding.
Round tables were anchored by a 40-inch glass vase filled with arrangements by Tom Mathieu & Company of white hybrid delphinium, white dendrobium orchids, and dark green foliage. Smaller vases with white peonies, hydrangea, and roses surrounded the showpieces. The venue also featured royal tables with shorter versions of the centerpieces, a deep green garland, and the same smaller vases.
In addition to flowers, each table was decorated with clusters of kumquats and mandarins. "Even though it was a black-tie wedding, I wanted a fun and subtle nod to Florida and thought the oranges on the tables perfectly complemented the blue and white décor!" says Cat. Etched hurricanes also added height and visual interest to the tables. The table numbers displayed watercolor art by Lemontree Calligraphy & Illustration.
The Place Settings
The menus (designed by Cat with watercolor art by Lemontree Calligraphy & Illustration) were tucked into soft blue hemstitch dinner napkins along with a fresh sprig of greenery. Christafaro's Catering prepared a salad of baby greens and Pinot-braised boneless Wagu short ribs (chicken and vegetarian options were also available). For dessert, Earth & Sugar baked a cake with alternating layers: spiced carrot cake with cream cheese vanilla buttercream and banana cake with chocolate hazelnut Swiss meringue.
The First Dance
Cat and Denis danced to "Manhattan" by Ella Fitzgerald.
Cat and her father danced to "Forever Young" by Rod Stewart, while Denis and his mother danced to "In My Life" by the Beatles.
"As our venue is a museum, they understandably do not allow sparklers. Therefore, we improvised with streamer poppers at the front portico to the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum!" says the bride of their send-off. Guests hopped on trolleys and went to an after-party at an Italian restaurant, then celebrated with a pool party the next day. According to Denis, "Our wedding was a party that never ended! Over the course of four or five days, there were a number of formal or planned gatherings, but running into friends and family at the beach or in town made everything feel more relaxed and enjoyable." The couple then embarked on a honeymoon to Capri and Sicily, enjoying their first moments of married bliss overseas.
Photography, Jessica Lorren Organic Photography
Event planning, Sheila Camp Motley Events
Catering, Christafaro's Catering
Flowers, Tom Mathieu & Company, Inc.
Officiant, Reverend Robert Norris of Royal Poinciana Chapel
Stationery, The Printery
Calligraphy, Kate Hayes Calligraphy
Watercolor artwork, Lemontree Calligraphy & Illustration
Cake, Earth & Sugar
Bride's gown and veil, Carolina Herrera
Bride's shoes, Jimmy Choo
Hair and makeup, Jennifer Cruz Beauty Group
Bridesmaids' dresses, Amsale
Groom's suit, Giorgio Armani
Groom's shoes, Stubbs & Wootton
Transportation, Molly's Trolleys
Photobooth, Sideshow Booth Co.
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