Kristel and Austin's Cheerful Wedding in Newport

The Couple

Brian Dorsey Studios

In 2007, while taking summer classes and visiting her twin brother at Tufts University, then-student Kristel Jean, now a high-school science teacher in Chicago, crossed paths with Austin Hsiao, now a process engineer at a biotech company.

Love blossomed, and years later, in December 2013, the duo arrived for holiday merriment with Kristel's family. As part of Christmas Eve tradition, guests gave a present to the person whose name they drew from a hat. Fittingly, Austin pulled Kristel's name. To her surprise, out came a ring box—and Austin went down on one knee. She said yes, and the yuletide festivities grew all the more celebratory.

Seven months later, Kristel and Austin threw a cheery summer wedding on July 19, 2014, in Newport, Rhode Island, amid 140 of their closest friends and family.

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Lunar Love

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Regas Studio designed the detailed invitation suite that included illustrations of lovers gazing at a starry sky to echo the phrase "I love you to the moon…and back," from Kristel's favorite children's book, Guess How Much I Love You.

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The Fashions

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The bride wore a Reem Acra gown with Via Spiga shoes, an heirloom pearl bracelet, a teardrop necklace from Macy's, and custom-designed earrings by Greenwich Jewelers. A jeweled headband complemented Kristel's choice of a cathedral-length veil for the ceremony. The groom accessorized his black Vera Wang suit with a vest, bow tie, and pocket square.

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Waiting With "Baby's Breath"

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Jen Stone of Stonekelly designed the bouquets, featuring black-eyed Susans, baby's breath, ranunculus, craspedia, freesia, and lavender. Kristel chose black-eyed Susans because they covered the Tufts University grounds the summer she met her groom. And Austin had sent his bride a bouquet of baby's breath back in college, so the white flowers were incorporated as well.

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On the Move

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The ladies made their way to the beach for pictures following the couple's first look and portraits.

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Pearls Just Wanna Have Fun

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The bridesmaids played up dark-blue Shoshanna dresses with double-strand pearls and nude heels of their choice.

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Suited Up

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The groomsmen donned Black by Vera Wang suits, gray bow ties and vests, and white pocket squares.

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A Touch of Color

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Boutonnieres of craspedia and chamomile provided pops of color for the groom and his groomsmen.

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The Ceremony Spot

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Kay Chapel—a Moravian church dating back to the mid-1800s—was chosen for the wedding service.

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Put a Wreath on It

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Wreaths with the same colorful blooms as in the bride's bouquet hung from chapel doors.

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And I Thought I Loved You Then

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Kristel's father walked her down the aisle to "Then" by Brad Paisley.

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Lovely Ladies

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Daughters of a family friend carried nosegays of chamomile and tossed yellow rose petals down the aisle while wearing Joan Calabrese frocks and carrying their baptismal medals.

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"It Is Only Love Which Sets Us Free"

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Reverend Lark d'Helen officiated the nuptials and Kristel's brothers and Austin's sister recited readings during the ceremony, including Maya Angelou's poem "Touched by an Angel," one of the bride's favorite literary works.

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Showered in Love

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The bridal party greeted the new husband and wife by tossing rose petals.

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By the Seaside

Anchor and Safety Throw Ring Accents
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Kristel and Austin's favorite memory of the day was taking time to sip soda and eat snacks while walking along trails by the sea just before the reception. "It was so special to sit together, watch the waves come in, and enjoy our first moments together as husband and wife," Kristel says.

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Munching in Style

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Guests enjoyed cocktail hour on the grounds of the Castle Hill Inn, where the reception took place. "We wanted the design and flow for the wedding weekend to have a relaxed and elegant air to it, as if Castle Hill was their home," event planner Michelle Rago says. "We also wanted to mirror that period of time when lawn parties were the summer fashion."

The venue catered with appetizers of tomato bruschetta with roasted garlic and pesto aioli; Jonah crab cakes with chipotle; lobster-avocado rillettes on plantain chips; chilled poached white shrimp with mango-habanero hot sauce; corn madeleines with lime crème fraîche and caviar; foie gras vol au vent with grilled stone-fruit chutney; barbecue mac-and-cheese tarts with lobster, and yacht club sodas.

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Eyes on the Prize

Anchor and Safety Throw Ring Accents
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Adults and children alike appreciated rounds of corn hole during cocktail hour.

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Let's Play Croquet

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Partygoers socialized amid croquet games, while a nearby lemonade stand supplied refreshments.

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Fun and Games

Anchor and Safety Throw Ring Accents
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The cocktail hour area was enhanced by a pair of regal tents, housing the lawn game equipment and a pair of stately chairs for a good view of the games.

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Cigars, Anyone?

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The couple's signature drink, a "Dark and Stormy," was on offer with a selection of cigars stored in antique boxes that belonged to Kristel's grandfather.

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Light Conquers All

Anchor and Safety Throw Ring Accents
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A symbol of the night, these beacons of light accented cocktail napkins.

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To the Moon

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Stonekelly designed custom shelving units to hold escort cards and mason jars filled with cheerful blooms like daisies, chamomile, roses, freesia, and rice flower.

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A Home for Well Wishes

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Attendees placed presents inside a house-shaped card box from Door County Woodworks.

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Setting the Mood

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"The bride and groom love New England, wildflowers, and lighthouses," Rago recalls. "A July wedding in Newport was the perfect fit. We chose crisp colors of yellow, white, and navy." Candlelit lanterns of all shapes and sizes hung from the top of the sailcloth tent (a permanent fixture on the property), which was draped in off-white fabric.

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On the Edge

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Special linens (with navy inlet box pleats) and bold piping dressed up the tables.

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A Sunny Disposition

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Stonekelly filled hammered metal vases with the white and yellow flowers used in the bouquets and at the church, as well as blue hydrangea. Floating candles in clear stemmed glassware and tealights in mercury glass votives added a warm glow to the midsummer celebration. Patterned napkins added a graphic element to the tables.

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The Fare

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A salad of local baby greens, endive, pickled beets, lavash crisp, whipped Vermont chèvre, and roasted shallot vinaigrette kicked off dinner. Guests then dined on one of three main-course offerings: grilled angus beef tenderloin with Yukon gold potatoes, caramelized onion gratin, baby carrots, tomato confit, and sherry jus; grilled Atlantic salmon with blackened sweet potatoes, grilled greens, and corn-and-andouille-maque choux; or grilled vegetable and local ricotta cannelloni with a tomato-goat-cheese emulsion and Parmigiano-Reggiano.

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Dancing in the Moonlight

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The newlyweds swayed to "A Thousand Years" by Christina Perri for their first dance.

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How Sweet It Is

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The duo cut into their vanilla sponge cake with both lemon chiffon and almond crunch filling, which was covered with a buttercream in a ridged pattern and sugar black-eyed Susans. The slices were plated with fresh raspberries and served to guests, who had been encouraged to save room for the sweet on the letterpressed menus.

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Gathered Together

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"Build Me Up, Buttercup" ended the reception, giving way to the after-party in the Castle Hill mansion.

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Brian Dorsey Studios

Photography: Brian Dorsey Studios

Ceremony Location: Kay Chapel

Reception Location, Catering, and Cake: Castle Hill Inn

Event Planning: Michelle Rago Destinations

Flowers and Rentals: Stonekelly Events

Videography: Mason Jar Films

Officiant: Reverend Lark d'Helen

Stationery: Regas

Music: Jimmy Vali

Hair: Nikki Avanzino

Makeup: Souraya Hamdi

Lighting: JDI Productions Inc.

Transportation: All Occasion Transportation Incorporated

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