These Brides Threw a Cheerful Orange-and-White Wedding in Rhode Island

brides walk on ocean front beach
Photo: J. Harper Photography

These brides hosted an intimate celebration for just 30 guests at a venue with its own Champagne bar.

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brides stand outside pale yellow ocean house with white pillars
J. Harper Photography

Though Brooke and Caitlin officially met in October 2015—during a first date in a Rhode Island coffee shop where they talked for hours over cappuccino—they soon realized that they'd crossed paths before: The women had played the same position on their tennis teams at rival high schools and had faced off on the court countless times. "Looking back, I can slightly remember a small, dark-haired girl with a killer backhand swing," says Caitlin, "and I'm willing to bet that she's the one I'll spend the rest of my life with."

Two years later, on a rainy walk through Gas Works Park in Seattle, Caitlin popped the question at a spot overlooking the city skyline. The couple planned a September 2018 ceremony in Tuscany, Italy, but celebrated stateside with friends and family at the Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, on June 24, 2018. They chose to hold their reception in the venue's Secret Garden, where guests were treated to a Champagne bar and terrace views of the sweeping beach. Their orange-and-white color palette played into Watch Hill's décor—and to this day, the brides say that the venue, however splashy, offers a secluded atmosphere. "It's still a secret to many people!" says Brooke.

With an intimate guest list of just 30 of their closets friends and family, a menu inspired by classic beach fare (think lobster rolls and hot dogs!), and an emotional ceremony, these former tennis competitors won big on one of the happiest days of their lives.

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In the Navy

navy blue cardstock rose gold printing anchor design invitations
J. Harper Photography

The couple's 30 guests received invitations printed through Zazzle; they referenced the oceanfront setting, thanks to navy blue cardstock, rose gold printing, and an understated anchor accent. "Our invitations captured the signature nautical vibe we were looking for," says Caitlin.

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Just Beachy

beach front ocean house wedding venue
J. Harper Photography

Brooke and Caitlin chose to host their ceremony at the grand Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island. The stately yellow building with its beachfront views offered several spaces that the newlyweds incorporated into their day, including the Herb Garden, where they held the ceremony, and a private Champagne restaurant where they joined their guests for the reception.

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Dress to Impress

brides face each other outside of wedding venue
J. Harper Photography

Brooke and Caitlin vetoed the chaos of wedding dress shopping at a huge store—"Honestly, the thought of trying on a million wedding dresses is something that I was not excited about," says Caitlin—and decided to limit their search to designs from BHLDN, which they loved for the its "modern, simple" style. "We made an appointment to look at dresses together, and after trying on a handful, each of us left the store with our perfect dress on order," says Caitlin. "Mine was the first one I tried on."

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A Perfect Pair

brides wearing ivory wedding dresses with split back tops
J. Harper Photography

Both women chose ivory gowns with split-back tops, which allowed them to coordinate without giving up their own personal style: Caitlin chose the "Iva" crepe maxi with a columned skirt; Brooke wore the short-sleeved lace "Kenzie" top with the "Hampton" skirt. "The thing we loved about these dresses is that they complemented each other so well," says Caitlin. "There was a natural flow between them that made the dresses look like they belonged together." They kept the rest of their style choices simple, with subtle jewelry, a loose updo for Brooke and beachy waves for Caitlin from OH! Spa, and natural makeup from Andria Schlehuber.

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Lovely in Lace

adrianna papell lace trimmed heels
J. Harper Photography

Brooke took her shoe choice seriously, says Caitlin: "After weeks of searching, Brooke found her shoes months in advance. She tends to be the planner of the two of us, and is always prepared." Her choice: Adrianna Papell heels with a lace-trimmed toe that matched the detailing on the bodice of her dress.

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Toeing the Line

nine west ivory pointed toe heels
J. Harper Photography

Caitlin found her ivory, pointed-toe Nine West shoes the day before the wedding. "The shoes were kind of an afterthought and a last-minute purchase," she says. "I knew it would fall into place and it just did. The first shoe store I walked into, they were the first shoe I tried on and were perfect."

08 of 20

Brides and Blooms

matching all white floral bouquets
J. Harper Photography

The brides carried matching all-white bouquets from Sayles Livingston Designs, including delicate orchids with orange centers that matched the venue's color scheme. "We wanted a very clean and elegant look," says Brooke. "Whites are so beautiful, and you can't go wrong with orchids."

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Pre-Wedding Gifts

brides exchanging Tiffany Co. wedding gifts
J. Harper Photography

Before the ceremony, Brooke and Caitlin took a quiet moment to exchange wedding gifts from Tiffany: Caitlin gave Brooke a pair of classic pearl earrings, which she donned for the ceremony, and Brooke gave Caitlin a monogrammed luggage tag.

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Twirl Girl

flower girl with white floral crown
J. Harper Photography

Though they chose not to have a full bridal party, Brooke and Caitlin did include two of their favorite kids—Caitlin's nephew, Oliver, served as the ring bearer, and Brooke's niece, Bernadette, took on the role of flower girl. "Bernadette stole the show with her crown of white flowers," says Brooke. "She twirled around the beachfront Champagne deck for hours with a smile from ear-to-ear as our guitar player serenaded her."

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An Emotional Ceremony

brides walk down recessional aisle
J. Harper Photography

Brooke and Caitlin exchanged vows in a ceremony officiated by Jeremy Carmona, one of Brooke's friends from college. "It was important to us to have someone fun and loving that could make the ceremony personal and intimate," says Brooke. Guests gathered in the Herb Garden at Ocean House, where chairs were centered around a fire pit that created a focal point for the ceremony. Caitlin and her father, Alan, walked down the aisle first as "Tennessee Whisky" played; then Brooke and her father, Roger, joined them to Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah." "Walking into the Herb Garden, approaching Caitlin, it was the most magical, peaceful, and joyous time that I will forever cherish," says Brooke. "Words cannot describe how loved and special I felt." During the recessional, guitarist Angel Javier Camilo

played "Isn't She Lovely."

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Orange Zest

brides standing at orange and white champagne bar
J. Harper Photography

Brooke and Caitlin led guests to the Ocean House's Secret Garden, a restaurant with a private terrace and Veuve Cliquot champagne bar overlooking the ocean. "The Secret Garden is such a unique and special place," says Brooke. "We did not want to change anything, but decided to personalize it with small touches, like flowers on the bike." The white-and-orange color scheme of the space created a sunny, cheerful palette that kept everyone's spirits high—despite the overcast weather.

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An Outdoor Celebration

white and orange themed patio cocktail hour
J. Harper Photography

The Secret Garden's terrace turned out to be exactly the kind of cozy, elegant space Brooke and Caitlin were looking for, complete with chic white-cushioned furniture and orange throw pillows and linens. "Since it was an overcast June day, there were moments when the wind made it chilly, so orange fleece blankets (provided by Ocean House) were placed strategically around the deck for our guests to cozy up in," says Caitlin.

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Veuve Cliquot champagne bottles next to flutes
J. Harper Photography

The newlyweds embraced the reception venue's theme by offering a bar stocked with Veuve Cliquot, which they featured in a pair of cocktails called the "Rich Tropical Fruit Swimming Pool"—a combination of apricot, pineapple, and mango—and the "Rich Berry Swimming Pool," with raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. "Bubbly was flowing our entire event," says Brooke. "Veuve Cliquot is our favorite Champagne that we have always toasted to since the beginning of our relationship."

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Bite-Sized Elegance

cocktail hour patio furniture with orange accents
J. Harper Photography

Instead of a traditional sit-down meal, Brooke and Caitlin designed a menu that stayed true to their idea of "playful yet relaxed beachfront luxury." Snacks and small bites included truffle popcorn, hand-cut fries, mini hot dogs, mini lobster rolls, and fish tacos.

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Silver Linings

beach front wedding ceremony
J. Harper Photography

On the morning of the ceremony, Ocean House event planners, who were watching the weather forecast—which called for rain and gray skies—recommended moving the event indoors. But Brooke and Caitlin opted to take their chances. "We decided to have faith and keep the original plan of celebrating outside with our families," says Brooke. "The weather held up, and it was a perfect day. In the end, the slight overcast allowed for the beautiful pictures you see today."

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Having Their Cake

monogramed white frosted cupcakes on orange tabletop
J. Harper Photography

For dessert, Brooke and Caitlin traded a formal cake for tasty cupcakes from the Ocean House's baker in three flavors: Chocolate cake with chocolate Italian buttercream frosting, almond cakes with elderflower Italian buttercream frosting, and vegan lemon cake with elderflower frosting. Each cupcake had a monogrammed topper with the newlyweds' initials. "Everyone seemed thrilled with the menu, especially Caitlin's nephew, Oliver," says Brooke, "who admitted to eating four cupcakes by the end of the reception and had a face full of chocolate frosting to prove it."

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Their First Dance

brides walk on ocean front beach
J. Harper Photography

Along with the view of Taylor Swift's house, part of the appeal of the venue was its waterfront location—a perk Brooke and Caitlin made the most of with an early-morning pre-wedding walk on the empty beach. "Our first dance took place before the ceremony," says Brooke. "At the end of the walk, Caitlin took my hand and asked me to dance as she played our song on her phone." That intimate moment was Caitlin's favorite part of the day, too: "That was the moment I felt married to the girl I want to spend the rest of my life with," she says. "That was the moment that her and I became us."

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A Shore Thing

handmade soap wedding favors
J. Harper Photography

Guests went home with handmade soaps from Shore Soap Company in Newport. "We are big into supporting local businesses and giving gifts that people will use," says Caitlin. "The scents we chose were beach-themed, called Atlantic and Pacific, and both smelled so delightful."

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brides face each other under greenery covered doorway
J. Harper Photography

Photography, J. Harper Photography
Location and Catering, Ocean House
Flowers, Sayles Livingston Design
Stationery, Zazzle
Music, Angel Javier Camilo
Brides' gowns, BHLDN
Brides accessories, Adrianna Papell shoes; Nine West shoes; Tiffany earrings
Hair, OH! Spa
Makeup, Andria Schlehuber
Flower Girl dress, Pippa and Julie
Favors, Shore Soap Company

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