A Whimsical Beach Destination Wedding in New York
Sam and Ian
Ian, an audiovisual technician in Brooklyn, New York, had all but sworn off online dating when he connected with Sam, a public relations director -- online, of course. From the moment Ian saw her on their first date, he knew she was the one he wanted to spend forever with. And two and a half years later, they wed, on a rainy summer day on Shelter Island, in New York. Well-thought-out details abounded as the bride and groom said "I do" at their perfectly intimate and totally personalized June 2009 wedding on the beach.
Save the Dates
The save-the-date postcards were inspired by old romance comic books from the 1960s. Retired comic book artist Scott Rosema drew a custom cartoon of Sam and Ian. Working closely together on the design, he added personal touches that friends and family would recognize. The setting of the postcard is the spot of the proposal (and the ceremony) at Sam's family vacation home on Shelter Island. Scott even included the couple's beloved cats.
Sam took the artwork to her local copy shop and had it printed onto postcards. She designed the text on the back and had custom rubber stamps made by Etsy seller Blossom Stamps.
A Surprise in the Sand
Sam's stepfather, Bill, surprised the couple the morning of the wedding by waking up early and spelling out their names with stones and shells in the sand on the beach in front of the house.
Sam and her maid of honor, Jess, designed the programs. The dove-gray card stock was folded accordion-style, with childhood photos of the bride and groom in hand-doodled frames on the cover. Inside, little envelopes with Cath Kidtson-printed tissues were tucked away, sealed, and stamped with a custom stamp that read "happy tears." The backs of the program had the phrase "and they lived happily ever after..." printed in the corner. White square paper doilies acted as the outer envelopes, providing a vintage touch.
Pork Chops and Peaches
Sam and Ian met in the middle of winter. One night, Ian went to Sam's apartment and arrived with chattering teeth and a face stung by the cold air. Sam said the combination of his natural red hair and pink cheeks reminded her of a little piglet; The "pork chops" nickname evolved soon after. "Peaches" stemmed from Ian claiming Sam smelled of the fruit -- due to her use of a scented soap.
All of the wedding guests knew that the couple never refers to one another with their actual names. So the nicknames were incorporated into the wedding's details. Sam used a paper punch to make the pig- and peach-shaped confetti. Muslin pouches from an organic tea shop were adorned with a tag of instructions: "After 'I do' please shower the newlyweds with these Pork Chops & Peaches as they make their way back up the aisle."
The wedding party walked down the aisle to Joe Cocker's "With a Little Help From My Friends," and Sam entered to the couple's song, "Hide and Seek," by Imogen Heap, escorted by her father, Barry, and her stepfather, Bill.
The gardens and airy seaside views provided inspiration for the ceremony decor. Sam wanted everything to feel simple but thoughtful, with plenty of charm, while sticking to the palette of their environment's greens and whites. All flowers had a freshly picked feel. Urns of baby's breath dotted the aisle.
The ceremony was built from love letters that Sam and Ian had written one another for their wedding day. They hadn't read each other's letters until just before the ceremony and let their pastor pull the most special pieces from each. The ceremony showcased the couple's thoughts and feelings for one another and their future together. Ian's was a beautifully written letter, and Sam created a list of "365 reasons why I love you and can't wait to be your wife."
Tears of Joy
The intimate and personal ceremony proved to be extremely emotional for many of the 78 guests, who luckily had tissues on hand from their programs.
Here, maid of honor Jess dabs away a tear. The flower cuff is an Alexis Bittar design.
At the end of the ceremony, guests threw confetti into the air as Sam and Ian made their way back up the aisle as husband and wife.
Since their wedding ceremony was all frothy whites, creams, neutrals, and pale, washed-out pastels, Sam wanted there to be an unexpected explosion of color as they exited.
Portraits on the Beach
The approaching storm held off long enough for Angelica Glass to snap photos of the newlyweds on the beach. The overcast skies cast a beautiful light.
Sam's Monique Lhuillier "Celestine" dress was only the second one she tried on. She loved its luxurious layers of French tulle and topped it off with a birdcage veil from Jennifer Behr. Two beautiful poppies made with ivory patent leather nestled together on a skinny headband and finished with French veiling. The petals were all individually wired so Sam could delicately arrange them as she desired. Her right-hand ring -- a carved Lucite dome -- was a gift from her boss, Alexis Bittar.
Ian sported a blue-and-white seersucker suit from J.Crew. His tailor altered the fit slightly to make it extra skinny to suit Ian's personal style. Ian's shirt was from H&M, his navy-blue bow tie from Vermont Ties, and patent-leather, spectator-style shoes from J.Shoes. His authentic Scrimshaw cufflinks and Wishbone tie clip were vintage, and given to him by Sam on their wedding day.
Ian's boutonniere also had a simple, fresh-from-the-garden feel. Tucked into the top was a piece of the pig-shaped confetti.
Sam spent a lot of time looking for the perfect dresses for her three bridesmaids. She went straight to one of her favorite online shopping destinations, Etsy, to find something that felt vintage, light, and subtle in color. Her initial idea was to create 1960s-style prom dresses -- strapless, with full skirts, plenty of tulle, and hints of blush, blue, and sea foam.
She took her design concept to Monique Martinez of Ouma Clothing, who sold similar dresses. Monique gladly modified her own designs to help Sam dress her attendants -- who happily wore their custom-made frocks with headbands and pink astilbe bouquets that complemented the bride's bouquet of the same flowers in white.
The bride chose cobalt sequined pumps by Christian Louboutin as her "something blue."
To set the vibe of the reception -- and let their guests know how important it was to have them all there to celebrate -- Sam and Ian made something special for the escort cards. Sam spent weeks digging up old photos of each guest -- ideally with either the bride or the groom in the picture, to stress their relationships with each person.
After scanning, the pictures were digitally altered to look like old Polaroids using Poladroid -- which runs any picture through a virtual 'Polaroid camera' and "develops" the image within seconds to look like an actual Polaroid photo. Printed onto mid-weight card-stock and labeled with table assignments, they were the same size as actual Polaroid prints.
Mini hangers with clips from Etsy were used to display the escort cards along a clothesline that ran across the restaurant. The assortment of photos provided fabulous conversation during cocktail hour and also served as an icebreaker for those guests who were meeting for the first time during dinner.
Handmade Photo Booth
Mimicking the hanging escort cards, Mason jars were filled with bright markers, and a nearby note instructed guests to write their well wishes on the Polaroids from the photo booth and affix them to a hanging clothesline.
Sam and Ian later took all the snapshots and compiled them into a large album, now in residence on their coffee table. They keep it on hand for a good laugh and reflection of the great memories created that night.
Sam and Ian, who are known in their circle of friends for their ability to throw a fabulous party, took great care in planning their wedding reception. Since Sam's family is friends with the owners, they were able to take over the entire restaurant at the chic waterfront hideaway hotel, Sunset Beach.
The venue's laid-back setting and spectacular views of Crescent Beach were perfect for the summer celebration and made guests feel as though they'd been swept away to a private tropical beach. And although the original intention had been to keep the roof open for a summertime party under the stars, the covered upper deck provided a cozy room for the intimate evening.
Sunset Beach's French bistro-inspired cuisine was customized for Sam and Ian's wedding. The menu included moules frites, cheeseburgers, linguini with clams, fresh mozzarella with summer tomatoes, and home-style strawberry shortcake, all served family-style.
For the design of the menus, Sam was inspired by old library-book cards. She worked with Etsy vendor Bklynink to create the index cards and stuff them into manila book pockets. Because the weather forecast was a bit ominous, Sam and her bridesmaids used red and white baker's twine to tie the card to the napkins to keep them from blowing away. And at the last minute, Sam added "Eat, drink, and be married!" on the pouch, so that when the menu cards were removed, guests were greeted by the cheery message. On the front of the pockets, calligrapher Katy Jamison put everyone's nicknames underneath the wedding date and reception location, and the pouches served as place cards.
Freshly squeezed mint mojitos were served in mini Mason jars with tin lids and vintage paper drinking straws found on eBay.
Sunset Beach's in-house DJ managed a playlist that Sam and Ian built. Sam was not really looking forward to a slow dance in the middle of a room of silent onlookers. Plus, the couple had already opted to use their song during the ceremony. But they decided to stick with tradition and selected a song by one of their favorite bands, the Beatles.
But as the weekend of the wedding approached and the couple set out on their drive to Long Island, Prince's "I Would Die 4 U" came on the radio. They immediately started dancing along; as the song ended, Sam sighed and said, "see, why can't that be our first dance song?" Ian turned his grinning face and proclaimed that it could be and would be their first dance song. Slow-dancing fears vanished as the couple planned to surprise their guests with their perfectly personal song selection.
Every summer on Shelter Island, when the strawberries are at their peak, a strawberry festival is held. This inspired the wedding cake. Using fresh whipped cream and the bright, ripe strawberries, the cake was a great mix of traditional (multiple tiers) and nontraditional (a home-style cake that didn't scream "wedding"). The husband and wife team who run the organic restaurant Planet Bliss agreed to make it -- even though it was somewhat of a last-minute request. Sebastian Bliss, the head chef, put together this perfectly sweet confection.
Sam and Ian placed Polaroids of themselves taken in profile, and perched them atop the cake as if they were kissing each other. The photos had been taken just prior to the ceremony by members of the bridal party. It wasn't until the cake was brought out at the reception that they saw the snapshots. The unexpected cake topper really captured the couple's desire to personalize the wedding.
Photography: Angelica Glass, angelicaglass.com
Hair: Hair by Pam Baumgartner, firstname.lastname@example.org; 917-608-0104
Makeup: Masah Gvozdov, email@example.com; 646-262-2644
Officiant: Pastor Bill Grimbol, firstname.lastname@example.org
Groom's Vintage Cufflinks and Tie Clip: Screaming Mimi's, screamingmimis.com
Fabric for Photo Booth: Fabric Bee; Fabric Fantastique; Fabrics Sew Nice
Bride's Vintage Clutch: What's Vintage?