From The Bride…
We got engaged at sunset on a beautiful evening in Bagan, Myanmar, the ancient temple city. The engagement was a destination, and as we were initially discussing potential wedding locations, so at first I thought the wedding would be as well. What we soon realized, though, was that the logistics of a destination wedding would be challenging for too many of our nearest and dearest. So we decided to search for something that felt like the European countryside, but happened to be on the northeast corridor line. We were fortunate enough to get the last summer date available at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Even when we went to visit the venue on a wet, chilly day in the dead of winter, we fell in love with the location. My mother grew up on a chicken farm, so having the wedding take place on a working farm had special meaning to us. Our goal: to have a fun, casual yet elegant wedding with great food, great music, and great people, and we thought this venue would be the prefect perfect setting.
The day before the wedding, we went with our close family and wedding party for a tour of Blue Hill farm. We learned about the sustainable practices of the farm which gave us and our guests a special opportunity to really get to know the farm, the mission, and have further appreciation for the food we would be eating the day after. One part was especially meaningful: Justin helped arrange a gift that would go towards a 2016 Oak Tree planting in the memory of my father, and part of the tour included seeing where the tree would soon be planted. It was quite meaningful that Blue Hill was able to let us honor him and have him be part of our special event.
Rather than use our names or initials, we had the talented team at Bella Figura design a “goose/swan” logo for the wedding (representing our avian nicknames for each other). We used this logo on the invitation and throughout the wedding, on everything from the yarmulkes to the napkins. I’ve always loved to draw, so thought it would be fun to design the escort cards. Justin and I brainstormed and decided that rather than use table numbers, everyone would be assigned an herb, and a spring of that particular herb would be found at each table setting. We also wanted the flexibility of adjusting last- minute table assignments, so we included drawings of all the herbs on each escort card, and the Daughter of Design team waited until the day prior to circle the appropriate herb for each guest.
My dress was a Monique Lhuillier, and I thought it fit me and the venue to a tee. It was a combination of vintage classic with some modern touches.
As a pre-wedding gift for Justin, I got him a pair of cufflinks from Etsy – one with a goose and one with a swan –, made of vintage stamps. He got me an eternity band that I’d been was eyeing (but wasn’t expecting to receive for some time). I chose a gray Jenny Yoo gown for the bridesmaids – the color was flattering on all of the ladies, and each one was styled to flatter her figure. I also got each bridesmaid matching Eberjey PJ sets. I was inspired by another Blue Hill bride who had suggested them. It was fun to wear the matching sets for the sleepover the night before the wedding, and also proved an easy way to stay comfy through all the morning-of wedding prep.
For the aesthetic design, we worked with the talented Matthew Robbins. We chose a palette of lots of greens with peach, white, and pops of bright pink. We also wanted to play off the stone barns so we used hurricane lanterns. We wanted a “market table” feel for the escort card table, and leading up to the main hall were rows of live rosemary and lavender, which smelled rich and delicious, creating a subtle experience as guests walked through. Matthew also incorporated each table’s particular herb into the table’s décor.
We were very fortunate with the weather and were able to have the ceremony outdoors under a large tree in the Blue Hill courtyard. Matthew and his team designed a beautiful leafy huppah with beautiful pops of flowers. The birds were chirping as we were under the huppah – it felt magical. The cocktail reception took place in the nearby apple menagerie were guests drank signature cocktails and nibbled on delicious passed hors d’oeuvres. To our knowledge, the snacks were so good that nobody felt tempted to pluck a ripe apple off the trees surrounding us.
Music was a very important component of the wedding for the two of us. We had a talented flutist/violin duet from Julliard for our ceremony and reception. Our band, Sound House, was incredible and had all the guests on the dance floor. Justin grew up playing music with his “family band” and we thought it would be fun to incorporate that into the wedding. As the family band started playing some classic rock, Justin interrupted the song to announce that they “needed more cow bell.” Fortunately, I had one hidden under my seat! I got up from my seat (cowbell in hand) and joined the family band for a few classic rock songs, and it its own right was my full initiation into the family.
Food and drink were also important to us. We only finalized our menu two weeks prior to the event, because it is so seasonal and dependent on what would be fresh from the farm. We had a four- course tasting menu with wine pairings for our guests and there were no leftovers in sight! It was delicious – quite a few of our guests told us it was one of the best meals they have ever had.
After we cut the cake (a delicious seasonal cake with blueberry, peach and vanilla), guests kept the party going downstairs with DJ Stephen. Guests nibbled on more small bites and partied on the dance floor. At that time I changed from my wedding gown to a white sequined J Crew Wedding Romper.
As a farewell treat, guests received jars of Blue Hill’s very own honey, thanking them for being part of the “sweetest day of our lives.” We hosted brunch the next morning at the historic Tarrytown House and Estate. It was a lovely sendoff to a perfect weekend.