I have known the O’Connor family for almost twenty years. It began the day Katherine’s grandmother, Nancy, walked into my store. She was, and remains, the most elegant woman I have ever known. She had an incredible presence and wonderful sense of style. During the years we worked together, she gave me quite the education on how things should be done.
Nancy and her husband, Tom Sr., hosted many events in NYC. I quickly became known as “Mrs. O’Connor’s Florist” in several of these locations, which was a real thrill. No one was allowed to bring in their own people … except for Mrs. O’Connor.
I know Nancy and Tom Sr. would have been so pleased with the marriage of Katherine to George. Nancy loved to throw a fabulous party and would have been delighted with every wedding detail. After all, Katherine is the first of her 26 grandchildren to say ” I Do”.
The mother of the bride must have said to me 1,000 times … “It needs to be simple.” I explained that this design would have many layers. I assured her nothing would be over the top, but quickly became aware each item would need careful consideration. Susie carried a huge swatch of one of the table cloths with her everywhere she went for months. We chatted in my office, on the phone, and while we traveled to Rhode Island and back. Add to that endless emails, text messages, and photo sharing, a constant line of communication was in play.
This may all seem like a little much, but Susie and I have been waiting for this for 20 years! Everything from the tie for the groom and his men, the logo, the jewelry, the containers, chargers, napery, lighting, flatware, china, stemware, even the ink color, edge stain, and paper easel for the table numbers were considered.
The interior of the Watch Hill Chapel is striking in its simplicity. Decorated with arrangements of pale green, white, and soft accents of blue, the already beautiful setting was ready for Tom’s walk with the first of his children to be married. A hedge of flowers surrounded the pulpit, and hand painted delft containers filled with flowers were set near the altar. The pews were decorated with tufts of blooms and baltic ivy. A white embroidered runner led the way to the altar.
A warm summer night with a cool ocean breeze. Guests gathered on the highest crest of the The Misquamicut Club. White hemstitch linen overlays were placed over full length Wedgewood cloths with white charivari chairs. Simple arrangements accented the cocktail tables. Swiss dot coasters and embroidered Irish linen tea napkins were offered with hors d’oeuvres at cocktails
Creating the room
I selected a sail cloth Sperry Tent for the reception which arrived Thursday morning. By 11:00AM my crew was hard at work rigging the main tent for lighting. Seven wood and glass beaded chandeliers I purchased specifically for this event were carefully placed at just the right height. I also added a combination LED lighting to create the mood and pinspots to highlight each arrangement.
Dressing the tables
As I often do, I used a combination of cloths in the room to create a more interesting space.
The blue paisley flocked linen was dressed with a lush arrangement of pale green and white bossoms designed in our silver fluted caviar bowl. A pewter charger and custom menu folded in an ivory hotel cotton napkin finished each place setting.
A rough cut gauze full length overlay topped a navy sailcloth base. Lace cut ceramic fruit bowls filled with delicate blooms in shades of soft pink, white, and pale coral accented the tables. An ivory glass charger and a pale blue hemstitch linen napkin finished the place setting.
The head table was draped in French blue embroidered satin cloths and surrounded by our Antoinette parlor chairs. I snuck into the O’Connor’s home that morning and “borrowed” a collection of the bride’s golf trophies … these were used for the arrangements on the head table. Katherine & George toasted with her great grandmothers toasting goblets. It was perfect!
The wedding cake
Prepared in Mystic, Connecticut a sumptuous carrot cake with woven cream cheese frosting was transported by the pastry chef herself. She took one look at the pedestal I wanted the cake on and gave me the “Oh no you are not.” look. It took a little convincing but she gave in quickly! Once she had the cake on the pedestal, it was moved to a table draped in layers of ruffled tulle. I added tufts of hydrangea and a few miniature roses to the top. A lace cut bowl of local concord grapes was also placed on the table to slide into position when the cake was removed for cutting.
As you will see when you look though the pictures and the video, this was no ordinary wedding! It was warm and inviting, full of life, simple in design but rich in details.
Over 600 hours of planning went into this event. I would do it again in a heart beat. In fact, I think we should on an annual basis!
When you look at the space now, you see beautiful turf with a majestic view of the ocean. Not even a hint of the room remains. The dancing, laughter, love and celebration of family and friends will always seem like a dream. This is the magic of a perfect tent wedding.
Making the Magic happen
Everytime we are in crunch mode, usually three to four times a weekend I say to key staff, “Okay people, let’s make the magic happen!!!”. Here is a little glimpse of how we do that.
The New York Crew; Christine Wheat, Meredith and Brandi for the organization and planning for the event. Tracey Buyce, Dan Cooper and Seth Guistimbelli “I knew you would be the perfect match for this family.” Jeffery, Dave, and Matt from the Full Frame Cinema Crew, “You came all the way from Nashville to deliver the kind of films only you can create.” My boys at CPRC who helped me build the dream and light up the night with perfection. When I put this team together, I new they would deliver and perform like no other for this incredible family. Success!
The Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut Crew; Philip Koretski, Tom Finocchiaro, and the entire staff of the Misquamicut Golf and Beach Club . Your assistance, patience and tolerance for the NY crew that desended upon you was more appreciated and admired than you will ever know. Ryan and crew of Sperry Tents. Erica Suffoletto of Coastal Gourmet in Mystic CT, for the Wedding cake. Krystyna Owen for the spectacular jewlery she created for the attendants. Luke Ives Pontifell and Victoria Wasserman of Thornwillow Press for the crafting and preparing all the printed materials on Mohawk Strathmore Paper. Rachel Castro of Pinhole Press for creating the PostCards, note pads, labels and photo books. Derrick and crew at Printing Plus in Westerly, Rhode Island for the vinyl graphics in a matter of minutes. Janice Nowlan for bringing the kind of entertainment that puts an entire group on the dance floor al the way from Phili. Bay Breeze Antiques in Watch hill for letting us borrow the cubbies for the escort cards. Leslie “For setting us up in style”. Deirdre “for getting us the right goods”
To the O’Connor’s and the Gregory’s
Thank you so much for an experience that we will never forget. The house that we shared as we prepared for the day was filled with a ridiculous amount of laughter and excitement as the events rolled out. There is a saying “You should never work with friends.” I strongly disagree!
Below is another video of the same day edit created by Jeffery and the Full Frame Crew, as the band took a quick break a video screen came into focus and the following was played before the reception was even over!!!
Katherine & George, Congratulations! You’re the perfect MATCH!