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Husband and Wife
Allison Muench's engagement to J.P. Williams lasted four years because they couldn't find the right place to get married. Then a mutual friend told Martha Stewart of the couple's dilemma, and she agreed to lend them her house in East Hampton, New York. They collaborated with friends, borrowed from clients, stayed up late night after night, and pulled together a wedding that was a perfect expression of their style, a fusion of old and new, classic and modern.
The newly married couple clasps hands as they walk up the aisle.
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The Ceremony Location
On a brisk October day, Allison Muench and J.P. Williams are married by J.P.'s hometown Methodist minister, the Reverend Joe Elmore of Birmingham, Alabama. The sole decorations on the lawn are four pedestals topped by vases of pale cream roses.
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Allison and J.P. designed the graphic elements of their wedding, including the invitations engraved in green and deep-taupe ink.
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A Friend of the Bride's
S. Russell Groves helps Michael Leva straighten his bow tie; Leva, a friend of the bride's since college, designed her silk peau-de-soie gown.
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The attendants march in single file.
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Flower girls Emma and Maggie Pyle are dressed in austere black dresses with whimsical scalloped hemlines by Miss Pym.
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The Father of the Bride
Allison arrives on the arm of her father, Frederick Muench. "I think people were shocked to see me in a real wedding dress," says Allison. "They expected a slinky cocktail outfit, or something Japanese."
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"When you have a minimalist wedding," says Allison, "it's important to have each thing as well thought-out as it can be." Envelopes containing seating cards are arranged in neat rows.
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Inside the Seating Cards
Inside, a circled number indicates the side of the two long dinner tables at which each guest is to be seated.
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Gardenias float in square vases.
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White place cards are edged in green; J.P. and Allison made them from photographic matting board that they cut, stacked, then clamped together, painting the sides before applying the type.
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A frosted cylinder holds bells of Ireland.
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Each place is set with a place card and a single spoon (the only flatware needed for the first course, a squash soup); new settings were brought out for each course.
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The Wedding Party
The wedding party gathers on the lawn. From left are Eric A. Pike, Jodi Levine, Katharine Nemec, Maxwell H. Pulliam, Fred Muench, and Michael Leva, with flower girls Emma and Maggie Pyle. The bridesmaids wear dresses by Nicole Miller and carry lady's mantle. The bride carries a bunch of Eucharis. The men, dressed in custom-made Italian tuxedos, received their hand-monogrammed pocket squares as gifts from the groom.
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Martha talks with Eric Pike.
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Cocktails are served inside the house, which glows like a lantern as evening falls; a credenza and a bunch of bells of Ireland provide the only decoration.
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A row of 1950s school chairs, designed by Jean Prouve, is pulled up to a long table, decorated with a beige silk runner, cylindrical candles, and bunches of anemone.
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The Table Decor
Candles provide the only light during dinner, lending the party a romantic, 18th-century air; they also add to the warmth. "It was a bit nippy," admits J.P., "but it kept everybody awake."
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Allison and J.P. dance their first dance to "Georgia on My Mind."
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The guests gather for the feast: lobster cakes followed by grilled fish or veal, all served French-style by waiters carrying platters up and down the table.
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The camaraderie at dinner is enhanced by the long tables. "You could see everybody," says J.P., "and everybody looked great, all sitting together under the tent in the glow of only candlelight."
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The green cake is decorated with flowers and silver dragees.
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Favors for guests are mint candies packaged in aluminum containers originally made for watch parts; "The favors were inexpensive," says Allison. "You balance the extravagant elements with other things."
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