Stephanie Ellis Brown and Ben Brown were married on April 30, 2008, but had another three years later, on May 29, 2011. The New York City-based actress and writer/director/producer -- who met in acting school -- first tied the knot at City Hall after just nine months of dating. They decided to get married "again" and invited friends from all over the world, including the bride's native Australia, to the bigger celebration in a picturesque countryside setting.
Ice Cream Social designed the invitation after looking through bags of beads, photos, clippings, and papers that Stephanie and Ben had collected. It incorporated a monogram and an illustration based on a picture of the couple in India holding up peace signs. The floral border was inspired by the ceremony decor and the logo at the top of the invitation was reworked onto a tag that hung from twine wrapped around the suite.
Stephanie wore a bright blue dress the first time around so she went in a more muted direction for round two. She paired a light-gray Lanvin gown from Kleinfeld with Lanvin shoes, Hannah Clark rose-gold hoop earrings with black pave diamonds and small fresh pearls, a silk-and-gold threaded bracelet from ABC Carpet and Home, a Hannah Clark feather-shaped bracelet, and a twisted gold ring by Carla Caruso with black diamonds from Lori McLean (the same store her engagement ring and the original set of wedding bands came from). She carried a bouquet of peonies, snowball garden roses, blue nigella, mini thistles, unripened blueberries, and flowering clematis vine, made by Poppies and Posies. Ben had his three-piece suit made at Freeman's Sporting Club. A Hamilton shirt, Alexander Olch tie, and John Varvatos shoes completed his ensemble.
Given their shared appreciation for yoga and meditation, Stephanie and Ben chose to add a spiritual element to their ceremony. Each guest wear a Mala garland, which represented the circle of being present. Stephanie and her mother made all the necklaces themselves with Buri seed beads and Griffin Silk Beading Cord.
Hannah Clark designed a necklace for Ben. An oxidized silver chain with rose-gold clasp held a pendant that had two Ouroboros (snakes swallowing their own tails, which represent eternity and continuous change) joined together. Each contained tiny black diamond eyes and the bride's and the groom's birthstones on the heads. Stephanie wore a white-gold ring in the same serpentine form. It incorporated stones from an old ring of her grandmother's.
Stephanie presented the necklace to Ben to wear as a representation of their vow renewals. Ben gave Stephanie a vintage diamond ring from Doyle and Doyle. Both tokens were carried down the aisle on a rough piece of crystal quartz nestled in a rectangular ceramic container filled with moss.
Sammy Cagnina, a good friend of the couple's, presided over the ceremony. He spoke to how the pair define marriage and to the recommitment they were making to each other. Their readings echoed the importance of love and devotion. "We tried to match each one to the spirit of the person reading it," Stephanie says. "It felt really touching that people got up and spoke from their hearts -- in some cases barefoot on the grass. There was a certain earnestness to the proceedings."
Each table was labeled with a significant element of the couple's relationship. Rubber stamps, made through Casey Rubber Stamps, were used on eco-friendly escort cards. Guests' names were added using a typewriter Stephanie bought from Brady and Kowalski, and the cards were displayed on a bed of moss with delicate florets of white scabiosa, veronica, and miniature thistles.
The card with each table's icon was placed on a slice of wood next to a centerpiece of peonies, snowball garden roses, blue nigella, white scabiosa, unripened blueberries, oregano, and spirea. Small clipboards with menu cards were set at each place. Stephanie made place cards by typing guests' names on mini kraft-paper hang tags, which were tied to the clipboards with brown baker's twine. The menu included greenhouse greens and herbs with a fresh farm egg; handmade cavatelli with mushrooms and spinach; and cauliflower "steak" with carrots and grains. A Sacher cake (an Austrian dessert consisting of chocolate cake, apricot jam, and delicate chocolate icing) paired with salted caramel ice cream ended the meal alongside a selection of petits fours. Blue Hill at Stone Barns paired each course with an appropriate wine.
The design from the invite tag was stamped onto small notebooks from Scout Books, which were set out in a rustic box from The Upper Rust, a favorite antique store of the bride's in lower Manhattan. Little boxes of handmade chocolates (passionfruit for her, dark chocolate for him) were arranged on a wire stand for guests to take.