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The night before their big day, Gillian and Will hosted family and close friends for a welcome dinner. Fittingly, the avid sailors held the party at Sails restaurant in Rowayton, Connecticut.
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Upon arrival, guests were met with signs flanking the doorway. We designed, printed, and then spray-mounted each on foam boards. One announced "Welcome" and the other "Best Wishes Will + Gill." Both were strung up over the lanterns with inexpensive boat line.
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With sails festooned along the ceiling and a teak bar, which looked like the deck of a boat, the restaurant was the perfect location.
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Nice and Nautical
Sailing-themed decor reinforced the theme of the evening.
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Guests were grouped in tables around the intimate restaurant but were free to pick their own seats.
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Passed hors d'oeuvres included (from top) seared beef tenderloin canapes, crabmeat with fresh mango and wasabi mayo on brioche rounds, duck spring rolls, and mini croque monsieurs.
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Custom napkins bearing nautical knots were used for cocktail-hour nibbles.
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The Bar Fare
Pails of seasoned truffle fries were places around the barroom, along with delicious dips like garlic aioli, truffle mayo, and chipotle ketchup.
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Two signature drinks were on offer: a classic margarita and a Dark and Stormy. The couple's names and a ship's wheel adorned each of the custom stirrers from ForYourParty.com.
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The Groom's Girls
The Graves family -- Will, his mother Grace, and his sister Martha Stewart Weddings editor Elizabeth Graves -- cluster around their newest recruit, Gillian.
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Small tables made the evening feel really intimate.
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The Place Setting
Menus were slid into folded napkins, and clipped-on monkey's first knot key chains from Mystic Knotwork were for guests to keep. The significance? The groom and his sister (Martha Stewart Weddings editor Elizabeth Graves) always wanted to master tying this knot as kids.
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The Table Numbers and Flowers
Numbers were printed onto cardstock and nestled into knots created by Karen's Rope Work.
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The Ladies' Hankies
Each of the women in Gillian's family received delicate vintage handkerchiefs from Flapper Alley in Milwaukee that had been embroidered with the recipient's intital in New York City by Pins & Needles.
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Stationery: Crane & Co.
Calligraphy: Gail Brill Design
Monkey's Fist Table Number Holders: Karen's Rope Work
Coasters, Stirrers, Cocktail Napkins: ForYourParty.com
Monkey's First Keychain Favors: Mystic Knotwork
Vintage Handkerchiefs: Flapper Alley (414-276-6252)
Embroidery: Pins & Needles