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As a high school science teacher, Matthew Pegorari should have known that you don’t need H2O to experience the power of chemistry. But he didn’t learn that lesson until June 2010, when a friend invited him to join a group of pals for a weekend at a hunting lodge without running water in middle-of-nowhere Massachusetts. He also never predicted that sparks would fly in a setting devoid of electricity. When he met Leanna Richel, though, a special-education teacher, fly they did. “We hit it off immediately,” she says. “He was friendly, funny, and talked even more than I did.” At the end of the weekend, they exchanged numbers and headed home—he to northern Massachusetts, and she to New York. Matt called later that night, and it wasn’t long before the two educators found themselves in a long-distance relationship.
Two years later, Leanna accepted a new teaching job and moved to Massachusetts—and five months after that, in November 2012, Matt proposed. “We were on a hike with Leanna’s dog, Lucy, when I stopped in a field, got down on one knee, and said, ‘I love you so much and want to spend the rest of my life with you,’” he recalls. But Leanna wasn’t the only one who had won his heart; after slipping a ring on her finger, he tied a collar with a big faux diamond around Lucy’s neck. To his delight, both gals accepted.
Before long, the couple set a date—June 14, 2014—and chose a location: Red Maple Vineyard, in New York’s Hudson Valley. Not only was it located halfway between each of their families’ homes, says Leanna, “the setting is breathtaking, with a gorgeous view from the hill where we had our ceremony.” With the venue booked, the bride’s sister, Lauren, an art director and a graphic designer, stepped into the role of wedding planner. “She took our vision of something natural but sophisticated and ran with it, helping with everything from designing the stationery to putting the finishing touches on the cake topper,” Leanna says.
After all the hard work—and four years after their first meeting—Leanna and Matt exchanged traditional vows before 253 of their nearest and dearest. Guests headed to the garden for cocktails before making their way to the property’s tent for a dinner of braised beef and pesto shrimp, a dessert spread of mini pies and tarts, and dancing to a live band. A bourbon-and-cigar bar and fire pit for s’mores had the party going late into the night. The next week, the newlyweds continued their celebration by heading off to St. Martin, a luxurious contrast—complete with plumbing and electricity—to where they first met.
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A letterpressed suite, designed by Leanna’s sister, Lauren Richel Kelly of Ditto Paper, seamlessly blended the bride’s New York City preppy side (stripes and calligraphy) with the groom’s rugged Berkshires style (kraft paper and a hand-painted flower motif). Gold foil pulled all the pieces together. Calligraphy by Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls was mixed with the typefaces throughout.
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The pair took pics before the I do’s so they could spend more time with loved ones afterward.
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The Bridal Bouquet
Leanna’s loose bouquet featured peonies, her favorite flower. “The long grosgrain ribbon made it feel whimsical and informal, which I loved,” she says.
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Lauren held peonies, roses, delphiniums, chamomile, and dusty miller.
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Ceremony programs also featured the floral motif.
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Leanna’s parents escorted her down the aisle to a version of Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years.”
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Two Little Guys
The couple’s nephews, both wearing Janie and Jack, served as ring bearers.
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Hilltop I Do’s
The couple exchange vows beneath a canopy of flowers created by floral designer Livia Cetti of The Green Vase. “I was nervous about having the spotlight on me, but in that moment I completely forgot about everyone else,” Leanna says. “I felt like it was just the two of us.”
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The groom wore a forget-me-not boutonniere and a tie in a second Liberty of London pattern.
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Cocktails in the Garden
During the cocktail hour, guests soaked up the sun.
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Clearly, good genes run in the family: The bride’s beloved paternal grandmother smiled for the camera.
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Love in Bloom
Lush centerpieces featured peonies, garden roses, ranunculus, delphiniums, chamomile, blueberry vines, sweet peas, and dusty miller. “The venue was so naturally majestic that it didn’t require much more decoration,” Leanna says. The farm tables had simple white runners and kraft-paper menus.
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The Place Settings
Vintage vessels gave the tablescape a natural, organic feel that complemented the outdoor setting. “I really loved that no two arrangements were alike,” Leanna says.
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A mini pecan tart, placed on a napkin bearing the wedding’s signature floral motif, was just one of the treats at the dessert bar. “Unfortunately, I was having so much fun on the dance floor that I never got to taste how delicious everything was,” Leanna says.
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A Customized Topper
A porcelain figurine of the newlyweds and their dog topped a two-tier vanilla cake with raspberry and chocolate fillings.
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Signed With Love
A guest book customized with help from a rubber stamp was set out with teal pens for writing well wishes.
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On-palette favors showcased rock candy and Champagne bubbles.
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Location: Red Maple Vineyard
Catering, Cake, and Day-of Coordination: Corner Stone Caterers
Flowers: The Green Vase
Photography: Tripp Street Studio
Stationery: Ditto Paper
Calligraphy: Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls
Music: Charisma Band [reception]
Bride’s Gown and Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J.Crew
Bride’s and Bridesmaids’ Hair and Makeup: Amanda Semedo of Cathy’s Hair Room
Maid of Honor’s Dress: Amsale
Matron of Honor Hair and Makeup: Marianne’s Hair Studio
Groom’s Suit: Mantoni
Custom Napkins and Stir Sticks: For Your Party
Wedding Rings: Crown Jewelers
Groom’s Shoes: Allen Edmonds
Mens’ Custom Ties: Tiecrafters
Truffle Box: (item #FB196) Clear Bags
Fabric: Liberty of London “Tana Lawn Betsy" in turquoise ($35/yard)
Guest Book Pens: Uchida (teal LePen)
Photo Booth Backdrop: Spoonflower
Chevron Ribbon: Mary McNulty Design ($1.25/yard)
Shuttle Service: Hampton Inn and Suites