A Formal Outdoor Tent Wedding in New York
Rebecca and Todd
Rebecca Hessel and Todd Cohen could have met long ago. After all, she attended high school with all three of his siblings. But it wasn't until years later that a mutual friend finally introduced the couple and their romance began.
The New York City natives -- she's the fashion and beauty editor at Cosmopolitan, and he's a real estate owner and developer -- were together six years before setting a date for their nuptials in the Hamptons: June 26, 2010.
Though the couple is Manhattan based, they treated their Bridgehampton, New York, nuptials as a destination wedding. To set the tone, Rebecca and Todd sent letterpressed save-the-dates. On the back, stationer Julie Holcomb created a giclee print of the spot where the couple would tie the knot.
Bernard Maisner's calligraphy was used on the hand-lettered envelopes and engraved invitation. Customized match barrels from ForYourParty.com were placed at the bars and given to guests for the sparkler send-off at the evening's conclusion. Since Rebecca heard lavender brought marriages good luck (and because it reminded her of the south of France), small muslin pouches rubber-stamped with the couple's monogram were filled with the fragrant herb for guests to toss during the ceremony.
The Ceremony Site
The bride's family summer house provided a magical backdrop for the summer wedding. With a mood inspired by the south of France, The Great Gatsby, and Miss Havisham's mansion in Great Expectations, the couple worked with The Wedding Library and Lewis Miller Designs to turn their vision into reality.
To create the dreamy setting, overgrown flowers and cascading blooms covered the property. An antique wrought-iron arbor from Marders was covered with hundreds of English roses so it felt as if it had been on the property for decades. The guests were seated close to the structure to create a sense of intimacy.
An acoustic rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" accompanied the bridal party's procession down the aisle. The bridesmaids carried bouquets of mauve and lavender roses with garden sage, created by Lewis Miller Design.
The Flower Girls
The Bride's Entrance
Ray Lamontagne's "Shelter" was played as Rebecca walked down the aisle with her arms linked through her parents'. On the long walk from the house, they passed Rebecca's favorite pear tree.
Rabbi David Gelfand officiated the Reform Jewish ceremony, which also involved a cantor singing and a second rabbi, Rabbi Posner, reading the ketubah. Remarking on the lavender satchels placed on the chairs, one rabbi asked everyone to smell the fragrant herb and always remember the sweet smell of this special moment.
Though it started to drizzle halfway through the ceremony -- causing a bit of laughter and worry, as the rain plan had been nixed -- English parasols saved the day. The rain added a bit of magic to the ethereal setting.
A nebuchadnezzar of Champagne was poured over a tower of coupe glasses immediately after the ceremony. The Jeff Ross Band played Ray Lamontagne's "You Are the Best Thing." It was the song that had played in the background when Todd proposed to Rebecca.
Photographer John Dolan captured Rebecca and Todd's excitement as they took off down the orchards for a private moment.
When Rebecca found her Monique Lhuillier dress, with its beaded bodice and cascade of tulle down the skirt, she fell in love. Each time she tried it on for fittings, she proclaimed that she wanted to run through the fields in the rain. Thanks to the light rain that started mid-ceremony, she got her chance.
A table of artisanal cheeses, charcuterie, grapes, figs, Provencal vegetables, and baguettes was set up for cocktail hour. Rebecca and Todd wanted guests to feel like they were strolling through the countryside and suddenly discovered amazing markets.
Todd's godfather, Uncle Harry, and Harry's girlfriend, Carol, looked sharp during the cocktail hour.
Balinese furniture and antique white-washed wrought-iron tables decorated the cocktail space.
The Bridal Party
Rebecca and her mother designed the bridesmaid dresses together, and with help from a Manhattan-based seamstress, created seven dreamy gowns. In the future, they hope to develop a collection for bridesmaids.
The Escort Cards
Bernard Maisner calligraphed guests' names onto soft ivory envelopes, which contained their table assignments.
Florist Lewis Miller found fans with a peacock design to help guests fend off the summer heat.
Inside the dinner tent, long tables for 186 guests were covered with lush centerpieces. Passion vine, cabbage roses, and green baby's tears filled tarnished silver bowls; mercury glass vessels overflowed with white peonies and fragrant geranium leaf; and antique garden urns housing jasmine, begonias, and lady fern intertwined with etched-glass hurricane lanterns aglow with candles.
The Finishing Touch
A faux white peacock was tucked into the peak of the tent, along with overflowing flowers and greenery.
The Place Settings
The elegant place settings included a variety of mix-and-match china patterns in shades of gold, silver, and white. To add even more drama to the table, gold-rimmed stemware and pewter chargers offset the candlesticks and centerpiece vessels. Together, they created an antique, lavish feel for the seated dinner.
A calligraphed menu -- in French -- revealed the menu for the evening. Since subtle French touches flowered throughout the wedding, including the reception's cuisine, they thought it appropriate to actually incorporate the classic romance language. Prepared by Olivier Cheng, the French-style service included a baby arugula salad with heirloom tomatoes, shaved reggiano cheese, and citrus olive oil; grilled red snapper with olive oil and lemon confit; rack of lamb with sweet onion soubise; heirloom tomato panzanella; ragout of fava beans, chanterelle mushrooms, and fingerling potatoes; and a selection of artisanal breads.
The Table Numbers
Table numbers painted by Bernard Maisner helped guests find their seats: They were nestled amongst arrangements of white peonies, 'Patience' roses, passion vine, ferns, 'Garden Snow' spray roses, and English lavender.
The Sperry Tent glowed from within, thanks to plenty of candlelight.
The First Dance
The couple danced to Otis Redding's "That's How Strong My Love Is," played by their band, Creations Music
In addition to passed sweets (strawberry chartreuse meringues, espresso and 'Manjari' chocolate cups, rosemary-honey-almond creme brulee tartlets, s'mores tartlets, and three flavors of French macarons), a multi-tier red velvet cake by Ruth Drennan Cakes was served. Before they cut into it, the cake was topped with lit sparklers and brought out to the newlyweds.
But the evening got even sweeter: Shortly before the reception's conclusion, a crepe station was brought out to reenergize guests for the poolside after-party -- where the dancing continued under the light of the full moon.
Photography: John Dolan
Planning: The Wedding Library
Floral and Decor: Lewis Miller Design
Rentals: Party Rental Ltd.; English Country Antiques
Tent: Sperry Tent
Lighting: L & M Sound & Light
Videography: Well Spun Wedding Films
Hair: Marco Santini of ION Studio; 212-343-9060
Makeup: Tracy Murphy at Jed Root, Inc.
Seamstress: Sabine Illes of SFI Designs, 212-736-6581