Genevieve and Scott’s Bucolic Wedding Getaway
You might think that someone whose livelihood has revolved around other people’s weddings would have a huge head start on planning her own. Instead, confesses Genevieve Panuska, deputy art director of Martha Stewart Weddings, “I wasn’t even sure I wanted to have a wedding. Not only do I hate being the center of attention, but every place I scouted just didn’t feel like us.” Genevieve’s tastes lean toward the rustic, while her fiancé, Scott Harper, CEO of a home-décor sales firm, dreamed of something more elegant. Over a nine-year relationship (six of them sharing a New York City studio), though, they had honed the art of compromise—and patience. That was rewarded when they visited Martha’s Vineyard, where Scott had vacationed as a child, and met their setting soul mate: the 321-year-old fishing village of Menemsha, Massachusetts, and its Beach Plum Inn. The grounds included a main house and a cluster of private cottages that could accommodate everyone, creating a summer-camp ambience. “It felt so peaceful, like a retreat,” says Genevieve. “I fell in love with it.” The wedding was on.
Venue in hand, Genevieve’s artistic DNA came into play. As a designer with a minimalist bent, she chose a black-and-white palette with neutral accents. Then she began creating many elements of the big day herself, including designing and printing the invitations, and inspiring her florist with samples of the island’s flowers and grasses. Family and friends got into the act, making a frame for the seating chart, illustrating paper goods, and even picking produce for dinner.
On October 11, 2014, in the late afternoon, 90 loved ones sat on benches made from reclaimed wood to witness Genevieve and Scott’s nondenominational vows. “We were under a tent because it started raining,” says Genevieve. “But that turned out to be a blessing—it was more intimate and cozy. And right at the end, the sun came out.” Then guests headed to a second tent for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres made from local fish, before a dinner of salad greens from the adjoining farm, cod caught on nearby Georges Bank, and black angus steak from cows raised on the island. When the dancing started, says Scott, “I was trying to just drink in the whole experience. It felt relaxed and yet elegant—perfect for us.”
The bride made the save-the-dates, aiming for “wit, sweetness, and cleverness,” especially in her sly reference to the couple’s nine-year-long romance.
Genevieve edged the entire suite in black ink, and closed the envelopes with wax-seal stickers. For a playful touch: Under the flap she printed Finally! “I get a kick out of little design elements like that,” she says.
A Witty Welcome
Family members drove guests from the island’s ferry landing to their cottages. The welcome sign read We are ferry excited you’re here!
A Bag of Goodies
Saltwater taffy provided a sweet note (and a printed one: Yum).
All Mapped Out
The bride’s brother illustrated maps of the property’s paths and guest cottages.
“The cottages and buildings on the property were so charming,” says Genevieve of Beach Plum Inn.
The couple’s two-bedroom cottage overlooked fields—and curious sheep.
Scott’s brother helped him suit up with their grandfather’s cuff links and tuxedo shirt studs.
Genevieve gravitated toward these two Blanca Monrós Gómez gold bangles because she often goes for simpler, delicate pieces when choosing jewelry, and she didn’t want to overpower the dress.
A Flower in Her Hair
Genevieve did her own hair—a loose bun on the side of her head—and finished off the look with a fresh gardenia in lieu of a veil.
The Meal Plan
Chef Chris Fischer and the farm director from Beetlebung, which adjoins the Beach Plum Inn, picked fresh produce for the salad and side dishes the morning of the wedding.
Clutch It Close
Each of the four “brides’ women” received an envelope clutch by Amy Steele.
The bridal party was encouraged to pick out structured, simple black dresses and nude shoes.
Gifts for the Guys
The guys looked sharp in their classic ensembles.
Genevieve’s bouquet included local blooms like calcynias, panda anemones, dahlias, and native field grasses.
A Moment With Dad
Genevieve and her father shared a giddy moment before walking down the aisle.
The Best Rain Plan
Guests had a view of the countryside during the ceremony, yet still were protected from the rain.
The Reverend Jacalyn Kane, who officiated, helped the couple write their vows. “We wanted to express our individuality. Scott and I are very different,” says Genevieve. “But we complement each other well—we’re each best at things that the other is worst at.”
A Culinary Cocktail Hour
Mismatched mugs made whimsical vessels for seafood soup during the cocktail hour.
Catch of the Day
A bonito, freshly caught off the island’s coast, provided the raw ingredient for crudo served as hors d’oeuvres.
The cocktail menu featured two signature drinks: a “Gen-n-Tonic” and a “Scottch,” a spin on their names (and their favorite libations).
A Fashionable Friend
A good friend traveled from England to party with the couple. “Jo works for Jimmy Choo,” says Gen, “so I always love her shoes!”
Made by a DIY Dad
The bride’s father made the seating-chart frame with wood salvaged from his farm in North Carolina.
A Relaxed Scene
More local plants and flowers in narrow vases graced bare wooden tables and adorned each napkin. “Genevieve picked pieces of simple beige grass from the island’s fields and said, ‘This is what I love,’” recalls her florist, Krishana Collins. “So we created wild-meets-cultivated compositions.”
The menu kept with the witty wording of the fête—thanking the chef and the venue’s team for “working so chard and remaining calm” and exclaiming that everything looked “radishing!”
The dinner salad featured kohlrabi, mint, and mixed greens that were gently tossed before being plated.
Mother and Son
Scott and his mother shared their own warm moment during the father-daughter dance.
Genevieve whispered a happy secret to her sister during the reception.
Dancing All Night
Genevieve’s mother and a bridesmaid took a break from the dance floor. “I’ve never seen my parents dance like that before,” says the bride. “Everyone got into it.” Scott had hired a local band called the Sultans of Swing, and celebrants gave the music rave reviews.