This Blue-and-White Wedding in Connecticut Was Inspired by a China Pattern
Honor and Jay
Can men and women be just friends? When Harvard first-year Honor McGee met sophomore Jay Lundy in the fall of 2006, her answer to that eternal question was yes, of course. "We both got along so well from the start," says Honor. "But I was 18 and not looking to date anybody." Jay had other ideas. "Part of me always hoped there was something between us," he recalls.
Then in spring 2009, during Jay's last semester, Honor's heel broke at a 1920s-themed party. Although he hated leaving the cigars and cocktails, Jay walked her home to change shoes, and something else they couldn't quite pinpoint changed between them, too. Jay finally asked Honor out on an official date. Like a modern Cinderella, Honor realized that the shoe fit as far as Jay was concerned, and the friends started dating at last. Nearly five years and six cities later, the two entrepreneurs settled in the Big Apple. They were on a vacation in Harbour Island, Bahamas, during the local "Junkanoo" New Year's celebration when Jay popped the question, orchestrating a beach proposal that was captured by a local photographer disguised as a cabana man.
Given the pair's well-traveled past, picking a place to get married was tricky. "We wanted our wedding to feel like 'coming home' but also to recognize the places and influences that shaped us," says Honor. Her parents wed in Connecticut, so she and Jay searched the state, finding the ideal spot in Winvian Farm, a 113-acre property near her family's country house. Then they partnered up to plan the big day, creating what Honor calls an "English garden party meets Paris in the Jazz Age" soirée. It reflected both the look of their venue and the feel of the night that sparked their romance. Inspired by a blue-and-white chinoiserie fruit bowl that sat on Honor's kitchen counter when she was growing up and their interest in the pattern's history, the duo even worked with a stationer to create a different custom design for every event of the weekend.
A version with lovebirds graced the invitations, which brought 186 guests (plus 13 children) to their wedding on June 6, 2015. A judge (and family friend) led the secular ceremony, which was punctuated with a Yiddish poem translated by Honor's maternal grandmother and read by her paternal grandmother, and a single tear from Jay. "I just couldn't control it when I saw Honor in her dress for the first time," he says.
After the emotional vow exchange came outdoor cocktails, then dinner, toasts, and cake under a tent; followed by cigars and dancing to DJ-spun tunes from Motown to Jay Z in a converted barn; and finally, charcuterie and cheese at 1 a.m. in the main house. The weekend was capped off with a Harbour Island–themed brunch in honor of Jay's Bahamian proposal—and a definitive answer to that question: Men and women can be friends. And, if they're lucky, best friends can end up as husband and wife.
This chinoiserie china pattern was the inspiration for the day's blue-and-white palette. The version the couple repeated on their letterpressed suite looked like a replica of the popular "Willow" design first shown on 18th-century porcelain, but it was actually updated just for Honor and Jay.
Phyllis Roth of By Invitation Only Designs worked with the couple on the letterpressed stationery, including an invitation sent in a pocket-fold and a save-the-date introducing the monogram. They added her parents' Connecticut house, Winvian architecture, and the Litchfield Hills. Envelopes were calligraphed in navy blue by Yellow House Calligraphy.
The Welcome Bags
Something for the Groom
Honor gifted Jay his very own "welcome bag" of sorts (with many of the items colored in blue, of course) on the wedding day that included a note about being his wife, a Swanky Badger Design cigar box, a Rustic Square corkscrew, Missoni and Jonathan Adler socks, a Quest bar, Glenlivet scotch whiskey, and Johnnie Walker Black whiskey (for toasting the occasion).
Honor also gave her father cuff links that double as lockets filled with photos of her as a child. The bride was gifted a Barbie-size Mini Cooper convertible from her groom as an ode to their old one from their days in Miami. "I added a Curious George doll because we've always adored him," Jay notes. "And it was one of the first birthday presents I bought her." He also added something sparkly: a diamond bracelet.
The Bridal Bouquet
Honor carried a classic bouquet of lilies of the valley, stephanotis, and sweet peas made by Diane Gaudett of Custom Floral Design.
Honor attached four brooches to her bouquet—one from each of her grandmothers', a third from her mother, and a fourth from her future mother-in-law to commemorate her love and appreciation for them.
As for the traditional saying, Honor carried four other lucky charms. When Honor slipped into her reception dress, she slipped on her mother's garter, as her "something old." Custom Prada kitten heels with the bride's new initials on the back and her attendants' names on the bottom were her "something new." She borrowed a diamond necklace from a friend's mom. And there was a blue patch sewn into her gown with HML—to honor our two families coming together—and the wedding date.
A Pre-Ceremony Snack
Monogrammed paper boxes of popcorn seasoned with truffle Parmesan or rosemary sea salt were served to ready guests for the vow exchange. The tasty touch was Honor's idea because when she was growing up, "my dad and I would go see a lot of movies together," she says.
A Musical Walk
A white-clad string quartet escorted loved ones to the ceremony.
An English Garden-Inspired Ceremony
Set to mirror an English garden, the outdoor ceremony was furnished with wrought iron chairs, a boxwood-lined aisle, and a sweet pea-covered arch.
Ribbon-tied programs detailed the ceremony, which included readings from the Eloise and Berenstain Bears series of children's books.
The Bride's Entrance
Following tradition, Honor walked down the aisle to the tune "Here Comes the Bride" with her father at her side.
The Ring Bearers
Ring bearers carried bands on his-and-hers pillows that the bride's mom embroidered with the couple's first initials.
"Not seeing each other before walking down the aisle made the moment even more special than I imagined and magnified the feeling of 'This is the beginning of the rest of our lives together,'" says Honor. "The ceremony was a complete reflection of my and Jay's love as our story, history, and planning all came together."
A Custom Guest Book
Attendees left relationship advice for Honor and Jay at the guest-book station. The fabric-bound book was a custom design by Bella Forte Designs, and rested inside of a box also covered with fabric in the couple's signature print. The book served as a more traditional sign-in, whereas cards with a pair of lovebirds were set out for guests to write advice on and drop into the keepsake box.
The Bridal Party
The newlyweds took a postceremony portrait with some members of the 25-person wedding party. Bridesmaids wore Amsale, and groomsmen donned their own tuxes.
A Photo Op
Partygoers snapped pictures in a life-size "frame" during cocktail hour.
Calligraphed Escort Cards
The Place Settings
Each place was set with blue somethings, including a midnight-colored runner and chinoiserie vases filled with white buds.
Dancing with Mom
Jay and his mom danced to Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World."
A Blue, White, and Gold Cake
The five-tier Tahitian vanilla cake by Ana Parzych Cakes, inspired by the couple's favorite dessert from the Icebox Cafe in Miami Beach, was filled with vanilla and lemon mousseline over raspberry preserves, then covered in vanilla meringue buttercream and Swiss-rolled fondant hand-painted with scenery from Winvian and the surrounding area.
Including the cake, there were 24 iterations of the chinoiserie pattern throughout the wedding, starting with the save-the-date.
"You were going to get fed whether you liked it or not," jokes Honor. Following dinner and dancing, guests moved to an after party that doubled as an extended dessert course with fruit tartlets (a favorite of Jay's mom), tiramisu and panna cotta verrines, lemon shortbread, macarons, and more.
Dancing the Night Away
After Jay and Honor opened the floor to "I Hear a Symphony" by The Supremes, revelers of all ages broke out their best moves.
His and Hers Chocolates
Location and catering, Winvian Farm
Flowers, Diane Gaudett of Custom Floral Design
Photography, Roey Yohai Photography
Videography, Well Spun Weddings
Stationery, Phyllis Roth of By Invitation Only Designs
Calligraphy, Yellow House Calligraphy
Cake, Ana Parzych Cakes
Ceremony music, Dolce Vita Strings
Cocktail-hour music, Hank Milligan
After-party music, Nick De La Cruz
Rentals, New England Country Rentals; Party Rental Ltd.
Tent, Sperry Tents
Bride's ceremony gown, Oscar de la Renta
Bride's reception gown, Amsale
Bride's accessories: Oscar de la Renta veil; Jimmy Choo ceremony shoes; Prada reception shoes
Hair, Elise Bueno
Makeup, Alicia Oliveri
Bridesmaids' hair and makeup, Spa at Litchfield Hills
Bridesmaids' dresses, Amsale
Flower-girl dresses, Christening Day
Ring bearers' attire, Black by Vera Wang
Groom's tuxedo, Ermenegildo Zegna
Groom's dinner jacket, Hickey Freeman
Groom's accessories: Thomas Pink shirt; The Andover Shop bow tie, suspenders, studs, and cufflinks
Lighting, Ryan Designs; Shindig Lighting
Transportation, Carriage Limousine Service; Executive Livery; Legends Limousine
Photo booth, The Bosco
Favors, Thorncrest Farm & Milk House Chocolates
Favor boxes, Paper Mart slide boxes (#8227126)
Cocktail napkins, popcorn boxes, matches, and shot glasses, foryourparty.com
Escort and place cards, Caspari
Guestbook and box, Bella Forte Designs
Bourbon barrel, The Best Man Gifts
Welcome totes, Ilu.ililydesigns
Custom sunglasses, Discount Mugs
Babysitter, Brigitte Bahre
Groomsmen's gifts, Swanky Badger Design cigar box; Rustic Square corkscrew; Missoni socks; Jonathan Adler socks; Quest Bar; Glenlivet scotch; and Johnnie Walker Black whisky