A Shelter Island Wedding at the Bride's Mother's Home
Emily and Sam
Emily Baker and Sam Mayer met how many others do—as guests at a wedding. Two years after that destination celebration where it all began the New York City-based artist and her philanthropic executive beau were planning their own nuptials. Choosing her childhood home in Shelter Island, New York, as the setting and August 27, 2016 as the date, 135 guests from near and far attended the late summer soiree set on the waterfront, which kicked off with an impressive entrance by boat and dock.
The couple wanted their wedding to feel organic and highlight the beauty of the island while also nodding to the groom's native Scotland. They also made loved ones a key part of the event, with many family members getting in on the action by doing flowers, decorating focal points of the day, and even documenting it.
Emily painted flowers and scenes from Shelter Island and Scotland, which were then scanned and incorporated into the design of all of the paper goods—from the save-the-dates all the way through to the table signs. She found a script font similar to her own handwriting and used that for their names, applying a watercolor affect to it so it would mimic the artwork.
A Classic Look
"I tried on a ton of dresses," Emily explains. "I wanted something more minimalist, but with straps, which made it harder to find. I loved the low back of this silk Selia Yang dress and the simple silhouette of it." She topped her look with a crown of freshwater pearls and tiny ceramic flowers from Bhldn.
Her petite bouquet included Queen Anne's lace, ranunculus, thistle, garden roses, tuberose, star of Bethlehem, cosmos, lavender, and nigella. It was just one of the ways the bride's mother, Martha Baker, helped in the designing the day's floral elements and overall décor.
Sam complemented Emily's timeless silhouette with a traditional ensemble of his own. His jacket, vest, and kilt made in Sam's clan's tartan (it's the Wallace plaid) were by friend and bespoke kilt designer Howie Nicholsby of 21st Century Kilts, back in Sam's hometown of Edinburgh.
Emily asked her bridesmaids (comprised of her sister and friends from throughout her life) to wear a soft blush pink dress of their own choosing.
Entry by Water
The processional kicked off as the bridesmaids entered by boat, where two groomsmen met them to secure the vessels. The ladies were greeted by a bagpiper playing traditional Scottish songs, and an American flag flew along a Scottish one, symbolizing the union of the bride and groom's homelands.
A Walk to Remember
Emily's favorite moment of the day? Having her father, Chuck, walk her down the dock. An old Scottish folk song titled "Skye Boat Song" played as the two entered the ceremony.
Emily's uncle, Jay Fischer, officiated the late-afternoon ceremony, which took place in the garden of Emily's mother's home, along the Dering Harbor.
An arbor made by the bride's brother Charlie framed the couple. Though Emily and Sam had been legally married at the town court the Wednesday prior, they felt strongly about having a heartfelt ceremony led by someone close to them. Lyrical readings were selected—Mac Gordon and Harry Warren's "At Last" and George and Ira Gershwin’s "Love Walked In"—and were recited by the mothers of the bride and groom.
The couple had taken some alone time on the beach earlier in the day to write their vows. "I used to live my life in details, always seeking out nuance and constantly moving," Sam's began. "Since we met I have learned the value of slowing down, of living in the moment, and finding happiness in simple things. This is the life I want with you. I promise to love you, take care of you, and try to be deserving of your love, and I can't wait to spend the rest of our lives together."
Emily's had a similar sentiment: "From the moment we met, I've been sure that we were moving in this direction. You've made me feel so happy and safe, and excited about our future. I promise to love you, take care of you, and try to be deserving of your love, and I can't wait to spend the rest of our lives together."
A Fun Getaway
Originally planning on using a family friend's Mini Moke as their getaway ride, the couple quickly sorted out a backup plan when the vehicle broke down at the last minute. Instead, they borrowed a bridesmaid's classic red convertible, jazzed up a bit with a cluster of white balloons as they rode off to the neighbor's house, where cocktail hour and the reception took place.
Kitted Out in Kilts
Sam's brother, Emily's two brothers, and Sam's friends served as best man and groomsmen. With four of the seven guys hailing from Scotland, they wore kilts made from their own family tartans. The Americans wore suits and a tie from Sam’s family tartan.
The groom gave his guys monogrammed hip flasks, filled with Scottish single malt whiskey.
Time with Mom and Dad
Fitting in with the neutral palette of the day, Emily's father wore a gray suit and blue tie, while her mom donned a pale blue Elizabeth and James dress.
The seating chart was another Emily Baker Studio creation, with her hand-watercolored artwork topping a series of cards outlining table assignments. Each was an icon tying into Shelter Island or Scotland.
In the tent, long tables were dressed with taupe Rogers and Goffigon linens and set with clean white plates, modern flatware, and soft green napkins holding the menu cards topped with an illustration of a sprig of rosemary.
A local field greens salad with Vidalia onion, shaved vegetables, and sherry-shallot vinaigrette kicked off the meal, which continued with marinated hanger steak topped with chimichurri sauce and crispy onions; and pistachio-crusted cod with tomato fennel chutney.
Centerpieces Made by Mom
The centerpieces, made by the mother-of-the-bride, Martha Baker, incorporated beech tree branches, passion flower vines, lisianthus, astrantia, succulents, nigella, cosmos, Queen Anne's lace, and bupleurum. Though Martha had done flowers for other weddings, this was by far the most special to date.
Illustrations of special icons on the island and in Scotland labeled each table—including Big Light, Isle of Skye, Osprey Road, and Crab Creek—where the happy couple sat during dinner.
A Touch of Nature
Emily's brother, Charlie Baker, also stepped in to amp up the reception setting—winding vines up the tent poles in the center of the tent.
A Cake Made With Love
The four-tiered lemon cake was made by family friend Jean Severs, and frosted with buttercream before being topped with a few flowers and succulents.
The First Dance
Ray Charles's "Night Time is the Right Time" played as the couple took to the dancefloor for the first time as newlyweds. Midway through the dancing portion of the evening, Sam's uncle Craig Mair, led the entire crowd in a round of traditional Scottish ceilidh dance—common at weddings and formal occasions.
The newlyweds shared a special moment hours later, one which Sam considers his favorite part of the day. It was 4am, and everyone had gone home. They sat alone and took stock of what had happened and how lucky they were.
Photography, Chuck Baker and Paul Brissman
Catering, Grace & Grit
Flowers and Design, Martha Baker Design
Stationery, Emily Baker Studio
Music, DJ Huggy Bear
Rentals, Party Rental Ltd.
Ceremony structure, vine installation, and lighting, Baker Structures
Bride's gown, Selia Yang
Hair and Makeup, Herve
Groom's jacket, vest, and kilt, 21st Century Kilts
Mother-of-the-bride's dress, Elizabeth and James