This couple's North Fork celebration included a nontraditional dress, 100 guests sitting at one long table, and a fireworks display.
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Francesca Bochner was living in New Hampshire in 2010 when she rescued a cat who came down with a severe ear infection. She took him to the vet, feeling completely overwhelmed that she had adopted a cat right when she was about to graduate from college and start a whole new life. Timothy Brown was the kind doctor who treated her four-legged friend, and he and Francesca immediately struck up a friendship.
She moved to New York that summer and back to Vermont that fall, and they picked up right where they'd left off. They'd go on hikes and find restaurants in the remote corners of New England. Finally, on New Year's Eve, he kissed her as the fireworks went off and they've been together ever since. (Even through years of being long distance).
After several years of dating and a move back to New York, Timothy took Francesca (now an environmental attorney) back to New Hampshire and Vermont for a weekend of apple picking, a hot air balloon ride to take in the fall foliage, nice dinners, and a little surprise. On the second night, they went for a walk by the river when he pulled her into a field where a violinist and cellist began playing a selection of the couple's favorite songs. He asked her to marry him, and after she said yes, they went to a restaurant that was typically closed on Monday nights but the owner had opened the restaurant just for the celebration. Right before they went inside, Timothy treated his bride-to-be with another surprise—a fireworks show right in the town square.
A year-and-a-half later, on July 8, 2017, it was another special occasion with fireworks overhead. The sunny summer day in the North Fork of Long Island was marked by bright citrus hues inspired by Palm Springs and soft mint greens befitting the East End setting. Old Field Vineyards was chosen as the bride and groom's families have ties to Southold, New York, and the venue allowed them to check off two key components of their dream wedding: exchanging vows under an old tree and hosting all 100 of their guests at a single table stretched out along the water.
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The Stationery Suite
Coming from a family of artists, it was important to Francesca that the stationery be beautiful, unique, and set the tone for the event. The save-the-dates featured artwork by her father, Mel Bochner. Then they found Amanda McCorkle of Color Quarry and worked with her for months to design the invitation and reply card. Those pieces referenced to the event with illustrations of fireworks, the full moon, and the ceremony tree on the invite, as well a brown finch flying on the RSVP as a nod to the bride's love of the "Owl and the Pussycat" poem, her middle name (Finch), and the groom's last name (Brown). The mint green cards printed with copper ink went in a matching envelope lined with a painted kumquat design done by Jeanne's Expressions.
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Timothy wanted to wear something different than a typical tux. "I thought this specific color of blue was the most beautiful blue I have ever seen on a suit or tuxedo," he says of his custom formalwear by Abbeydale. "One particularly awesome part was the liner, which was printed with vintage photographs of surfers—a nod to my wife living in Southern California." A black, oversized bow tie and velvet slippers amped up the formality of the ensemble.
Francesca always had a strong feeling that she wouldn't wear white. "My grandmother got married in a light blue suit during World War II, and my mother eloped in a hot pink Pucci skirt. It seems to be a family tradition," she says. Nevertheless, she went and tried on white wedding dresses. But as soon as she tried on this Monique Lhuillier gown all the white options paled in comparison. And once she added the veil (by Camilla Christine), she felt like a bride despite the pink color and hints of pistachio green.
After an exhaustive search that started with French wax headpieces, Francesca found an antique German metal floral crown to wear in her hair courtesy of Betty Big Day. The jewelry came a bit easier—the bracelets and earrings she wore were all gifts from her husband-to-be and family members throughout the years.
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A Classic Updo
Grace Kelly was the main inspiration for the bride's classic updo, which balanced her nontraditional dress while still showing off the back of the gown.
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The Wedding Party
Francesca and Timothy's attendants consisted of friends from all stages of life, plus the bride's sister, the groom's cousin, and the groom's godson.
The bridesmaids picked out their own dresses with the specifications that they just be mint and long. The groomsmen were also given the opportunity to select their own navy suits and white shirts. The couple gifted their guys the black bow ties with the monograms embroidered on them.
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Here Comes the Bride
"I always had a clear picture in my head of arriving in a white vintage car," says Francesca. Finding the one that had space for her very tall father was a bit complicated, but they located a 1958 Rolls Royce that brought the bride's vision to life.
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With a breeze on the water and not a cloud in the sky, the couple and their guests gathered for the late-afternoon ceremony under an old tree in front of the Peconic Bay. Potted herbs lined the aisle, as a simple yet elegant enhancement to the natural setting. Beck's "Blue Moon" played during the processional—a song that was special as the couple had seen it performed live at an outdoor concert under a super moon. The service featured Catholic and Jewish prayers, spiritual and nonreligious readings, and self-penned vows.
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"On Top of the World" by Imagine Dragons played as the happy couple recessed up the aisle. Francesca remembers thinking that she couldn't believe it was over, and that she immediately wanted to go back and re-live that moment.
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The bride wrote all of the names and seating assignments on the escort cards, which were then attached to bird-shaped bottle openers as a reference to her middle name of Finch. The birds were set up in a large bed of moss anchored by a large flower arrangement, so they appeared to be nesting, and doubled as favors (along with boxes of Tate's cookies that were handed out later on).
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Growing up, when Francesca's family had large parties, everyone was seated at one table. "It makes it feel like everyone is celebrating together," she says of her decision to do the same on her wedding day. Getting 100 people at one table was a big undertaking, but it was one of the best parts of the wedding for the couple.
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The Place Settings
Mint green napkins and muted table linens made a neutral, classic base, helping the floral arrangements pop. Francesca penned each guest's name onto light green or white sea glass that topped off each setting, along with menus by The Pretty Bow Boutique featuring illustrated kumquats that referenced the citrus theme and the bride's time in California.
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Both the bride and groom are pescatarian, so they worked with Catering by… "A Small Affair" to create a menu that reflected this. Dinner began with a salad topped with pears, walnuts, and goat cheese; a pasta dish in lemon sauce with summer veggies followed; and the entrée was grilled swordfish and scallop kebabs or local striped bass in a golden tomato sauce.
"My favorite moment of the day was sitting down for dinner, looking and seeing all of my friends and family at just one table, overlooking the water, eating and drinking together," says Timothy. Adds Francesca, "That table was abuzz with love. Everyone was talking and laughing and passing food around. It felt like the most wonderful dinner party we'll ever go to."
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Days of May Florals added flowers and greenery to the back of the bride and groom's chairs—a sure way they'd find their seats at the long table. On their side of the table they could see the water and the full moon, and the opposing side had views of the sunset over the vineyard. "It was gorgeous from every seat," says the bride.
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The Wedding Cake
Lael Cakes made the vegan, gluten-free confection, which was an almond cake with raspberry rosewater icing plus chocolate cake with dark chocolate icing. The naked cake was topped with fresh flowers and fruit on the branch.
"Take a Walk on the Wild Side" by Lou Reed played during the cake cutting.
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The First Dance
The newlyweds chose Billie Holiday's "I Can't Give You Anything but Love" for their first dance song. Shortly after they started dating, Francesca was accepted into a two-week riding program at the Royal Equestrian School in Spain. Timothy visited her and as they were walking through a park he romantically (and unexpectedly) asked her to dance. "For some reason that song popped into my head and so I hummed it," she says. When it was time to propose, Timothy had musicians play that same tune. And so it was an easy choice for their first dance together. They managed to fit in 10 hours of dance classes before the big day. "I think everyone was surprised, and now we sort of know how to dance," says the bride.
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Guests returned to the same tent used during cocktail hour for the cake cutting and to lounge about and chat while others danced right outside. After the first dance set, the crowd enjoyed a firework display, before returning to the dance floor.
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Photography, Michael & Carina Photography
Location, The Old Field Vineyards
Catering and event coordination, Catering by… "A Small Affair"
Flowers, Days of May Florals
Videography, Phillip Alan Films
Officiant, Rabbi Laurie Gold
Calligraphy, Mary Ellin Kurtz
Cake, Lael Cakes
Bride's gown, Monique Lhuillier
Hair and Makeup, 10.11 Makeup
Groom's suit, Abbeydale
Lighting and Tenting, Stillwater Tents
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