California energy made this New England celebration entirely unique.
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They couldn't have known then, but Ally Tripolsky and Craig Stanton each met their future spouse on their very first day of their freshman year at Connecticut College. If you told them that they'd be dating by the end of their college careers, however, they would have laughed—they were best friends for their first three years at school. Something shifted during their senior year, though, and the couple has been together ever since.
Post-grad, Ally and Craig moved to San Francisco, where Ally now manages events for a tech company in Silicon Valley and Craig handles fundraising for a venture capital firm. They'd done so much together—attending college, moving cross-country, and supporting each other's budding career paths—already, that taking the next step in their relationship as a team felt natural. "We picked out a ring together, invited our families out to Sonoma, announced our engagement, and drank lots of Champagne!" recalls Ally. The couple toasted their future union with their families, who flew out for a celebratory weekend on the West Coast in 2017. "To us, getting married meant becoming family, and what better way to celebrate that decision than with our closest family and friends!" the bride adds.
One year later, the college sweethearts welcomed 200 guests to witness them say "I do" on June 23, 2018, at The Eisenhower House in Newport, Rhode Island. The modern, romantic celebration combined stylish Pacific Northwest vibes with coastal New England flair, creating an aesthetic that paid homage to Ally and Craig's West Coast lifestyle and their East Coast roots. The foggy and misty summer day made for an intimate feel under the reception tent, thanks to fabulous event planing by Always Yours Events.
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The festivities opened on a stylish note, thanks to a minimalist, black-and-white stationary suite, which featured a refined monogram by Fete Collection (it also appeared on the stamps and welcome bags). Charcoal invitation cards, crafted from white double-thick cotton paper, were folded into dark gray envelopes with white calligraphy by Alfonsina Rodriguez of AMR Calligraphy & Design. The highlight of the invitation suite was the wedding weekend timeline featuring intricate champagne bottle, lobster, and bloody mary icons and chic descriptions of each of the events.
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Welcome bags were the ideal way to get the party started, since almost every guest stayed in Newport for the wedding weekend. Merrymakers received practical Baggu Totes filled with custom Newport Sweet Shoppe cookies, LIFE WTR bottled water, trail mix, chips, a gray muslin bag hangover kit, a handy Newport Visitor's Guide, and a schedule of events for the weekend.
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"We love to host, so we wanted our wedding to feel as warm and welcoming as our home," Ally says. "The Eisenhower House is this hidden gem in Newport that truly felt like our backyard—if our backyard had a view of the Newport bridge!"
Ally knew she wanted to build her wedding "from the ground up," Craig adds, which made a tent a natural choice. "The Eisenhower House provided that blank canvas we were looking for in order to create a space that truly felt like us," he says. Rentals by PEAK Event Services and True North Event Rentals brought the couple's vision of a warm, modern celebration to life.
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West Coast Vibes, East Coast Venue
When setting the mood for the big day, Ally and Craig wanted bring a little bit of their California home to their New England party. "We wanted to bring a bit of the West Coast to the East Coast—Newport being a typically nautical location, we really used the open space to create an environment that reflected our taste," the bride says. "In order to create the 'welcome to our home' vibe we were striving for, we pulled pieces of our actual home as inspiration."
They did so by incoporating greenery (like bayleaf and winding vines) into their venue space, a nod to the plants that fill their home, and serving dinner on ceramic dinner plates similar to ones on their wedding registry. Keeping with the friendly, home-inspired atmosphere, the couple did not specify a dress code.
As for the big-day's color scheme? "We expressed to our planner that we wanted a color palette that mirrored that which is found in our home, but also lent itself well to the overall wedding aesthetic we were trying to achieve," the bride says of the color palette, which starred white, oyster gray, charcoal, and pops of matte black.
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A Dream Dress
"I had a vision of what I thought I wanted, so I rarely strayed from it—although for some reason couldn't figure out why I wasn't finding something I loved," Ally recalls of her initial search for her wedding dress. After trying on what felt like "hundreds" of options, the bride found the one during a shopping trip with a friend, who shook things up and pulled styles different from Ally's initial vision—including one gorgeous gown with short sleeves.
"Never would I have ever picked it out myself, but when I looked in the mirror I finally felt like myself," Ally says of her ultimate choice, a Rime Arodaky number. "There were a few details I wanted to change (the bodice of the original dress was completely see-through) so I ended up taking the dress to a local atelier—Atelier Des Modistes—where she brought my vision to life."
The bride accessorized her look with a headpiece (also from Atelier Des Modistes), her mother's diamond earrings (they feature the original stones from her grandmother's engagement ring), and a pair of nude block heels from Nordstrom. "I was grateful I passed on the Pradas as they were absolutely destroyed in that weather," Ally jokingly recalls. Her hair was done by Jennifer Tawa Hair Design, while her makeup was handled by Dani Wagener Beauty.
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The First Look
"There are absolutely no words to describe the feeling of seeing [Craig] for the first time on our wedding day," the bride recalls of her favorite moment—the first look. "All the love and the tears and the emotions of the past 11 years of 'Ally & Craig' felt like it all lead to that moment as we looked at each other and realized we're here—we did it. Waterproof mascara was very important."
After the special moment on the patio of the Eisenhower House, the couple took portraits together in front of the floral-decked fireplace mantel. Family photos commenced on the patio; bridal party portraits were snapped near the ocean.
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Guests of Honor
Making her 'maids feel comfortable on the wedding day was a main priority for Ally. "It was super important to me they felt their best, so I had them choose outfits unique to their style and taste. Like our friendships, each girl is unique and beautiful in her own way so I wanted that to shine through over anything else," she notes. "I gave them a general color palette of dark jewel tones so they'd all complement each other well in pictures. Clearly they killed it!"
The bridesmaids—Ally's family and friends from all stages of life—carried petite nosegay versions of the bride's bouquet.
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Craig sported a midnight blue Ted Baker shawl-collar tuxedo—a contemporary take on a classic suit. To keep it traditional, the groom completed the look with a black bow tie, black lace ups, white tuxedo shirt, and custom cufflinks.
The groomsmen all looked dapper in their own tuxedos, which complemented the man of the hour's unique look perfectly. Craig gave the groomsmen, as well as his and Ally's fathers, custom cufflinks on the big day.
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The couple selected Ally's gorgeous oval-cut diamond engagement ring together. Both chose classic gold wedding bands.
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Sophisticated signage brought an elegant touch to the celebration. An oversized white welcome sign with black font, which hung from a sleek black easel, was displayed at the entry to the Eisenhower House.
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Love for a Lifetime
"We're both so lucky to have grown up with such an incredible model of what love looks like. Both of our parents have been married for over 30 years and, through example, have taught us what a healthy, loving, and respectful relationship looks like," the bride, pictured here with her parens, says. "We're beyond grateful."
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Just before their wedding ceremony was about to begin, the couple held a ketubah signing ceremony. "The ketubah being a Jewish tradition, we chose a non-religious passage about what it means to join lives as family," the bride says. "We spent the moments before our ceremony huddled together with only our immediate family as we shared what this marriage meant to all of us, joining two families as one.
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An Outdoor Ceremony
The wedding began at 5:30 p.m. with the outdoor ceremony. Guests were greeted with non-alcoholic beverages and escorted down a floral-lined aisle upon arrival; there, they took their seats in front of the gigantic elm tree, where the couple exchanged their vows. "When we saw our venue for the first time, we were immediately drawn to this huge tree that looked exactly like the tree on our college seal," Ally says. "There was something warm and familiar about it that made our decision [to wed there] so easy."
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Such Great Heights
Ally's mom and dad walked her down the aisle to "Can't Help Falling in Love" by Elvis—the first song her parents danced to at their own wedding. Craig's parents escorted him down the aisle to "Such Great Heights" by Iron and Wine. Music for the big day was handled by The Sugar Babies.
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Ally's brother and Craig's sister officiated the wedding. "We wanted the ceremony to feel very personal and unique to us, so having Danny and Sara tell our story and what it meant to them over the past 11 years of knowing us as individuals and together really helped celebrate our love in the most personal way," Ally says.
They also wrote their own vows, which were a "reflection of our beliefs—that marriage is rooted in equality, trust, respect, growth, and most importantly love!" Ally says.
"As a nod to each of our families and cultures, we incorporated one tradition associated with each religion. Sara read a Catholic passage and Craig stepped on a glass given to us by my bridesmaid, Molly. We saved the glass and placed it in a mezuzah which hangs in our doorway."
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The newlyweds were showered with flower petals as they walked up the aisle to "How Sweet It Is" by James Taylor.
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Time for a Drink
Cocktail hour immediately commmenced on the back lawn and large porch of the Eisenhower House. Hors d'oeuvres served included Newport lobster salad on a Charleston chip, Hawaiian tuna poke in sesame cones, buttermilk fried chicken on mini belgian waffles, shrimp and chorizo arancini, watermelon radish tacos, and and a raw bar of local oysters with all of the accompaniments. Russell Morin Fine Catering brought the menu to life.
In addition to multiple larger bars, there was martini bar serving half-sized "tiny tinis" served in coupe glasses—one original, one cosmo-inspired, and a third based on gin (the groom's favorite). For tunes, a Sugar Babies jazz trio played on the back porch.
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At 7 p.m., guests were invited into the sailcloth tent for dinner and dancing. The evening kicked off with the couple's first dance, which was followed by toasts during the first course. Fully personalized menu cards were set on the charger at each place setting.
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Guests were wowed by a 30-foot-long walnut wood head table covered in a lush garland of white flowers bay leaf. A mix of pillar and votive candles gave the space a warm glow. As for the rest of the floral décor? Each table was topped with an alternating flower design of floral garlands and long cement compotes full of fresh blooms.
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The Dinner Menu
The delectable dinner began with a grilled peach salad and local sourdough bread topped with fresh whipped butter. Course options included filet mignon served with tri-color carrots and whipped potatoes; herb-encrusted cod with meyer lemon beurre blanc; and eggplant rollatini.
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"We did a small ceremonial cake cutting—we ate most of it in our PJs on Sunday night before leaving for our honeymoon—and instead splurged on some of our favorite desserts for our guests to enjoy," Ally says of the classic confection by Russell Morin Fine Catering.
The delectable desserts included chocolate chip cookies made with Ghirardelli chocolate to honor San Francisco, summer fruit cobblers as a nod to Newport, and mini Rhode Island coffee frappes (which were a "huge hit," says the bride).
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The newlyweds shared their first dance to "Good Together" by Honne. "Music has played a huge role in our relationship—it brought us together as friends, kept us close when we were on opposite sides of the world, and continues to connect us through a shared passion for discovering new bands and sounds," Ally says. "When it came to picking a song for our first dance, we had way too many to choose from, but randomly heard this song and it just felt like us—it captures our energy and personality as a couple so we danced like all our favorite people were watching and then pulled them all in to join us!"
The hora soon brought all of the guests to the dance floor. Craig says that some of his favorite memories from the wedding day include "dancing and partying with family and friends, and both of us jumping on stage to sing with the band."
The wedding concluded at 11 p.m.; guests were then shuttled to downtown Newport for an after-party.
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Photography, Cambria Grace
Location, The Eisenhower House
Event planning, Always Yours Events
Catering, Russell Morin Fine Catering
Flowers, The Wild Dahlia
Stationery, Fete Collection
Calligraphy, AMR Calligraphy & Design
Music, The Sugar Babies
Bride's gown, Rime Arodaky
Bride's headpiece, Atelier Des Modistes
Bride's shoes, Nordstrom
Makeup, Dani Wagener Beauty
Groom's tuxedo, Ted Baker
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