Two Entomologists Planned an Insect-Themed Wedding in New Hampshire
Before Dayane Andrade dos Reis started her masters program, she took a job in the university lab where Collin James Preftakes worked. A PhD student at the time, Collin was eager to get to know the new Brazilian entomologist. "I eventually found a scientific paper written in Portuguese that I asked her to translate for me," he recalls. "A strange way to break the ice, no doubt, but after about a week, we went on our first date, and the rest is history."
Four years into their relationship, Collin, an environmental toxicologist and entomologist, went with Dayane to Brazil for the first time. On the last day of their trip, he popped the question in a beautiful gazebo overlooking a small park in her hometown. Collin, who spent many hours procrastinating from grad school work to learn about diamonds, proposed with an antique gold ring with a single old mine-cut diamond. "I love that it was cut by hand when the goal was to maximize reflectance in low candle-lit rooms before electricity," he says.
On August 25, 2018, the St. Louis-based couple exchanged vows at Collin's parents' house in New Hampshire. Among the 80 guests were friends and family from Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela, Argentina, Australia, and Colombia, making the late summer event a sort of destination wedding for those in attendance. With the help of event planner, Events by Sorrell, Collin's family, and his parents' neighbors, the nature-loving couple was able to plan a tropical-inspired celebration that incorporated their shared passions—which include plants and insects, of course.
Dayane and Collin, both scientists who love being outdoors and studying nature, wanted to incorporate entomology and plants into their wedding-day theme. "We always love to show people our insect collections and explain something about natural history, so we wanted to share this with our guests," explains Collin. "It turned out to be a successful outreach project because now we have many nephews and nieces who are experts with an insect net and full of questions."
A Family Affair
Before the couple could marry at Collin's childhood home in New Hampshire, his family pitched in to make the property "wedding-ready." Collin's dad rebuilt the porch, replaced the front steps, and built a bar with the groom. Dayane even spent three weeks up north without Collin to help clean out the barn and work in the gardens with his mom and sister, Kate.
In the Details
Dayane thought she wanted a simple wedding dress like a fit-and-flare for their small backyard wedding, but when she tried on this Pronovias gown with an A-line silhouette and an illusion lace back, it was love at first sight. "I even remember Collin's mom's reaction," says Dayane. "It was her favorite, too."
Collin bought his blue suit back in St. Louis but wasn't able to find the right tie at the time. Two days before the wedding, he and his groomsmen went on a bachelor party motorcycle ride into the White Mountains. Their first stop? Brooks Brothers, to get ties for the entire gang.
Shades of Blue
Dayane's bridal party—two close friends, her cousin, and her sister-in-law—all live in Brazil, so decisions about their dresses were made from afar. Each bridesmaid had her dress custom made in the fabric and style of her choice, resulting in a beautiful mix of dusty blue tones.
For the Kids
There were 10 children in the wedding party: six flower girls, two ring bearers, and two ushers handing out programs. As a special thank you, Dayane and Collin gave them boxes of ant candy, a perfectly on-theme gift!
The First Look
The couple's first look in the garden behind the apple tree is one of Dayane's most vivid memories of the day. "Our first look was one of the most emotional and special experiences we have had together," she says.
An Outdoor Ceremony
Dayane and Collin almost weren't able to exchange vows under the apple tree where Collin's two sisters had also gotten married. A heavy rain over the summer split the old tree in half, but the family managed to put it back together so the couple could have their backyard ceremony as planned.
During the ceremony, guests sat on bales of hay grown on the property topped with antique linens from Collin's mother's collection. Hay bales were also used as seats in a trailer attached to a tractor that shuttled guests to and from the parking area in a neighbor's field.
A Tropical Touch
Dayane and Collin's mother, Nadine, spent hours cutting paper bags and stamping insects onto them to create toss cones. When it seemed like they were missing something, the bride and her future mother-in-law added colorful tags with the word VIVA printed on them. "It means "alive" in Portuguese, but it's also a celebration word like 'cheers' or hurray,'" says Dayane.
A Unique Processional
The couple chose two songs for the processional: An instrumental version of "A Thousand Years" by Christina Perri and a Brazilian song called "Tua" by Anavitoria. "Tua means yours, and this song is about the way we contrast, complement, and choose to be with each other," explains Dayane.
Dayane and Collin both waited until the last minute to write their vows. "It was such an emotional process. I remember crying, but tears of happiness," she recalls. Unsure whether her simple yet heartfelt words were "enough for a wedding," Dayane read them to her best friend and bridesmaid, Marilia—and she cried, too. During the ceremony, the Dayane recited her vows in English and Portuguese. "People told us they cried even more when I was reading my vows in Portuguese," she says.
In keeping with the "dressed-up casual" vibe of the event, the bride and groom decided to forgo escort cards and let their guests sit wherever they felt comfortable.
Collin's mother spent the year leading up to the wedding collecting old cloches and glass bottles at flea markets and antique stores to use as centerpieces. "Dayane is, of course, from Brazil, so it was important to have lots of tropical greenery. These bottle made the perfect holders for single stems without overwhelming the tables," says Collin.
A Home-Cooked Meal
Dinner was served in a tent just behind the barn. The menu included salads, chicken, and pork that was prepared by one of Collin's parents' neighbors.
After telling friends and family over the summer that they wanted to collect, pin, and label insects to give away as wedding favors, Dayane and Collin began receiving texts with photos of "cool bugs" to add to their collection. "The fact that I have a butterfly with my dad's name on the label means that he ran around the yard with an insect net for us, and that makes me smile," says Collin.
Photography, Rodeo & Co. Photography
Event planning, Events by Sorrell
Flowers, Lotus Floral Designs
Stationery, Alicia Moran Invitations
Cake, Autumn Nomad
Music, Matt McElroy
Rentals, Exeter Events & Tents
Bride's gown, Pronovias
Bride's shoes, Jewel Badgley Mischka
Hair and makeup, Terri Crowe
Flower girl dresses, Fattiepie
Groom's tie, Brooks Brothers