This bride and groom planned their summer soirée—complete with paella, fresh donuts, and waterfront views—in just five months.
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For Fergie Medar and Robert Gomes, nearly four years of dating felt like plenty: By the time they got engaged, they said, "We just wanted to be married!" They organized a 120-person wedding at Crane Beach Summer Estate in Massachusetts in just five months, choosing August 19, 2018, for their waterfront wedding and outdoor reception.
They settled on Crane Beach because of its relaxed atmosphere and the blank slate it offered their event: "We wanted our wedding day to be a reflection of who we are as a couple," they say. "We also wanted the flexibility to hire the vendors we wanted and create our wedding space." For Fergie, a professional wedding photographer, this meant staying true to their personalities instead of making the usual choices simply for the sake of tradition. "I've seen it all," she says. "I've always enjoyed weddings where the bride and groom made the day a reflection of them." They did so with unique pampas grass-centric floral arrangements, a personalized religious ceremony (officiated by their pastor, who had walked them through pre-marital counseling), and a dessert spread full of their favorite treats: donuts.
As for their overall big-day aesthetic? They decided on a "boho backyard" style that included mason jar favors, DIY invitations, and a tented reception where they served three kinds of paella; they requested a semi-formal dress code to fit their upscale-but-fun vision for the evening: "We wanted our guests to look good," they say, "but also wanted them to be able to cut loose on the dance floor."
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Though Fergie began shopping for her wedding dress by visiting several Boston boutiques, she couldn't find her perfect look locally. "All the gowns were really beautiful, but I just didn't feel like a bride in them," she says. She began scouting Instagram for more options, and "instantly loved" the Made with Love collection—especially the "Stevie" dress, with its handmade lace and plunging back. She paired the gown with art deco jewelry from Retro Vintage Weddings.
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Fergie wanted her bridesmaids' gowns to coordinate without matching exactly, so she gave them plenty of freedom when it came to shopping—requesting only that they choose a pale neutral shade. "In keeping with the boho spirit, I had given my girls a color palette to work with," she says, "and left the dress decision to them."
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Arm in Arm
Rob's darker-toned Zara suit and maroon tie from The Tie Bar created an elegant contrast to Fergie's gown; the gray Men's Wearhouse suits the groomsmen wore actually complemented the bridesmaids' neutral dresses. The 11-person bridal party felt like the perfect size, says Fergie: "We didn't want a big bridal party, and we really wanted friends who were with us through the highs and lows of our life."
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The ceremony setup—behind the Crane Estate house—included wooden benches and an organic display of pampas grass, creating the low-key vibe the couple hoped for. "I knew I didn't want something overly traditional or elaborate," says Fergie. "I desperately wanted pampas grass and it proved difficult for a few local florists to find, but Petal & Wren came through."
Fergie and Rob were lucky enough to get "the most perfect New England summer day" for their event, which was set up outdoors. "All our guests could not get over the view," says Fergie. "It made such an amazing backdrop for the whole day."
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Their First Look
As Fergie's father escorted her down the aisle to "Lovely" by Michelle Tumes, the bride and groom saw each other for the first time that day. "When it came time for us to decide if we wanted to do a first look, I really couldn't make up my mind," she says. "But we ultimately decided to go the traditional route. As soon as I walked out and saw Rob, it hit me all at once and the tears started flowing."
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An Emotional Experience
Fergie's walk down the aisle was an unforgettable moment for Rob, too, says the couple, who cite "making eye contact for the first time" as their favorite part of the day: "As soon as we saw each other, we couldn't help but cry."
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Fergie and Rob asked their pastor, Larry, to oversee their religious ceremony and exchange of vows—since Larry and his wife had also worked with the newlyweds on pre-marriage counseling during their engagement.
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After the ceremony, the newlyweds recessed down the aisle to "Let's Get Married (Remix)," while Fergie's veil fluttered in the breeze. "My mom had a Princess Diana-inspired wedding in '92 complete with a cathedral length veil and headpiece," says Fergie, who wore the heirloom as her something borrowed. "I love how it complemented my dress."
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Guests scooped up small cones of berry-toned petals displayed at the ceremony, sprinkling them over Fergie and Rob as they walked back up the aisle as newlyweds.
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So in Love
After the service, the couple posed for portraits around the estate while their guests enjoyed a charcuterie and tapas spread during the cocktail hour. This time together allowed them a few quiet moments to take in the weight of their ceremony. "The best piece of advice I received was, the flowers, the tables, tablecloths, décor, won't matter a year from now," says Fergie. "Focus on being present, focus on your marriage and spending the rest of your life with your best friend."
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Under a tent decorated with string lights, long wooden tables were paired with wood folding chairs, creating an unfussy but polished reception space. "When we sat down with our planner [from Sable and Blush Events] to discuss our backyard boho wedding dreams," says Fergie, "she took our ideas and ran with it." Garlands of greenery ran down the length of the tables, creating a cohesive floral moment.
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Large-scale displays of pampas grass, greenery, and flowers hung over the tables, adding color, texture, and intimacy to the space.
For dinner, the couple served seafood, meat, and vegetable paella from Sensational Paella, owned by a friend of Fergie's. "I met Julian at a wedding we were both working, and told him the food he made that night was the most delicious food I ever had at a wedding," she says. "As soon as I had the ring on my finger, I reached out and booked him."
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The couple held to their "true boho style" with mason jar mug favors.
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Photography, Catherine Coons
Location, Crane Beach Summer Estate
Event planning, Sable and Blush Events
Catering, Sensational Paella
Flowers, Petal and Wren
Videography, Jonny Havens
Rentals, The Event Co.
Bride's gown, Made with Love
Bride's jewelry, Retro Vintage Weddings
Makeup, Beauty by Claxx
Groom's suit, Zara
Menswear, Men's Wearhouse
Groom's accessories, The Tie Bar
Donuts, Russell Orchards