Liz & Will’s Beautiful DIY Harborside Wedding
Today I’m sharing with you a beautiful celebration in a gorgeous harborside setting which also happens to be the bride’s familys’ backyard. Liz and Will and their family & friends had an absolute blast celebrating their love and boy do I have the photos to prove it.
Meet Liz and Will, captured beautifully by Zac Wolf Photography. Zac mentioned on his blog that he fell in love with the setting when he photographed Liz & Will’s engagement (which was shot in the same location) and it’s easy to see why — the place is a dream! He was stoked to go back for their wedding and here’s what he had to say about it:
These two really put themselves into their big day. From the DIY details to the fact the location was Liz’s parent’s backyard. Will’s family came in from Montana, friends came in from all over the country, records were spun, the after party was in the garage. The night was truly a blast and full of non-stop smiles.
The two of them have such an awesome backstory. They met while working in NY at Martha Stewart and they quickly fell for each other. Before you knew it, Will brought Liz to meet his family, and Liz brought Will to CT to meet hers. Well finally these two awesome families were gathered at Liz’ parents’ BEAUTIFUL home to celebrate the love that these two share. So many awesome tiny details, from tables named after family pets, to a bar that uses a boat that Liz’s dad bought for her. The weather was perfect, the DJ’s were awesome and everything was just right for these two to have the best day.
The first look…
As Zac mentioned above, the couple has a beautiful love story. Thankfully Liz is here to fill us in:
Will and I met while we were both working at Martha Stewart Living in New York City. Will is originally from Montana and I am from Connecticut. We live in Brooklyn and work in Manhattan — Will is an Associate Creative Director at MKTG and I am a Sr. Producer at Code & Theory.
We dated for three years before Will proposed to me at my family’s home in Connecticut on a rocky point on the Long Island Sound. My family has been on the property for over 4 generations. Will’s mother passed away 13 years ago and he gave me his mother’s engagement ring, which had been passed down from Will’s grandmother.
Awww… what a lovely and moving father-daughter moment.
Isn’t everything just gorgeous? From looking at the photos, we wouldn’t know that Liz & Will’s planning actually went through a lot of hiccups as Hurricane Irene raged through the venue three weeks before the wedding and things almost didn’t go as planned! Here’s Liz to tell us more:
We wanted our wedding to really feel like us….and it actually ended up being so very very us! We both grew up in beautiful environments —Will was born and raised in a log home in the Rockies of Montana, on a native american reservation (Salish Koutenai), although he is not native american. He loved the outdoors and through his artistic endeavors found inspiration from the beauty of Montana. I grew up spending my summers at my family’s home in Connecticut on the Long Island Sound. Sailing and boating and being on the water was my family’s main activity in the summer months and it shaped who I am tremendously—as such it felt right to make the organizing theme from Mountains to the Sea.
We had originally wanted to get married at my family’s home, but with 150 guests, a limited budget and all the additional details and coordination required for a home wedding, we decided to do the ceremony and reception at my family’s sailing club, a beautiful spot on the edge of the Thimble Islands on Long Island Sound. We were engaged in April 2010 and got married in September 2011, so we had a long time to plan and get everything together — which was important as we were doing everything ourselves! 3 weeks before the big day, Hurricane Irene roared through the area and in the pre-storm frenzy we were incredibly worried about my family’s home as it is very close to the water — everyone was evacuated by the police. After the storm we returned to find our home standing to much relief. There was damage and the whole town was out of power for what would be a full week, but everything was ok. It wasn’t until a few days later that we learned that the club a half mile away that would be our venue was totaled for the season! So we literally had under 3 weeks to relocate to my family’s home! Our reception went from an indoor event with a kitchen to a tented event with no kitchen. We had to figure out how to light everything, rent bathrooms etc…we were starting from the ground up again! It was very intense but we somehow managed through with a lot of late nights and incredible help and support from friends and family, not to mention our wonderful vendors who were able to be VERY flexible.
In the end the wedding was just absolutely perfect, it was so amazing to have our family and best friends there to share in our love. Every single element felt just right and we were so grateful for the outcome — and we got the home wedding we wanted!
So glad things went as if without a hitch!
Are you loving how happy everyone in this wedding is?? It was chock full of meaningful, personal touches too. Liz is back to share how they customized their wedding to reflect them 100%:
We felt very strongly that we wanted our wedding to feel like ours, and no one else’s. There is so much wedding STUFF out there, it’s very easy to get swept away in all the things you are told you NEED to do or have, so we focused on making every bit meaningful to us…if it didn’t have a special meaning, we didn’t include it. We sort of naturally landed on a Mountains to the Sea unifying theme — even though we joked that it sounds like a bad prom theme! We are both incredibly shaped by our families and the places we grew up, so it felt good to tie everything back to where we come from. Everything we planned exhibited details inspired by the mountains and/or sea:
• We chose colors that were taken from our home’s surroundings (a navy blue from the mountains in MT, a lighter blue for the color of the LI Sound and a bright green from the lichen moss that covers the rocky shores in CT)
• Will is an artist so he created all of the paper collateral for our wedding (invitations, monogram, program, menus – everything!). He hand drew faux-woodcut drawings of the view from our respective porches (Mountains for Will, Sea for me;) for our Save the Date. Will custom designed the invites with an outer shell with three card inserts, each insert had its own respective drawing, one of the mountains, of the sound and of the wedding site – we wanted the invitations to set the personal tone for the whole event.
• My mother is an avid collector of china and glass works of all varieties and we chose a pattern from our favorite teacup that is Japanese that had a beautiful art nouveau/deco style – we centered our design aesthetic around that pattern.
• I really love milk glass so we collected about 60 pieces of milk glass, my mother doing the biggest amount of work! We had been planning to fill the milk glass vessels with bright flowers, but a few months before the wedding we saw an arrangement in Martha Stewart Living magazine with thistles and lambs ear – the colors were perfect and the texture was so different – we changed the whole plan.
• We were visiting Will’s family in MT just after our engagement and we were at a remote mountain lake accessible only by canoe and Will found a massive trove of amazing driftwood where the wood was all twisted and shaped by the high winds of the mountains. We loaded the boat to the brim and brought them to his house and ultimately had them mailed to us in CT where we used these as the central table element. Our amazingly talented florist, Paula, added beautiful succulents and moss to the driftwood which made these just beautiful – we still have a few of them in our home today!
• My father built me a small dingy when I was 4 — its too small for me as an adult now, but we knew it would be a perfect set up for a bar!
• My 2nd Cousin Margaret is a reverend of the Episcopal Church and she married us. We worked together with her through a 5 session process, sharing a lot about ourselves which really helped us build on our wedding ceremony’s content. One of the most special parts of the ceremony was a sand ceremony. We used red stones of the Rockies from Will’s backyard in MT and sand from my family’s beach in CT, throughout the ceremony we combined these, representing our union.
• Margaret helped significantly in making the ceremony wonderful, we are both non-religious and she was amazing at balancing the service with our own interpretations. During our sessions we discussed at length our personal views and philosophies and she married these into her general ceremony format
• Will is an avid music fan and he was so excited when Margaret offered the idea to have a musical overture, we chose Spiritualized Cool Waves, (one of our all time favs) and the lyrics and beauty of the song really just gelled the whole ceremony together
• Our good friends Sharegroove DJ’d our wedding and just brought the best music, first started with our special picks and then moved into their selections of motown, 60s rare groove, lost of disco and 80’s new wave with a little contemporary hits as well, they spun all vinyl and brought the house down all night – they literally DJ’ed until about 3am!
• Our special drink was a genius concoction we learned from a Scottish friend who’s grandmother would mix vodka and berry preserves to make a delish cocktail. We used Huckleberry preserves – huckleberries are a special treat to any Montanan, they grow wild in the mountains in MT. Will’s dad kindly brought a huge jug of huckleberry preserves with him on his flight out to our wedding!
Love the idea of an upright boat in use as a bar!
This photo? LOVE, captured. Here are some parting insights and advice from the lovely couple:
Giving yourself enough time is essential if you are to do the planning, design and production work for your wedding. We were so lucky we had three weeks to adjust the wedding after the disaster. Enlist your family/friends and think of ways they can help, its so important to include the people you love as it really makes them feel part of it all and you get so much help and support through them. Because of the hurricane, we had to ask friends and family to pitch in to help us get everything done, which in the end made everything so much more meaningful to us.
Take steps to talk with the ceremony officiant, make sure they know all about you, talk through your lives and learn more about each other as it will only build more layers to the ceremony—it is of course the most important part of the day! Through all the planning, our meetings with our officiant helped us remember what was most important – our love and our future lives together.
Think differently about the food and drink options, we saved a lot of money by choosing Ham and Turkey roasts in lieu of the more typical beef/fish and people went NUTS over it, it was great, we also did a buffet style which helped us keep the move relaxed vibe we were going for – it was no problem for 150 guests. Be sure to really work with the caterer to give you options, most caterers would really just throw out generic plans and we pushed our chosen caterer to dig deeper and it was amazing with what they came up with!
Thank you Zac for sending your BREATHTAKING images of this gorg wedding my way, and congratulations Liz and Will! Thank you for giving us a VIP pass into your special day.
Photographer: Zac Wolf Photography
Assistant Photographer: Matt Rosadini
Florist: Guilford White House Florist
Caterer: La Cuisine
Makeup/Hair: Madison Avenue Salon
Dress: Manuel Mota for Pronovias
Suit: Custom Alton Lane
Image submission via Two Bright Lights