Says Kara, “I had always dreamt of getting married where I grew up in small-town Connecticut. From the start, I wanted our wedding to showcase the beauty of a summer night on the Connecticut River in Essex. I also wanted the small details to feel like Josh and [myself] and reflect our love for one another, our families and friends.
When designing, I thought about elements that really highlighted a New England summer: navy blue and clean white stripes, natural greenery, and pops of bright pink blooms. My phenomenal team of vendors, and most especially our planner, Andrew Carey, brought this vision to life seamlessly, along with the help of family and friends. Our paper designer included the nautical letter P (both of our last names!) and maps of downtown Essex and the River on our invitations. Our rental company provided a stunning sailcloth tent and natural wood accents. We wanted to honor family at every chance we could. Since Josh had designed my engagement ring using my paternal grandmother’s diamond, we used diamonds passed down from my maternal grandmother for my wedding band. My florist wrapped my bouquet with the lace sleeve from my mother’s wedding gown and pinned charms belonging to my grandparents along the stems. Tell us about your dress. I fell in love with the silhouette and shape of my Amy Kuschel dress at The White Dress by the Shore. Since I really wanted a bow, I was able to design a removable one with the team at The White Dress that could be easily taken on/off the lower back. I originally thought I might take it off after photographs, but I never wanted to. It was the perfect little detail. Josh and his groomsmen ordered clean, simple suits from Combatant Gentlemen and my bridesmaids chose their own style/fit from Lula Kate’s collection. Our nieces and nephews were outfitted in seersucker suits and Lilly Pulitzer prints. When it came to our venue, the Essex Yacht Club was a no-brainer. It was truly the ideal spot to introduce our out-of-town friends and family to classic New England. After our wedding ceremony, our guests were able to stroll from the church down Main Street Essex – taking in the Griswold Inn and the excitement of the July 4th weekend – as they made their way to EYC. The Yacht Club is surrounded by water so our guests were able to enjoy views of the Cove and the Connecticut River from the cocktail hour through the sunset and the late night party our band threw. The Yacht Club also provided us with the opportunity to arrive to the reception via my parent’s boat, Sweet Freedom. My dad had the time of his life steering us into the reception! Kara and Josh’s Love Story: Josh and I both work in education in Washington, DC. We knew of each other for a while, but connected and started dating thanks to Teach for America and some good ol’ fashioned luck being in the same places at the same time in the fall of 2012. During a family vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, Josh pulled off a wonderful surprise. One of my favorite places is Menemsha Beach on the far west side of the island – you can catch the most beautiful sunsets. Josh weaved a web of lies to get me out to Menemsha even though it was overcast with no chance of a sunset. As luck (and the weather) would have it, we were the only ones on the beach when he proposed. We were able to celebrate with my family afterwards, including my grandmother. Josh had coordinated with her and my parents to use her diamond for my engagement ring. Having her there immediately after to take it all in with us was magical!Favorite memories? Together, side by side, our grandmothers gave the most beautiful blessing before we began our family-style dinner. Josh and I agree it was, hands-down, our favorite moment from the entire weekend. We also agree that holding our wedding over July 4th was icing on the cake! We tied in small nods to the holiday – from Josh and his groomsmen’s stars and stripes socks and suspenders to the snapshots that our photographer, Julia Jane, took of us holding an American flag that belonged to my grandfather, a WWII veteran. We walked with our bridal party along the red, white, and blue striped divider on Main Street in Essex and flew red, white and blue burgees from our tent. The entire weekend was more than we could have ever imagined and there isn’t a day that goes by that we aren’t grateful for the vendors, family, and friends that made it all a reality! Since we wanted our guests to share a meal together family-style, we chose long farmhouse tables to encourage plate passing and conversation. With so much surface to cover, we opted for the florals to be spread across the tables in pretty bottles and bud vases. My florist helped me pick beautiful, bright pink summer blooms that would add pops of color. Rather than having a wedding cake, we opted for a dessert table with plates of macaroons, cupcakes, tarts, and cannolis. In lieu of a favor, we made a donation in our guests’ honor to Vida Verde, an overnight environmental learning program that Josh and his students participated in during our time living in California. The organization is near and dear to our hearts because it was founded by two former Teach for America classroom teachers and provides free, outdoor educational experiences for students that would not otherwise get the opportunity. In terms of a splurge: Josh was not going to let the day go by without ensuring there was a raw bar — we made sure we cut the line for oysters during the cocktail hour!
Highlighting handmade and personal details was very important to me to make our wedding feel more personal. My family and friends were so helpful in pulling this off. For the months leading up the wedding, my mom walked the beach collecting washed up oyster shells for our escort cards and collected antique glass bottles in little shops along Route 1 for our simple floral arrangements. A small DIY army handcrafted every single rope charger that lay under each place setting. Advice? Enjoy the ride and don’t be afraid to roll your sleeves up to tackle some of the details on your own (though I do not recommend winding and hot gluing 300 rope chargers … ever!).Credits: Photography: Julia Jane Studios | Reception Venue: Essex Yacht Club | Event Planning: Andrew Carey Events | Floral: Teri Krisavage | Calligraphy: Lisa Fatone | Invitations: invitations by stephanie | Band: Men in Black Band | Tent: Chase Canopy | Linens: A Chair Affair | Hair: Larissa Lake Makeup Artist | Makeup: Larissa Lake Makeup Artist | Bridal Salon: The White Dress by the Shore | Wedding Dress: Amy Kuschel | Groom’s Attire: Combatant Gentlemen | Bride’s Shoes: Jack Rogers | Bridesmaid Dresses: Lula Kate | Jewelry: J.Crew | Jewelry: Kate Spade | Submitted via: Matchology