We often talk about how much we love it when couples pull inspiration from their own stories for their wedding designs, and Mary Beth and Nicholas are a perfect example! Mary Beth said she wanted their evening to feel lush and elegant, like a “black tie version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” They filled the Oxmoor Estate and Gardens with white flowers and lots of greenery, and even had a hanging garden hovering above their dance floor! But the true inspiration for their verdure reception stems from their proposal, where Nicholas jokingly used a blade in place of a ring! By mixing various grasses into the design, they created a dreamy reception with heartfelt meaning. It was the best of both worlds!
Thanks to Bella Grace Studios for sharing Mary Beth and Nicholas’ wedding day with us in our last print issue!
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? After trying on about 100 dresses (no joke!), I finally found a custom gown at Jin Wang’s studio in San Francisco that I loved. Jin started telling me about the creative process for a custom gown right then, and I was sold. We worked on it together for the better part of a year; it’s such an intense process, but totally worth it as I was so thrilled with the final product. The front of the gown was very simple and the back was accented with gorgeous, ethereal organza details and a long train. The back of the gown was definitely my favorite part!
Since we got married outside at a gorgeous estate with beautiful gardens, I really wanted to keep our flowers simple, but elegant. My planner chose gorgeous blooms in whites and greens. I carried a bouquet composed of white peonies, David Austin garden roses, stock, hydrangeas, and astilbe. The blooms were held together by lace from my mother’s wedding dress and an Italian handkerchief she had given me that morning. Each bridesmaid carried a unique mono-floral grouping of blooms ranging from hydrangeas, stock, peonies, roses, tulips, and calla lilies. I loved this detail, as I think it really complemented the various dresses the girls chose.
Describe your bridesmaids’ dresses. How did you choose them? Having such a large bridal party, I wanted to keep everything simple and soft so that the colors from the garden would really pop, so I asked each of my 13 bridesmaids to choose their own dress in any shade of nude. Designers ranged from Carven to Reformation to La Perla to Stone Cold Fox, among others, and the final product was flawless.
What did the groom and groomsmen wear? Since our wedding was black tie, all 13 of our groomsmen wore classic black tuxedos. Nick wanted to stand out, however, so he chose to wear a formal ivory dinner jacket. I personally loved this detail, as it was a very Southern choice for my very Northern groom.
We considered several different locations for the wedding, including Hotchkiss, Jackson Hole, and Beaver Creek, but when I went to Louisville for my best friend Barrett’s birthday, it just felt like the perfect place, as it’s the city I grew up in and a place that few of my friends had visited before. Seeing Oxmoor Farm for the first time really sealed the deal for me, as it made me feel as if I would be inviting guests into my own home.
Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. What part was most special to you? Did you include any special readings? The ceremony was one of the most special parts of the day for me! I will never forget the feeling I had watching Nick’s face as I walked down the aisle, since he rarely gets emotional, but was definitely a bit teary-eyed in that moment. We asked Nick’s future brother-in-law to do a reading and he chose Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116, which was absolutely perfect for us. Another favorite detail was the recessional–we had our string quartet play the chorus of Donna Lewis’ “I Love You Always Forever,” a song Nick and I both adore.
Did you write your own vows? Nope, we chose to keep our vows traditional. Sweet and simple!
What was the design inspiration for your wedding? Why was this design special to you as a couple? If I had to pinpoint exactly where my inspiration came from, it would probably be a black tie version of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”–I wanted the whole evening to feel elegant and lush, with traditional white flowers and tons of greenery everywhere. Since Nick proposed with a blade of grass, I also really wanted various grasses to be mixed into the design, which ended up looking fantastic and feeling meaningful.
I had so much fun at our reception. We had a separate tent for dinner and dancing, and my planner, Lauren Chitwood, did a wonderful job executing my décor vision. I wanted our guests to feel like they were walking into a scene straight out of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” when they entered the tent, and it really did feel just like that–white flowers and greenery everywhere, with a stunning hanging garden over the dance floor. For dinner, we served a summer zucchini ribbon salad with burrata to start, followed by herb and peppercorn encrusted strip steak over creamy cheese grits and spring vegetables. For dessert, we gave every guest a cupcake from Plehn’s Bakery, the very same bakery that made all of my birthday cakes growing up. The Sultans of Swing performed and did a fantastic job. Nick and I danced to Van Morrison’s “Wavelength,” which was one of my favorite parts of the whole night, and the Sultans kept people on the dance floor for the rest of the night playing everything from Frank Sinatra and Etta James to Bruce Springsteen and Justin Timberlake–they were seriously phenomenal. Since our best man and maid of honor had spoken the night before at our rehearsal dinner, my dad was the only person who toasted at the wedding. His speech was incredibly sweet and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person who became teary-eyed!
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We initially met as high school students at the Hotchkiss School, a boarding school in Lakeville, Connecticut, but didn’t start dating until six years later in New York after I literally ran into him and broke his sunglasses at my best friend’s house in Newport, Rhode Island. I was so embarrassed at the time, but turns out he wasn’t that phased, as we had a blast together that weekend and he asked me to drinks for the first time the following week!
Describe the proposal: It was a lazy, foggy Saturday morning at home in San Francisco, and Nick surprised me with breakfast in bed. This wasn’t that random, as he loves to cook, but this time, there was a little jewelry box on the tray with a blade of grass inside (I had always joked with my friends that I loved Nick so much that if he proposed with a blade of grass, I’d still say yes, so clearly, this story had gotten back to him!). After I opened that box and lost all ability to speak, he dropped down to one knee beside the bed and pulled out the real ring! We celebrated with friends the following day in Point Reyes, where we shucked and grilled oysters and drank copious amounts of rosé!
How did you prepare for marriage while planning your wedding? We did several premarital counseling sessions over FaceTime with our minister, my cousin Adam Webb, who lives in Atlanta. He had us read The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller. One of the biggest takeaways for both of us was to always aim to do some sort of unselfish act for the other person at least once a week. This simple, but thoughtful, task has already impacted our relationship in the best way!
How many guests attended your wedding? 185
Bride’s favorite detail of the wedding: My favorite details were the blade of grass motif that was carried through everything from the wedding invitations to the décor, the cupcakes from Plehn’s, and the handwritten notes on the escort cards that also served as dance cards. It’s an old-fashioned tradition for women to record the names of the gentlemen with whom she intends to dance at a formal ball, and so Nick and I thought it would be fun to create dance cards for all of our guests to encourage them to seek out dance partners and maybe even meet some new friends. Whether or not they actually found the people listed on their dance card, we’ll never know, but what we do know is that people were on the dance floor the entire evening!
Were there any family traditions you included in the ceremony? I originally wanted to wear “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” as my mother had done in her wedding. The lace from my mother’s wedding dress that was wrapped around my bouquet was my something old, the wedding dress was new, my mom’s diamond earrings were borrowed, and my sapphire engagement ring was blue. However, Nick surprised me with his grandmother’s earrings, so of course, I wore those instead of my mom’s!
Tell us about your wedding cake or sweets. Growing up in Louisville, I was lucky enough to have a Plehn’s Bakery cake every year for my birthday, so choosing a wedding cake was a no-brainer. Nick is totally obsessed with cupcakes, so rather than serve a traditional Southern groom’s cake, we decided to place a cupcake–either red velvet or lemon with cream cheese icing–on each guest’s plate after we cut the cake. Absolutely delicious!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We’re excited for everything about the future! As Nick always reminds me when I start to get sad that the wedding and honeymoon are over, these next few months are just the beginning of the rest of our lives! I can’t wait to see what happens for us professionally, I can’t wait to see where we end up buying a house, and I can’t wait to explore the world and raise a family together!
Photographer: Bella Grace Studios | Videographer: Two Rings Wedding Videos | Planner, Designer, Linens, and Lighting: Lauren Chitwood Events | Venue: Oxmoor Farm | Florals: Paul Latham of Lauren Chitwood Events | Caterer: Wiltshire Pantry | Dessert Baker: Plehn’s Bakery | Bride’s Gown and Veil: Jin Wang | Bride’s Shoes: Aquazzura | Bride’s Earrings: Cresalia Jewelers | Hair Stylist: Hali B & Co.| Makeup Artist: Sloan Winters | Bridesmaid Salon: Drybar | Groom’s Dinner Jacket: Saks Fifth Avenue | Paper Goods: Lettered West | Rentals: All Occasions Event Rental | Transportation: R&R Limousine
I love the dance cards idea and all the greenery! What an elegant day!
What a beautiful wedding!! I love that she carried the grass theme throughout – what a sweet reminder of the proposal! Such a sweet interview.
Love the skin tones on this set. So creamy. Beautiful wedding.