Wedding Al Fresco
Nuptials inspired by a couple’s love of nature
Photography By Craig Paulson
Photo by Michel LeGrand
Nature abounds outside and inside the tent pitched in the backyard of Rebecca's family's South Salem home.
When Business Manager for Credit Suisse Rebecca Fogarty, 31, and Institutional Sales Trader Daniel Purnick, 30, dreamed of their wedding day, they imagined elegance in a natural, unpretentious setting...and what better place to celebrate the couple’s love of nature than in the backyard of the bride’s two-acre family's home in South Salem. Both have a commitment to nature and they wanted their wedding to be friendly—not just to the guests, but to the earth as well.
“We made it as natural as possible,” Rebecca says. “We kept it environmentally-friendly."
To help the couple celebrate nature, wedding coordinator Josyane Colwell of Le Moulin Event Planning & Catering suggested using the natural setting of the large wooded property as a theme—with an atypical green tonal palette for the decor—to help bring the “outside” in. Frank Lloyd Wright would have been pleased with the results. Josyane enlisted the assistance of Jill Wood, owner of Blooms Unlimited, a South Salem landscape consultant. Together they built paths through the property and defined them with wood chips that led from the driveway to the two tents that were erected behind the house. Glass cups hung from cast iron shepherd’s crooks, and battery-powered lanterns marked the trail.The invitations displayed a stick drawing of the couple’s 160-pound bullmastiff, Gordon.
Because seating was limited to 90 at the chapel, separate invitations were sent out for the ceremony and for the reception. Outside Mead Chapel, a small stone church in Waccabuc, passersby were directed to the wedding by a hand-painted sign on an old door, created by Wood. It read, “Going to the Chapel.” Sister-in-law Becky Fogarty helped set the mood in the church with her vocal rendition of “Real Love,” the Regina Spector-inspired version of a John Lennon classic, The bride wore a strapless all-lace Vera Wang gown, with an illusion train made of soft English tulle with a black band detail.
The bridal party was dressed in “come-as-you’d-like” chic. “My sister, who was my maid of honor, was eight-months pregnant with twins,” Rebecca says. “She wore whatever she could find.”
Rebecca and Daniel steal a kiss outside Mead Chapel.
To help conserve fuel, guests were invited to park their cars in a nearby school lot and were shuttled by valet service to the Fogarty home. For those who opted to drive, valets were on-hand to park their vehicles. Shuttle valet service was also available from the Danbury Hilton Garden, where about 60 guests opted to stay for the festivities.
Seating cards were clothespin-fastened to wooden planting sticks in a garden of ferns (to keep the outdoor display from blowing away).
Nature surrounds the tent on the two-acre estate in South Salem.
Guests enjoyed cocktails in a tent, lingering with their drinks in a nearby gazebo. Fortunately, all had already found shelter in the larger reception tent before the heavens opened up and it began to rain. The tent was elaborately decorated and comfortable despite the downpour, arranged with rough hewn wooden tables each set with three different shapes of glassware and plates, in various shades of green with a rattan square under each setting instead of tablecloths. Lime/citrus silk covered each chair, and a buffet was stacked with candelabra resembling metal trees with glass-cupped votives. Mini-topiary centerpieces, created by Josyane and Prudence Florists, from New York City, were augmented with artichokes, hydrangeas, and orchids, in containers wrapped with natural tree bark. Grasses and moss created varying shapes that were built up in three layers to resemble a mountain-like interior landscape surrounding the food to create more height on the buffet tables.
“We loved how the tent looked with its long wood farm tables with no cloths—that gave the tent a really close family-like feeling,” Rebecca says.
Photo by Michel LeGrand
A buffet, stacked with tree candlabra and votives brings the outdoors inside and placecards clipped with mini-clothespins are ready to be "planted" among the ferns, reflecting the natural theme of the wedding day.
The first course was plated and the main course was served buffet-style, keeping the evening casual, yet elegant. Entreés included Kobe beef with cognac mustard sauce and Provencal sea bass. Highlighting the nature theme, favors consisted of two chocolate “ladybugs” in a hand-made paper box with a pale green ribbon and wax seal.
The nine-piece band Current Affair played the couple’s first song, “Thank You” by Led Zeppelin, adding music from other artists including The Band, Jimmy Hendrix, Rhianna, and Earth Wind and Fire.
“My dad and I danced to ‘Fathers and Daughters’ by Paul Simon,” Rebecca reports. “The singer did ‘Keep Bleeding Love’ by Leona Lewis, and did it so well, that the guests thought they were playing a CD.”
Says caterer Josyane Colwell, “When I started my business twenty years ago, it was not popular to be organic and natural. When I cater an event, everything is made from scratch using organic ingredients. Cotton cloths are used to protect the environment, and all glass, metal, and paper is carefully sorted and recycled.”
A natural wedding deserves a natural phenomenon—a rainbow peeps over the wedding tents
After the drenching downpour, a rainbow stretched across the sky, embracing the reception tent. Guests emerged from the tent to enjoy the phenomenon as the party wound down. There was no better way to end a wedding that celebrated all things natural. The after-party did go on, for those who were inclined, at the Hilton Garden in Danbury, until about 3 am.
Daniel and Rebbeca’s Wedding Sources
Ceremony: The Mead Chapel, Waccabuc, NY. Reception: Family Home, South Salem, NY. Wedding Coordinator and Caterer: Josyane Colwell, Le Moulin Event Planning & Catering, Irvington, NY; (914) 591-4680, lemoulincatering.com. Florist: Prudence Florists, NYC; (212) 691-1356, prudencedesigns.net. Tent Rental: NetTent Productions, CT; (203) 961-8100, northeasttent.com. Photography: Craig Paulson Photography, New York, NY; (917) 972-1764, cpaulson.com. Invitations/placecards: Fine Lines of Katonah, (914) 232-4856. Band: John Napolitano's Current Affair Music, Howard Beach, NY; (718) 835-2892, currentaffairmusic.com. Valet and Shuttle from Hotel/Parking Lot: Premiere Valet Services; (877) 825-3822, premiervaletservices.com. Cake: Karen Bartole, groom’s mother. Hotel for Out of Town Guests: Hilton Garden, Danbury, CT; (203) 205-2000, hil tongardeninn.com.