For Elyse Marriott and Douglas Foulger, it was not a matter of when they first met but when they fell in love. Since the couple’s families have been close friends for generations, the pair grew up just five minutes from each other in Washington, DC, and spent summers together with their families. Having known one another since they were born, “it was inevitable that Doug and I would be in each other’s lives… We just didn’t know how important we would be [to each other] until years later!” says Elyse.

While summering on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, the couple became best friends and eventually fell in love. “As we got older, our feelings for each other became very clear,” shares Elyse. However, not wanting to ruin their friendship, they spent years tip-toeing around how they felt. It wasn’t until after a few years living in different places – and still always thinking about each other regardless of distance – that they considered dating. “We had tried too many times to stop loving one another to not give us a shot. After we finally decided to go for it, all it took was that first date to know that this was someone I wanted to be with forever,” says Elyse. “I’ve known my whole life I wanted to marry her, ever since we were kids,” Douglas ensures.

An intimate wedding ceremony with just family members and close friends in attendance allowed the couple to focus on the purpose of the day. “The party was amazing, but the best part [of the wedding] was the moment she actually became my wife,” says Douglas of their ceremony, which was conducted by Bill Marriott, the bride’s grandfather. Elyse was elegant in a short-sleeve lace gown with a scalloped neckline; she held a frothy bouquet of ivory and pale pink roses accented with light blue blooms and greenery. Bridesmaids donned blue-grey wrap dresses with flutter sleeves and carried bouquets of ivory garden roses with azure hydrangeas and thistles wrapped with dangling ribbon. The groom was handsome in a navy tuxedo with a sky blue bow tie to match the setting.

Following the service, the couple joined attendees at the summer lakefront home of the bride’s family for an alfresco cocktail hour and reception. “It’s where we fell in love,” shares Elyse of their venue choice. The perfectly manicured lawn was dotted with lanterns and rustic chandeliers were suspended from trees overhead. Small bites including mini Cuban tacos, fish and chips, and beef short rib sliders were tray passed to guests, in addition to signature mocktails denoted with laser-cut wood signs in modern calligraphy.

To complement the natural beauty of the lakefront setting, the duo chose a palette of pastel greys, blues, greens, and whites. A structure decorated with alabaster roses and foliage featured open sides and a transparent roof, which provided shelter from potential weather while still giving the couple the “outdoor” feeling they hoped for. Tables were left bare of runners and marked by wooden signs. Mismatched chairs contributed to the shabby-chic look, while various centerpieces featuring peach and white roses, blue hydrangeas and thistles, ferns, and verdure were surrounded by cut-crystal candle votives, succulents displayed inside glass domes, and additional antique-style pieces.

Overhead lighting showcased vintage-inspired light bulbs and strands of crystals suspended from driftwood as well as pillar candles housed in birdcages. Lounge areas designed in residential style were set up throughout the space to offer places for loved ones to rest and mingle. Tufted leather sofas, antique armchairs, settees, and ottomans provided seating, while bookshelves and display tables were adorned with sage green vessels, golden lanterns, and lakeside décor including oars to create a comfortable setting. Cocktail tables surrounding the structure were complete with “selfie” accessories and charming wooden signage displaying the couple’s wedding hashtag, so guests could easily share images throughout the event.

To encourage loved ones to have fun throughout the reception and not feel obligated to sit, Elyse and Douglas selected a buffet-style menu featuring various culinary options, including a carving station, salad bar, and pasta station. A live band played Motown hits and kept guests on the black-and-white checkered dance floor all night long. “The band said that they had never seen a crowd respond with as much enthusiasm as our group did that night,” says Elyse, who also admits that they actually broke the dance floor. “So I like to think we successfully achieved the level of energy we were hoping for.”

The night ended with friends and family sending wishing lanterns into the sky and a surprise fireworks show. “Our two extended families have been close friends for generations, so it was fun seeing them all come together to have a good time,” says the groom. “It was just the best party with our favorite people.” The bride agrees, “I loved every minute of our wedding! Hands down the happiest and most fun day of my life, so far!”