Normally, the role of a wingman is to support a pal in his dating efforts. But when acquaintances-turned-fellow-wingmen Michelle Park and William Leicht both accompanied a mutual friend on his romantic mission, sparks were flying in their direction instead. After just one conversation, Michelle and Will were inseparable. “We were terrible, totally neglecting our duties,” admits Michelle. “But we found each other!”
While dating in Manhattan, the couple fell into a welcomed routine of retreating to Will’s family beach house in New Jersey to spend cozy winter weekends together. It was there, overlooking the ocean, where he proposed to Michelle under a clear, star-studded sky.
Two enviable locations–Michelle’s hometown of Greenwich, CT and Jupiter, FL where her parents live during the winter–were available for the wedding, and the bride and groom finally settled on the latter. They loved the idea of their guests turning the wedding weekend into a beach vacation. Luckily, Michelle’s mother was devoted to helping the couple plan from a distance. “She deserves all the credit for putting together an unforgettable wedding,” Michelle says gratefully.
Michelle works in the fashion industry and possesses a keen sense of style that she used to conceive of the wedding’s very specific and pervasive color scheme: lavender and burgundy. It was debuted in an original monogram–a lavender “M” entwined with a burgundy “W”–and appeared on everything from the save-the-date cards, invitations, programs and menus to an etched ice sculpture at the cocktail hour. Michelle also designed the bridesmaid’s dresses in lavender with a burgundy sash and wore an unexpected pair of purplish-burgundy shoes with her ivory gown. Even the club where the reception was held created a signature cocktail, infused with lavender that was grown on the property, expressly for the event.
Michelle and Will exchanged vows in a spiritual, family-oriented ceremony. Because of the extraordinary impact they had on Michelle and Will, grandparents from both sides participated in the service, as well as the bride’s and groom’s siblings who recited the “Prayer of the Faithful.” As a subtle nod to Michelle’s Korean heritage, the sashes on the bridesmaids’ dresses were tied to imitate the bow on a Han Bok, the traditional Korean dress. Set against the simplicity of the church, the brightly hued dresses created a stunning contrast, much like Michelle’s richly colored bouquet against her delicate Vera Wang gown.
Chartreuse was used as an accent color to help transform the masculine club into a romantic, magical milieu. Three hundred cymbidium orchids were hung in individual glass bulbs from the ceiling, and the burgundy and lavender centerpieces of peonies, roses, hydrangea and mums were set atop brilliant chartreuse linens. Instead of using numbers to mark each table, Will and Michelle named them after their favorite wines and used an actual bottle of each type to identify the tables. “We decided that we will drink one bottle of wine on our anniversary for the next 20 years,” laughs Michelle. Maintaining such creativity, the wedding cake was served with a special attention to detail: Each slice was individually plated with crème anglaise, raspberries and edible flowers.
The leather couches and coffee tables from the club’s sitting areas were moved onto the patio to create an outdoor lounge, and the oil paintings that hung above the fireplaces in the dining room were covered with large framed photos of the couple. These, along with touches like the striped beach bag each guest received upon arrival, helped achieve the lush and cozy atmosphere the couple says reflected the uniqueness of the occasion while encouraging guests to feel at home.
Michelle even slipped into something more comfortable for the reception—a sleek sheath dress designed for her by Richard Tyler—that allowed her to dance freely all night long. It was the celebration they wished would never end: “I described it as our little utopia, our own perfect world for a day.”