Annie Turf is positive she met Ryan Watson at his apartment after she and her friends befriended his roommate one summer night in Boston. Ryan is certain they met for the first time six months later, at a mutual friend’s Christmas party. Regardless, they both agree that after Annie introduced herself at the party, the two felt an instant spark, and sat and talked for two hours. Their relationship progressed, but they arrived at a crossroads after Annie abruptly moved away to Chicago to be closer to her mother. For Ryan, however, the next step was obvious. “I came to the realization that I knew this was the girl I was going to marry, so I should take a chance and make the move with her,” he says.
Annie and Ryan’s future together was sealed during a trip to Nantucket, where Ryan popped the question on the beach at sunset. “He pulled out a white box and I just started screaming!” she exclaims. “And if you know me, you know that the screaming was incredibly loud coupled with jumping up and down!”
The bride approached wedding planning with the design objective of “a barn meets the Four Seasons” on Lake Michigan, where she had grown up. Most importantly, though, the venue had to allow an unlimited number of guests, to ensure that Ryan would be able to invite all of his loved ones from Boston to the festivities. “To leave everyone he knew for me meant he should be able to celebrate our love with as many of those people as possible,” Annie explains. Since the bride comes from a long tradition of houseware and design experts (her mother was the president and CEO of Crate and Barrel, her uncle owned a wholesale housewares company, and her brother manages a home furnishing company), the process of creating two unique tents for the ceremony and reception was truly a family affair.
Light and warmth filled the interior of the ceremony tent, which featured minimal, rustic touches in shades of white, taupe, and blush. A weathered wooden aisle adorned with handpainted floral creations led to a stage that was flanked by candles and set in front of rows of pink, ivory, and tan ribbons that gracefully dangled from the ceiling to the floor. Branches covered in snowy blossoms were sculpted to form “trees” and placed throughout the space. The bridesmaids’ bouquets of pale pink and vanilla peonies complemented their rosy gowns. Annie was the epitome of beauty in a gown with a sweetheart neckline and ruffled skirt, her hair falling around her shoulders in loose waves. “I really married up!” Ryan says of his gorgeous bride.
Both Annie and Ryan wanted to pay homage to their love of Bruce Springsteen, so they asked their officiant to include a reading of the classic song, “Happy.” “The last line is, ‘I am happy in a love like this.’ And that is what our officiant spoke to,” she says. During the recessional, guests were amazed when a guitarist popped up from the audience and performed “Glory Days” to energize the crowd for the party to come.
The reception convened in a second tent designed to Annie’s aesthetic of “pink, peonies, warm lighting, and just a little bit of an East Coast feel.” The ceiling and walls were draped in rosy-hued fabric, while a mixture of rectangular and round tables were topped with either matte or sequined dusty-rose linens. Tables also featured low arrangements of blooms in ivory and blush, displayed in silver vases and wooden boxes. Pillar candles stood atop bronze stands of varying heights. A dance floor that matched the ceremony aisle completed the romantic scene.
Ryan describes the live band as “beyond words,” and Annie says dancing with her loved ones to Bruce Springsteen songs (especially with her dad to “Thunder Road”) was one of her most memorable moments of the entire day, along with listening to her mother’s “magical” speech. After cutting the cake, it was time for Annie to reveal her surprise for Ryan: a Boston sports bar-themed after-party. “I had absolutely no idea,” he marvels, “so that was an awesome way to end the night.”
Though Ryan advises grooms to “say 'yes' to everything your wife asks,” Annie counters that the key to an unforgettable celebration is to know exactly which elements are most important to both of you, and design your dream day as a team. It’s advice she and Ryan clearly took to heart, as they both agree that there isn’t a single thing they would change about their enchanted event. “We built, what I think, was the most beautiful room full of love I have ever seen!” Annie gushes.