Ocean-View Ceremony + Romantic Reception with Chic Coastal Elements

Jessica and Matthew

Photographed by: Kiss Me in ParisLocation: Waterford, Connecticut, United States

As a wedding and event planner in Los Angeles, Jessica Garvey never dreamed she’d meet her comedian husband at one of the first events she ever planned: a young alumni event for her alma mater: the University of Pennsylvania. But as fate would have it, her husband spotted her at the event, and continued to show up at every gathering thereafter too woo her. “You could say he was stalking me, but in a cute way,” Jessica recalls. The two got engaged in Paris on Matthew’s birthday seven years later and decided to embrace the spirit of the city. “He’s a romantic and went all out: we got engaged on a small bridge in Parc Monceau, made famous by Monet, followed by a breakfast at the Four Seasons, where he had Jeff Leatham make a surprise floral tablescape. As if that wasn’t enough, Matt brought it full circle by putting together an alumni surprise party that night. "Somehow we managed to squeeze in a little shopping for the perfect dress, as we were going to have formal engagement pictures taken the following day all around our favorite spots in the city. It was a whirlwhind that I’ll never forget,” she muses.

They elected a seaside wedding location in Montauk, New York to remain close to their loved ones, but also wanted to incorporate elements of the California coast. “We wanted to harness some of the Malibu-chic spirit we find in California on the East Coast,” Jessica tells. The evening commenced with an intimate ceremony officiated by the couple’s best friend and fellow comedian. “Writing our own vows and having our best friend marry us and reference so many people in the crowd in an authentic way really made it feel like everyone was up at the chuppah with us,” Matt remembers.

Jessica explains her vision this way: “I created the design for the wedding and wanted to invoke a glamorously romantic, whimsical, and beach-chic look while incorporating unique and nontraditional elements.”  This plan was brought to life by a few choice components. Bridesmaids held bouquets uniquely adorned with barnacle clusters and traditional vases were replaced with giant clam shells on the reception tables. These centerpieces perfectly paired with the custom laser-cut coral fan menus that were placed at every table setting. It was equally important for the couple to showcase a customized French bulldog cake topper as a nod to their beloved canine. They also opted for a video booth in lieu of a traditional photo booth, which was quite the crowd-pleaser. “Guests used props like feather boas and fake glasses and made a short pantomime video that was printed up as a flipbook,” the bride describes. Friends and family also loved the late-night bonfire on the beach. “I think it really encompassed our personalities to have a fancy wedding and then a super relaxed after-party where people could kick off their shoes and enjoy the outdoors and the company,” she says. Naturally, they had a French band as an ode to their time spent in Paris.

Jessica encourages all engaged couples to start the planning process with a heartfelt discussion about their priorities for the wedding and agree on what is most important to them. She advises people to literally write down their list of priorities and refer back to it in times of stress. “There are so many decisions that seem really important that it can sometimes get overwhelming," she shares. "Having a sort of pact of what is most important to you as a couple is helpful in alleviating stress from all the little details.” Take a look at photos from the couple's wedding above, and see their Paris-inspired engagement party here.