After Allison Connolly accepted Eric Oishi’s proposal atop Mount Judah near Lake Tahoe, the couple decided to take their time and enjoy the view, both literally and figuratively. There was no whirlwind wedding on the horizon; they instead had an almost two-year engagement, during which time the bride and groom experienced the excitement of being engaged while planning without too much pressure. After all, they already knew where the event would take place. “The wedding location was really a no-brainer as I had always wanted to have the reception on my parents’ lawn,” explains Allison. Guests were invited to join the bride and groom in coastal Massachusetts for a weekend of celebration, beginning with the wedding itself. Holding the wedding first, on a Friday, was an idea they loved because it freed up the rest of the weekend to enjoy the local area.
But even brides with the best of intentions can surprise themselves with how detail-oriented they become once the planning bug bites: “I did not want to get caught up in what I originally considered the minutiae of wedding planning, but I soon found myself spending lots of time thinking about the color of the tablecloths,” admits Allison. She and Eric spent a greater amount of time, however, designing their ceremony and crafting the vows they would exchange while overlooking the blue sea. Eric, joined by his seven groomsmen dressed in seersucker jackets, awaited his bride’s grand entrance, expecting her to walk down the aisle in traditional fashion. He and just about everyone else was surprised when Allison arrived by rowboat, her father manning the oars. She and Eric spoke their original vows to one another as if in natural, unrehearsed conversation, drawing their 145 guests into the experience.
While Allison and Eric wanted the wedding décor to reflect the beachfront setting, thematic elements like seashells and sailboats were not what they had in mind. “Neither of those really fit our personality or aesthetic, so we just tried to keep it as breezy as possible.” They used a refreshing color palette — periwinkle blue and deep magenta accented by orange and white — to mingle the look of the ocean with the warmth of late summer. Hand picked floral arrangements in simple white pails dotted the embroidered linens of the cocktail hour. Beneath the open-sided reception tent, paper globe lanterns hung over the tables, which were covered in orange and decorated with alternating low and tall centerpieces of hydrangea, mums, roses, and greenery.
Each table was named for a specific place where Allison and Eric had once shared an adventure together, and in lieu of traditional place cards, guests were guided to their seats by antique-style compasses etched with the names of their tables. The compasses were used to symbolize the beginning of Allison and Eric’s most exciting adventure of all: “navigating life together.” The devices became unique mementos of the wedding, and guests received them as favors along with bags of personalized M&M candies and donations made on their behalf to breast cancer research.
And just days later, Allison and Eric embarked on their next journey, a nature-inspired honeymoon that included stops in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and Yellowstone National Park.