Whimsical, Vintage Garden Wedding with Rustic Details

Dorothy and Thomas
Photographed by: Judith RaeLocation: Sparta, New Jersey, United States

It all started in 1935, when a man named Thomas Smith proposed to a woman he loved, named Dorothy. Nearly 70 years later, that man’s grandson – also named Thomas Smith – used the same ring to propose to his girlfriend on a trip to Antibes, France. Her name is also Dorothy. “Destiny!” she exclaims, regarding the similarities.

Sharing the names of Tom’s grandparents is not the only way his family has been involved in the relationship. Dorothy is close friends with Tom’s cousin, and suggested they should meet. “She thought we would hit it off, considering our mutual love of wine and all things upstate,” explains the bride. They shared a first date that Dorothy describes as “magical” and had their first kiss in the snow. Tom clearly wasn’t into playing the standard games that come with dating – the next morning he called her, saying he wanted to see her right away and asking if they could get brunch. “I knew that weekend that he was the one for me,” Dorothy muses.

After two months of enjoying life as an engaged couple, the bride and groom got started on planning. Though they both lived in New York City – Tom in Manhattan and Dorothy in Brooklyn – they knew they didn’t want to wed in the city. “We wanted something different,” the bride confides, “a magical outdoor escape from our day to day.” As Dorothy and Tom were planning the wedding themselves, they also hoped to find something with simple elegance and natural beauty. Fortunately, they found an inn that suited them perfectly. “The landscape is private, enchanting, and otherworldly – we fell in love at first sight, much like with each other!” shares the bride.  

With a theme of “vintage garden elegance,” the couple chose a color palette of ivory, blush, and soft green to complement the lush grounds of the inn. The bride wore a classic silk gown with a modern twist – pockets! Her bridesmaids wore knee-length lace dresses in ivory “for a pretty balance of cohesiveness and contrast,” explains Dorothy. “ We chose a grey suit for Tom to maintain the softness for the color palette and the whimsical nature of the day,” she adds. The alfresco ceremony featured a charming petal-strewn aisle for the bridal party to stroll down. Once again, the bride and groom kept things in the family, as Tom’s brother officiated the wedding, in addition to being a beloved groomsman.

One tidbit of advice from the bride for those in the midst of wedding planning is not something that’s often heard: “Take dancing lessons!” Dorothy insists. The happy couple did so for several months leading up to the wedding and the bride proclaims that learning to waltz was the best decision they made in regards to their nuptials. “The time spent together dancing during the planning phase was such a wonderful stress reliever and the wedding day is such an incredible whirlwind that having that magical moment between us [while] dancing was priceless,” shares the bride. “It was so fun and special, I still think about it.” And the romance has lasted past the wedding – the newlyweds still dance together in their apartment. 

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