This Savvy Bride Relied on the Kindness of Others to Pull Off Her ‘Effortless’ Beachfront Wedding
At the end of a college trip to Ireland, Jane McPike decided to embark on an impromptu trek around the continent. As for her lovesick friend/classmate Eric? Well, he asked to tag along, and the rest was history. So when this sweet couple got engaged nine years later, it wasn’t entirely surprising that their vibe embodied that same laissez-faire spirit.
Settling on a six-month engagement, the duo quickly put together a casual-chic backyard romp for 160 close friends and family: “We wanted it to feel intimate, approachable and easy—like a really fun dinner party,” says Jane.
Planning (or pining) for a breezy summer wedding of your own? Let this one inspire you to keep things simple and celebrate what matters most.
"My in-laws live on an amazing communal beachfront on the Long Island sound. It is a gem and truly my home away from home, so it was the natural choice for our reception. It felt like a backyard wedding, and we had the house just up the street for our after-party!"
While Jane originally ordered a pink silk frock on Moda Operandi, a close pal convinced her to just try a true wedding dress. Spoiler: She fell in love and saved the slip dress for later. "My dress was designed by Jane White. I loved that it was produced in my home state of Illinois and purchased at my local neighborhood bridal boutique, VeKa. I only tried on four dresses and landed on this one because it felt classic, simple and complimentary to my body and style."
Jane's "something new" was her jewelry scheme: "I had this chain cut at a neighborhood jeweler in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, and now I wear it every day," she says. "My twin sister and best friend had the earrings made for me from Stillhouse in the East Village. They are delicate gold chains that thread through with tiny diamond studs."
THE WEDDING PARTY
The only real rule for the bridal party's attire? No black! "I wanted everyone to feel their best, so we let everyone choose their own ensemble. We bought the boys Burberry ties and they each wore suits from their closets, and I had my bridesmaids select whatever they felt most comfortable in. I love how this pebble palette came together so nicely with very little direction."
"Up to that morning, storms were all around us. Our rain plan was to use the venue's porch and do a standing ceremony, but the sun broke through just in time, and we were able get married under this amazing sweet gum tree. Our ceremony was planned to be super special and intimate: We wrote the script with Eric's cousin and shared translated copies of our vows with Eric's Ecuadorian family who joined us. I think everyone was truly moved by how sweet our ceremony was. There were lots of tears, laughter and applause."
"I literally hugged this arrangement when we picked it up from GRDN in Cobble Hill. I had my eye on these urns all spring, so I asked the shopkeeper if she could do “wild and colorful” arrangements in them. We had a second arrangement like this one at one of the bars, and she also did my bouquet. The rest of the cut flowers were actually snipped from my good friend's garden in Bellport, which was fun for my mom and sister to do the day before the wedding. And my friend loved seeing his flowers throughout the ceremony!"
"In an effort to reduce waste, we bought a bunch of young herbs and flowers from Hicks Nursery and potted them six weeks before the wedding. I potted about 50 in total—the majority were small ones for our tabletops. Every single plant was taken home by our guests and is (hopefully) thriving!"
"I leaned on my graphic designer friend, Candace Gabel, to make this seating poster for everyone to locate their table. The beach house at our venue had a cork board in place that we made good use of! I love how she chose an herbal green font, like the rosemary and thyme potted on the tables." One thing the bride learned across the board? "It’s amazing how much people want to help you—I learned quickly to ask for favors during the planning process."
THE COCKTAIL HOUR
"My graphic designer friend Candace also sketched a super-sweet cocktail menu for the bar. Our suggested drinks were Moscow mule, dark and stormy, Manhattan, and Negroni. We didn’t have a signature cocktail, but all were strongly suggested and consumed!"
"Our caterer, Night Kitchen, was amazing. This was a passed spinach pie with pomegranate seeds and a yogurt sauce. We also had gin-soaked watermelon with mint, wild mushroom dumplings, braised pork belly boa, coconut milk fried chicken with hot honey. Our guests are still talking about the food and service!"
"Dinner was served family-style, full of sharing, toasting, laughing, and eating together. We started with an arugula and rainbow radish salad with a light lemon juice and olive oil dressing. That was followed by summer ratatouille, jeweled saffron rice, grilled asparagus, salmon, and flank steak with chimichurri. While Night Kitchen goes down in history as the best caterer, my father-in-law prepared our wedding cake in his kitchen: He took classes for a couple of weeks, bought everything he needed and made a perfect homemade, wedding cake!"
"My poor mother-in-law! I asked her if she could make iced tea day-of. I thought it would be nice and refreshing along with cucumber water. It was gone pretty fast because it was a super sunny and hot day. Needless to say, we flew through white wine and rosé, too."
THE COCKTAIL HOUR PT. 2
"The sky was so pretty that people were dispersing for photo shoots after the meal—ourselves included! We loved how organically the night flowed—my brothers actually grabbed the microphone to drop some super sweet, and funny, toasts during this unofficial second cocktail hour."
ADVICE FROM THE BRIDE
"Go with the flow and be true to yourself. It's the best way to make your wedding unique, personal, and intimate!"
Photography: Hales Studio
Dress: VeKa Bridal
Music: Hank Lane; Sareen Patel
Catering: Night Kitchen
Graphic Designer: Candace Gabel
Ceremony Venue: Science Museum of Long Island
Reception Venue: Port Washington Beach Association