Marriage Material: Step Inside Claire’s AMAZE Backyard Wedding
I’d never really harbored any wedding fantasies before I got married, except for one: I’ve always wanted it to happen at my childhood home in Wilmington, Delaware. It’s such a personal space: My dad has poured countless hours and his whole heart into the garden, and my mom’s design sensibility is evident everywhere you turn. So when it came time to do the damn thing with Chris, I wanted all of the elements to feel just as personal as the setting. —claire
HERE'S HOW IT WENT DOWN:
My Grandma Shirley was an amazing artist whose work perfectly embodied her personality. She died in between the time we got engaged and got married, so using her paintings of my parent’s house on the invites and program ended up being a really special way to give her a presence. My cousin Anna (who also designed the Of a Kind logo!) did the graphic design and layouts of them, so they were 100% a family affair.
My dress is by (CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist!) Juan Carlos Obando. I had a vision of nineties, Calvin Klein-style minimalism in my head, and this really delivered. It’s not a wedding dress—just a white cocktail dress pulled off the rack at Barneys—which is the first piece of advice I give all my friends who are stressing about their wedding dresses: Go try on fancy dresses somewhere that is not a bridal salon. It’s a laid-back and low-pressure way to figure out what types of silhouettes actually look good on you. If you’re lucky, you might even find the dress, but if nothing else you can go into the rest of the process with a much clearer idea of what you’re looking for.
The so-sweet and so-talented Lauren Wolf custom-designed our rings and, man, do I love them. That’s a gray diamond on my engagement ring. Right after I said “yes,” I excitedly pointed out how well it would go with my collection of chambray shirts. And the wedding band is a bunch of tiny white diamonds in Lauren’s signature stingray setting.
Armed with my new favorite technology, the curling wand, I styled my own ‘do—if you have curls, you know that basically nobody else can be trusted. My girl Chelsa Crowley is the best makeup artist I know, so I roped her in for my face. We came up with a term to describe her signature look: “aggressively natural.” She kills it every time.
My dad made that trellis from two of these $15 bad boys from Home Depot and some lathes of wood. The musicians who played during the ceremony are my dad’s community-orchestra posse—he plays the french horn. Cute, right?! And the tall guy is our friend the filmmaker Ben Nabors, who officiated.
My attitude about party decor is that if you pick three or four elements and repeat them over and over (and over!), it’s gonna look good. We brought in a bunch of peonies, ranunculus, and baby’s breath and stuck ‘em in brown glass bottles from SKS. Farah Sit of Light + Ladder told me Russell’s Bromeliads has the best air plants around (and she would know!), so we got 100 and scattered them all over.
Caroline Z. Hurley made metallic-printed table runners for us—which I’m now having cut and sewn into cloth napkins for everyday use.
But let’s get real: I let my dad’s garden do most of the heavy lifting when it came to decoration.
WHAT WE DIDN'T DO
We didn’t have a photo booth, but I passed around my Fuji Instax and adore the shots we got from it. They’re a totally different feel from the professional pics, and they’re just so…tactile.
We didn’t have a set dinner hour or assigned seating, which I was a little worried would throw people off, but it turns out everyone was psyched about not being told where to sit or when to eat. The pros at Talula’s Table served everything buffet-style and we bought lightweight, disposable, and earth-friendly plates and bowls from Verterra that were sturdy enough for people to eat standing if they wanted, and they also helped convey a more casual vibe.
We didn’t have bridesmaids or groomsmen (my brother and Chris’s sister served as our witnesses), but our friends did come over to keep us company beforehand—which turned out to be one of my very favorite memories from the day.
We didn’t luck out with the weather. But we did have 50 white golf umbrellas that created a really pretty scene when they were all opened up. And by the time the dancing got going, barely anybody noticed what was falling from the sky.
And, speaking of dancing: we did not sit still. We danced so hard the cops came to shut us down at the end of the night. And we wouldn’t have had it any other way.