It was a friend—one determined to play matchmaker—that brought Erin and Brett together. He riddled Erin, a then-student Kalamazoo College, with so much information about Brett that she felt she knew him long before they met. "The moment we met, I knew Kevin was right," she says now of their mutual friend. "To this day Kevin takes all the credit, and he was deservedly the best man in our wedding."
Six years later, Brett was set on surprising Erin with a proposal, but his plans to pop the question at The Cloisters—The Metropolitan Museum of Art's gardens in Washington Heights, Manhattan—were foiled when Erin accurately pegged his unusual behavior as part of a larger, more romantic scheme. "Brett told me that he would figure out another day to surprise me," Erin says. But after a romantic dinner, Brett proposed anyway. "He still managed to surprise me. The proposal did not go as perfectly as Brett had planned, but that is what made it so perfect."
Though the couple calls New York City home, they're Midwesterners at heart—so when it came to planning their September nuptials, it was important to "represent" their Ohio and Michigan hometowns, the bride says. "We brought our love for upscale city elegance to a casual and relaxed outdoor setting," she says.
With dozens of their 95 guests coming from out of town, the Hudson Valley's Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa"had everything we were looking for and more," for a miniature-destination wedding, Erin says. "The exquisite gardens, winding paths, quaint yet modern and luxurious cottages, and an on-site full service spa provided a charming and breathtaking location for our wedding weekend."
Erin considered designing her own wedding dress—but in the end, the bride chose a ready-to-wear gown that "reflected my aesthetic by a designer that I truly admire," she says. Her Vera Wang dress' drop waist and raw-edged organza skirt combined for a "soft yet architectural modern silhouette that photographs beautifully and looks different from every angle."
Erin's asymmetrical bouquet of white phalaenopsis orchids, fuchsia dendrobium orchids, garden roses and hot-pink ranunculus was tied with a pleated gray ribbon and adorned with a blue brooch that the bride's great grandmother, grandmother, mother and sister each used on their wedding days.
Photos: Style Art Life
Bridesmaids who wore short gray dresses from BCBG and Amsale also carried hot-pink bouquets made of dahlias, garden roses and ranunculus. "It was important to me that everyone felt beautiful and comfortable on my wedding day," Erin says.
In honor of Brett's undying love for the Detroit Tigers, groomsmen donned argyle socks bearing the baseball team's logo.
Rustic wood signs led guests to the couple's ceremony.
Held on a lawn near Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa's Swan Pond, Erin and Brett's ceremony was personal, they say, from the pastor's touching sermon to their handwritten vows. Music also played a large role in their nuptials, with a friend playing an acoustic guitar from the time guests arrived until the couple recessed to The Beatles' Here Comes The Sun.
The asymmetry of the bridesmaids' bouquets complemented some of the bridal party's one-shoulder dresses.
Photos: Style Art Life
Guests and attendants alike tossed pink rose petals into the air as the couple recessed down the aisle.
A cousin's bulldog, Frog, traveled from Ohio to attend the couple's wedding, donning a vest and pink bow tie for the occasion, "so we had to include him in the ceremony as our junior groomsman," Erin says. "He was so well-behaved and the highlight of the wedding weekend!"
As guests left the ceremony and headed toward the couple's reception tent, they were served pink Kir Royales in rustic mason jars. Staff with Oliver Kita Fine Catering also passed eight hors d'oeuvres, including risotto cakes topped with bitter chocolate beef ribs; lobster brochettes with a Panko-crumb and caramel glaze; and shooters of pear veloute soup.
"Throughout the wedding styling process we added details that truly represented us," Erin says. The couple labeled tables with numbers meaningful to their relationship—the address where they first met, the date they moved to New York City, and the number of Brett's favorite Detroit Tigers pitcher.
The bride "wanted the decor to reflect my own personal style and artistic aesthetic," she says. A blend of grey driftwood tables, mercury glass containers and fuchsia centerpieces created "a juxtaposition of clean architectural lines with subtle rustic and feminine details," she says.
Oliver Kita Fine Catering nicknamed the rustic farmhouse buffet "The Edible Hudson Valley Table," displaying local-farm cheeses, artisan breads and seasonal fruits for guests to enjoy.
The couple's white chocolate cake was covered in buttercream and layered with lemon and thyme flavors. White chocolate shavings gave the three-tier confection "a simple and modern look," the bride says.
The couple chose Barry White's Can't Get Enough Of Your Love for their first dance as husband and wife. "We chose fun and lighthearted songs for our special dances," Erin says.
Despite what the bride describes as hot and humid weather, guests danced all night to the live music of Live Wire Entertainment. "We are still receiving compliments about the amazing band," Erin says.
"The entire day was relaxed, intimate, flawless and exceptionally fun," Erin says of the couple's wedding celebration. "The night ended with our guests singing and dancing to New York, New York under a full moonlit sky. You could definitely feel the love stemming generations."
Wedding Planner: Events That Matter and Erin Braun Design || Ceremony Venue: Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa || Reception Venue: Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa || Bride's Wedding Dress: Vera Wang || Bride's Veil: Bride's Head Revisited || Bride's Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Bride's Accessories: Erin Braun Design and Erwin Pearl || Bride's Wedding Ring: Linhardt || Groom's Tux: Ticknors || Groom's Wedding Ring: Linhardt || Bridesmaids' Dresses: BCBG and Amsale || Bridesmaids' Accessories: Alexis Bittar || Groomsmen Attire: Ticknors || Mother of the Bride's Dress: Emmelle || Florist: Steven Bruce Design || Caterer: Oliver Kita Fine Catering || Stationery: Gourmet Invitations || Cake Baker: Oliver Kita Fine Catering || Favors: Bell's Inspired Brewing, Two Little Red Hens and Russell Farms || Rentals: Party Rental Ltd. || Lighting: Stortz Lighting || Entertainment: Levi Schmidt and Live Wire Entertainment || Photography: Style Art Life