A Comfortable and Colorful Waterfront Wedding in Rhode Island

Real Weddings
Driftwood, Peony, and Succulent Centerpiece

Photo: Erin McGinn

Alumni weekend can be a lot more than awkward conversations with former classmates — in fact, it's what brought Jill Hoffmeister and Dave DeMello back together. They had been friends and dated briefly while attending Roanoke College, but their dreams sent them to different continents (she to California to become a jewelry designer, he to New Zealand to play soccer) after graduation. A trip back to their alma mater brought them back together for good.

After a stint as a long distance couple, they bought a house together in South Boston. On their first visit to their new home, Dave popped the question — a proposal that was nine years in the making!

Jill and Dave wanted to keep it simple and planned their wedding themselves, with help from the coordinator at their venue, Belle Mer in Newport, RI. Their vision for a beautiful reunion of family and friends came together perfectly and was captured by Erin McGinn. Read on to learn all the details of this beautiful waterfront wedding!

Wedding Invitation with a Striped Liner

Photo: Erin McGinn

Jill and Dave found invitations they loved, but couldn't find the right envelopes. So Jill dove in and picked out the paper, made a template, and hand-lined each envelope.

Blue Valentino Rockstud Flats Bride in a Vera Wang Wedding Gown Rose and Peony Bridal Bouquet Bride and Groom at Belle Mer in Rhode Island

Photo: Erin McGinn

Jill chose a glamorous organza and tulle Vera Wang gown and paired it with comfy bright blue Valentino Rockstud flats. Dave looked dapper in a modern black J.Crew Ludlow suit.

"Even though I design jewelry, I think less is more when it comes to your wedding day," Jill says. She wore a diamond tennis bracelet from her mom and vintage diamond earrings. Jill's dad gave her a pressed penny from Newport, RI as a good luck charm and she wrapped it in the ribbon surrounding her bouquet. But of course, Jill had to create something for their big day. She made her micro-pavé band and Dave's rose gold ring.

Bridesmaids in Lavender Joanna August Dresses

Photo: Erin McGinn

The 12 bridesmaids looked stunning in pastel lavender dresses by Joanna August that accented the couple's white-and-silver color scheme. They carried smaller versions of Jill's bouquet.

Driftwood Altar with Peonies and Succulents Ceremony Chairs with Peonies Driftwood Altar with Peonies, Garden Roses and Succulents

Photo: Erin McGinn

They exchanged vows beneath a driftwood arbor intertwined with peonies, roses, and succulents. The chairs running down the aisle and reception décor echoed the same beach vibe.

Wedding Ceremony at Belle Mer in Rhode Island

Photo: Erin McGinn

Favoring a more personal ceremony, the couple wrote their own vows and were married by a friend they had both known since their college days. "Right after telling Dave he could kiss me, she stopped us and launched into a story about our first kiss!" Jill laughs.

Wedding Party Lawn Games

Photo: Erin McGinn

Their venue had a great lawn area, so they put it to good use with fun lawn games for friends and family during cocktail hour.

Wedding Reception at Belle Mer Driftwood Centerpiece with Roses and Succulents Driftwood Centerpiece with Roses and Succulents Driftwood Centerpiece with Roses, Succulents and Candles

Photo: Erin McGinn

Reception tables included a mix of long and round tables, all topped with driftwood, pink peonies, and succulents. "We wanted the flowers and succulents to be the focal point," Jill says.

She and Dave added a personal touch by replacing table numbers with names of places that were significant to them and their relationship.

Wedding Cake with Silver Sugar and Pink Peonies Wedding Reception in Rhode Island

Photo: Erin McGinn

Their red velvet wedding cake was a simple two-tiered confection with rims of silver sugar crystal, topped with bright pink peonies.

Jill's advice to other couples? "Hire an amazing photographer and videographer. The day was over before I even blinked. It's so nice to look back on things we missed and just relive the day over and over."

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Belle Mer || Bride's Wedding Dress and Veil: Vera Wang || Shoes: Valentino || Hair: Salon Acote || Makeup: Michelle McGrath || Rings: engagement ring - Roseark, wedding bands - Jill Hoffmeister || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Joanna August, from Bella Bridesmaids || Mother of the Bride's Dress: Monique Lhuillier || Groom's and Groomsmen's Attire: J.Crew || Florist: Stone Blossom || Invitations: William Arthur || Music: ceremony - Scott Welch, reception - Joey Scott & The Connection || Videographer: Reeling Films || Photographer: Erin McGinn

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