Though Lacey and Aaron spent their childhood summers on the same East Hampton beach just a block apart, they didn't officially meet until a mutual friend introduced them in 2009. They quickly made up for lost time, and in December of 2013, after three years of dating and weathering a winter storm, Aaron took Lacey down to that same East Hampton beach and proposed. "We spent the rest of the day in front of the fireplace in complete bliss," says Lacey.
While they're New Yorkers at heart, Lacey and Aaron wanted to give their guests a unique experience for their wedding, so they headed across the pond to England in search of the perfect venue. They stumbled upon Highclere Castle (the filming location of Downton Abbey!) and immediately fell in love. "I've actually never watched the show," Lacey reveals. "It was the history and intimacy of the place that caught our attention."
This wedding was classically English, fitting of such a stately venue. Keep reading to see how these Yankees made it their own, photographed by Barker Evans Photography.
The British venue called for a British dress designer, so Lacey chose a dramatic Alexander McQueen gown for her wedding day. "After visiting all the New York bridal salons and finding nothing, I stopped in at Alexander McQueen. I saw the dress in black and fell in love," Lacey says. She had the dress made in white with a longer train, and paired it with platform sandals straight off the runway.
Her dress was sleek and modern, but Lacey's bouquet of David Austin roses and white sweet peas was seasonal and traditional.
The castle's iconic staircase was decked out in garlands of white roses, setting the scene for Lacey's grand entrance into the ceremony on the arm of her father. Aaron's daughter and Lacey's niece served as the two flower girls, and Lacey's nephew was the ring bearer. "Jack has a habit of falling fast asleep during religious events, and our wedding was no different. When I got to the altar and looked to my sister to have her adjust my veil, and she couldn't help me because he was fast asleep in her lap!" says Lacey.
The couple wed in a Jewish ceremony in the Main Hall. Says Lacey, "I wanted Aaron's daughter, Anna, to know that we were becoming a family, so I wore one of her rubber band bracelets down the aisle."
Lacey's bridesmaids wore blush Monique Lhuillier dresses. "I wore the same dress as a bridesmaid in my friend's wedding and loved it so much that I almost bought it in white as my wedding dress," says Lacey. Since she and her pal had many of the same bridesmaids, Lacey chose the same dress so they could wear it again. "I loaned my dress to one of my bridesmaids, so we only had to buy two instead of six."
Throughout the castle, oversized arrangements of white blooms dressed up rooms that have appeared time and again in the award-winning show.
Dinner took place in the library, where candelabras were surrounded with low arrangements of white hydrangeas, peonies and tulips. "We wanted it to feel as though the owners of the estate were hosting," Lacey says.
Dinner featured foie gras and lamb, along with summer Pimm's Cups and champagne. For dessert, the couple served a towering modern cake decorated with rice paper feathers.
The couple's friend served as DJ, playing everything from Imagine Dragons to the Hora, as well as a special dance performed by Aaron and his daughter. The night didn't end there, though. Guests grabbed bags of fish n' chips and climbed aboard a double-decker bus that took everyone to nearby Cliveden House for an after party in the hotel's lobby.
Lacey thought they were heading home the next morning, but Aaron had a surprise up his sleeve. "He managed to distract me enough at the airport that I boarded the plane with him and was half-asleep when I heard the child in front of us ask his mom for the visitor's guide to Greece!" The pair wasn't going back to New York, but was instead flying to AmanZoe Resort on Greece's Aegean Sea.
The bride's advice is surprisingly Southern — and the reason she and her groom got so lucky with the London weather. "Bury a bottle of bourbon! I had our planner do it for us a month before the wedding," says Lacey. "Tradition says if you bury a full bottle of bourbon upside down exactly one month before your wedding, you'll keep the rain away. We ended up having great weather for all of our wedding events, which is a small miracle in London!"
Venue & Catering: Highclere Castle || Wedding Planner: Michelle Rees-Jones || Bride's Wedding Dress & Shoes: Alexander McQueen || Hair: Pamela Baumgartner || Makeup: Lynsey Alexander || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Monique Lhuillier || Groom's Attire: Anderson & Sheppard || Wedding Bands: T. Gluck & Company, Tiffany & Co. || Floral Designer: Paul Thomas Flowers || Invitations & Paper Goods: Mrs. John L. Strong || Music: Nick Cohen || Cake: Linda Fripp Designs || Rentals: Jones Furniture & Catering Equipment, Acorn Furniture Hire || Videography: Gorgeous Films || Photography: Barker Evans Photography
Want to see more British weddings? Then check out another London bash in the video below!