An English Garden Party Was the Inspiration Behind This Couple's Fall Wedding in Carmel, New York

Real Weddings

Katharine Sullivan and Seth Dawes met in August of 2012 when their mutual friends invited each of them to join them for a weeklong vacation in Costa Rica. "There were other guests invited, but long story short, they couldn't make it. Luckily, we got along from the beginning," Katharine says. As she explains, neither was looking for a relationship, but after a week-long double date in paradise, it was hard to deny something had sparked between them. "Seth declared his feelings for me in the middle of a Costa Rican discotech. It was so not how I thought I'd meet the love of my life, but it was so much better," she says. Just as their relationship had started in a somewhat unconventional way, so did their proposal. "I told Seth I wanted to marry him in January 2013, but he said he really wanted to propose the old-fashioned way," Katharine says. While on vacation in Greece in June 2013, Seth popped the question at the Theatre of Epidavros — the most well persevered ancient theatre in Greece, and a place that his bride-to-be, a freelance theatre producer, entirely appreciated.

The pair decided on a fall wedding at the Boathouse at the Sedgewood Club in Carmel, New York. "We had been traumatized by so many New York City wedding venues, so we decided to look just outside the city in the Hudson Valley area, which reminds Seth of his home in England," Katharine says. The pair found their gorgeous venue overlooking the lake and knew it was where they would celebrate with friends and family. But their one hang-up was finding a place to host their ceremony. When one of Katharine's work associates offered up their backyard (at a gorgeous home nestled right in Carmel!), the couple jumped at the chance to say I do outdoors. "It really worked out perfectly!" the bride says. With the help of Jeanne Stark of Hudson Valley Ceremonies, the couple threw an upscale English garden party-inspired celebration on September 27, 2014. Keep reading to see all of the photos of their beautiful day, as captured by Dave Robbins Photography.

Katharine knew she wanted a wedding dress with lace and sleeves, so when she saw her beautiful Inbal Dror gown, she knew she'd wear it down the aisle. "I didn't even really care about trying on other designers or dresses, but I did for good measure," she says. "When I finally got a hold of that dress, I knew I was done." She loved how the understated silhouette looked both classic and sexy, but was still entirely comfortable.

The bride admits that choosing her bridesmaids' dresses was a team effort. "I've never been super traditional, so I wasn't keen on having my best friends line up in the same dress," Katharine says. "I wanted them to look like themselves on the wedding day and also wanted them to have a dress they could wear again." The four 'maids and the bride created a joint Pinterest board and began sharing ideas of neutral-toned gowns they loved. The end result was a coordinated look that felt anything but matchy-matchy.

Seth put plenty of thought into his big day look, too. "I had a custom made three-piece suit and white shirt created by Martin Greenfield Clothiers, the same tailor of American presidents!" he says. "I wanted my groomsmen to wear something similar, so each wore a three-piece dark gray suit with light blue shirts." As gifts, Seth gave his attendants the same Ralph Lauren tie he wore and silver tie clips from The Tie Bar.

Katharine wanted a bouquet that was big, incorporated plenty of color, and had a bit of a wild touch. The end result was a mix of garden roses, astilbe, zinnias, and greenery. For her bridesmaids, Katharine decided that each should carry a single King Protea. "Their dresses were so glamorous and detailed, so I liked the look of just a single stem," she says.

The couple's flower girl and ring bearer, Nova and Aedan, started the ceremony on a hilarious note. The adorable young attendants, who just so happen to be best friends and cousins, walked down the aisle first, with Nova sprinkling white flower petals and Aedan carrying a sign reading "here comes the bride." "Aedan was holding the ring box in one hand and decided he should put it in his pocket for safe keeping," Katharine remembers. "When he did that, he dropped the sign and Nova turned around to scold him, but he immediately picked up his sign and ran towards her with a devious smile. It was a really sweet and funny moment."

The bride walked down the aisle arm-in-arm with both her mother and father and met Seth beneath an archway dotted with English garden roses. There, the couple exchanged personalized vows and concluded the ceremony with their twist on a tree-planting ritual.

The party then moved to the Boathouse at the Sedgewood Club, where long tables where dressed with white and burlap tablecloths. Each table was then topped with a greenery runner and arrangements of mixed flowers. In an effort to minimize paper waste from their day, Katharine and Seth displayed dinner menus on mini easels that guests could all read. "We're vegetarians, so we didn't want any meat at the wedding," Katharine says. "We chose a really solid, veggie-heavy menu that was locally-based. Our guests didn't seem to mind, and everyone enjoyed pumpkin fettuccini with sage butter, local New York trout, and cheddar polenta."

Dessert was as delicious as it was meaningful. The couple sliced into a two-tiered vanilla cake that was filled with a surprise for their guests. "Inside was a six-layer rainbow cake. We called it our 'marriage equality cake,'" Katharine says. "Our LGBTQ friends loved it and, as an added bonus, the kids went crazy for it. What kid doesn't love rainbows?" The bride and groom also served gluten free cupcakes and seasonal pies.

Katharine and Seth, who honeymooned in Iceland, advise other couples to really think about what they want from their wedding day. "Think about what you want your ceremony to be and think of each element and what it will signify for you as a couple and for your marriage," the bride says. "Don't do something just because it's traditional, unless it has meaning for you both. Also, listen to your mother. You don't have to agree or include all of her ideas, but listen to her."

Ceremony Venue: Private Residence || Reception Venue: The Boathouse at the Sedgewood Club || Wedding Planner: Jeanne Stark of Hudson Valley Ceremonies || Officiant: Anna Marquardt || Bride's Wedding Dress: Inbal Dror, purchased at Mark Ingram Atelier || Bride's Veil: Jennifer Leigh || Jewelry: Greenwich Jewelers || Shoes: Vince Camuto || Hair & Makeup: La Voila Beauty || Groom's Attire: Martin Greenfield Clothiers || Engagement Ring: Single Stone || Flowers: A Night in Bloom || Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas || Music: Hank Lane || Catering: Harvest Real Food Catering || Cake: Maxine's Catering & Bittersweet Bakery || Rentals: Events Unlimited Party Rentals || Videographer: McKenzie Miller Films || Photographer: Dave Robbins Photography

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Can't get enough of Katharine and Seth's beautiful wedding? Then see more from their day in their real wedding video, below!

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