Picturesque New England is the natural choice for an elegant summertime soiree

Mary-Lynn Ring and Kevin Galligan live in bustling NYC, but for their July 2007 wedding, they set their sights on quiet, rural New England. “When Kevin would visit me at college at Dartmouth, we'd take long drives into the peaceful countryside,” says Mary-Lynn. Seeking to showcase that serene setting, the couple chose to have their ceremony in a quaint, white clapboard church at the bride's alma mater and their tented reception at Murphy Farm, a lakeside property with an old-fashioned farmhouse in nearby Quechee, VT.

Combining different textures (hand-sewn silk dupioni pouches holding the letterpressed invitations; urns brimming with million star baby's breath in the church) “added visual interest to the monochromatic palette,” explains the bride. Mary-Lynn's brother co-officiated the Christian service with a local pastor, and the Dartmouth Aires a cappella choir performed a Scottish ballad in honor of Mary-Lynn's grandfather, a tenor who had planned to sing at the couple's wedding but passed away shortly before.

After arriving at the cocktail hour in a stately Rolls-Royce, the newlyweds and their 70 guests enjoyed tea sandwiches and a sampling of Vermont cheeses. It was a preview of the gourmet meal—filet mignon and shiitake mushroom risotto—to come. “I love risotto, so my mom and I spent an entire day cooking different types,” says Mary-Lynn, who then gave her favorite recipe to the chef at The Quechee Club, which owns Murphy Farm.

After hours of dancing, the couple departed in an even grander fashion than they'd arrived: through a sea of bright sparklers to their getaway limousine. —Michaela Garibaldi

Learn From Mary-Lynn and Kevin

Refuel Ravenous Guests: As a late-night treat for their hungry, dancing crowd, the couple served Mary-Lynn's favorite snack: grilled cheese sandwiches (cleverly cut into the shape of oak leaves) and milk.
Be Playful: For a fun touch, the bride planned for the Dartmouth library bells to play “Chapel of Love” as Kevin and his groomsmen walked to the church and “Bridal Chorus” as the newlyweds left.
Feature Your Family Tree: The couple displayed each of their lineages on an oversized canvas at the reception. Below the tree was a floor plan of the tent, including guests' seating assignments at tables labeled with family names (in lieu of numbers) going back three generations.

An interior designer, Mary-Lynn took a cue from the locale by going with an oak tree motif—featured here on the couple's programs—and a natural color scheme of ivory, taupe and chocolate brown.

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