After finding each other on a dating app in October 2018, Alex Patterson and Eric Clark knew they had a spark. They planned their first date “quickly thereafter,” recalls the bride. Less than two years later, in February 2020, they got engaged in Palm Beach, Florida.
The couple didn’t immediately know where they wanted to hold their wedding—but eventually they realized there’s no place like home. “After many attempts at planning weddings in Italy and a dude ranch out west, we purchased a home in Concord, Massachusetts, and wanted to stay close to home,” says Alex. They opted for ceremony and reception venues in Sudbury and Lexington, Massachusetts, holding their summer wedding on August 28, 2021. “Both locations were quintessential New England charm—very intimate and special venues where we could celebrate our new home with close family and friends.”
With help from planner Kate Murtaugh of Kate Murtaugh Events & Design, the couple hosted a welcome party at their home, followed the next day by a wedding in an iconic New England chapel and dinner reception at an historic inn. The couple added a DIY element to welcome their 23 guests to the event: Concord, Massachusetts-themed bags in each hotel room, filled by the bride and groom with local candy and nuts, a book of history about the town, and bottles of Champagne (complete with straws).
Alex donned a colorful floral Carolina Herrera gown for the wedding, which inspired the aesthetic for the day: Lots of bright, cheerful flowers accenting sophisticated details; mixed textures and patterns in the tablescapes; and personalized, artistic paper goods. They emphasized the dining room decor and meal experience, hoping to create a day that felt like an elevated, memorable dinner party that “just happened to [have] a wedding ceremony as a part of it,” they say. In the end, the bride and groom were thrilled with how perfectly their day matched their vision. “Decide what’s important to you and focus on those things,” says Alex. “But, realize you’ll drive yourself nuts if you aspire for everything to be perfect.”
See the colorful details, planned by Kate Murtaugh Events & Design and photographed by Kylee Yee, below.
Alex and Eric envisioned a “bright and happy” color palette, drawing inspiration from their home design aesthetic and their cheerful personalities. They balanced it with elegant, gold-edged stationery from Mark Harris Stationers, designed with modern all-caps fonts in a traditional gold and ivory color scheme. “The things we were passionate about happened first,” says Alex. “The most beautiful flowers and stationery were key.”
Alex’s colorful floral print Carolina Herrera gown was a lucky impulse buy that she found while shopping at home during quarantine at the beginning of COVID-19. “I knew it was the dress, so I literally ordered it like you order a pair of shoes online, and that was that,” she says. “It was the dress—perfectly me. I love color and fun, I wasn’t a traditional diamond engagement ring kind of girl and I wasn’t a traditional white dress kind of girl. The dress personified what I’m drawn to with unique colorful moments.”
The bride borrowed oversized teardrop-shaped pave diamond earrings and Cult Gaia shoes with a fun woven, stacked heel. “Just the right shoe for a unique dress,” she says. Other jewelry included her sapphire engagement ring, and pearl-and-diamond earrings she wore with her second dress during dinner.
Before the wedding, Alex admits to “splurging on skincare,” from a Dr. Barbara Sturm face mask to a Dr. Dennis Gross LED light mask. “I leaned into everything possible to have a great complexion,” she says. She wanted to keep her makeup and manicure natural, opting for a subtle shade on her nails that and understated makeup. “During my first makeup trial, I came home and Eric almost didn’t recognize me,” she says. “I did a second trial, which I’d recommend for everyone. I really just wanted to look like myself."
“I knew we struck the right tone of who we are when people visited our home for the welcome barbecue and they saw how much we embrace color and whimsy in our interior design,” says Alex. “The same color and fun from our home was reflected in my dress choices, our flowers, and details on the reception table. They remarked that it ‘all made sense.’”
Beach Plum Floral Design created an all-white, naturally-shaped bouquet for Alex using dahlia, garden roses, ranunculus, scabiosa, and hydrangea. The monochrome look balanced the bright shades and pattern of the bride’s gown.
Eric wore a black Bonobos tuxedo with a cummerbund and bow tie from Ermenegildo Zegna and Stubbs & Wootton shoes. “I had coins made into cufflinks for Eric and he wore those with his tux,” says Alex. “Coins as jewelry and accessories is a longtime family tradition, and I was happy to be able to do that for him.”
Alex and Eric chose Martha Mary Chapel in Sudbury, Massachusetts, for their intimate exchange of vows. “Since the vision for the wedding was mostly about the dinner, we kept the ceremony very simple,” says Alex. “We had some flowers at the altar, but I had a very bright dress in a beautiful simple chapel so I wanted the dress and ceremony to speak for itself.” Pretty watercolor programs waited for guests outside the chapel.
Alex and Eric opted not to have a first look, instead saving the moment to share with their guests as Alex’s father escorted her down the aisle to a live acoustic version, performed by Speechless Music, of Jackson Browne’s “Sky Blue and Black.”
After exchanging traditional vows in a ceremony accompanied by readings chosen by the bride and groom, the new Mr. and Mrs. recessed down the aisle to “Days Like These” by Van Morrison—”one of our favorites,” says Alex.
The couple left the church in a vintage Porsche, waving at guests as they drove themselves to the reception—with a stop for newlywed portraits first.
Alex and Eric hosted their dinner reception at the historic Inn at Hastings Park in Lexington, Massachusetts, where a wide, wraparound porch offered a breezy spot for the cocktail hour. Ikat linens on high top tables and single blooms in clear bud vases added to the air of relaxed elegance.
Before dinner, Alex swapped her colorful gown for a timeless Oscar de la Renta midi dress with embellished sleeves, adding a pair of low Cult Gaia heels and an art-inspired clutch from Olympia Le Tan. “I embraced a very non-traditional wedding dress that was perfect for me, and then I went more traditional with my dinner dress,” she says.
Alex and Eric wanted their wedding to be “the most beautiful and intimate dinner party our close friends and family had ever been to,” they say. They chose to seat their guests at a single long table set with LaTavola BBJ linens, and accented with a floral garland that ran from one end to the other, coral and white candles, woven Serena & Lily chargers, and watercolor menus designed by Anne Watkins and Mark Harris Stationers. “It’s very easy when you’re planning a wedding to get hung up on details,” says Alex. “I remember getting totally tripped up on chairs and the color of the candles, and I leaned into guidance from Kate to make a decision and move on.”
The Inn’s chefs provided an upscale dinner of summer citrus salad; salmon with brussels sprouts; filet and lobster tail; and coconut risotto with vegetables. Instead of a wedding cake, the meal finished with a trio of desserts, along with salted chocolate chip cookies for guests to take home.
“I loved that we could see everyone at the dinner and talk to them,” says Alex. “We could look at one end of the table and have a conversation and we could look to the other end and do the same. It was perfectly sized and intimate—exactly what we wanted.”
During the reception, Alex’s father presented the couple with a sentimental wedding gift: a Donald Robertson painting featuring the couple and their immediate family members, walking together in front of the church, each in the clothes they wore to the wedding.
As the couple celebrated at their intimate reception, they took joy in seeing their own personal wedding vision come to life. “It was us! From my dress to the menus, to the food and lack of more traditional details like a wedding party, cake, and dancing,” says Alex. “Every detail was exactly what we wanted for our day.”
Ceremony Venue Martha Mary Chapel
Reception Venue Inn at Hastings Park
Wedding Planner Kate Murtaugh Events & Design
Bridal Gown Designer Carolina Herrera
Shoes Cult Gaia
Hair and Makeup Lyndsay Simon Beauty
Second Dress Oscar de la Renta
Shoes Cult Gaia
Clutch Olympia Le Tan
Mother of the Groom Dress Emporio Armani
Stepmother of the Bride Ceremony Dress Greta Constantine
Stepmother of the Bride Dinner Dress Lela Rose
Mother of the Bride Ceremony Dress Carolina Herrera
Mother of the Bride Dinner Dress Prabal Gurung
Groom’s Attire Bonobos
Floral Design Beach Plum Floral Design
Invitations Mark Harris Stationers
Other Paper Products Arzberger
Watercolor Illustrations Anne Watkins
Ceremony Music Speechless Music
Catering Inn at Hastings Park
Rentals PEAK Event Services
Photography Kylee Yee
Chargers Serena & Lily