The bride wore red. When Sarah Skeist, an actor, walked down the aisle to meet Charles “Charlie” Waters, a product manager at American Express, she knew she wouldn’t be in a white gown. “I wanted a dress that made me feel powerful, independent, and like a woman rather than a girl,” Sarah says of opting for a canary red tulle ball gown from Vera Wang. “[Charlie] knew me well enough to know that I wouldn't be traditional. He once said that he expected me to come down the aisle wearing a blue Hillary Clinton pantsuit.”
Sarah’s nontraditional gown was just one of the many personal touches the couple put on the day, held at the bride’s family’s property in Bridgehampton, New York. The pair, who live in New York City, tapped the creativity of Brooklyn-based wedding planner and designer Jove Meyer of Jove Meyer Events to help reimagine the private residence as an “unwedding-y” wedding space. That included everything from implementing décor inspired by Frank Llyod Wright’s famous Fallingwater house to rethinking what traditions the couple should toss. (“Too many to name,” Sarah says.) The logistics were a heavy lift, like bringing in toilets and a catering kitchen, but Sarah says every bit of effort was worth it for the celebration in her mother’s garden.
“Every element was chosen by us, so our taste and personalities and senses of humor were in every aspect of the day,” Sarah says. As for the tented reception outside the restored barns on the property? “Beyond being struck by the beauty of the scene, there was also a distinct feeling of ‘oh my god, I can't believe this worked.’"
Read on for all the details of Sarah and Charlie’s garden-inspired wedding, planned by Jove Meyer of Jove Meyer Events and photographed by Samm Blake.
While Sarah was looking for a dress other than white, she didn’t actually seek out red gowns. “I definitely didn’t want a ballgown or a strapless neckline,” Sarah admits. However, her stylist at Vera Wang showed her this canary red tulle gown with a strapless, deep V-neck and full skirt—and it was "the one."
I wanted a dress that made me feel powerful, independent, and like a woman rather than a girl.
“I immediately felt like a queen, which was exactly how I wanted to feel,” Sarah says of trying on the gown at Vera Wang’s boutique in New York City.
Sarah’s mother wore a custom gown by Jennifer George, which featured multi-colored floral appliques.
Sarah added just a few delicate details to her red gown, allowing it to really speak for itself. She wore a pair of diamond studs, a bat mitzvah gift from her grandmother, as well as her mother’s art deco-style engagement ring. She accented it all with a nude veil and nude Jimmy Choo shoes.
Sarah may have gone untraditional with her look but Charlie kept one foot in the traditional room: He wore a charcoal sharkskin suit with a blue floral tie and pocket square.
Sarah and Charlie met through a mutual friend, Bill. He was Charlie’s best friend from high school and one of Sarah’s suitemates in college. But the real meet-cute came at Bill’s Arrested Development-themed birthday party.
Charlie proposed with an engagement ring from Natural Sapphire Company, and the pair chose wedding bands from Brooklyn-based Catbird.
“We did Rent The Runway because I thought their choices looked less bridesmaid-y, and you got more for the money because they were rentals,” Sarah says of her bridesmaids’ dresses.
Sarah was escorted in by her parents as New York Ceremony Music, a cello and guitar duo, played covers of some of the couple’s favorite songs, including “Box of Rain” by the Grateful Dead and “Being Around” by the Lemonheads.
For the ceremony, Sarah added a Vera Wang veil to her canary red ball gown.
Sarah and Charlie’s friend, Bill, who “introduced” them, designed and printed maps of the property for guests at the ceremony. “People could explore everything more easily, and it added another artistic and personal element to the day,” Sarah says.
The couple’s ceremony took place in Maple Circle, a part of the property with a gazebo surrounded by maple trees. They simply added flowers to the structure but let the natural area shine.
Sarah’s vows included the story of when she first fell in love with Charlie. “I looked over and he was crying during the movie, Her,” the bride says. Charlie’s vows included one of Sarah’s favorite lines of the day: “I promise to honor and respect you as my partner and equal in a way that reflects the strength and independence of our mothers and the love and tenderness of our fathers.”
We made very specific decisions on which of the questionable traditions we wanted to make our own—for instance, at the ceremony, we both stepped on glass.
The newlyweds made their grand exit to a cover of Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day,” but before walking up the aisle, they both put their own spin on the Jewish tradition of breaking the glass. “We made very specific decisions on which of the questionable traditions we wanted to make our own—for instance, at the ceremony, we both stepped on glass,” Sarah says.
“I think it’s the most beautiful place in the world,” Sarah says of her parents’ Bridgehampton home. “My parents have slowly built this beautiful garden over 12 acres of land that has amazing trees and koi ponds. It feels like paradise.”
I’ve always felt that weddings miss a big opportunity when it comes to food by trying to replicate a traditional restaurant feel, which is difficult.
Sarah and Charlie actually hired their caterer first (after their planner). Food is one of Sarah’s biggest passions, and they knew they wanted the menu to be something more than classic wedding food. “I’ve always felt that weddings miss a big opportunity when it comes to food by trying to replicate a traditional restaurant feel, which is difficult,” she adds.
“Jove recommended Heirloom Fire, because they cook everything whole over an open fire,” Sarah says. “Everything is local, foraged, made from scratch, and the finished product is amazing and refined.”
For the reception, Sarah and Charlie wanted to make guests feel like they were sitting in the garden, but under cover. To allow the flowers to take center stage, they used a clear tent and ghost chairs to let light shine through. It was accented by a massive dried floral installation that snaked along the ceiling, and long wooden tables were topped with petite arrangements of fresh blooms. Sarah says the result felt more like an art piece than wedding décor. “It was stunning,” she adds.
The reception continued the Fallingwater “theme,” by mixing natural and modern elements into the décor.
Amy Febinger from Bourgeon Flowers created the ceiling installation to mimic the brook that runs through the property. She also added ceramic white orbs to look like bubbles.
Low arrangements of pink-hued flowers accented the tables. The height of the arrangements added color but also allowed guests to easily converse across the table.
“Breathe, and go with your gut,” Sarah says of their approach to wedding planning. “You don’t need to include something if it’s not meaningful to you just because others have.”
Sarah admits she is not a fan of cake—or wedding cake—so the couple opted for a Murray’s cheese “cake,” a stack of cheese wheels customized for the newlyweds. “It felt like a fun non-traditional, personal touch,” Sarah adds.
The couple loved their reception DJ, James Mulry, and his ability to mix all their favorite genres, including punk, 90s emo, and indie rock. “Must-plays definitely included all of Robyn,” Sarah says. The couple took their first spin on the dance floor to The Velvet Underground’s “I’ll Be Your Mirror.”
“It's not an image or a feeling I'll soon forget,” Sarah says of being literally surrounded by their loved ones. After the celebration, the couple set off on a honeymoon to Fiji and New Zealand.
Planner Jove Meyer of Jove Meyer Events
Officiant Rabbi Peter Rubinstein
Bridal Gown & Veil Vera Wang from Vera Wang
Shoes Jimmy Choo
Hair Bianca Bruno of Glamsquad
Makeup Kelli Bartlett of Glamsquad
Bridesmaid Dresses Rent The Runway
Mother of the Bride Dress Jennifer George
Groom’s Attire Brooklyn Tailors
Engagement Ring Natural Sapphire Company
Wedding Bands Catbird
Floral Design Bourgeon Flowers
Paper Goods Julia Bez
Ceremony Music NY Ceremony Music
Reception Music James Mulry
Catering Heirloom Fire
Cake Murray’s Cheese
Rentals Broadway Party Rentals
Transportation East West Limo
Videography McKenzie Miller Films
Photography Samm Blake of The Wedding Artists Co