A Garden-Inspired Wedding on the Rhode Island Coast

Planned by Metta Events

Updated 11/01/19

​Photo by Erin McGinn

When Clay Prescott Wiske wanted to propose to Bay Adams Hudner, he knew just how he would do it. He would drop to one knee in the garden that they had planted together on Bay’s family’s property, and he would have her favorite strawberry rhubarb pie waiting with Champagne. 

It’s no surprise, then, that the couple returned to say “I do” on the same property, dubbed Hawk Feather Farm, and they’d also swap the wedding cake for a pie bar that featured, yes, strawberry rhubarb. “We wanted our guests to leave thinking two things: ‘Clay and Bay and truly in love and are right for each other’ and ‘I had an amazing time,’” Bay says. Beyond the live music, plenty of drinks, and stunning Rhode Island landscape, the pair put several personal touches on the day, held in Little Compton. Lots of inspiration came from Hope Hudner, Bay’s late mother, who was an artist and hostess, as well as the surrounding pebble-filled shoreline. They even had their wedding rings cast out of beeswax from the onsite beehives.  

The ceremony took place on a hill overlooking the water, where Bay and Clay exchanged personal vows. In fact, the pair started their wedding planning by writing them. “It will keep you focused on the most important part of your wedding and will help you to clarify early on what is most important to you,” Bay says of tackling the heartfelt monologues.  

From there, the ideas flowed, but the logistics are what proved challenging; hosting an outdoor wedding where there are no permanent structures, no running water, and no electricity certainly isn’t easy, explains Bay. She relied heavily on her planner, Christine Bevilacqua of Metta Events. “She listened to even our craziest ideas and didn’t blink an eye when we threw challenge after challenge her way—even having a 300-person wedding at the end of a one-mile unpaved road without running water!” Bay adds with a laugh. 

Read on for all the details of Bay and Clay’s New England wedding, planned by Metta Events and photographed by Erin McGinn.

women wearing colorful dresses
Photo by Erin McGinn
woman wearing colorful dress holding flowers
​Photo by Erin McGinn 

Instead of a white gown, Bay chose to wear a pink, tropical-print dress from Italian fashion brand, Etro. She carried an oversized bouquet of flowers inspired by the bold hues of her outfit.

wedding ceremony
​Photo by Erin McGinn
outdoor wedding ceremony
Photo by Erin McGinn

The couple’s 315 guests looked on as Bay and Clay exchanged vows, framed by floral arrangements, on a platform on top of a hill. Panoramic views of the water served as a natural backdrop for the ceremony. “The easiest part of the planning process was coming up with a common vision for the ceremony and wedding as a whole,” Bay says.

woman and man laughing
​Photo by Erin McGinn

After the ceremony, guests walked down to a Tupelo grove for an intimate cocktail hour. As a band played Bossanova music, everyone sipped Champagne and Americano cocktails. It led perfectly to sunset, where guests could gaze at the view before entering the reception tent. 

bar in trunk of van
​Photo by Erin McGinn 
cocktail
​Photo by Erin McGinn

The laid-back cocktail hour included plenty of chilled wine and trays of Americanos, a rocks glass cocktail of Campari and vermouth with an orange garnish.

outdoor floral decor
​Photo by Erin McGinn 
escort cards
​Photo by Erin McGinn

The floral arrangements were inspired by the natural Rhode Island landscape. They featured a loose mix of natural greenery, zinnias, and dahlias. “We made many trips up to Rhode Island, not just to meet with various vendors, but also to hop on lawnmowers, place lights, and get our hands a bit dirty,” Bay says of spending 14 months planning and actively preparing the area for the wedding.

reception tent entrance
​Photo by Erin McGinn 

A greenery-topped pergola led to the entrance of the reception tent, which included wood farm tables, bamboo chairs, and gold accents like flatware and vases. Guests dined and danced under a massive balloon chandelier created by a local balloon sculptor, Janice Lee Kelly of FLOAT.

blue and white table and stool set
​Photo by Erin McGinn
lounge area
​Photo by Erin McGinn

Part of the tent included a lounge area. Bay says that the reception was inspired by her late mother, who was quite the entertainer. She even used boldly colored fabrics and pops of color in the arrangements to honor her.  

reception table
​Photo by Erin McGinn
fruit centerpiece
​Photo by Erin McGinn 

The tables included a mix of florals and fruit as well as taper candles as centerpieces. The table runners, in robust earth tones, were made from fabrics that Bay’s mother had collected over the years. 

custom party popper
​Photo by Erin McGinn

Bay and Clay designed custom party poppers that nodded to Bay’s mother’s artwork. They held trivia questions about the couple as well as wildflower seeds guests could take and plant at home. 

reception table
​Photo by Erin McGinn

The family-style menu featured Mediterranean dishes like grilled halibut, lemon chicken, Israeli couscous, and bowls of tzatziki. 

first dance
​Photo by Erin McGinn

The newlyweds shared their first dance to Charles Bradley’s “You Put the Flame on It.” The live band, Sound House, then played a mix of disco and Motown for the dance party.

mini ice cream cones
​Photo by Erin McGinn

The pair opted for a pie bar over a cake, including traditional flavors like strawberry rhubarb and apple. They also served mini desserts on the dance floor, like bite-sized ice cream cones and cinnamon doughnut holes.

bride and groom sipping out of bowl
​Photo by Erin McGinn

During the after-party, guests shared giant scorpion bowls—a vodka-based drink with a homemade ginger syrup and fresh lemon—with extra-long party straws. “Spend the entire night together so you share the experience and have the same memories,” Bay advises. “[And] find as many ways to spend quality time with the people who come to your wedding.” 

Planner: Christine Bevilacqua of Metta Events || Officiant: Charles Freeman, Jr. || Bride's Dress: Etro || Hair & Makeup: Jenni Graham of The Apothecary || Groom’s Attire: Suit Supply || Engagement Ring: Derek Simpson Goldsmith || Wedding Bands: Kendall Reiss|| Floral Design: Sayles Livingston Design || Invitation Printing: Publicide || Paper Goods: KatLem Paper & Design || Favors: Olde English Crackers || Music: Sound House from Elan Artists || Catering: Blackstone Caterers || Pies: Wilhelmina’s Catering || Rentals: Newport Tent CompanyOrmonde ProductionsPeak Event Services || Fireworks: Pyrotecnico Fireworks || Balloons: FLOAT || Custom Flag: Brewer Banner || Transportation: Rockstar Limo || Accommodations: Stout TentAirbnbLittle Compton Real Estate || Videography: MapleLoft Studios || Photography: Erin McGinn 

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