Kristen Wright and Matthew Starker first met in Austin, Texas, when mutual friends introduced them at a Condé Nast party at SXSW in March 2015. But once they started talking, they realized they lived very close to each other back home in New York City. “We lived only eight blocks apart in New York City, which made for a very convenient courtship,” says Kristen. The pair dated for almost two years, and in December 2016, they escaped the city for a weekend getaway at Kristen’s family home in Westhampton, on Long Island.
“It was a warm, sunny day, so we took an impromptu trip to the beach for some fresh air,” she says. “Matt started getting sappy, and the next thing I knew, he was down on one knee!” They were buzzing with excitement, and “our joy was tangible,” says the bride.
In fact, Matt and Kristen didn't want a long engagement and started looking at venues on Long Island immediately. They ultimately selected Sole East, a boutique hotel with gorgeous grounds in Montauk, for the weekend of October 14, 2017. “When the crowds leave and fall arrives, Montauk turns back into a sleepy fishing town, and we love that feeling,” says Kristen. They decorated the space using natural tones, accented with crisp green and white, to create the setting for a big party. Their number-one priority?
The dance floor! “We had 220 guests, so we opted for an oversized dance floor and a 13-piece band," says the bride. "It was one hell of a party!”
Photographed by James Katsipis, this black-tie celebration is a gorgeous reason to hit the beach—even when summer’s over. Keep reading for more!
Kristen knew she wanted something simple, and her Theia gown was just the thing. The silk crepe dress featured a high neck and a low back, plus a sweeping train for an added dose of glamour. Matt opted for a formal white dinner jacket, which he paired with a classic black bowtie.
The couple incorporated DIY details, including a handwritten sign by a friend, which tempted guests to grab a Hot-Tauk (the evening’s signature spicy margarita).
On Friday, October 13, Matt and Kristen had an intimate Catholic ceremony at St. Therese Church in Montauk. “It was a way to have a traditional ceremony but still have a friend marry us on our wedding day,” says the bride. The next day, a close friend led Kristen and Matt's second ceremony, which took place on the back lawn of Sole East. This time, the couple wrote their own vows, and Kristen’s even included crowd participation. “At one point, I had Matt’s friends yell out all of the nicknames they had for him—but the meanings behind them are still a mystery,” Kristen says, laughing.
Following the vows, everyone headed to the reception area: a nearby tent draped with café lights and filled with the couple’s family and friends.
“Matt and I both have an affinity for key-lime pie, so we skipped the wedding cake and instead served 25 (!!) pies, one for each table,” says the bride. “Our friend Danielle handmade them all!”
After a wild night of dancing—including a perfect performance of Salt ‘n Peppa’s “Shoop” by the bride’s brother!—the newlyweds made their getaway through a tunnel of sparklers.
Looking back on the planning process, Kristen has some advice for couples. “We learned early that it’s important to really schedule wedding-planning conversations,” she advises. “You’ll be so much more productive if you’re both prepared!”
Venue: Sole East || Bride's Dress: Theia Couture || Bride's Veil: Theia Couture || Bride's Shoes: Shoes of Prey || Bride's Jewelry: J. Crew || Hair: Lillie’s on Dune || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Joanna August, Lovely Bride, Madewell || Groom's Attire: J. Crew || Engagement Ring: Mel Unger || Wedding Bands: Mel Unger || Floral Design: Topiare Flower Shop || Paper Products: Little Spark Creations, Vine Weddings, Paper Sushi, Beach Paper Co., Alphabet Canvas, Lola’s Design Loft || Catering: Sole East || Cake: CakeStix || Reception Music: The Hudson Project Band || Rentals: American Tent Company, Matt Murphy Event Lighting || Videography: Stephen Petto || Photography: James Katsipis