Traynor Canny first spotted Lauren Connolly on her family’s Christmas card in 2011—or so he thought. “After we’d been dating for a while, we realized we had both been in the same middle school production of the Wizard of Oz in 1998,” says Lauren. “We even found home videos of the show, with us a few feet apart on stage!” In 2015, after nearly four years of dating, Traynor brought Lauren to one of his late mother’s favorite places: The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. They were there with families and friends, surrounded by children. The next thing Lauren knew, the kids gave her gifts, one by one. It started with starfish earrings, pearl earrings, and a bracelet, and in the final box was a beautiful engagement ring, with Traynor holding the box and down on one knee.
The couple grew up in Manchester-by-the-Sea, a coastal town north of Boston, and loved the idea of getting married in the place they call home. The historic First Parish Church, founded in 1716 and built in 1809, is in the center of town, and Lauren has been going to the Essex County Club since she was a child. They wanted their July 22, 2017 wedding to have a summery, New England feel, and to incorporate Traynor’s late mother, Elizabeth, in as many ways as they could. The result was an event full of lush, soft flowers, rustic accents, and elegant details, which their 220 guests (including their adorable seven-month-old daughter, Blair!) loved.
Lauren had envisioned a dress with a more bohemian vibe, but immediately fell in love with a tailored satin gown by Carolina Herrera. “When I slid my hands into the pockets and looked in the mirror, I knew it was the one,” she says. “I knew that, if I felt beautiful trying it on in the early stages of my pregnancy, I would feel even better on my wedding day!”
She paired the V-neck gown with block-heeled Stuart Weitzman sandals and a bouquet of blush and white roses, dahlias, and cascading orchids.
Traynor wore a tailored navy blue tuxedo from Bonobos. The couple’s daughter, Blair, donned soft blue moccasins and a pink bow. “Planning a wedding while pregnant and with a newborn was overwhelming at times,” says Lauren, “Especially when it came to the nitty-gritty details like table assignments!”
The couple’s flower girl wore a white dress with a tulle skirt, perfect for spinning. She topped it with a crown of small white roses.
Lauren’s father walked her down the aisle, while her mother walked with Traynor’s father—and the proud grandparents carried baby Blair. “We wrote our own vows, and kept them a secret until our wedding day,” Lauren recalls. “We were surprised by how similar they were!”
The Essex County Club was just the spot for an open-air reception beneath a crisp sailcloth tent. Guests spent the evening, drinks in hand, overlooking the pristine golf course and surrounding fields.
The dance floor was set beneath a floral sky, with delphiniums and lupines (Traynor’s mother’s favorite flowers) hanging from above. “Toward the end of the night, our friends lifted us up above the crowd. We could reach up and touch the beautiful ceiling we’d been smelling all night!” Lauren remembers.
The head table was made of long, white-washed farm tables and was decorated with garlands of greenery. Pillar candles were surrounded by roses, dahlias, peonies, and hydrangeas in blush and white.
The menu featured an East Coast spread, starting with local meats and cheeses and freshly-shucked oysters at cocktail hour. For dinner, a salad of arugula and peaches was followed by spinach-stuffed Statler chicken. The signature cocktail was “The Seabass,” a combination of Cold River blueberry vodka, soda water, and muddled blueberries.
The four-tiered wedding cake was dusted with gold and decorated with fresh blooms. The flavors included strawberry champagne, banana praline, and chocolate peanut butter cakes. “We also had a dessert station with mini hand pies and truffles!” says the bride.
As dancing got underway, Lauren headed inside to change into a reception outfit by Milly. “I ended up taking a quick shower before I changed!” she laughs.
Looking back, the bride admits that while the planning process may not have been easy, it was worth it. “All the bumps along the way will work themselves out,” says Lauren. “Make sure to appreciate all of the little things you worked so hard on. And don’t forget to smile!”
Wedding Planner: 42 North || Ceremony Venue: First Parish Church || Reception Venue & Catering: Essex County Club || Bride's Dress: Carolina Herrera || Bride's Shoes: Stuart Weitzman || Makeup: Dani Wagener Beauty || Groom & Groomsmen's Attire: Bonobos || Floral Design: Dana Markos Events || Paper Products: Paperweight Ink, Gus & Ruby Letterpress || Brunch Catering: Timothy Hopkins Catering || Cake: Jenny’s Wedding Cakes || Reception Entertainment: Sound House, from Élan Artists || Rentals: Port Lighting Systems, Peterson’s Party Center, PEAK Event Services, Seacoast Tent || Transportation: Webb Transportation || Videography: Blue Kite Cinema || Photography: Shannen Natasha for The Wedding Artists Co.