A Relaxed Garden Party at the Bride's Family Home by the Sea

Maggie and Jesse love surfing and the ocean—so they threw a big celebration overlooking the Atlantic.

Updated 04/27/18

Photo by Tim Willoughby

Maggie Malloy always knew her wedding would be in Little Compton, Rhode Island. “My grandparents have had a place there for 50 years, so everyone in my family has grown up going up there,” she says. “It’s the most special place in the world to me.” And, thankfully, it didn’t take much to persuade her groom, Jesse Joeckel, to marry in the remote coastal locale. He grew up on the Atlantic, too, about 35 nautical miles away, in Montauk, New York, where he now owns the lifestyle brand Whalebone. And though the event would be on the bride’s turf, Maggie and Jesse made sure to personalize the day for themselves as a couple—and their love of surf. “Rhode Island is my family’s place, but we live in Montauk, and it’s a community I love,” says Maggie, a travel consultant. “We wanted to incorporate that whole vibe of surfing and fishing into the wedding.”

And on September 9, 2017, they did just that! The couple invited 275 guests to the bride's family home in Little Compton. There, everyone was wowed by the beauty of Maggie's grandmother's intimate garden, as well as the stunning dinner tent that the bride and her mother so carefully put together. "The aesthetic we were going for was simple, elegant, and romantic," she explains. "And while I knew the wedding would be relatively big, it was important to me that it still felt really intimate and personal." To create that feeling, especially in a tent with high ceilings, they hung paper lanterns up above and filled tables (of different shapes and sizes!) with low floral arrangements, linen napkins, and pops of turquoise, the bride's favorite color.

Keep reading to see all the beautiful details and fashion moments (the bride's Carolina Herrera dress, for one) from this gorgeous garden party by the sea. And if you love what you see—you will!—you can shop decor inspired by this chic soirée, here. Just make sure to thank Maggie and her mom for all the inspo when you do!

Seaside views

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The bride admits that their location at Little Compton is a remote spot. "There’s nothing there, no hotels, no restaurants...It's an end-of-the-road type town," she says. But that's exactly what made it so perfect for a relaxing wedding weekend, as all the events took place right there by the sea!

Wedding invitations

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Maggie says creating the custom paper suite (with Swiss Cottage Designs) was her very favorite part of planning. The weekend's itinerary featured various illustrations of landmarks around town and was, of course, accented with turquoise as a preview of the wedding's color palette.

Bride with bridesmaids

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After morning meditation, the bride spent the day with her bridesmaids, lounging in matching PJs and toasting to the occasion with bottles of bubbly.

Bride in wedding dress

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brides blue shoes

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The bride followed the traditional "something old, borrowed, and blue" adage. First, she had her great-grandmother's handkerchief pinned around the bridal bouquet as her "something old." "Something borrowed" was her mom's lipstick and nail polish, while Alexandre Birman block heels (in Maggie's favorite hue) acted as her "something blue." As her "something new," Jesse gave Maggie a gold Ippolita bangle to wear around her upper arm. She also had a new wedding dress and veil by Carolina Herrera, of course!

Bride holding bouquet

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When Maggie first tried on her stunning wedding dress, she admits that she wasn't immediately sold. "I was looking for something completely different, so when I tried it on, I barely wanted to consider it," she recalls. "But my mom and friends started crying and told me I had to get it! I tried on about 40 more dresses over the next six months, but nothing compared to the elegance of this dress."

Bride with bridesmaids

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The bride's 11 bridesmaids got to pick their own dresses—as long as they were floral. “I had the idea and Jesse agreed,” says the bride. “He was like, ‘You’re not gonna put them all in the same pastel dress, right?’ " They paired their perfectly mismatched (yet coordinating!) gowns with colorful statement earrings by Rebecca de Ravenel.

Bride walking down the aisle

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Bride kissing dad

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A 4:30 p.m. on the wedding day, all 275 guests gathered on benches in the intimate garden to watch Maggie walk down the aisle with her father as her little brother, Kenny, played the keyboard.

Bridesmaids during ceremony

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Groomsmen at ceremony

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The garden ceremony took place under a weeping willow tree, in a flower-covered pergola that has been there for nearly 50 years. “It felt full of people and you could feel the love,” she says. The bride and groom wrote their own vows, exchanging them (teary-eyed). “It was Jesse’s idea, and I was intimidated at first,” she confesses of her stage fright. “But he was like, ‘We’re only going to get married once. You can do it.’”

Bride and groom wedding kiss

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The first kiss!

Bride and groom recessional

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As the newlyweds recessed, their friends showered them with white confetti.

Plane with banner

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Just as Maggie and Jesse made it official, a crop plane flew over the family's property with a banner that read: "Just Married! Congratulations Maggie & Jesse!"

Bride and groom from back

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Bride and groom by sea

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Bride and groom walking by sea

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Bride and groom laughing

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The couple opted to not do a first look before the ceremony so they went right into portraits after. The timing was perfect as they made it just in time for "magic hour."

Bride and groom at sunset

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The day’s events were coordinated around sunset, which made for gorgeous photos of the couple and their guests. “We got a ton of Christmas cards with pictures taken at our wedding,” the bride says, laughing.

Mini tacos

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Oysters

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While Maggie and Jesse roamed the grounds for pics, everyone else enjoyed a sampling of mini bites at cocktail hour. “Cocktail hour always has the best food,” Maggie says. She wanted a crowd-pleasing menu all night long—from mini tacos and artichoke fritters before dinner to a spread of grilled cheese sandwiches and pizza after dancing.

The evening's menu also featured plenty of locally caught oysters and fresh seafood. "Jesse's family are all fishermen so that was important to us," she says.

Mini tequilas

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Maggie and Jesse love spicy margaritas so they served jalapeno-pineapple versions (in shot-size bottles). (If you're a fan of this cute idea, check out more fun ways to serve your cocktail of choice, here.)

Cornhole

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The couple had a custom cornhole board made to match their wedding crest. (We love the idea of lawn games at cocktail hour!)

Bride signing surfboard

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Everyone signed a surfboard instead of a traditional guest book. It now hangs in the couple’s Montauk home.

Honeycombs

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Honeycomb wedding favors

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For escort cards (that doubled as favors), the bride took advice from a travel magazine that recommended buying local honey as a souvenir. “I loved the idea that it lasts forever,” she says.

Wedding reception tent

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The peaked tent was filled with white paper lanterns hanging at various heights. "The tent was big and I didn’t want it to feel too big, so we decided to lower the ceiling down a little bit," explains the bride. "I had seen these lanterns before, and we decided to go with it!"

place settings

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place setting

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Individual cheese boards were placed at each table so guests could nibble before the three-course, seafood dinner (featuring fluke and tuna that Jesse’s brother and stepdad caught). Tables were decorated with white and blue plates, hurricane candles, and low arrangements of astilbe and various white blooms with pops of turquoise and pink.

place setting with napkin

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On the head table, napkins were monogrammed with Maggie and Jesse's initials. These made for a thoughtful detail on the day-of, and the couple took them home after the wedding to use for dinner parties of their own.

Bride and groom during reception

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Maggie and Jesse entered—and exited—the reception hand in hand. “It was so much fun, running in together as husband and wife,” she says. “It really got the party started!”

White Wedding cakes

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Bride and groom cutting cake

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The couple cut into (three!) wedding cakes. They all looked the same from the outside, but the filling inside each was different.

Bride and groom dancing

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Bride and groom laughing

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Maggie and Jesse's party lasted until 2:30 a.m.—at which point the police came to shut it down! But the coppers couldn’t hold them back...they simply moved the celebration inside and continued partying until 5 a.m. Maggie says, “It was a fun night, it was a long night, and it was really just the best time!”

Day-Of Wedding Planner: Elizabeth Orange Events || Stationery: Swiss Cottage Designs || Floral Designer: Stone Blossom || Catering: Kate’s Table || Rentals: Sperry Tents || Cake Designer: Confectionary Designs || Ceremony Music: Kenny Malloy || Reception Music: Sultans Of Swing || Photography: Tim Willoughby || Videography: NST Pictures

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