Though Briana Elizabeth Hartgers and John Bennett LeClerc met freshman year at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania, Vermont was always an important place for the college sweethearts, and the state where they chose to get married on September 23, 2017. Bri, a jeweler for her family business, Hartgers Jewelers, and John said “I do” in Dorset, a charming New England town where her family has a home. “We have shared so many memories that have shaped our relationship in Dorset and when we got engaged in Vermont there was no questions that we would want to marry at the church down the road and be able to walk right across the street to the Dorset Field Club for the reception,” says Bri. The bride envisioned a day that fit with the natural setting and worked with the vendors herself to make it a reality. (She calls her dad “the most helpful planning assistant,” as he was always on hand to give a second opinion or advice.) In the end, the couple used natural white flowers, romantic dim lighting, and rustic touches to bring that vision to life. Keep reading for all the details, as photographed by Alexandra Roberts, below!
Bri's bridesmaids were her closest family and best friends, whom she gave pink mother-of-pearl, clover-shaped necklaces that she designed just for the occasion. “After everyone’s hair and makeup was completed, we went outside on the patio where I handed them all the traditional Hartgers-wrapped boxes and a small bottle of pink Champagne,” recalls Bri of the special moment.
Bri wore the very first dress she tried on, though she still made sure to slip into a few others to be absolutely sure. Later, when she returned to Lovely Bride, the designer, Alexandra Grecco, was there for a trunk show. “It was really special to be able to try on the dress in front of the designer and talk to her about how it fit my body,” says Bri. “She was so nice and genuine after meeting her it confirmed that she was the right designer I wanted to use, and that the dress was the right one for me.”
Since she works as a jewelry designer, Bri’s selections for the wedding were of utmost importance to her wardrobe—and the most sentimental. She wore her mom’s diamond-and-pearl earrings, a diamond necklace, and her grandmother’s diamond tennis bracelet. “It was really special wearing jewelry worn by three generations of women in my family along with the new pieces I can pass down to my children,” says the bride. As for the groom, he wore a new Panerai watch from Bri. "A timepiece to signify the start of our life together," she says. He paired it with a navy blue suit, white shirt, and a pink-and-blue floral tie.
The bride’s bouquet comprised white garden roses, hydrangea and touches of green wrapped in pink silk ribbon. “My florist, Tara Pollio, knew my vision instantly,” says Bri. “She was able to turn the pictures and ideas on paper into the most romantic and beautiful setting.”
The couple had two flower girls along with their one-year-old niece, who acted as "a flower girl in training."
Bri wanted simplicity for her bridesmaids' dresses, and felt that light gray was the best option with the groomsmen’s navy blue suits, and the overall green-and-white palette.
The United Church of Dorset was their no-brainer venue for the ceremony, in a town where the couple has spent a lot of happy time over the years.
Bri’s father, who was her faithful assistant during the wedding planning process, walked her down the aisle.
The church’s pianist played for their ceremony, performing “Canon in D” as Bri walked down the aisle, a selection she’s known she would make since she was a teenager. The pair chose to say classic vows, and the reverend who married them gave a short homily for them.
Bri chose two wedding bands: one to match her new husband’s yellow gold band, which was engraved with the coordinates of Dorset, and a second diamond band. She wears the gold band when she travels and the diamond band everyday.
As Bri and John walked down the aisle as newlyweds, the pianist played “Here Comes the Sun,” by The Beatles.
Bri took on several DIY projects for the wedding, including making hand-painted welcome basket bags for their 175 guests, a project John helped with. “We spent an entire weekend painting the bags that were scattered all over our living room while cooking together and drinking wine,” she recalls. “It was hectic but a lot of fun, and we found focusing on the details together during the final weeks leading to the wedding was a really intimate and special time for us that, looking back I really cherished.”
The couple’s green-and-white color scheme carried over in the dinner setting, where tables were topped with glass hurricanes, wooden boxes filled with white flowers and jasmine vine, and a variety of other vessels holding lush greens, potted ferns, and herbs. String lights and vine garlands hung up above, ultimately creating a magical ambience.
The eight-piece band was “unbelievable,” says Bri, who says they learned all the dance songs they wanted to hear and kept all the guests on the dance floor for the entirety of the night. The couple’s first dance was to Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon.”
Bri’s and John’s wedding cake was extra-special since it was baked by Bri’s sister and maid of honor. “She blew me away that day,” says the bride. “Not only did she give the most touching speech at the wedding, but she started out the day baking a wedding cake, performing the role of pastry chef.” Their ultimate selection was yellow country cake with Swiss meringue, buttercream, and raspberry preserves.
Right after the wedding, the newlyweds left for their South African honeymoon, where they spent two weeks exploring Cape Town, Franschhoek, Hermanus, and Kruger National Park on a safari.
Ceremony Venue: The United Church of Dorset
Reception Venue & Catering: Dorset Field Club
Cake: Lauren Hartgers
Dress: Alexandra Grecco
Bride’s Veil: Lovely Bride
Bride’s Shoes: Valentino
Groom’s Attire: Suitsupply
Hair & Makeup: The Green Door Day Spa
Floral Design: Tara Pollio
Music: The Sultans of The Swing
Invitations: Paperless Post
Engagement Ring & Wedding Band: Hartgers Jewelers
Photography: Alexandra Roberts
Videography: Jpod Films
Honeymoon Planner: KK Travels Worldwide