For model Teresa Moore and her now-husband Aaron Finch, leap day (aka February 29) will always hold a special meaning. "We met on February 29, 2012 as total strangers at a restaurant in New York City," the bride remembers. As it turns out, the date that comes around just once every four years proved to be a second chance for the duo to meet — Aaron had seen Teresa on the city streets but never worked up the nerve to talk to her. He swore if he had the chance again, he would introduce himself and, as luck would have it, the duo bumped into each other in a restaurant and Aaron had his chance to make a move. One week later, the two went on their first date and said their first "I love you's" just nine days later while on a spontaneous weekend getaway in Charleston, South Carolina.
Although it was clear Teresa and Aaron were made for each other, the groom waited until January 2, 2014 to pop the question in Boracay, Philippines. "He took me on a sunset boat ride and we shared a romantic dinner on a private beach under the stars in the middle of the Pacific Ocean," Teresa remembers. "He proposed at the end of dinner on one knee. We were so happy and excited. It was totally magical."
The pair spent the next year-and-a-half planning their June 27, 2015 nuptials in East Hampton, New York, and, with the help of Lexi Stolz Design, the duo dreamed up a polished bohemian bash with plenty of fun elements, including great music, art, and handmade dream-catchers! Keep reading to see all of the photos Jesse Pafundi of Golden Hour Studios captured of their summer bash.
Teresa and Aaron fell hard for their venue, LongHouse Reserve, since the pair both love nature. "We wanted somewhere near New York City that felt like a dreamlike magical garden," Teresa says. As a bonus, the property is home to incredible artworks, like Yoko Ono's Giant Chess Set, seen above, and the Fly Eye Dome.
As a working model, Teresa has connections to some of the best designers in the business, so by the time she started looking for wedding dresses she already knew who she would tap to collaborate with her on a beautiful design. Hayley Paige, who is a personal friend of the bride, helped her create a lightweight dress that was easy to move and dance in. Together, they dreamed up Teresa's silk chiffon gown with deep v-neckline, T-bar back, and spaghetti straps. The bodice was custom designed with moonstones, white sequins, and gold rhinestones. She completed her look with two fresh gardenias tucked into her hair. "They smelled like heaven and reminded me of my childhood," she says.
Before Teresa slipped into her custom wedding dress and her bridesmaids dressed in their blush JLM Occasions gowns, the five ladies spent the morning getting pampered in festive floral robes. "As we were having pictures taken in the garden, the sound of the birds singing in the trees was overwhelming," she remembers. "The birds were singing and chirping like we never heard before. It felt like a good luck serenade." After hair and makeup, Teresa's attendants slipped into their mismatched silhouettes. The bride and her 'maids all carried matching bright bouquets made up of peonies, ranunculus, summer roses, orchids, and greenery.
The fashion-forward bride certainly stunned in her wedding attire, but Aaron flexed his own stylish prowess for the big day, too. He chose a midnight blue tuxedo from Gucci, which he paired with patent leather shoes. His four groomsmen complimented his dark-hued look with light grey suits from Men's Wearhouse.
"My father passed away from cancer when I was 15 and my mother, who lives in New Zealand, just recently had spinal surgery that left her unable to travel for the wedding. With lots of support from close friends (and FaceTime to bring mom to the wedding from across the world!), the bride walked down the tree-lined aisle solo to find her groom waiting at the other end. "It's like a catwalk, right?" she jokes.
The couple kicked off their ceremony with a traditional New Zealand welcome followed by personalized vows that they exchanged beneath a flower-wrapped altar. To honor her late father, the bride asked a friend to read passages from Osho, who once served as her dad's spiritual teacher in India. Harpist Erin Hill played Keane's "Somewhere Only We Know" as the couple made their exit as husband and wife.
During cocktail hour, guests were served passed hors d'oeuvres including mini tacos, wild mushroom tartlets, and crab beignets. Teresa and Aaron created two signature cocktails: hers, the "Teresita" was comprised of Broken Shed vodka, amaretto, lemon juice, and soda; his, the "Finch and Tonic" was a classic gin and tonic. Handmade dream-catchers surrounded the garden and drove the couple's boho-theme home.
The reception was held in a Sperry tent and was filled with found tables and gold chairs topped with white cushions. Low vases filled with colorful flowers were arranged on each table and wrought iron chandeliers cast the space in a soft, romantic light. On each gold-rimmed charger, guests found a handmade linen napkin that served as the menu.
For dessert, the couple served a wedding cake they knew their guests would love. The base of their three-tiered dessert was filled with carrot cake and cream cheese frosting, as chosen by the bride's friends! The middle tier was made of almond cake with fresh raspberry ganache and the top was a decadent chocolate cake with chocolate ganache.
Aaron and Teresa shared their first dance as husband and wife to Lana Del Ray's "Video Games" before taking to the stage to perform their own musical selections. The groom kicked things off with his rendition of Elvis Presley's "Can't Help Falling in Love With You" before Teresa took to the stage to serenade Aaron with an original song she wrote for him called "I Found You."
At the end of the night, the couple and their guests enjoyed a drum circle on the dance floor before moving outdoors to enjoy glow sticks and watch fire dancers perform. "It was a music festival-inspired way to end a magical evening," Teresa says.
After the wedding, Teresa and Aaron enjoyed a European honeymoon in Venice, Florence, and Ravello. Teresa advises that other brides make an effort to bring personalized details into their wedding. "Make sure to integrate special things about you and your partner into the wedding," she says. "Those special touches make the day extra memorable."
Ceremony & Reception Venue: LongHouse Reserve
Wedding Planner & Designer: Lexi Stolz Design
Officiant: Maripat Quinn
Bride's Wedding Dress: Hayley Paige
Hair & Makeup: Carmel Bianco of Ray Brown
Bridesmaids' Dresses: JLM Occasions
Groom's Attire: Gucci
Groomsmen's Attire: Men's Wearhouse
Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Marissa Perry Atelier
Florist: Sag Harbor Florist
Invitations: Paperless Post
Ceremony Music: Erin Hill
Reception Music: Eturnity Band
Fire Dancers: Sirelo Entertainment
Catering: The Hamptons Aristocrat
Cake: Sag Harbor Baking Co.
Rentals: Party Rental Ltd.
Photographer: Jesse Pafundi of Golden Hour Studios