When Molly Gazza walked into a fraternity's Halloween party at Washington University in St. Louis, one costume stood out from the rest: the Hulk! The man inside the costume was Jimmy Manship, a defensive lineman on the football team and a friend of a friend, and by the end of the night, the pair had spent the evening deep in conversation. “Jimmy had been waiting to meet me since he spotted me on campus,” says Molly. As midnight approached, Molly had a Cinderella moment and rushed home—with green latex paint on her cheek from a goodnight kiss!
The pair dated through college and during Molly's time at graduate school, and as graduation approached, Jimmy got a job in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and the pair decided living abroad would be the adventure of a lifetime. But before they left, they headed to Jimmy’s hometown for Christmas. Before dawn on Christmas day, Molly awoke to a dozen text messages telling her to go downstairs to the Christmas tree. She following signs on the floor through the house that led her to a huge box with a tag that read, “To: Molly, From: Santa.” She opened the box to find Jimmy kneeling inside, with a red velvet ring box in his hands. “I had been so preoccupied with my thesis before Christmas that I didn’t notice that Jimmy had packed my passport, and the next day we headed to Paris to celebrate the new year,” says Molly.
Though they live in the United Arab Emirates, Jimmy and Molly came back to the East Coast, to her hometown of Quogue, New York, for their wedding on July 1, 2017. They worked closely with their planner, Tara Guérard, to iron out every little detail from thousands of miles (and a 13-hour flight) away. The pair decided to exchange vows in the Church of Atonement, built in the 1880s by famed New York City architecture firm McKim, Mead and White. “I adore the Hamptons shingle style architecture, the scalloped details, and the exquisite Tiffany’s stained glass windows,” says Molly, who's an architect. For the reception, guests moved down the street to her family’s waterfront property, where a forest frames a sprawling site perfect for a tented reception.
The look of this romantic Hamptons wedding, photographed by Liz Banfield, featured a vibrant color palette, lush natural elements, and a serious dose of Southern charm thanks to the couple's Charleston-based planner. Keep reading for more!
Molly has admired Happy Menocal’s work for years so it was an obvious choice to work with the illustrator on her invitation suite. “Happy and I put together a Pantone palette, and Jimmy and I used that as the basis for our wedding color scheme,” says Molly. The invitations featured watercolor calligraphy that matched Jimmy’s suit, handpainted flowers, and illustrations of a falcon and eagle on the monogram. Explains the bride, “Our wedding was on Fourth of July weekend, so we thought it would be festive to have an eagle, the national bird of the U.S., and a falcon, the national bird of the U.A.E., together.”
The bride’s tulle Monique Lhuillier ballgown was covered with hand-sewn silver crystals. “It was classic, but the sparkle made it fantastical,” Molly describes. Even her veil got the sparkle treatment!
Tara Guérard created Molly’s bouquet, a combination of white roses, orchids, and trailing greenery. The bridesmaids’ dresses embraced the wedding's palette, ranging from blush and lavender to magenta and wine. The women’s bouquets included orchids, roses, peonies, and hellebores that coordinated with their mismatched dresses.
The outside of the church was decorated with vibrant magenta wreaths, a colorful accent for the building’s classic shingled exterior.
The couple’s Episcopalian ceremony was performed by Reverend Michael Ralph. “We connected with him instantly, and he was so kind as to share his own wedding anniversary with the two of us,” says Molly.
At cocktail hour, guests were greeted with champagne coupes accented with pink orchids. “We had massive charcuterie and cheese boards, and guests raved about them,” says Molly. “We love food and wine so this part of the wedding had to be just perfect!”
Blue escort cards were arranged around stone urns filled with potted orchids.
The reception’s floor plan was inspired by a traditional Charleston home, much like the ones Molly had visited during trips to meet with her wedding planner. “Cocktail hour took place on the tent’s ‘porch,’ then guests followed a linear progression through to the dining area, followed by the dessert table and the bar and dance floor,” Molly explains. This path meant every moment was carefully orchestrated, so much so that there were sheer white curtains separating the spaces for an element of surprise!
The delicious dinner menu included summer panzanella, local baked striped bass, sea salt and spice-crusted filet mignon, and roasted vegetables. Every course was accompanied by a carefully paired wine selection, chosen by a winemaker whom Jimmy and Molly visited after the wedding, on their Italian honeymoon!
In addition to wedding cake, dessert included homemade pies and sweet bites.
A live band kept guests dancing all night. Adds the bride, “We still have people texting us about how great they were!”
Wedding Planner: Tara Guérard Soirée || Ceremony Venue: Church of Atonement || Bride's Dress: Monique Lhuillier || Hair: Quogue Salon || Makeup: Diedra Outlaw || Groom's Attire: Ermenegildo Zegna || Groomsmen's Attire: Indochino || Engagement Ring: Susie Saltzman || Wedding Bands: Susie Saltzman || Floral Design: Tara Guérard Soirée, Flowers by Rori || Paper Products: Happy Menocal || Catering: Chef Peter Ambrose || Cake: Sugar Sugar || Cocktail Hour & Dinner Music: New York Virtuosi || Reception Music: Kevin Osborne Band || Rentals: Nassau Tent || Transportation: M & V Limousines, All Star Limousine Service || Videography: Siegel Films || Photography: Liz Banfield