Though William Bitter enrolled at Deerfield Academy for a post-graduate year to play soccer and lacrosse, his best decision in December of 2006 was actually joining the ski team, captained by Christie Schnurr. "You might say Billy fell head over heels for me while we were on the ski team," she remembers, and a few months later, the pair became an item. That high school love lasted and, in December of 2014, Billy decided to make it a more permanent arrangement. "He drove to my parents' home at 4 a.m. to ask my dad for his blessing and then, on December 23, he proposed in a courtyard at NYU during a walk through the West Village," Christie says.
After years of visits to Christie's family's home in Connecticut, the pair knew Lion Rock Farm in the bride's hometown of Sharon would be the most gorgeous location for their celebration. "We wanted a summer wedding, and Billy didn't want to wait a year and a half to get married. So we planned the whole thing for August 29, 2015 — just nine months after we got engaged!" says Christie. They turned to The Wedding Library for planning expertise, putting together an epic summer celebration for 226 guests. The Farm was the perfect backdrop for their country elegance theme, with a hint of preppy style from the Carolina blue, navy, and white palette. You'll fall in love with the classic style — and the fun surprises! &mdash photographed by Sara Wight Photography.
An elegant wedding starts with an elegant invitation, and this one was no exception. Gold and navy calligraphy popped on white paper, with a shimmering gold envelope liner and custom postage stamps to finish it off.
Christie was an ultra-classic bride in her Modern Trousseau wedding dress, which she paired with white Manolo Blahnik sandals. The gathered bodice and deep V-back were finished off with a playful detail: Pockets!
The bride topped her gown with a flowing veil and pearl earrings (a gift from Mom and Dad). She also had two accessories from her grandmothers: Her maternal grandmother's diamond tennis bracelet, and her paternal grandmother's diamond brooch pinned to her bouquet. The all-white arrangement combined David Austin garden roses, ranunculus, seeded eucalyptus, and dusty miller.
When choosing bridesmaids' dresses, Christie looked for a style that she would wear as a guest at a wedding. The navy dresses she ultimately selected featured boat necklines and scalloped skirts, which Christie's eight 'maids all paired with nude pumps and summery bouquets of white hydrangea, lisianthus, and seeded eucalyptus.
Before heading into the church for the ceremony, Christie and her dad watched guests arrive from the car. "We had a few minutes to chat, and it was so calming. I'll remember that moment forever!" she says.
With ten nieces between their two families, Billy and Christie decided to have each of their siblings' oldest daughters serve as flower girls, with the younger girls as "flower girl helpers." The older girls wore Carolina blue and white dresses with monogrammed white bows in their hair.
"While we didn't do much DIY, we did turn to Billy's grandmother for a gorgeous watercolor illustration of the church," says Christie. The stunning painting was printed on the cover of the ceremony program.
The pair kept the décor at the Church of Saint Mary simple, opting for white hydrangeas along the aisle. Billy and Christie exchanged traditional vows, asking the groom's sisters, the bride's aunt, and a cousin to offer readings.
The newlyweds drove off from the church in a yellow convertible dressed up with a "Just Married" sign. Says the bride, "We wanted our guests to be able to enjoy the beautiful countryside, then have the time of their lives drinking and dancing all night!"
Billy's groomsmen matched him in stone-colored khakis and navy blue jackets with gold buttons. The ring bearer followed suit, donning a miniature version of the groomsmen's attire.
During cocktail hour, guests sipped champagne on the lawn. Escort cards were displayed on a table topped with a white porcelain vase and blue hydrangeas.
"With only nine months to plan, we had to make decisions quickly," says Christie. "We also had to be selective. If anything didn't fit our vision, we nixed it immediately!" We'd say the classic, preppy pair hit their country-elegant theme dead-on.
Beneath the white tent, guests were seated at a mix of long and round tables. Linens were white pique cotton, and the classic china was all white with platinum bands. "We added a pop of color with cobalt blue water goblets," Christie adds.
Centerpieces combined white roses, ranunculus, hydrangea, and stock, all set in silver-footed Revere bowls. Christie's mom came up with the idea to finish each place setting with a monogrammed hem-stitched napkin. "I think she'd been dreaming of those napkins since before I was born!" the bride laughs.
The three-course dinner included crab cakes with avocado cream and mango relish, arctic char with sweet corn polenta, and filet mignon — all followed by a five-tiered cake with alternating layers of chocolate chip cake with chocolate cream and almond cake with classic cream cheese fondant. The timeless cake was decorated with draped fondant, piped flowers, and a simple monogram.
No detail went unplanned, from the dappled lighting over the dance floor to the selection of beers from The Alchemist in Vermont. "Billy loves their Heady Topper double IPA, which is notoriously hard to come by. We reached out to the brewery and they were able to set some aside for us. Billy and our guests were so thrilled!"
An amazing band, the Kevin Osborne Band, had the dance floor full all night. "That was the one thing we really wanted," says Christie. "I'll always remember looking around the tent and seeing everyone letting loose on the dance floor."
After the cake was cut, Christie's parents had a surprise of their own for the bride and groom: Fireworks! "They went to extraordinary lengths to keep this a secret and get those fireworks in the air for us," says the bride. "Love is genuine and real, so let your love shine through as you're planning your wedding." We'd say that's exactly what these newlyweds did!
Ceremony Venue: St. Mary Catholic Church || Reception Venue: Lion Rock Farm || Wedding Planner: The Wedding Library || Bride's Wedding Dress: Modern Trousseau || Shoes: Manolo Blahnik || Hair: Hair Modern || Makeup: Suany Leedy || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Camilyn Beth || Groom's & Groomsmen's Attire: Brooks Brothers; Collared Greens || Flower Girls' Dresses: Bella Bliss || Florist: Country Gardeners || Invitations: Bella Figura || Music: Kevin Osborne Band || Catering: Hunt & Harvest || Cake: A White Cake || Rentals: Smith Party Rentals; Mahaiwe Tent || Lighting: Limelight Productions || Favors: Catherine's Chocolates || Fireworks: Zambelli Fireworks || Videographer: Craig Williams Films || Photographer: Sara Wight Photography
Can't get enough of this beautiful celebration? Then check out another stunning Connecticut wedding in the video below.