Kate Branch, senior beauty editor at Vogue.com, and Will Yakowicz, a writer at Inc. magazine, first met as undergraduates at New York University. “My friend dragged me out to a bar to meet up with a guy she liked," she remembers. "When I saw Will, I was so happy that the guy had a cute friend!” Though nothing came of it at the time, the pair bumped into each other again two years later, as seniors outside of journalism class, and Will took the opportunity to impress Kate. “I was reading Walt Whitman’s 'Leaves of Grass,' and he came over and started reciting some of the lines,” she says. "I was stunned." The pair dated for six years, and in November of 2014, Will proposed on the beach in Montauk—with wine, cheese, and a mahogany ring box in hand. “I think I blacked out,” says the bride. “Though I do remember telling him how gorgeous the box was!” Inside was Kate’s grandmother’s diamond, reset in a delicate band.
On July 9, 2016, 175 guests joined Will and Kate in Manhasset, New York, where they celebrated with a ceremony at Kate’s childhood church and a formal garden party on the congregation’s sprawling property. “We didn’t want to feel obligated to include things that weren’t meaningful for us,” says the bride. Instead, they served beer brewed by the bride’s brother, danced to a live band assembled by her sister just for the occasion, and filled their ceremony with the literature that brought them together in the first place.
The photos, by Sandy Soohoo, are the perfect look into the couple’s fresh, colorful celebration. Keep reading!
The bride rocked diamond jewels (hoop earrings, a ring, and a cuff bracelet) from jewelry designer Ana Khouri.
The bride wore metallic sandals by Saint Laurent. “They’re called ‘Kate,’ though after Kate Moss, not me,” she says, laughing.
When Kate first started dress shopping, she was convinced she’d wear vintage. But when she visited the top vintage stores in Los Angeles, she quickly realized that the dresses were out of her price range. "I was so discouraged, and we had only five months until the wedding," she remembers. Luckily, her friend took her to Barneys, where she found the satin-wool sheath (from the Row) that she had been eyeing on Net-a-Porter. As a final touch, she had a tailor request more fabric to replace the back panel with a train.
The groom wore a bespoke midnight-blue suit from Bindle & Keep in Brooklyn. “It’s the same color the company used for Daniel Craig in James Bond,” says his bride.
“Our first look is one of my favorite memories,” says Kate. “We both burst out crying out of happiness. I think all the anxiety and excitement finally hit us!”
Kate's bridal bouquet featured a mix of dusty-pink roses, anemones, clematis, and flowing greenery. Her bridesmaids carried smaller versions, continuing the pastel palette.
The couple’s nieces and nephews acted as their flower girls and ring bearers, with the girls in ivory dresses and the boys in short suits.
The bride let her bridesmaids choose their own gowns, giving them a few color options and the direction to mix solid and floral patterns. “I wanted them to look great and feel like themselves,” she says.
Kate walked down the aisle with her father, who married her mother at the same church. Kate's sister organized a five-piece band to play an instrumental version of “Runaway” by Kanye West during the ceremony.
When they first got engaged, Will and Kate took a marbling class in Red Hook and fell in love with the technique. They included marbled details on all of their paper goods, from the ceremony program to the escort cards, which were written on paper they had marbled themselves.
Dinner tables were draped with handmade Shibori-dyed cotton tablecloths, commissioned by the bride and groom. “White tablecloths just wouldn’t do," she says. The centerpieces were a soft mix of roses, anemones, sweet peas, and ferns. The personalized menu featured a "very eclectic, fresh selection,” including endive salad, grilled salmon, and a pesto-crusted rack of lamb.
The littlest guests gathered in a teepee on the property, set up by one of Kate’s bridesmaids, who's also a prop stylist.
Kate’s brother brewed two beers for the occasion, a session ale for Will and a coffee-maple stout for Kate. They served a third signature drink, the "Garden Party," which was a mix of vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup, and club soda.
The bride's sister Jaimie Branch, a professional trumpeter, took the lead on the day's musical selections. She played during the ceremony as a member of the five-piece band, joined the jazz musicians at cocktail hour, and led the reception band, which she also hired and curated (of course!).
For the first dance, the newlyweds selected "You Send Me" by Sam Cooke as their main song, then asked guests to join in when “(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay” by Otis Reading started playing.
As the party got going, Kate changed into a cap-sleeved slip dress from Calvin Klein, which she paired with gold Gucci pumps.
So what advice does Kate have, looking back? “Be mindful of each other’s needs and time while you’re planning,” she says. “We tried to follow advice from actress Alysia Renier, who said to always ask if it’s a good time to talk about the wedding before you start the conversation—and to let the other person say no if the time isn’t right!"
Planner: Lindsay Rae Design
Bride's Ceremony Dress: The Row
Bride's Late-Night Dress: Calvin Klein
Bride's Shoes: Saint Laurent
Bride's Late-Night Shoes: Gucci
Jewelry: Ana Khouri
Hair: Lucas Wilson
Makeup: Min Min Ma
Flower-Girl Dresses: David's Bridal
Ring-Bearer Outfits: Zara
Groom's Attire: Bindle & Keep
Invitations: Marta Pia
Paper Products: Sarah McCay
Catering: Culinary Heights
Rentals: First Stop Party Rentals
Favors: La Newyorkina
Trumpeter: Jaimie Branch
Transportation: Shofur Transportation
Photography: Sandy Soohoo