Sarah Ingrassia and Jeffrey Aerni were classmates at Miami University—and even had a handful of friends in common—but the pair never met on campus. In fact, it wasn’t until August of 2012, when Sarah moved to Chicago, that they finally met. “It was my very first night out after I moved,” Sarah remembers. Thankfully, she and Jeff were in the right place at the right time, and they quickly hit it off.
Jeff’s family gets together to celebrate the Fourth of July in Water Mill, New York, every year, and July 2015 was no different—or so Sarah thought. “I thought we were taking a Christmas-card photo, which explained the photographer on the dunes,” she remembers. But when she turned toward Jeff, he was down on one knee, asking Sarah (and her dachshund, Sydney) to complete his family.
Sarah’s family loves to throw parties, and she’s been dreaming of a wedding at their home in Southampton, New York, since she was a little girl. They transformed the sprawling, grassy property into a glamorous setting for a sophisticated summer soirée, with a sailcloth tent, soft neutral colors, and a few touches of natural drama. “We really wanted our wedding to have a Hamptons flair,” says Sarah of the couple’s vision. Claire Bean joined the team to create an ambiance of relaxed luxury, and on August 20, 2016, 250 guests made their way to the far reaches of Long Island to mark Jeff and Sarah’s marriage in style. These beautiful photos by Jacob Whyman of Whyman Studios show us home entertaining at its finest!
Of course the bride’s beloved pup, Sydney, made an appearance in the bridal suite! She even wore a little lace dress to match Sarah’s wedding gown. The winning design was a Romona Keveza one-shouldered gown made of French net and re-embroidered ribbon lace. “We were at an atelier in Chicago during one of the designer’s trunk shows, and I fell instantly and madly in love with the gown,” the bride remembers. Soft waves in her hair, her maternal great-grandmother’s diamond and pearl earrings, and a simple veil were the perfect finishing touches.
The bride carried a cascading bouquet of phalaenopsis orchids, while the bridesmaids held clusters of Quick Sand roses, duchess peonies, and dusty millers.
The ceremony took place at the Basilica of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, where white orchids and hydrangeas softened the ornate space. Jeff and Sarah wed in a traditional Catholic ceremony, with an operatic vocalist adding an extra dose of drama to the proceedings.
Following the ceremony, the newlyweds caravanned around town in a 1930s Ford Phanto. “We drove to the beach and stopped in a sunflower field for photos. It was so romantic," Sarah says.
At Sarah’s family’s home, escort cards were clipped to a white trellis fence that was decorated with greenery and ferns.
Inside the sailcloth tent, the central poles were decked with custom wrought-iron chandeliers draped in hydrangeas and greenery. Garlands were strung between the poles around the dance floor, and tables were draped with floral-printed linens.
A mix of round and rectangular tables filled the space, and all were set with cross-back chairs. Tall glass vases held oversize displays of blush and cream roses, while long tables featured floral runners of roses and hydrangeas. Low arrangements of roses, sweet peas, proteas, and dusty millers gave guests a clear view of the dance floor, and candles floated in tall glass candleholders.
Each place setting featured a gold-rimmed glass charger. Guests sipped spiked lavender lemonade and indulged in a raw bar and seasonal pizzettes, then entered the tent for an indulgent meal. Gulf shrimp and Maine lobster stacks were followed by braised short ribs and summer polenta, as well as petits fours that included chocolate-covered strawberries, peanut butter bars, lemon tarts, and French macarons.
Dahlias topped Jeff and Sarah’s ruffled wedding cake. “I have allergies, so our wedding cake was gluten, dairy, and soy free. The lemon and vanilla cake was delicious,” Sarah says.
After touching speeches and a night of dancing, Jeff and Sarah spent 10 days in Bora Bora and French Polynesia, sunbathing and poring through stacks of books as they enjoyed being unplugged.
Sarah's best advice for brides-to-be? “Have an up-front (and early!) conversation about which elements you will each take ownership of and which tasks you’ll want to work on together. This way, no one’s feelings will be hurt when you must plan something like a food tasting around one of your schedules!”