A Garden-Inspired Wedding on the Rhode Island Coast
When Clay Prescott Wiske wanted to propose to Bay Adams Hudner, he knew just how he would do it. He would drop to one knee in the garden that they had planted together on Bay‚Äôs family‚Äôs property, and he would have her favorite strawberry rhubarb pie waiting with Champagne.
It‚Äôs no surprise, then, that the couple returned to say ‚ÄúI do‚ÄĚ on the same property, dubbed Hawk Feather Farm, and they‚Äôd also swap the wedding cake for a pie bar that featured, yes, strawberry rhubarb. ‚ÄúWe wanted our guests to leave thinking two things: ‚ÄėClay and Bay and truly in love and are right for each other‚Äô and ‚ÄėI had an amazing time,‚Äô‚ÄĚ Bay says. Beyond the live music, plenty of drinks, and stunning Rhode Island landscape, the pair put several personal touches on the day, held in Little Compton. Lots of inspiration came from Hope Hudner, Bay‚Äôs late mother, who was an artist and hostess, as well as the surrounding pebble-filled shoreline. They even had their wedding rings cast out of beeswax from the onsite beehives.
The ceremony took place on a hill overlooking the water, where Bay and Clay exchanged personal vows. In fact, the pair started their wedding planning by writing them. ‚ÄúIt will keep you focused on the most important part of your wedding and will help you to clarify early on what is most important to you,‚ÄĚ Bay says of tackling the heartfelt monologues.
From there, the ideas flowed, but the logistics are what proved challenging; hosting an outdoor wedding where there are no permanent structures, no running water, and no electricity certainly isn‚Äôt easy, explains Bay. She relied heavily on her planner, Christine Bevilacqua of Metta Events. ‚ÄúShe listened to even our craziest ideas and didn‚Äôt blink an eye when we threw challenge after challenge her way‚ÄĒeven having a 300-person wedding at the end of a one-mile unpaved road without running water!‚ÄĚ Bay adds with a laugh.
Read on for all the details of Bay and Clay‚Äôs New England wedding, planned by Metta Events and photographed by Erin McGinn.
Instead of a white gown, Bay chose to wear a pink, tropical-print dress from Italian fashion brand, Etro. She carried an oversized bouquet of flowers inspired by the bold hues of her outfit.
The couple‚Äôs 315 guests looked on as Bay and Clay exchanged vows, framed by floral arrangements, on a platform on top of a hill. Panoramic views of the water served as a natural backdrop for the ceremony. ‚ÄúThe easiest part of the planning process was coming up with a common vision for the ceremony and wedding as a whole,‚ÄĚ Bay says.
After the ceremony, guests walked down to a Tupelo grove for an intimate cocktail hour. As a band played Bossanova music, everyone sipped Champagne and Americano cocktails. It led perfectly to sunset, where guests could gaze at the view before entering the reception tent.
The laid-back cocktail hour included plenty of chilled wine and trays of Americanos, a rocks glass cocktail of Campari and vermouth with an orange garnish.
The floral arrangements were inspired by the natural Rhode Island landscape. They featured a loose mix of natural greenery, zinnias, and dahlias. ‚ÄúWe made many trips up to Rhode Island, not just to meet with various vendors, but also to hop on lawnmowers, place lights, and get our hands a bit dirty,‚ÄĚ Bay says of spending 14 months planning and actively preparing the area for the wedding.
A greenery-topped pergola led to the entrance of the reception tent, which included wood farm tables, bamboo chairs, and gold accents like flatware and vases. Guests dined and danced under a massive balloon chandelier created by a local balloon sculptor, Janice Lee Kelly of FLOAT.
Part of the tent included a lounge area. Bay says that the reception was inspired by her late mother, who was quite the entertainer. She even used boldly colored fabrics and pops of color in the arrangements to honor her.
The tables included a mix of florals and fruit as well as taper candles as centerpieces. The table runners, in robust earth tones, were made from fabrics that Bay‚Äôs mother had collected over the years.
Bay and Clay designed custom party poppers that nodded to Bay‚Äôs mother‚Äôs artwork. They held trivia questions about the couple as well as wildflower seeds guests could take and plant at home.
The family-style menu featured Mediterranean dishes like grilled halibut, lemon chicken, Israeli couscous, and bowls of tzatziki.
The newlyweds shared their first dance to Charles Bradley‚Äôs ‚ÄúYou Put the Flame on It.‚ÄĚ The live band, Sound House, then played a mix of disco and Motown for the dance party.
The pair opted for a pie bar over a cake, including traditional flavors like strawberry rhubarb and apple. They also served mini desserts on the dance floor, like bite-sized ice cream cones and cinnamon doughnut holes.
During the after-party, guests shared giant scorpion bowls‚ÄĒa vodka-based drink with a homemade ginger syrup and fresh lemon‚ÄĒwith extra-long party straws. ‚ÄúSpend the entire night together so you share the experience and have the same memories,‚ÄĚ Bay advises. ‚Äú[And] find as many ways to spend quality time with the people who come to your wedding.‚ÄĚ