A Black-Tie Fall Wedding at Sole East in Montauk
Kristen Wright and Matthew Starker first met in Austin, Texas, when mutual friends introduced them at a CondĂ© Nast party at SXSW in March 2015. But once they started talking, they realized they lived very close to each other back home in New York City. âWe lived only eight blocks apart in New York City, which made for a very convenient courtship,â says Kristen. The pair dated for almost two years, and in December 2016, they escaped the city for a weekend getaway at Kristenâs family home in Westhampton, on Long Island. âIt was a warm, sunny day, so we took an impromptu trip to the beach for some fresh air,â she says. âMatt started getting sappy, and the next thing I knew, he was down on one knee!â They were buzzing with excitement, and âour joy was tangible,â says the bride.
In fact, Matt and Kristen didn't want a long engagement and started looking at venues on Long Island immediately. They ultimately selected Sole East, a boutique hotel with gorgeous grounds in Montauk, for the weekend of October 14, 2017. âWhen the crowds leave and fall arrives, Montauk turns back into a sleepy fishing town, and we love that feeling,â says Kristen. They decorated the space using natural tones, accented with crisp green and white, to create the setting for a big party. Their number-one priority? The dance floor! âWe had 220 guests, so we opted for an oversized dance floor and a 13-piece band," says the bride. "It was one hell of a party!â
Photographed by James Katsipis, this black-tie celebration is a gorgeous reason to hit the beachâeven when summerâs over. Keep reading for more!
Kristen knew she wanted something simple, and her Theia gown was just the thing. The silk crepe dress featured a high neck and a low back, plus a sweeping train for an added dose of glamour. Matt opted for a formal white dinner jacket, which he paired with a classic black bowtie.
The couple incorporated DIY details, including a handwritten sign by a friend, which tempted guests to grab a Hot-Tauk (the eveningâs signature spicy margarita).
On Friday, October 13, Matt and Kristen had an intimate Catholic ceremony at St. Therese Church in Montauk. âIt was a way to have a traditional ceremony but still have a friend marry us on our wedding day,â says the bride. The next day, a close friend led Kristen and Matt's second ceremony, which took place on the back lawn of Sole East. This time, the couple wrote their own vows, and Kristenâs even included crowd participation. âAt one point, I had Mattâs friends yell out all of the nicknames they had for himâbut the meanings behind them are still a mystery,â Kristen says, laughing.
Following the vows, everyone headed to the reception area: a nearby tent draped with cafĂ© lights and filled with the coupleâs family and friends.
âMatt and I both have an affinity for key-lime pie, so we skipped the wedding cake and instead served 25 (!!) pies, one for each table,â says the bride. âOur friend Danielle handmade them all!â
After a wild night of dancingâincluding a perfect performance of Salt ân Peppaâs âShoopâ by the brideâs brother!âthe newlyweds made their getaway through a tunnel of sparklers.
Looking back on the planning process, Kristen has some advice for couples. âWe learned early that itâs important to really schedule wedding-planning conversations,â she advises. âYouâll be so much more productive if youâre both prepared!â