A Nautical Wedding in Montauk
For two people who donât like sports, itâs probably surprising that Kelly Rhatigan and Liam Griff met at a sports bar in New Yorkâs West Village in December of 2014. (But it probably means there werenât any distractions from their instant attraction!) âWe were drawn to one another right away, but it took three weeks for a âcasualâ Sunday afternoon to progress into an epic and romantic first date,â says Kelly. After that first date, though, the pair was smitten, and got engaged less a year-and-a-half later. âLiam and I spent our summers at a shared beach house with our closest friends in Montauk, but one weekend he convinced everyone else to stay home so we could have it to ourselvesâand so he could propose!â Kelly recalls.
That very weekend, the couple headed to Gurneyâs Resort and Seawater Spa for celebratory piĂ±a coladas, and ended up reserving the venue for their wedding before theyâd finished their drinks. âWe knew we wanted to have a fall wedding somewhere that felt like a destination, but that was close enough for our family and friends to get to,â Kelly explains. As a bonus, their November 4, 2017 wedding date fell just a few days after Kellyâs birthday! They embraced the nautical setting, but mixed in an autumnal off-season vibe to embrace the time of year they love most on Long Island. Kait Rovnyak of AaB Creates helped combine a sea of blues with warm fall tones, weaving in a watercolor crest, fall leaves, and oyster shells to really tie it all together. Photographer Heather Waraksa captured the oceanfront celebration, which definitely proves that beach weddings donât have to happen in the summer!
The couple embraced their stunning nautical location by incorporating a blue palette throughout their wedding day's details.
A watercolor crest inspired the invitation suite, and combined both seashells and floral elements. The white invitation was finished with cobalt-blue watercolor calligraphy. âWe used the artwork throughout our suite, as well as on the day-of stationery,â says Kelly.
The wedding party was family-only, and Kelly invited her sister, her brotherâs wife, and Liamâs sisters to join her as bridesmaids. She let each woman choose a Joanna August gown that made her feel her bestâbut did treat all the women to matching Eberjey PJs to wear while they got ready!
Kelly first put down a deposit on a beachy, bohemian gown, but changed her mind once she tried on this Carolina Herrera design. âIt was so classic and simpleâexactly my style,â she explains of the trumpet silhouette, V-neck, and bow at the back. Of course, every bride needs a little drama, and Kelly found hers in the form of a floral-edged Oscar de la Renta veil. The flowers on the veil were a perfect match for the mother-of-pearl Van Cleef & Arpels studs belonging to Kelly's mother.
The brideâs white bouquet combined peonies, pink-tinged anemones, and eucalyptus.
Liam donned a navy blue tuxedo from Ralph Lauren Purple Label. The groomsmen (Liamâs two brothers, Kellyâs brother, and Kellyâs brother-in-law) wore their own tuxedos, and the bridesmaids wore Joanna August dresses in steel blue, cobalt, and navy.
The bride's father walked her down the aisle before she and Liam exchanged vows on the resortâs East Deck. âMy dad is a big, tough guyâhe is a former New York City Fire Department captainâbut even he couldnât hold it together for our walk down the aisle,â Kelly remembers.
Liam and Kellyâs ceremony was framed by an arch of autumn leaves accented with blush roses. âWe didnât write our own vows, and thatâs one of my only regrets,â Kelly says. âLiam wrote his own vows anyway, and shared them with me in a letter earlier in the day. It was one of my favorite moments!â
Cocktail hour included a full raw bar, showing off Long Islandâs bounty, as well as miniature lobster rolls. The pair served a Dark ân Stormy as their signature drink. âLiamâs family loves ginger beer, and we thought it was a perfect beach drink that felt fall-appropriate,â says the bride.
The reception took place beneath a clear tent hung with dozens of basket lanterns. âThat was our plannerâs idea, and it gave the tent a beachy but still sophisticated look,â Kelly says. Tables were topped with light linens, while the dark wood head table was left bare and accented with a matching runner.
A deep blue napkin and printed menu was set on each crisp white charger. The meal included a tomato and burrata salad, filet mignon or halibut, and a caramel tart for dessert. âThe food at Gurneyâs was amazingâitâs one of the reasons we chose the venue,â says Kelly. Instead of paper place cards, each guestâs name was written on an oyster shell. âI ordered the shells on Etsy, and they werenât so fresh-smelling when they arrived," Kelly says, with a laugh. "I washed 200 of them with a toothbrush in our bathtub!â
The three-tiered naked cake had layers of vanilla and apple spice cake sandwiched with vanilla buttercream. Roses, peonies, and olive branches adorned the tiers.
The basket lanterns glowed as stars shone through the tent. Kelly and Liam kicked off a night of dancing to âFor the Longest Timeâ by Billy Joel before their band took over. âWe told them to err on the side of a regular rock band rather than a wedding band, and they were fantastic!â says the bride.
Though Kelly got overwhelmed with all the opinions that come up during the planning process, she kept it in perspective. âAnytime it became overwhelming, I tried to take a step back and look at the bigger picture: I found the love of my life, and thatâs what matters!â