One Couple's Relaxed Wedding on Shelter Island


During Claire Nolan and James Peterson’s wedding reception on June 23, 2018, the bride’s sisters joked that they “never thought anything good could come out of Santacon.” “They were wrong!” says Claire, who credits the boozy day full of people dressed tipsy Santas and elves for introducing her to her now-husband, Jimmy, in 2013. Though the couple met in San Francisco, after three and a half years together, Jimmy proposed on the way to Claire’s family home on Shelter Island, so they decided to tie the knot there as well. “My parents’ property is simply stunning, right on Gardiners Bay. It was perfect for our modern yet beachy reception,” says the bride. “We wanted the celebration to be a blast for ourselves and our guests, filled with eating, drinking, and dancing. We also envisioned a sunny early summer day, which we didn’t get, but it worked out regardless!”

While the logistics were tricky (getting 250 guests, plus all the bells and whistles needed for a wedding, to Shelter Island wasn’t easy!), Claire and Jimmy pulled off a waterfront evening that was light, airy, and totally memorable. Keep reading to see all the details, as captured by Trent Bailey!

Claire wanted a wedding dress that was "unlike anything else she’d seen," and she felt this design by Watters fit the bill. Why? It paired floral lace was paired with short sleeves, a high neck, a sheer panel at the waist, and an open cut-out back. “It was so flattering, and comfortable enough that I knew I’d be able to dance all night,” says the bride. She also carried a petite posey of white anemones and white astilbe, wrapped in a handkerchief.

Claire's bridesmaids chose their own blush dresses, combining fabrics, textures, and necklines for a perfectly mismatched look.

Jimmy paired a shawl collar white dinner jacket by Collection by Samuelsohn with Hugo Boss tuxedo pants and velvet smoking slippers. His delicate boutonniere combined a green hellebore with lamb’s ear.

The altar of Our Lady of the Isle was flanked with two arrangements of vibrant greenery and a mix of white, blush, and vibrant pink blooms.

“I was absolutely in love with my lace-trimmed veil, but of course I forgot to bring it with me to the church,” says Claire. “My brother went back to get it, but grabbed the simple veil I’d received with my dress, so I didn’t wear one at all for the ceremony. I ended up putting on my lace veil for photos, and wore it all through cocktail hour.”

Guests sipped "Huckleberry Mules," a twist on a Moscow Mule in honor of Jimmy’s home state of Montana, as they nibbled on miniature crab cakes, cucumber cups full of poké, and dumplings.

“I have to admit that it was a blessing that it rained on our wedding day,” says Claire. “It kept everyone inside during the reception—instead of wandering the property or heading down to the water—and really forced us all to be present.”

The dinner tent was filled with long farm tables draped in lace runners. Clusters of bud vases were filled with sweet peas, astilbe, ranunculus, lavender clematis, green hellebores, and chamomile flowers.

To honor Claire’s mother’s Italian heritage, a light pasta with tomato and basil was served in place of a salad before entrées of flank steak and sea bass were served family-style. “All the ingredients were local to the East End, and incredibly fresh,” Claire says. Dinner was served alongside wine and champagne, plus beer from the couple’s brother-in-law’s brewery, The Great Northern Brewery in Whitefish, Montana.

“Our wedding date was both of our parents’ 45th anniversaries,” says Claire. "Yes, both of their parents were married on June 23rd, 1973! We invited them up to help us cut our chocolate and vanilla cake, and the band played ‘You’ve Made Me So Very Happy’ by Blood, Sweat and Tears, which was my parents’ first dance song at their wedding.” The newlyweds also gifted their parents with engraved Tiffany & Co. cake servers to mark the occasion.

After, the Kenny Ford Band kept the dance floor packed, ending the night to “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen after guests begged for one more song. But the party wasn’t over! “My siblings hired a local band to play at our after party at nearby bar The Dory,” says Claire. “They are so fun, and it was so thoughtful of my siblings to surprise us! It was such a treat to have live music all night long.”

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