Take one look at this bright boho wedding in paradise and you won’t believe it was actually just a few hours outside of Manhattan! Since Rachel and Donny both grew up on Long Island, they decided to keep their “I do’s” close to home and tie the knot at the The Surf Lodge in Montauk! If you haven’t already spent the majority of your summer nights hanging out at this retro Cali-inspired hotel – then you should know it’s just about the coolest venue in Montauk! The laid back and fun style of the day really reflected the couple’s personalities, not to mention they’re probably two of the best looking humans we’ve ever seen. Now head Out East with us and check out this summer daydream of a wedding all captured perfectly by one of our fave photographers, Betsi Ewing Studio!
How did you choose your wedding venue & location?
Donny and I were actually engaged for exactly 2 years and 4 days before finally tying the knot. All along, we knew we didn't want a place that felt like a wedding venue, but rather one where the night would just feel like an incredible celebration with our most favorite people in the world. Despite the long engagement, we had only looked at one other venue before seeing The Surf Lodge. The moment we walked through the doors, we knew it was the perfect place for us to get married. Covered in driftwood, with a salty breeze running through the air, it very well represented us as a couple, as well as everything we love about Long Island.
How did he propose?
Donny still denies it to this day, but on my 24th birthday he partially spoiled the surprise and told me he "was going to propose in September" (there may have been some liquid courage involved in this moment). Come September, I had pretty much forgotten about that conversation, and on a beautiful day, he asked if I wanted to take a walk to the High Line to grab dinner somewhere. Once on the High Line, I stopped to take a few pictures and when I turned around, he was on one knee. Before he was even able to say his speech, I immediately said "YES!". We were both so overwhelmed that we couldn't decide where to eat so we proceeded to walk for at least 2 hours before settling in at an adorable Mexican restaurant in the West Village where we shared our first dinner and drinks as an engaged couple.
How did you choose your color scheme?
I grew up painting and drawing and naturally LOVE color. I think this is partially the reason why we chose The Surf Lodge, as it has bright turquoise floors and rainbows painted on the exterior. I kept decor somewhat understated (gold accents, turquoise vases etc.), but when it came to florals, I wanted it to be bright, colorful and tropical. I never picked a "color scheme" per se, but stuck with accents that I felt 'went together' and meshed well with the vibe of The Surf Lodge.
What was your favorite moment of your wedding day?
My favorite moment of our wedding day was when I stepped onto the aisle and our (amazing) day-of coordinator at The Surf Lodge turned to me and said with a huge smile, "This is it, Rachel! Are you ready??" I think this is the instant when everything finally felt 'real' and it dawned on me that that it was actually happening! All of the moments leading up to this one felt so surreal, but suddenly I was standing there truly experiencing the beauty and excitement of the day. Seeing Donny at the end of the aisle was such an incredible moment that I had waited so long for. And, to see all of our loved ones there together in one place was so overwhelming and joyous.
What advice do you have for other brides?
Don't sweat the small stuff! Everything comes together and the day will be so beautiful, even if you don't get those chair covers you had hoped for or the exact color napkins you wanted. I am the first to understand how hard it is to not to stress; I actually wound up in the hospital 6 days before our wedding with viral meningitis because my immune system had become so depleted. It took this awful experience for me to realize that I was fixating a bit too much on the unimportant details, when what truly matters is that you are there with your future partner surrounded by family and friends, celebrating what is the beginning of the rest of your lives together! Luckily (and I truly, to this day, don't know how) I recovered just in time for our wedding, but I am thankful that the experience reminded me of what I should be focusing on!