The tranquil and intriguing spirit this natural bridal setting embodies can best be assigned the term “enchanted-forest”, thereby inspiring the collection title of “forêt”, the French word for “forest”. This captivating wedding was staged on the bucolic grounds of a luxurious historic inn, located in the quintessential New England town of Manchester, Vermont, a place of sentimental significance to the bride and groom. It seemed only fitting that this special occasion be held at this enduring location where the couple was engaged one year prior. In early January, under a blanket of fresh-fallen snow, the lavish gardens, statuary, and enormous evergreens served a more eloquent purpose. They offered, in essence, the epitome of a pristine white canvas upon which to design this unique eventscape. The enchanted-forest/gothic-infused aesthetic showcased in this collection suggests a seductive sensuality with bold undertones. Visually it depicts an edgy and sophisticated “Red Riding Hood-esque” ambiance. Conceptually, it is meant to emphasize a harmony between humans, animals, and nature, as well as speak to the sanctity of life. Nestled in a far-off nook within this crystalline paradise, accessed via a snow-covered, burgundy rose petal-strewn pathway, stood a secluded woodland sanctuary created solely for the bride and groom’s pleasure. The intimate vignette, set before a wall of fire logs, served as the designation for the couple’s private welcome dinner, designed upon an antiquarian hand-carved dining table, accentuated with a platinum iridescent-crush table runner, mercury glass accoutrements, and ruby glass goblets. A fusion of burgundy blooms… roses, mini purpleberry calla lilies, scabiosa, anemone, and a montage of variegated evergreens fashioned the centerpiece.
Impressive evergreen and spruce silhouettes, the traditional Vermont profile, served as nature’s backdrop for the outdoor wedding ceremony. Glistening frozen branches came to life with the faint tinkling of delicate icicles, and the melodic bird songs spoke to the peaceful serenity embracing the moment. The surreal experience culminated with the mesmerizing entrance of a breath-taking bride. Donning a luxurious Chantilly lace and silk tulle gown and striking heirloom engagement ring, the bride’s provocative entrance was fashionably elevated by several distinctive adornments. The non-traditional “bouquet” took the refreshing shape of a bespoke vintage velvet and brocade muff adorned with deep ruby Arabian night dahlias and osiria roses, showcasing a cascade of woven floral stems, twigs, coiled leaves, and silk filature and moss webbing. While vastly alluring, it was further enhanced by the majestic screech owl perched atop a branch in the bride’s hand… a testament to her love of animals and her affinity for rehabilitating injured and orphaned creatures.
The outside is beautifully ushered in by means of the intricate transformation of the estate’s turn-of-the- century carriage house to reflect the design of a nature-infused multi-sensory experience. Vibrant colors and fragrant scents of the perfectly curated blooms formed lush floral sculptures along the table length and select interior vignettes. A luxe sapphire crushed-velvet table runner served as the foundation of a blanket of moss entwined with an assortment of evergreen boughs and tree branches. Succulent variations, Sarah Bernhardt peonies, Arabian night dahlias, osiria roses, candy pink sunflowers, pink delight butterfly bush, salvia flare, monkshood anemone, foxglove beardtongue, firewitch dianthus, scabiosa, dendrobium orchids, moonflower, and tuberose are several of the distinctive floral variations featured, each reflecting significance to the bridal couple. Particular placement of the moonflower and tuberose was mandated as these flowers blossom only at night. Ruby satin napkins, onyx, sage and rose tapers, brass embellishments, and gold chivari chairs accentuated with ruby cushions complete the nature-inspired design. Upon entering the reception, each guest is presented with a bespoke booklet devoted to event details. The exterior of the booklet is made entirely of thin tree-bark stock customized with an embossing of the couple’s brand and hand-threaded with suede lace. The interior pages, imprinted on an ecru raw deckle-edge stock, reveal the dinner menu, a list of event-apropos libations, a glossary of the flowers appearing in the wedding design (and their respective significance to the couple), the history of the inn, a page dedicated to Manchester lore, and a detailed weekend itinerary.
A sampling of the statement accoutrements: trickling garden fountains, windchimes, vintage statuary, birch branches, cement garden urns overflowing with fresh fruit, an artisanal crudité “garden” sprouting from authentic grass in preserved vintage wood palettes, a birdbath displaying an ice sculpture of birds, and an exterior hand-sculpted ice luge highlighting the signature craft cocktail bar. The intriguing ice bar offered concoctions including a spiked hot cocoa served from copper mugs entitled “Vermont Campfire” (“Russell’s Reserve” bourbon, chocolate syrup, orange bitters, topped-off with soda and a skewer of torched homemade marshmallows), “Smokin’ Russell’s” (“Russell’s Reserve” bourbon, vermouth, hibiscus syrup, plum bitters, cherry smoke, and a lemon twist), “Slippery Slope” (Kahlua, crème de cacao, brandy, coffee, Vermont maple syrup sugar floss garnish), and Spiced Apple Cider (“Maker’s Mark”, cinnamon and anise, garnished with a dehydrated apple slice and cinnamon dust). The perfect accompaniment to these libations was the unrivaled decadence of the dessert presentation… individual molten chocolate lava cakes garnished with fresh strawberries and a sprig of mint.