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Backyard Dreams

Fabulous fashion and French flourishes set the mood for Cosmopolitan US editor Rebecca's heavenly Hamptons celebration

Rebecca & Todd: The Love Story

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“It was absolute crush-at-first sight,” says Rebecca of meeting Todd through a mutual friend on a freezing cold night in New York City. Sparks flew when the pair shared a kiss under the 59th Street Bridge, but it wasn’t until the following summer that the New Yorkers made their relationship official. “We started spending long, lazy days on the beach together in the Hamptons, where both of our parents have houses, and came to realise that we had all the same interests and values – not to mention amazing chemistry. We’ve been inseparable ever since.”

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Photography by John Dolan, johndolan.com

Rebecca & Todd: Home Sweet Home

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After Todd proposed, there was only one venue option on their list: Rebecca’s parents’ country home in stylish Bridgehampton, NY. “It’s a farmhouse, over 100 years old, surrounded by the most beautiful apple orchards,” she explains.

Rebecca & Todd: Life’s a Beach

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To lend a destination-wedding feel to the celebration, Rebecca and Todd organised a line-up of events before the grand finale, including a rehearsal dinner for the bridal party and close friends and this welcome party on the beach. Guests dined at tables on the sand then mingled around a bonfire while a surf movie was projected onto an outdoor screen. “We wanted to incorporate everything we love about the Hamptons – beach, countryside, food, wine, dancing, friends and family – into our wedding weekend because it’s such a major part of our lives together,” Rebecca says.

Rebecca & Todd: Many Thanks

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Guests received these fabulous gift bags. The handmade organic totes contained fouta towels imported from St Tropez, beach paddle games, monogrammed sweatshirts, and cheese, jam and bread from local suppliers.

Rebecca & Todd: Dress, please!

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The big day itself was all about whimsical elegance, and Rebecca’s stunning Monique Lhuillier dress played a crucial role in creating that vibe – not surprising given her job as a trend expert on style bible Cosmopolitan. “The dress had glamour, plus that sense of fun I really wanted,” she says. “The moment I tried it on, I could picture myself running through the apple orchards in it. It actually helped inspire much of the styling and décor for the entire wedding.”

Rebecca & Todd: A Matter of Style, Part 1

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Rebecca’s seven bridesmaids wore floor-length luxe-bohemian maxi dresses in shades of soft blue and purple, and carried bouquets of mauve and lavender roses with garden sage. “My mother and I designed the dress, then had a dressmaker create the pattern,” Rebecca says. The chic, fluid gowns were so well-received, she’s started a dress line called LoveShackFancy (email info@loveshackfancy.com for more details).

Rebecca & Todd: A Matter of Style, Part 2

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“I wanted the girls to feel sexy and gorgeous and have a dress they could wear again,” Rebecca explains of the design.

Dresses by LoveShackFancy, email info@loveshackfancy.com for details.

Rebecca & Todd: Pretty Little Maids …

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The picture-perfect flowergirl outfits were also custom-made. Rebecca’s mother combined skirts by Crewcuts (the children’s range from J.Crew) with Danskin leotards and silk ribbons. “They felt like mini versions of my dress, but younger and more relaxed,” Rebecca says.

Rebecca & Todd: Good Grooming

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Todd chose a tuxedo, shirt and bowtie from Ralph Lauren Purple Label, teamed with Stubbs & Wootton loafers.

Rebecca & Todd: Ceremony Magic

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English garden met French country at the Bridgehampton house, beginning with a flower-filled outdoor ceremony at 5.30pm in late June.

Rebecca & Todd: Aisle Style

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The bridesmaids walked down the garden aisle to Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole before Rebecca made her debut, escorted by both parents, to the strains of Ray LaMontagne’s Shelter. The flowergirls, pictured here, carried silver buckets filled with white rose petals.

Rebecca & Todd: A Kiss to Remember

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Rebecca joined Todd under a wrought-iron garden arbour that served as their chuppah. Floral designer Lewis Miller had covered it with hundreds of English roses to match Rebecca’s bouquet, so it looked as if it had been a part of the garden for decades.

Rebecca & Todd: Number-One Fan

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Peacock fans, sourced by florist Lewis Miller were both a gorgeous decorative touch and a way to keep guests cool outdoors.

Rebecca & Todd: Raise a Glass

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Immediately after the ceremony, a Nebuchadnezzar of champagne (that’s a 15-litre bottle!) was poured over a tower of glasses to toast the couple in celebratory French style.

Rebecca & Todd: Cocktail-Reception Chic, part 1

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Artisanal cheeses, charcuterie, grapes, figs, Provençal vegetables and breads covered tables during the hour-long cocktail reception.

Rebecca & Todd: Cocktail-Reception Chic, part 2

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“Our caterer Olivier Cheng had the genius idea to put all the spirits in decanters to create a beautiful bar – this way we could use the liquor not only to drink but also as décor,” Rebecca explains. “We had calligrapher Bernard Maisner write the names on tea-stained labels that looked antique.”

Rebecca & Todd: Cocktail-Reception Chic, part 3

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“We wanted it to feel like guests were strolling through the south of France and suddenly discovered all of these amazing markets in the countryside,” Rebecca says.

Rebecca & Todd: Glamour in the Garden

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The couple’s theme (which Rebecca sums up as “south of France meets Great Gatsby meets Miss Havisham’s mansion in Great Expectations) came fully to life inside the dinner tent. Guests sat at long tables on chairs draped in ivory linen and tied with burlap string.

Rebecca & Todd: Perfectly Mismatched

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Fine china in co-ordinated but different patterns of gold, silver and white, gold-rimmed wineglasses and pewter candlesticks helped to create a lavish but playful atmosphere. “Everything was meant to feel like it was taken out of our house and brought to this fantastic party in our backyard – we didn’t want anything to look too perfect,” says Rebecca.

Rebecca & Todd: On the Menu

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“We chose to have the menu written in French because our wedding had a French theme to it – and the food was all French inspired,” Rebecca says. “It’s such a beautifully romantic language.”

Rebecca & Todd: Well-Written

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Calligrapher Bernard Maisner designed all of the event stationery, from the invitations and menus to the elegant table numbers.

Rebecca & Todd: Flower Power

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Tables were decorated with piles of roses, peonies, lavender, jasmine, begonias, lady fern, passion vine and geranium leaf (among others) in a variety of vessels, from tarnished silver bowls to antique garden urns. “I didn’t want any formal centrepieces but instead wanted the flowers to look like they were overflowing,” Rebecca says.

Rebecca & Todd: Dance All Night

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The couple shared their first dance to a soulful, sultry performance of Otis Redding’s That’s How Strong My Love Is by their fabulous band, Creations Music featuring Kim Sozzi. Everything from Whitney Houston medleys to Jason Mraz tunes kept the crowd on their feet until well after midnight.

Rebecca & Todd: Just Can’t Get Enough

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“We wanted to dance under the full moon until the late hours of the morning, and we did!” Rebecca says. At 1am, they escorted guests from the tents to the pool for a chilled-out after-party with a crêpe station, free-flowing drinks and more music – plus a special pool plunge by the newlyweds.

Rebecca & Todd: This Magic Moment

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“Seeing everyone who is important to us smiling and having an amazing time – it was the greatest feeling in the world,” Rebecca remembers of the day. “The wedding was absolutely magical and intoxicating, a high like no other.”

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Photography by John Dolan, johndolan.com