A bride and groom pose for a classic portrait at their waterfront wedding in New York.

The Making of a Chic Waterfront Wedding for Ashley and Dan

Oyster Bay, New York
BY SHIRA SAVADA / 08 17 22
Photo by Lance Nicoll Photography

Every wedding vendor team is created a little differently. In this series we explore how and why each couple selected the right wedding vendor team for their wedding day.

Early one morning in May 2019, Dan woke up early and went to the Union Square farmers market in Manhattan to buy all of Ashley’s favorite flowers. He returned to their apartment and placed them all over the roof of the building, and then eagerly woke  Ashley up by jumping on their bed. Persuaded to join him for a rooftop coffee, Ashley followed Dan upstairs. Moments later, he was down on one knee asking her to marry him.

They enjoyed the summer as a newly-engaged couple, only doing some light wedding brainstorming. Come September, it was time to get the ball rolling. Ashley and Dan first attempted a wedding in Spain, but the pandemic caused two postponements and at that point, shifting to a stateside affair made more sense.

With seven months to plan a waterfront wedding for 220 guests at her parents’ home in the town of Oyster Bay on Long Island, New York, the couple first focused on seeing who they could hold on to from their original vendor team. From there, they swiftly filled out the necessary professionals to make their dream event a reality.


Wedding Photographer & DJ

The two vendors who Ashley and Dan had booked for their destination wedding and were happy to stay on board when plans changed were their wedding photographer and their DJ.

However, three weeks prior to the wedding, their Europe-based photographer encountered issues with international travel restrictions due to COVID-19. She was kind enough to recommend a number of photographers throughout the United States, and ultimately, Ashley and Dan felt Lance Nicoll of Lance Nicoll Photography was the best fit for them.

“Ashley and Dan were very trusting. They were both also incredibly present throughout the day and very focused on the experience and the people they were with. The energy at the reception was unparalleled. The group would eat and then dance like crazy and then repeat—they were ready to celebrate and nothing was going to stop them. As fun as dance floors always are, I’ve never seen so many smiles as I did on theirs. It all made for a special night and incredible moments to capture.” —Lance Nicoll, photographer

A bride and groom look into each other's eyes at their waterfront wedding in New York.
A bride and her guests dance during the lively reception at her waterfront wedding.

Style Events provided the soundtrack for the entire event, starting with the ceremony—which centered around a sofreh aghd, a Persian wedding tradition that incorporates several symbolic elements spread out in front of the couple. Another special moment was when married women ceremonially ground sugar over the couple’s heads, symbolizing the passing of sweetness from their marriage on to the couple. The bride’s cousin officiated—a long-standing tradition in her family is to officiate for one another. Coincidentally, the DJ had also played several of Ashley’s family members’ weddings in locations across the world.

When it was time for the reception, everyone was ready to let loose—particularly after all of the  rescheduling. A combination of Persian music, international songs, and American staples were spun after the couple shared their first dance to the Otis Redding classic of “Try a Little Tenderness.”

This waterfront wedding ceremony incorporated Persian and Jewish traditions, including the sofreh aghd.
A pair of newlyweds share their first dance under an installation of origami cranes in the tent where their reception took place after their waterfront wedding ceremony.

Wedding Planner & Event Design & Venue

After postponing and eventually canceling their wedding in Spain, the couple had to part ways with their original wedding planner, whom they loved. Starting over was a lot to take in, and Ashley’s cousin kindly stepped in to help the bride-to-be, reaching out to planner and event designer Lisa Marie Blinn of L. Marie Events, and debriefing her on the situation. Soon after that conversation, Ashley’s cousin called to share the news that she’d found a New York-based planner who was not only available for the new date, but kind, compassionate, and not threatened by the tighter-than-usual timeline or obstacles from the pandemic. With the venue locked in, and Lisa Marie and her team on board, it was time to move quickly as the wedding date (September 18, 2021) was a popular weekend and vendors were booking quickly.

“The vision for the wedding was a mix of midsummer wildflowers meets Asian influences (with blue and white porcelain, bamboo in the decor, origami cranes) meets black tie. The key was to keep it as romantic and dreamy as possible.” —Ashley, bride

A waterfront wedding ceremony overlooking Oyster Bay in Long Island is set with white Chiavari chairs and an aisle lined with pastel flowers.

Wedding Tent & Lighting

Because the waterfront wedding was being held at Ashley’s parents’ home, Lisa Marie made moves to transform it into a wedding venue. First up, she contacted NY Tent to do a site visit. They then started scheming on the ultimate tent—complete with flooring that navigated the uneven landscape so that everything could be set up perfectly and guests could enjoy the evening safely—as well as lighting the space for when the sun dipped over the horizon.

To make the tent even more their own, Ashley and Dan and a team of friends and family folded hundreds of paper cranes strung onto pieces of six-foot fishing line. The tent company installed a grid for them to be attached to over the dance floor for maximum impact.

The reception tent at this waterfront wedding overlooked Oyster Bay and was decorated with flowers and greenery at the entrance.
An installation of origami cranes and greenery hung over the dancefloor at this tented, waterfront wedding.

Wedding Florist, Caterer, & Pie Maker

Two important areas for the couple were addressed next: flowers and food. Lisa Marie often works with Scarsella’s on all things floral, and knew they would be able to bring Ashley’s vision to life. Ashley’s floral-heavy mood boards featured a trio of color palettes: romantic pastels for the waterfront ceremony, bolder colors for the cocktail hour, and a subtle rainbow of shades for the dinner reception.

Pastel flower arrangements lined the aisle of this waterfront wedding ceremony in New York.
The flowers at cocktail hour of a waterfront wedding brought in pops of blue.
The tented reception of a waterfront wedding, decorated with a canopy of greenery and folded paper cranes over the dance floor and centerpieces made with a variety of warm-hued flowers and fruit, paired with elegant pink taper candles.

Concurrently, Lisa Marie reached out to Robbins Wolfe Eventeurs for the same reason. She knew they would work with the couple to create a menu that best suited them and their cultural backgrounds. Ashley is Chinese and Persian, and Dan is Jewish. And while the ceremony touched on their Persian and Jewish backgrounds, the decor and menu honored her Chinese heritage. Lemongrass chicken satay, Peking duck crepes, and an assortment of dumplings were just some of the passed appetizers during cocktail hour. It was a diverse menu, though, with a taco bar and charcuterie table in the mix as well, and a butternut squash soup starter in homage to Dan’s mom’s famous recipe. Plus, summertime staples like a grilled peach and burrata salad and grilled sea bass with baby bok choy, heirloom carrots, and patty pan squash.

Instead of a wedding cake, the couple opted to serve pies from Briermere Farms, a local fruit farm and bakery.

“Dan and I have never been ‘cake people,’ and much prefer pies as our version of birthday cake. We chose an assortment of different pies from our favorite bakery out on the North Fork, and after the night was over, we continued to eat pie with our close friends and family before we finally went to bed. And we shamelessly had more for breakfast.” —Ashley, bride

A centerpiece of assorted pink flowers decorates a table set with ornate white chargers, simple blush pink plates, modern gold flatware, and a floral-patterned dinner menu at a waterfront wedding in Long Island.
A groom and bride cut into pie instead of traditional wedding cake at their waterfront wedding at her parents' home.

Wedding Rentals & Decor

It was also time to jump into the full design of the celebration. A lot of time was spent sourcing the decor and rental pieces, ultimately pulling pieces from several different companies: tables and chairs from Party Rental Ltd., napkins from Nüage Designs, Inc., chargers and flatware from borrowed BLU, bar from Decco by Party Up Productions, and lounge pieces from Patina Rentals. And the bride’s family company is Safavieh, so it only made sense to use some of their wide range of items—like outdoor patio sets for some lounge setups and mini sheepskin rugs and in-palette pillows for other seating areas made of rented furniture, sisal rugs in the tent, and a gilded coffee table to nod to the celebration’s Asian influences.

The tones of this modern lounge setup were perfect for the waterfront wedding.
The tent was filled with glowing sunshine at the start of this waterfront wedding reception, which was set with long tables covered in a pale pink linen and elegant chairs.

Wedding Stationer

Timing was tight to design, print, and send out custom invitations, but in turning to a stationer who Lisa Marie had worked with many times prior and knew she could count on, it all came together. Ipanema Press not only created the invites but also the matching day-of items. Guests were invited to the wedding via a blue and white suite with floral elements (some printed on the vellum wrap, others blind-embossed on the main invitation, and others printed on the response card), and two more nods to the bride’s Chinese roots: the double happiness symbol on the back of the response card and bamboo border on the details card.

A floral wedding invitation in shades of blue and white set the scene for the waterfront wedding to come.
Half-moon shaped escort cards displayed in a bed of moss guided guests to their seats at a waterfront wedding.

Wedding Videographer, Hair, & Makeup

Having seen footage from local weddings covered by Lazarus Calitsis of Roey Yohai Studios, who captured both the romance and the high energy of the celebrations, Ashley reached out about availability.

Rounding out the vendor team, there was a final pair of professionals to hire, so Ashley booked Sam Alter Beauty & Hair and Glen Brownell as her glam squad. She and her six attendants (who all wore shades of pink and gold) sported soft waves in their hair, and fresh faces with subtle pops of pink.

A bride, in a veil and off-the-shoulder wedding dress, looks at her photographer during a pre-ceremony portrait in her parents' home before her waterfront wedding began.
Bridesmaids wearing mismatched dresses in shades of pink and metallics surround the bride, and they all hold vibrant bouquets and smile.
Wedding couple kissing on the floral-lined aisle at their waterfront wedding.
A Waterfront Wedding for Ashley and Dan
Lance Nicoll Photography