Friday, September 9, 2011
A Wonderful Wedding in the Woods
(click on photos to enlarge)
TD and I had the great pleasure of attending this past Sunday the wedding of our good friend Nicole Parker to her beau Chris King in the woods of New Hampshire. Well, we weren't exactly roughing it; the wedding was an exuberant celebration of style.
Nicole is a graphic designer and creative director and niece of our friend and neighbor Don Healy who climbed Mount Everest – you remember the Healys all. When a friend of Nicole's suggested she meet a mutual friend, Chris King, an Australian diplomat visiting New York, at Soho House, it was love at first sight. How could he resist Nicole's vivacious personality? They were soon a couple, traveling all over the world to meet. Now Chris is a diplomat with the Australian embassy in New Delhi, India, where the couple lives. And this past weekend they were officially married at the Healy compound in Stoddard, New Hampshire.
First, a spectacular invitation arrived in the mail. Seventy Australians were making the trip to the wedding in Stoddard which is just outside of Keene, so a map, a "boarding pass," and a "passport" were included.
TD and I drove up from Guilford, Connecticut, the day of the wedding and checked into the comfortable Lane Hotel in Keene. Then we headed up to the main event which was held at the Healys' Lakefalls Lodge. The lodge was conceived as a Great Camp in the Adirondack style, and its construction was begun by eccentric New York City divorcée Florence Brooks Aten in the 1920's until the Crash of '29 wiped out her wealth. Don Healy bought the property, which also includes a lake and smaller houses, in 1990.
We parked the car and walked up a gravel driveway. A wedding in New Hampshire should always begin with a gurgling brook and an old mill house, don't you think?
Up the road we passed the area where cocktails would be served after the ceremony. With its orange table clothes, it looked like a Christo installation.
The view from the lodge is out on to a lake and a hill opposite covered with trees. The fresh air was scented with pine and grass.
Rows of chairs were set up facing the lake and the hill beyond for a serene natural setting.
Hanging off the chairs were glass vases filled with orchids. So simple and so pretty. On each chair were red and orange streamers.
The ceremony started when the mother of the bride, Peggy Healy Parker, in a silky purple coat, came down the grassy aisle which had been strewn with red rose petals by three flower girls. Then eight bridesmaids and groomsmen emerged out of the lodge. The theme throughout was red as you can see from the vivid bridesmaids' dresses. Also in red was Andrea King, the celebrant and groom's mother.
And finally came Nicole on the arm of her uncle Don. Her dress was by Vera Wang and its skirt was layered with square silk organza petals with unfinished edges. That dress was beautiful from the front
and the back.
During the ceremony, Carrie Ashley Hill, the maid of honor, sang a poignant song to the couple.
And then they were husband and wife!
After cocktails on the lawn, we proceeded down the gravel road to a big white tent which was hung with buoyant red paper lanterns.
For dinner table assignments, guests were asked to pick up a post card which had their name and the name of a place which was important to the couple. We were seated at Santa Barbara.
The tables were decorated with a rich profusion of red roses.
As the night grew darker the tent glowed with red.
The paper lanterns created an exotic effect.
After dinner, a great rock and roll band from Boston took the stage. This crowd was really ready to party and the soon the joint was jumping. TD and I are not often in vicinity of a rock and roll band so we had fun dancing to one hit after another. Here are Nicole and Chris cutting up the dance floor –
When the reception ended, guests were invited to an after party back at the lodge. As we walked up the driveway we saw that the exterior rock walls of the lodge had been illuminated with red and orange lights. Small hamburgers were served and there was more music and dancing. Nicole arrived in her wedding dress, and I liked that she hadn't changed into a little frock for the after party. That Vera Wang wedding dress with its deconstructed edges was elaborate, but she looked very comfortable in it and made it her own which is a sign of style.
TD and I were ready to call it a night as the younger celebrants carried on. We walked down the driveway to the car and as I looked back over my shoulder past the colored stone walls through the tall French doors of the lodge I saw guests dancing wildly inside to Lady Gaga.