Alexis “Lucky” Sinex and Ashley Thompson had an unlikely first encounter on Feb. 14, 2008. “We met in New York City on Valentine’s Day. Both of us were single and had gone out for dinner with friends. We met later that night at a tavern, through mutual friends,” says Lucky. “It was amazing to meet someone on Valentine’s Day, at a bar no less, and immediately connect.”
Following a two-year courtship, Ashley knelt down and proposed on the couple’s anniversary of meeting, while strolling through Central Park. One of Ashley’s friends had been strategically positioned in the bushes with a camera to capture the moment, and when the pair arrived at the Loeb Boathouse, they were greeted by a gathering of family and friends invited by Ashley as a surprise.
The couple selected June 2011 to get married. “I really wanted to take my time and enjoy the planning process,” says Thompson. The Episcopal ceremony was held at 5 p.m. at the Church of the Redeemer, with the bride in a Vera Wang gown escorted down the aisle by her mother and stepfather, Suzi and David Cordish.
Post-ceremony, the 250 guests were shuttled to Villa Pace, the former home of opera singer Rosa Ponselle and the current residence of the Cordish family. “I’ve always wanted to get married at home, so selecting the venue was an easy choice.” says the bride.
Wedding planner Elizabeth Bailey and florist Victoria Klausen of Romance of Flowers worked with Thompson to create the feel of an elegant garden party. “The house is a very special space to me and I wanted to incorporate the look and feel of Villa Pace into the reception,” says Thompson. Mercury glass vases, oversized urns and trellises were festooned with lush arrangements of peonies and hydrangeas, while glowing votives, lanterns and silver candelabras dotted the tables, complementing the overall color scheme of white and champagne. The gold monogram created by artist and calligrapher Karen Schoelkopf for the invitations also was used on the menu cards.
Adding to the elegant garden look, bird cages housing white doves were perched on the guest-card table. “I love bird cages, and both Ashley and I are huge lovers of animals and the outdoors, so it was wonderful to incorporate those into the decor,” says Thompson.
Signature drinks included sangria as well as Dark and Stormies, a traditional drink of Bermuda, where Ashley grew up. The menu included an amuse-bouche of prosciutto wrapped around asparagus, followed by gazpacho. The main dish of filet mignon was topped with a corn puree with potatoes au gratin on the side. Crab cakes were served French-style for an added touch of elegance. SugarBakers of Catonsville designed the amaretto almond cake with raspberry filling. The cake topper featured the couple perched on mopeds. “Everyone drives mopeds in Bermuda, so it was another way to incorporate touches of Ashley’s heritage,” says Lucky.
A large tent-covered deck was cantilevered over the hillside at Villa Pace, to house the dinner and dancing for the evening. “I love the element of surprise at a wedding. I wanted guests to feel that with each step they were entering a new space,” says Lucky. “We tried to create that feeling with the separate dance floor and lounge area, as well as with the deck overlooking the horse paddock, which created the sensation that you were floating over Green Spring Valley,” she says.
Under the tent, sleek white sofas, mid-century modern chandeliers and backlit bars were used to create a nightclub ambiance.
The band Sound Nation performed the first set of the evening, with the couple’s first dance to Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are.” Flip-flops and sunglasses were brought out during the second set, as a nod to Bermuda’s beach culture, while the band The VIPS performed ’80s tunes.
Special keepsakes for guests included escort cards with hand-painted peonies, personalized menu cards, hand-rolled cigars and a photo booth, as well as a self-serve candy bar.
Summing it up, Thompson says, “Everything turned out better than I could have hoped. It was the most perfect day. Even my 97-year-old grandfather danced the night away.”
Bridesmaids’ dresses Amsale, http://www.amsale.com
Cake SugarBakers, Catonsville, http://www.sugarbakerscakes.com
Catering Linwoods, Owings Mills, 410-356-3030, http://www.linwoods.com
Flowers Romance of Flowers, http://www.romanceofflowers.com
Hair Dean Krapf, Lluminaire Salon, http://www.lluminairesalon.com
Makeup Janice Kinigopoulos, http://www.bridalbabe.com
Photography David Michele Photography, 240-601-2115, http://www.davidmichele.com
Wedding planner Elizabeth Bailey Wedding & Events, 410-879-8984, http://www.elizabethbaileyweddings.com