For a wedding in Bridgehampton, New York flower power Lewis Miller creates a glorious setting replete with perfectly executed rustic floral fare
Everyone is familiar with the craving that crops up every so often—to simply get away, even for a fleeting weekend. That was precisely what 29-year-old Rebecca Hessel Cohen, senior fashion and beauty editor at Cosmopolitan, and 32-year-old Todd Cohen, a real estate owner and developer in Manhattan, wanted for their June wedding. The Manhattan-based couple liked the idea of transporting their guests to a magical, lavish setting, reminiscent of one of their favorite family destinations in the South of France.
Even though Rebecca went to high school with Todd’s three siblings, the couple didn’t meet until years later through a mutual friend in the city. After dating for six years, Todd proposed outside of Blue Ribbon, the Bromberg Brothers’ downtown restaurant, and the planning commenced. Neither could imagine getting married anywhere other than Rebecca’s family’s summer home in Bridgehampton, Long Island. “Both of our families have houses in the Hamptons, so it’s a very meaningful place to us,” Rebecca says. “We fell in love at my parents’ house … almost seven years ago from the day we got married.”
The fashion maven had always envisioned the venue, but she didn’t have a specific image of her dress. On a trip to Los Angeles, she fell in love with the beaded bodice and cascading tulle skirt of a tea-stained ivory Monique Lhuillier gown that married the glamour and whimsy that she fancied for the wedding. “It’s the sort of dress I could imagine running around in while barefoot in the apple orchards or in the rain,” the bride remembers thinking after a fitting. “The dress sort of worked as a focal point of where we went with the rest of the design.”
Knowing that an understanding of the property’s landscape would be integral to making the outdoor event cohesive, the bride and mother of the bride searched for the perfect designer to help fulfill their vision. After nearly hiring someone with a more modern sensibility, they met floral designer Lewis Miller, who has a background in landscape design and horticulture, and instantly aligned with his European aesthetic and raw-yet-refined concept for the wedding: Miss Havisham’s mansion in Great Expectations meets The Great Gatsby meets the South of France. “It needed to have that sort of messiness and lavishness, all while being perfectly executed,” Miller says.
Leading up to the weekend, Miller and his team re-landscaped the flowerbeds, garden, and lawn to ensure that the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception areas would feel like natural extensions of the apple orchard and 100-year-old farmhouse. Keeping Rebecca’s color palette of “perfectly imperfect” whites in mind, Miller covered an antique wrought iron arbor with hundreds of rambling English roses and camellia foliage to create the chuppah. “We were all just blown away because there were so many flowers, so it looked as if it had been there forever,” Rebecca says.
The bride and groom maximized time with guests at several pre-wedding events, including a rehearsal dinner Thursday night at a low-key Easthampton Mexican restaurant, the Blue Parrot, followed by a clambake at the Bridgehampton Tennis and Surf Club Friday night, allowing the 186 guests to feel tight-knit by the time of the black-tie ceremony Saturday evening. As the Jeff Ross Band played Ray LaMontagne’s “Shelter,” both of Rebecca’s parents walked her down the rose petal–lined aisle.
Immediately following the service, English parasols fended off a light, unexpected drizzle as a Nebuchadnezzar of Champagne was poured over a tower of coupe glasses, and Rebecca got her wish of running in the apple orchard, where she and Todd stole away for a private moment. Meanwhile, guests sipped cocktails on beautiful Balinese furniture found by the mother of the bride and sampled artisanal cheeses, charcuterie, grapes, figs, Provençal vegetables, and baguettes on farmstead tables with bountiful arrangements of Queen Anne’s lace, Artemisia, spray roses, lacecap hydrangea, and peonies.
Napkins were twirled high as the bride and groom entered the open, candlelit Sperry tent that appeared overgrown with layers and layers of lush greenery, blurring the line between the reception and orchard. Miller adorned long tabletops with an array of overflowing organic-hued arrangements and dramatic vine-covered candelabras that complemented the mix-and-matched antique china and gold-rimmed stemware. After guests enjoyed a French-style seated dinner—prepared by Olivier Cheng—they followed Rebecca and Todd’s lead on the dance floor until the wee hours of the morning, just as they would on a summer night in St. Tropez. A crêpe station replete with ham-and-cheese and Nutella fillings replenished guests for the poolside after party, where the revelry continued under the light of a full moon.
“I would have made it last even longer if it were possible,” Rebecca reminisces. “It was a perfect combination of a fun party and this gorgeous setting that no one had ever really seen anything quite like.”