Oh, how I love and miss Vanessa, Lauren, their children and their friends / families! They planned one epic summer destination wedding in Maine that culminated in a spectacular, Barn at Walnut Hill wedding.
I’ve know Vanessa for years as the hard-working, creative mastermind behind her design company Two Paper Dolls. She’s wildly talented, the true definition of a boss lady (and one whom I immensely admire), and has an enormous heart. Lauren is very much the same– she’s the wildly talented, boss lady of Vanessa and Lauren’s sweet family (and my admiration for how dedicated she is to her family is overwhelming) with a heart to match the size of Vanessa’s. As a team, they’re pretty incredible.
Here’s a bit more of their story, as written in Martha Stewart Weddings:
Vanessa Kreckel and Lauren Martin go back—way back, to the 1980s, when both were growing up in eastern Pennsylvania. As grade-schoolers and throughout high school, they played field hockey and softball together. If you ask Vanessa, who is two years older, she’d say she was the cooler of the two. Lauren remembers it differently: “I thought she was annoying; I hung out with her best friend’s younger sister.” In 1993, Vanessa went off to college and the two didn’t cross paths again until 2008, when the magic of Facebook rendered them “friends.” Lauren was now a physical-education teacher living in New York’s Hudson Valley, and Vanessa owned a graphic-design and letterpress firm, Two Paperdolls, in Philadelphia. “The best day ever was when she invited me to ‘like’ the Two Paperdolls Facebook page,” says Lauren. (Vanessa swears she was oblivious to these cyber flirtations.)
Offline, the best day ever was still to come, when the pair met again at a mutual pal’s Boston wedding in 2010. “I walked in and was like, ‘Is that the Lauren Martin from high school?!’ She was grown-up, gorgeous, and gay,” says Vanessa. After a night spent laughing and catching up (and with Lauren copping to her Facebook crush), Vanessa says, “I pretended that I didn’t know how to drive back to Philly and thought it would be a swell idea to follow Lauren to her place and find my way home from there.” They’ve been a couple—well, really, a family—ever since: Landon, Vanessa’s now 9-year-old son from a previous relationship, fell in love with Lauren, too. “The first time he met her, he told me, ‘I know she’ll be my mom someday,’” remembers Vanessa.
Another “best ever” contender was Mother’s Day 2012. By that time, Lauren was living with Vanessa in Pennsylvania and pregnant with their son Cash, now 2. That morning, Landon walked in with a poster Vanessa had made detailing the women’s relationship. “He gets down on one knee and says, ‘Laur, will you marry us?’” recalls Vanessa. “Who could say no to that?”
After baby Cash was born, the pair started scouting wedding locales in earnest, hoping to find a New England barn. Lauren suggested Maine, and after the family spent a weekend there, they settled on The Barn on Walnut Hill, a four-acre estate 20 minutes outside of Portland in North Yarmouth, and invited 100 guests for a summer weekend soirée.
The celebration started with a chartered whale watch in Portland’s Casco Bay. “The Bloody Marys were gone before we even left the dock,” says Lauren, who, along with Vanessa, met up with guests that night at a local brewery for a backyard-style barbecue. The next day, on June 28, 2014, in a sun-dappled forest, Vanessa, carrying Cash, walked down the aisle with her father as a band played “Ho Hey,” by the Lumineers. Lauren, escorted by Landon, followed, to the sounds of Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love.” The 35-minute ceremony, officiated by a friend, featured vows the couple had written themselves and a sweet speech from Landon.
Next order of business: partying down. After freshly shucked oysters and cocktails on the lawn, guests moved inside the barn for a dinner of dry-aged beef and poached Maine halibut. A DJ spun a mix of new and old jams as revelers ate slices from five kinds of pies (served instead of cake) and took turns at the penny-candy dessert bar. At night’s end, the newlyweds left amid a sparkler send-off—capping off what both women agree was the ultimate best day ever.
And now onto the details, as featured in Martha Stewart Weddings:
Vanessa, a graphic designer, created the letterpressed invites. The suite incorporated laser-cut wood pieces, rustic twine, and other Maine-inspired accents. Burlap bags, stocked with provisions, a “hangover kit” in a paint can, and the weekend’s itinerary, welcomed guests.
Lauren carried a free-form bouquet of peonies, anemones, succulents, seed heads, and blackberries, tied with an accordion-pleated silk ribbon. A vintage velvet ribbon, found in a Parisian warehouse, tied off Vanessa’s cluster of peonies, succulents, anemones, blushing bride proteas, and seeded eucalyptus.
Laser-engraved wood covered the programs. Included was a letter Vanessa wrote to Lauren’s father, who passed away in 2006. “Lauren’s dad was her favorite person, and vice versa. I knew celebrating this moment in her life without him was going to be really difficult,” says Vanessa. “By writing the letter, I wanted to honor him, tell him I would take care of his daughter for the rest of her life, and also let him know I’d come a long way from our field-hockey days!”
The couple (Lauren in Anne Barge Black Label and Vanessa in Claire Pettibone) wed in front of a canvas scroll custom-printed with a quote from the 13th-century poet Rumi. The ceremony, which was officiated by Vanessa’s childhood best friend’s husband, also featured selections from “We Are Six,” by A.A. Milne and the Goodridge Ruling, which legalized gay marriage in Massachusetts in 2003. The couple recited promises to each other that they’d written themselves. Lauren, who went first, surprised her wife with an original poem. “It was hilarious—and it rhymed!” says Vanessa. (An excerpt: You are gorgeous and smart, my perfect mate / And as everyone here knows, always fashionably late.) “My vows were more serious and emotional,” Vanessa says, laughing.
“The most beautiful part was that our kids were there with us on the day we became a legal family,” Vanessa says of her favorite memory of the day.
Die-cut escort cards printed with guests’ names and a map of Portland hung from a wall on the barn’s facade, where the dinner was held. For dinner, all 100 guests sat at two long tables under Edison bulb fixtures. Vintage vessels, holding a mix of blooms, plants, and herbs, helped set the boho scene. Table numbers referenced important numerals in the newlyweds’ lives—nine, for example, represented how many miles they hiked on their first official date. Inspirational quotes also appeared on the hemstitched linen napkins. The newlyweds started the dance party by twirling to Lionel Richie’s “My Love.”
Location: The Barn on Walnut Hill
Event Planning: Jubilee Events
Catering: Eventide Oyster Co.
Floral and Event Design: Flora Fauna
Photography: Carla Ten Eyck
Videography: I Do Films
Stationery and Calligraphy:Two Paperdolls
Hair: Catie & Amy
Makeup: Diva Borelli
Boys’ Attire: Trico Field
Boys’ Bow Ties: Forage
Lighting: Ryan Designs
Custom Fabric Printing:Spoonflower