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Real Wedding: Katie & Derek

Bride: Kate O’Brien Nowak
Groom: Derek Nowak
Wedding gown style: Ethel
Wedding date: 
September 17, 2011
Boutique purchased: Vera Wang on Melrose, Los Angeles
LocationThe Barn on Walnut Hill, North Yarmouth, Maine
Photographer: A Brit & A Blonde

First things first, where did you meet your husband and was it love at first site? Derek and I met over a decade ago when we were college students at Harvard. We both played lacrosse and first noticed each other on the playing field but fell in love with each other over conversations in the dining hall of Winthrop House, our shared college residence.

How did he propose? Tell us the story! Derek came to visit me for the weekend when I was living in San Diego and he was wrapping up business school on the East Coast. He had planned to take me on a hike to a bench on a bluff overlooking the ocean at Torrey Pines State Reserve to propose to me and then out to dinner to celebrate (hopefully!). However, that evening when I got home after a long week of work, I wanted to simply relax and almost ruined the whole plan by suggesting that we cut out the hike. He wouldn’t let that happen though and a short hike and surprising romantic proposal later, we were happily engaged!

Once the wedding plans started, what made you decide on a Vera Wang gown? Before I was ready to look at dresses, one of my bridesmaids convinced me to try on some dresses at a boutique in Denver. The first dressed I tried on was the Vera Wang Ethel. I loved it, however, I wasn’t ready to make a decision. Months later, two of my sisters met me in Los Angeles for a day of serious dress shopping. We had a couple of appointments so I could try on as many dresses as possible. In the end, I selected the Ethel because not only is the dress stunning but also the entire experience from the fabulous Vera Wang team helping me design the custom cap sleeves to the champagne toast was magical. In fact, it was one of the most special and fun days I have ever had with my sisters!

As Vera has started to veer away from traditional white/ivory gowns shown in her recent Fall 2012 Collection, was an alternate color something you considered? I did not consider an alternate dress color; however, Vera Wang’s use of color inspired me to accessorize with a bold color.

How did you accessorize to make your wedding day unique? Knowing that I had selected emerald green as part of my color palette, my extraordinary bridesmaid in Denver, found a perfect pair of vintage Christian Dior earrings for me. I paired those earrings with a gorgeous diamond necklace and diamond and emerald tennis bracelet, which I borrowed from a dear friend, who also played the violin as I walked down the aisle. I also wore black shoes as a tribute to Vera Wang’s daring and imaginative use of the color black.

What was the inspiration or theme for your wedding? Provence was the theme of our wedding. My family lived in Nice before I was born in the states and my childhood was influenced by their time abroad. For dinner we served a French-inspired meal featuring one of Mom’s famous recipes, Chicken Provencal, and we decorated the tables with colored glass anchored by my mom’s collection of La Vierre de Biot bubble glass from Provence.

What tips do you have for new brides picking out their wedding dress? Take chances. Humor your shopping companions by trying on something that you don’t think matches your style because you might be surprised, and if you’re not, then you’ll be even more confident about the decision you end up making. Also, think in possibilities because great tailors, like the tailor I worked with at Vera Wang who added the cap sleeves to my Ethel, can make an amazing dress perfect for you.

What was your favorite part of the day? And, are there any other anecdotes you would like to share? My favorite part of the day was seeing so many important people in my life whom I love dearly together in one place. I was thrilled but not surprised to later learn about friendships that were formed that day between people from different parts of my life.

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