Start Slideshow View Grid Start Slideshow 57

In Lieu of a Traditional Registry, This Couple Raised Money for Maloto Instead

By Shayna Seid | Photography by 

Norman & Blake

|Planning by 

All Who Wander Events

Anna Johnston Rogers and Ben Rogers first met at a party at the Racquet and Tennis Club in New York. After two years together, he proposed on the beach in her favorite place, Southampton. The couple originally planned a large wedding for September 2020, but due to the pandemic, they postponed to the following year and had a micro-wedding in August 2020.

While the date may have changed, The Meadow Club of Southampton consistently remained their venue. The ceremony, cocktail hour, and al-fresco dinner were held in the garden, followed by the party under a Sperry Tent. To help bring the couple’s vision to life, Nicole from All Who Wander Events stepped in.

Anna’s favorite dress of the weekend—and maybe of all-time—was the black Carolina Herrera lily of the valley cocktail dress that she wore to the welcome dinner. “Since we had already had our Covid wedding in 2020, I didn’t feel like I needed to wear white all weekend,” she says. “The black was timeless and beautiful, and the beading was stunning.”

For the outdoor summer ceremony, the bride wore Carolina Herrera’s Lyla gown, which was the first wedding dress she had ever tried on. “Once our celebration was postponed because of Covid, I definitely thought about going back to the drawing board on the dress; however, nothing else I found quite lived up to the original,” Anna explains. “I’m very glad I stuck with it.”

To complete her bridal ensemble, Anna wore her engagement ring stacked with an eternity band (gifted by Ben as a wedding present), a Jessica McCormack yellow gold band, and rose quartz earrings by Gabrielle Sanchez, which were a gift from her parents. And on the day-of, the bride got ready with Facetime Beauty, who gave her a natural, elevated makeup look. Bridesmaids complemented Anna well in floral gowns—the bride’s sister wore a peplum dress by Brock Collection, and others chose looks by La DoubleJ, Needle & Thread, and Marchesa.

After dinner, the bride changed into a white Elie Saab jumpsuit with ostrich feathers. “When I bought it, I truly had no idea ostrich feathers would turn out to be such a big trend!” Anna exclaims. “I just love myself a good jumpsuit.” To end the night, Anna changed one last time into her back-up party outfit—a Rotate Birger Christensen sequin dress.

Since the couple were already legally married, they wanted their ceremony to feel like a light-hearted vow renewal. On September 10, 2021, The New York City Gospel Choir walked them into the garden, encircled by flowers from Sag Harbor Florist, singing “All You Need is Love.” Father Patrick, who legally married them the year prior, blessed the two, as their gusts looked on. At the end of the service, Anna and Ben processed back to one of Anna’s favorite songs, “Love Train.” “The whole thing was very makeshift, which was perfect for us, and all of our guests have since told me that the gospel choir was the absolute highlight of the evening,” she says.

The reception continued in the garden, and dinner was served as the sun set. James Arnold of 74 Events, who deejayed the welcome party, played a set during dinner and had everyone ready to dance. The newlyweds had their first dance to “L-O-V-E.” “We did not take a single dance lesson or practice whatsoever, but we had a great time trying!” Anna exclaims.

One of the bride’s favorite parts of the night took place on stage with their band, Fortress. “I’m a really terrible singer, but [I] did find myself on stage several times singing with Chyna, the lead singer of our band, and just had an absolute blast up there,” she says. Near the end of the night, the Rollin’ in the Dough Pizza truck refueled everyone for another or so of dancing. “The pizza truck was my dad’s one request, and it might just be the best pizza in all of Eastern Long Island.”

Another special outcome of the wedding was raising more than $30,000 for the charity that Anna and Ben work with. After the pandemic began, the couple decided to get rid of their traditional wedding registry and raise money for Maloto, which supports young women and children in Malawi. Guests were simply asked to donate an amount of their choosing. “It’s so easy to add a donation fund to any sort of registry and a great way to raise awareness for a special cause” Anna advises. “Hopefully more brides will start to do it.”