Annika Sayre Bernard, a project manager for the new home, women’s, and children’s brand Parterre and manager of affiliate marketing and product sourcing for Julia Berolzheimer, and Anthony John Moffett III met in Washington D.C., while she was a rising junior at George Washington University and he was working on a congressional campaign in Northern Virginia. Between classes, Annika would take care of John’s nephew, Calder, and John made a habit of stopping by his sister’s house when Annika was there. “Eventually, John worked up the courage to ask me out, and the relationship grew from there,” Annika explains.
The two dated for seven years before he proposed, and during that time, they rescued at black lab mix named Maurice—“Mo” for short and moved to Charleston together. Since John always knew that Annika wanted to wear her great grandmother’s engagement ring, he secretly picked the ring up from her mother after asking her father for her hand in marriage. Once John had the ring, he contemplated how to romantically propose for a month, as all beaches and parks were closed due to COVID.
On a Friday evening in April 2020, the two went for a stroll with Mo to White Point Garden. The two sat on a blanket with rosé and begun discussing dinner plans as usual. “As the sun was setting, John stood up, pulled me to my feet, dropped down on a knee, and popped the question,” Annika remembers. “In a show of how much I treasure a good meal, after replying with a resounding yes, the first person we spoke to on the phone after our parents and immediate families was our favorite restaurant, 167 Raw, to order our first takeout meal as an engaged couple.”
As Annika grew up in the Hudson Valley—Woodstock, to be exact—she had always known that would be the place where she’d say, “I do.” The couple fell in love with Southwood Estate, a 86-acre historic estate with sweeping views of the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains. “I have always been inspired by nature. I wanted our wedding to feel like a countryside garden party,” the bride explains. The color palette was comprised of sage green and rose, which was incorporated into everything from the invitations and bridesmaids’ dresses to the florals and decor. To help plan everything, they hired Monica Relyea of Monica Relyea Events.
Last year, after a long walk, Annika sketched out her ideal wedding dress on a Post-It note—which she still has—and used it to guide her bridal mood board. Then, she turned to one of her favorite labels, Markarian, to create a custom silk faille gown that combined two of the brand’s existing silhouettes. The bride-to-be completed her ceremony look with Alexandre Birman block heels, her engagement ring, a diamond bracelet from Croghan’s Jewel Box, and a pair of pearl drop earrings.
Before the ceremony, Annika got ready in a Sleeper dress, while her bridesmaids wore Lake Pajamas. The bride also gifted her gals vanity cases from the Neely & Chloe x Julia Berolzheimer collection. And they later changed into floral dresses from Brock Collection and LoveShackFancy.
The groom wore a navy custom suit from Knot Standard with a sage green tie and had their wedding date embroidered onto the collar of his jacket. John also gifted his groomsmen floral ties to complement their matching navy suits.
On August 14, 2021 on the lawn overlooking the Hudson River, guests were served rosé as they entered the ceremony space. The couple’s nephews were the perfect ring bearers, carrying the rings on a needlepoint pillow that Annika had stitched using their wedding crest. “Our sisters ended up carrying the flower girls on their hips, as they came down the aisle, which made the whole ceremony that much sweeter!” Annika exclaims.
Then Annika walked with her father to a violinist and cellist playing “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” “John was already in tears before I even walked out of the door,” the bride remembers. “From the second you propose, you begin thinking about the moment when your wife-to-be will appear at the opposite end of the aisle and begin walking toward you,” John says. “I spent more than a year trying to prepare myself for what I would feel, but the truth is that it’s impossible…It was the best moment of my life.”
Annika’s best friend from college, Joanna Davin—who is also dating John’s brother—officiated the light and fun ceremony. “We had three friends share readings: a poem by Rupi Kaur, a quote by Barack Obama, and an excerpt from Les Miserables,” the bride remembers. “Sharing vows we had written was one of my favorite parts of the wedding. Over the years, John has taken to writing me letters…Listening to him share his vows felt like the culmination of all of those love letters, but this time it was a love letter to our future.”
Once married, the newlyweds walked back down the aisle to “Send Me On My Way,” as their loved ones tossed rose petals around them. And after the cocktail hour, people headed underneath the sailcloth tent for the formal reception.
To find their seats, guests found their names and table numbers written on pieces of paper that were tied with ribbon onto a trellis, which Annika’s father had made. Tables were filled with an abundance of flickering votive and taper candles, and there were bistro lights and vines strung throughout the tent, contributing to a romantic feeling. “We used custom tablecloths from Parterre on our cocktail tables, and we embroidered our crest onto napkins that we used during dinner, alongside mismatched vintage china and green water glasses,” the bride says.
Before dinner, the new mister and missus had their first dance to Silver Arrow Band’s rendition of Anderson East’s version of “Always Be My Baby.” “It was a slightly silly nod to our mutual love of early-2000s music,” Annika says.
And after the family-style dinner filled with fresh summer produce, dessert was served via a pie bar. Annika and John did a “pie cutting,” using an engraved pie server with their wedding date that a friend had gifted them.
The rest of the night was spent on the dance floor with funk and soul music. “Our only rule was no top-40s!” Annika exclaims. “Our guests danced the night away until the band called the last song, and some had to be dragged off of the dance floor…At one point, we were both hoisted up into the air, which was equal parts fun and terrifying, but it provided an amazing vantage point for the celebration.”
After the reception, everyone lined up with sparklers to usher the couple to the after-party bonfire. On the journey down the hill, they stopped for late-night chicken sandwiches and truffle french fries, and at the bottom, s’mores kits were waiting as a sweet treat. Annika concludes, “We will never forget the warm summer evening sky and the bright stars above us, as we danced and laughed with our closest loved ones into the night.”