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Brinker + Eliza Co-Founder Eliza Higgins Wore Her Mother’s Wedding Dress Down the Aisle in Fairfield

By Cathleen Freedman | Photography by 

Gayle Booker

|Planning by 

Party Party Fairfield

When Veronique met Matthew Grabis in Montauk, she immediately asked if he was single because she knew he and her good friend and Brinker + Eliza co-founder, Eliza Higgins, would be a perfect match. Veronique’s hunch was rightfully placed. Eliza and Matt went on a first date for drinks at The Beekman the following week. After two years together, Matt proposed with a ring he designed.

Three years after that first date, Eliza and Matt legally wed on July 23, 2022. They exchanged vows in front of their friends and family at a larger wedding celebration on October 1, 2022—with Veronique as one of her bridesmaids. For the grander ceremony, they enlisted Gayle Booker to photograph the special moments and Lucy McMahon to bring their vision to life through artwork. “I had always dreamed of getting married in my hometown at the Country Club of Fairfield, where I spent my summers growing up,” Eliza shares. “It’s been a very special place to me, regardless of the season.”

As Eliza and her mother already run their jewelry brand, Brinker + Eliza, together, they knew they could take on the task of planning Eliza’s wedding hand-in-hand. “My mom is one of the most creative people I have ever met,” Eliza dotes. “She went above and beyond when making our wedding come to life. She even handmade my purse for the rehearsal dinner and handmade these amazing intricate shell picture frames that we used for the seating assignments.” After the wedding, Brinker turned these frames into mirrors that serve as beautiful and priceless keepsakes.

The bride never had a specific dress in mind, but she knew she wanted to feel like herself. Before even stepping into an atelier, she perused gowns online and fell in love with two Danielle Frankel gowns. Once she tried on one in person, she knew it was special—along with a Danielle Frankel veil. While on this visit with her mother and future mother-in-law, she also found her rehearsal dinner dress and sweater.

Later that same day, Eliza tried on her mother’s beautiful wedding dress from 1986. Eliza and Matt’s officiant, Jen and Eliza’s godmother, Cindy, both wore the gown to their own nuptials. Eliza also decided to don the dress—with a custom modern redesign—for the ceremony and cocktail hour. Wearing her new Danielle Frankel gown for the first look meant that she and Matt were able to have a second first look when she walked down the aisle and he saw her in her mother’s dress.

As for accessories, she of course showcased a few Brinker + Eliza pieces. She and her mother designed earrings for the rehearsal dinner and wedding day. “Both pairs—the Rehearsal Earrings and October Earrings—are now available on Over The Moon!” she exclaims. A pinky ring from her grandmother, a gold bracelet from her late grandfather, a sapphire cocktail ring from her mother, and a gold watch her father gifted her mother on their wedding day were a few of the other pieces she added. Eliza also slid a sixpence into her leather sandals from The Row to complete the oft-forgot tradition of  “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, a sixpence in your shoe.” She and her mother hope to use that coin for a necklace someday.

Her longtime trusted colorist Keith Shore highlighted her hair, while Sky Kim and Tom D’Antuono styled her hair with a sleek blowout. Aliana Lopez made Eliza feel calm, ready, and beautiful. Eliza shares, “She did my makeup so well, I was sad to wash my face at the end of the night!”

Matt sought a classic groom’s look that would also stand out. He opted for a bespoke navy blue tuxedo by J. Mueser and velvet cocktail slippers. As a finishing touch, Brinker designed custom zodiac cufflinks from vintage intaglios for him and his groomsmen.

A quick glance at the weather forecast led the couple to pivot their plans from a beachside ceremony to one under the beach pavilion on the morning of  October 1, 2022. Luckily, the rain drizzled in the early morning hours and ceased by the time the ceremony began. As “Can’t Help Falling in Love” sounded, the bride and her father walked down the aisle.

Since the couple already married in a church that summer, they now shared their vows in front of their friends and family. The experience was truly memorable and profound. The newlyweds recessed to “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)” by Stevie Wonder as guests tossed pink rose petals their way. Eliza adores this memory, remarking, “It felt like something out of a movie, seeing all of our friends and family’s smiling faces at that moment.”

The entire team at the Country Club of Fairfield went above and beyond to make the reception seamless. The twinkling lights and lit candles created a magical and ethereal ambiance. Every table was set with a rosy color palette, mercury glass vases, and bud vases. “Pat Miller, a close family friend who did the florals, seamlessly brought our vision to life,” Eliza mentions. Pat ended up growing most of the dahlias in her gardens and has promised to plant some of the tubers in a flower garden at the bride and groom’s future home someday.

The newlyweds cut into not one but two Mah-Ze-Dahr cakes: chocolate ganache and autumn spice. After the first dance to “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)” by Natalie Cole, everyone found themselves on the dance floor. “We wanted it to really feel like a party and knew that we wanted to find the perfect band to achieve that,” Eliza confides. There must be horns, and the Cool Rulers delivered exactly that. The disco-themed after-party downstairs kept the kinetic energy in motion with Tommy Walker as the DJ—a perfect end to the event planned by Mary Thornton of Party Party Fairfield.