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Elyse Marriott’s Wedding at Her Family’s Summer Home in New Hampshire

By Meredith Bragg | Photography by 

Tec Petaja

Some romances are sparked by a memorable meet-cute—on the contrary, the groundwork for Elyse Marriott and Doug Foulger’s love story started at what feels like the beginning of time for both of them. “We’ve actually known each other since we were babies, so I honestly can’t remember when we first met,” laughs Elyse. “Doug and I grew up five-minutes from each other, both in Potomac, M.D., and at the lake during the summer.” In fact, the extended Marriott and Foulger families have been friends for generations, attending the same church, overlapping at schools, and both sharing summer months together, at Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, every summer. “Doug and I talked about dating a few times over the years while we were ‘just friends,’ but it took us a while to finally go for it. I think part of the reason why it took Doug and I so long to date is because we both knew that it would be serious from the start since we knew each other so well and had liked each other for so long—we both needed to be ready.”

The two dated long distance the first six months of their relationship, from California to Utah and England, before they were able to live near each other—Doug took a semester off of school and got a job in California to be near Elyse. Knowing Doug would have to go back to school in a few months, the pair knew they did not want to go back to dating distance, so Elyse decided it would be best for her to leave her job in California to move to Utah.

“Doug had already been back in Utah for about a month before I could start getting ready to move. I was at my apartment packing, when my friend Danielle called to let me know she was outside my apartment, waiting to go on our weekly walk on the beach,” remembers Elyse. “I met her with wet hair, no makeup, wearing my typical running shoes and sweatshirt—even though she tried to tell me to look nicer than our usual walk attire—I was so oblivious! We started our walk on the beach and I was too distracted looking down at where we were walking that I didn’t realize where Danielle was leading me. When I finally looked up, I saw Doug, walking towards me, dressed nicely with flowers. My first thought was, ‘Wait, aren’t you supposed to be in Utah taking a test right now?’ But I knew exactly why he was there. By the time he got down on one knee, the anticipation was killing me and I guess I couldn’t wait any longer, so I just started kissing him before he could even get the words out to ask me to marry him. ‘I haven’t even asked yet!’ Doug said to me as he kindly pushed me back a bit so I would stop kissing him. I honestly don’t remember him asking me or know if I even said yes because I was so overwhelmed with excitement, but the next thing I know I had a ring on my finger, and I was tearing up and laughing all at the same time, hugging Doug on the beach in Santa Monica while the sun set. It was the best surprise.”

The wedding itself started with a rehearsal dinner at the Boston Library on Friday night. An intimate ceremony took place the next day at the Boston Latter Day-Saints Temple followed by a reception at Elyse’s family’s Lake Winnipesaukee property. Following LDS tradition, only family members and close family friends attended the ceremony which could not be photographed and was officiated by Elyse’s grandfather. “This created an environment that helped us focus on the day’s purpose—our commitment to each other and starting a family,” explains Elyse.

Timeless and comfortable elegance was Elyse’s inspiration for her lace Carolina Herrera dress. “I wanted something I would look back on in twenty-plus-years and not ask myself ‘What the heck was I wearing?’ I also wanted to find a romantic and somewhat weightless dress since it was sure to be a hot, humid, summer day,” explains the bride. Minimal makeup and an effortless up-do complemented her laid-back personality and kept her looking fresh despite the July humidity. Doug sported a custom tux from Knot Standard and his groomsmen opted for handsome blue tuxes with J.Crew bow ties.

With over 200-guests in attendance, the couple wanted a lively reception to complement their personalities and the venue itself. “Doug and I wanted the aesthetics to highlight the lake’s natural beauty and didn’t want our wedding to feel like it had a theme. We also wanted our reception to be fully outdoors, so we worked with our wedding planner SoCo Events led by Jen Stiebel to create a structure that gave the necessary coverage but didn’t obstruct the view of the lake.” Elyse and Doug chose a palette of pastel grays, dusty blues, greens, and whites. The couple’s desire for a romantic yet whimsical feel was incorporated in a variety of towering floral arrangements, a wall of rustic shutters, shabby chic furniture in the dining and receiving areas, and twinkling chandeliers hung on the dance floor and in trees on the property.

“Having fun was a priority for us, so we planned our entertainment and cuisine with that goal in mind,” says the bride. Guests enjoyed a buffet style dinner with local cuisine from the couple’s favorite restaurants, like Huck Hoagie’s famous steak and cheese and the Yum Yum Shop’s Iced Gingerbread Men. There were table settings for half the guests so no one felt obligated to sit down formally, and then, alternative seating arrangements in sofa clusters and high-tops provided places to rest in between dancing to a live band, The Rhythm Collective and the Motown Trio. “I watched people crowd surf, get thrown up in the air, put on shoulders, people looking up at the band singing as if it were a concert and hopping up on stage to dance . . . a few of our guests eventually jumped into the lake, fully clothed, to cool down from all the dancing. At one point, we literally broke the dance floor,” laughs Elyse.

The evening concluded with friends and family sending paper lanterns off into the night sky while the brass section of the band played “Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher” by Jackie Wilson, a favorite of the couple’s. Then in cinematic fashion, Elyse and Doug made their grand exit on a boat—heading across the lake as fireworks exploded over head.