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An Intimate Coastal Wedding on a Thursday Evening at Sea Island

By Shayna Seid | Photography by 

Julia Wade

|Planning by 

Hall & Webb

Kaitlin Elizabeth Froelick and Jay James Thaddeus Shelly realized a few years into their friendship that they were undoubtedly at the same parties in New York City the summer after their junior year of college—including one bash Kaitlin threw with her roommates at the sushi restaurant below their Murray Hill sublet. However, it wasn’t until they graduated college and both moved to Washington D.C., when they really connected. The two stayed friends for six years, until they finally went on their first date in February of 2017.

After three years together, Jay actually tried to propose several times in the month of January but was thwarted by the jeweler being closed, Kaitlin having a stomach bug, and finally her last-minute movie plans with friends. He gave himself a deadline of the 30th because they were attending her best friend’s wedding the next weekend, “and he couldn’t go through another wedding with people asking him when he was going to propose,” Kaitlin explains.

As Kaitlin was leaving her job of five years, her co-workers planned a going away happy hour. Jay was antsy the whole time and told her they had dinner plans and insisted that they stop at their apartment, so he could drop off his bag first. After walking up the stairs, Kaitlin found flowers in a candlelit setting with a bottle of champagne on ice, and Jay got down on one knee.

Since the two got engaged right before the pandemic started in the States, they waited until late in the summer of 2020 to really start planning. They wanted to move forward with a smaller version of the coastal, black-tie wedding they had originally imagined. Their planner Elizabeth Webb of Hall & Webb suggested the couple look at Sea Island, which they of course fell in love with for their 70-guest celebration.

Kaitlin eventually found her wedding dress at Carine’s in D.C. She wanted something that didn’t have a high neckline and thick straps and was defined at the waist. One of the first designs she tried on was a Reem Acra dress that fit like a glove off the rack. “I originally was worried it was too simple, but it had a gorgeous architectural neckline and almost brocade, textured fabric that felt classic but special,” the bride explains. To customize the dress, the atelier added a beautiful bow and train for an added element of drama.

“For shoes, I knew I needed something comfortable but with enough height that Jay wasn’t towering over me,” Kaitlin says. And she found the perfect blush, silk Oscar de la Renta sandals for the ceremony. After the first half of the reception, the bride changed into a silk minidress from Galvan London and blush heels.

Kaitlin’s sister and sister-in-law complemented the bride well in a floral Reformation dress and an Ulla Johnson gown. Bridesmaids chose any floral or solid-colored dress in a midi or maxi length and in a neutral/pastel color palette.

In the Cloister Chapel on April 22, 2021, guests filed in for the ceremony at 5:00 p.m., officiated by the priest of Kaitlin’s childhood church, Father Joe. The couple’s mothers and the bridal party walked in to “River” by Leon Bridges and the theme from The Princess Bride–the only movie at Blockbuster Kaitlin and her brother could agree on taking home—all played by Music by Pegge. “I remember walking in and feeling like I couldn’t really remember how I got from the conservatory to the altar—it all happens so fast!” Kaitlin recalls. “There was so much joy and happiness that it was hard to contain myself and I had to hold back the tears, but I managed to hold it together for the entire ceremony,” Jay adds.

Once announced as a married couple, the newlyweds led the recession to the courtyard, where champagne was waiting for them and their guests. Everyone walked over together to the beach club for cocktail hour, followed by dinner in the Ocean Room. The Vine and Sea Island’s design team transformed the space with a mix of multi-colored flowers, touches of citrus, ginger jars, textured linens, and cherry blossom branches—a nod to the city the couple met in. Tables were set with linens from Party Tables and menus painted by Ashley D. Studio. “I wanted it to feel like a classed-up garden party, with nothing too stiff or stuffy, and they absolutely delivered,” Kaitlin gushes.

After dinner, guests enjoyed dancing, with Steel Toe Stiletto, under a clear top tent on the patio. Kaitlin and Jay had their first dance to “This Must Be the Place” by Talking Heads. “My only regret is that we didn’t start earlier in the day, so we could have had more time to enjoy the beautiful space and all of our family and friends,” Kaitlin reveals. “I would’ve had to mentally get over the idea of breaking etiquette and having a black tie wedding start at five instead of six, and looking back, I wish I had totally disregarded wedding time/dress code norms!”

Looking back at everything now, Kaitlin says the celebration was “a great kickoff to marriage!” “I keep waiting for the post-wedding blues but truly feel like I couldn’t have asked for anything more and am just happy to be able to enjoy married life.”