Kara Shaw and Conrad Reusch first met as kids on Martha’s Vineyard doing the same summer activities like tennis and sailing. Over the years, they remained friends but nothing more. It wasn’t until they were 25-years-old that they reconnected at a local bar on the vineyard, and Kara (with a little bit of liquid courage) revealed that she had always had had a crush on him while they were growing up. The two went on their first date a couple weeks later.
After three years together, Conrad proposed to Kara on Kauai. It was near the end of their vacation, and they had just moved to the northern side of the island. Kara suspected that a proposal might be coming in the first few days of the holiday, but at this point, she didn’t think twice about him chugging pina coladas to calm his nerves before heading to explore the beach. “After walking along the shore for a while, I stopped to look into a large wading pool, and when I turned back around, Conrad was on one knee with a huge grin on his face holding up the ring!” Kara remembers.
Since the lovebirds met in Edgartown, they knew they wanted a late summer or early fall wedding at the Edgartown Yacht Club, which had an ideal indoor space. “September is hurricane season, and my family has a history of getting married on the vineyard during historic hurricanes: my parents—Hurricane Hugo, 1989—and my aunt and uncle—Hurricane Bob, 1991,” Kara explains. “We knew we didn’t want to stress with an outdoor wedding in the event that it was cold or raining sideways.”
Once the venue was booked, the bride wanted a classic, natural design aesthetic that would complement the rich dark wood of the interiors and the panoramic harbor views. There are tons of nautical memorabilia at the club, and Kara wanted to elevate it to a new level with the decor.
The two originally planned for a September 26, 2020, wedding, but by April 2020, they postponed it to the following year. Being familiar with the island and its vendors, Kara planned the whole wedding herself and enlisted the help of week-of coordinator Plan It. And to set the tone for the new date, Happy Menocal Studio created a beautiful invitation suite.
When it came to curating her wedding weekend wardrobe, Kara looked to Over The Moon’s head stylist, Anny Choi. “I would have been lost without Anny’s guidance,” Kara admits. “I now wonder if because I was just so exhausted from making a million executive decisions, that I did not have the brain power to focus on what to wear for my other weekend events. I sort of pushed those tasks aside—in terms of choosing outfits—until I realized I needed a partner, and I’m so thankful to my OTM team for stepping in to help me navigate those decisions.”
Because of the shift in plans, Kara waited “two agonizing years” to wear her Carolina Herrera “Hayden” dress down the aisle. The gown was from the spring 2019 collection and was the first dress the bride had tried on. Kara loved the Old Hollywood style of it, and the design reminded her of a red Givenchy number that Audrey Hepburn (the bride’s style icon) wore in Funny Face. Kara completed her bridal look with a bouquet from Morrice Florist and an embroidered veil from Oscar de la Renta. She says, “It might have been my favorite part of my wedding day look because it was so unique.”
On the day-of, the bride got ready with makeup artist Emily Kleinhenz, who gave the bride an Audrey Hepburn-inspired glam look, and Leah Segrue put her hair in a sleek, low bun. A special shout-out goes to Japanese nail art salon Tinailery in Boston, who gave Kara a simple, elegant manicure.
Conrad wore a three-piece, navy Ted Baker suit with heirloom Tiffany & Co. cufflinks featuring his and his father’s initials and Allen Edmonds tassel loafers. His groomsmen matched in blue suits from Brooks Brothers with white shirts and light blue ties.
On September 25, 2021, the ceremony took place in a historic building in Edgartown that was originally built by shipwrights for the town’s Methodist whaling captains. “It’s a stunning example of Greek Revival architecture that was popularized in New England during the mid-1800s,” Kara explains. “They even have some of the original whale oil lamps that were used to illuminate the interior.”
Kara walked down the aisle with her father to “Pachelbel’s Canon,” played by Naavi Strings, which was the same song playing during her mother’s own processional. Both of Conrad’s cousins, James and Melissa, officiated the service, as they’re a couple that Kara and Conrad have looked up to since the beginning of their relationship. During the ceremony, the lead singer of The Vine Shakers sang, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” accompanied by Kara’s sister on a ukulele, and the couple’s friend, Chris, read a passage called, “Chapter One of One Thousand” by O.J. Preston.
The couple exchanged their personal vows. “We had one copy of the vows that we both read from during the ceremony, and I was so emotional that I stumbled over my line and almost said, ‘I, Kara, take you, Conrad, to be my wife,’ but I caught myself in the middle of saying ‘wife.’ The last word ended up sounding like ‘wi-husband.’ It was a pretty comical moment and got a chuckle from our guests,” Kara remembers.
After a two-and-a-half year engagement, the couple was officially announced as husband and wife. Back at the yacht club, a delicious seated dinner for 200 people concluded with the wedding lemon chiffon cake with two layers of lemon white chocolate mousse and one layer of raspberry preserves, baked by Val Cakes. The newlyweds had then had their first dance to “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)” by Natalie Cole.
On the Tuesday of the wedding week, the yacht club informed the couple that they weren’t allowing the band indoors, so through a herculean effort from family and friends, three small tents were cobbled together, and the couple’s generous friends allowed them to put them up on their lawn. After the first dances and speeches, everyone took taxis to the tented after-party. Kara changed into a fun Vivienne Westwood minidress and Loeffler Randall heels for the change in scenery.
Later on, there was even an after-after-party back at Conrad’s parents’ barn, where the party raged on until 3:00 a.m. A massive disco ball was hung from the rafters and pizza was delivered to keep everyone going. Kara concludes, “Conrad and I finally decided to Irish exit from the after-after-party and left our very capable friends in charge of shutting the party down, while we headed off to our suite at Winnetu Oceanside Resort.”