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The Bride Wore Giambattista Valli and Monique Lhuillier to Her Wedding at Ocean House

By Cathleen Freedman | Photography by 

Norman & Blake

|Planning by 

Tara Guérard Soiree

Hill House Home alum Katherine Kapnick and Louis Solmonson first locked eyes on the school bus in seventh grade, but it would be more than a decade later before they began dating. After three-and-a-half years together, Louis surprised Katherine with a chartered sailboat ride from Go Sailing NYC. “He tried to play it off as a casual Saturday morning stroll along the West Side Highway, but was adamant that we leave at 10:45 a.m. on the dot,” Katherine remembers. Once they boarded the boat, she was sure he was going to ask her to marry him, but an hour passed without a proposal.

Then, as the boat reached a certain picturesque view of the tip of Manhattan, Louis got down on one knee. While sailing the Hudson River, their captain managed to multitask and both steer the boat and snap a few photos of the newly engaged couple.

As Katherine and Louis returned home that day, she told him she hoped to spend the rest of the day together, without sharing their news to anyone until tomorrow. Louis blushed and opened the door, revealing the surprise party he planned in their building courtyard. “As is often the case,” Katherine says, “he knew what I wanted better than I did.”

Louis spent his childhood traversing Rhode Island in the summertime, and his love for the state extended to Katherine. They consider it to be a “happy place” in their relationship. “Once we settled on Rhode Island, Ocean House was obvious,” she explains. “It looks like something Wes Anderson dreamed up; its own little world by the sea.”

Louis knew his friend, talented artist Luke Kendall, would design the perfect invitation suite, and he was right. He gave the couple a “whacky” questionnaire to fill. The questions were zany like, “If you were a vegetable, what vegetable would you be?” and “What vegetable would your partner be?” Luke utilized each answer throughout the invite suite.

Katherine’s hope for the invites was to “conjure joy,” so Luke created a different postcard for each event and slipped them into a portfolio with the traditional invitation. Their planner Tara Guérard’s invitation company, Lettered Olive, stamped guests’ names onto the front of each portfolio—completely pulling the invite together.

The bride donned several different looks for the wedding weekend. For the casual cocktail party on Ocean House’s croquet lawn on Thursday night, Katherine slipped into a lime green Giambattista Valli gown. She describes it as “glamorous but easy.” Meanwhile, Louis went full-throttle ’70s kitsch in a Gucci cricket sweater. He walked around all evening with a croquet mallet over his shoulder.

One of Katherine’s mother’s best friends is the impeccably-chic proprietor of Marissa Collections, a boutique in Naples, Florida. “She was instrumental in selecting my trousseau,” Katherine shares. “For Friday night, she tracked down a show-stopping white gown from Luisa Beccaria, a few collections old. The dress is feather-weight fil coupé, and I paired it with my mom’s Irene Neuwirth jewelry.”

Both Katherine’s wedding dress and veil were from Monique Lhuillier and showcased layers upon layers of bright white tulle, sparsely appliquéd with green and white beaded flowers. The dress was originally high-low and strapless, but the Monique Lhuillier team completely customized the gown. They made the skirt full-length, used a bodice from another gown in the collection, and designed a matching jacket for the ceremony. “I hadn’t pictured myself in such a traditional silhouette, but this dress was clearly the one,” the bride explains. “The lightness of the tulle and the green-on-white contrast screamed ‘summer by the sea.’”

Katherine’s “something borrowed” came to her rather serendipitously. Days before the wedding, her mother was speaking to her dermatologist, Dr. Gertsner, and mentioned that her own dress for the wedding was green. Dr. Gertsner offered her very own James de Givenchy for Taffin emerald and diamond studs. While Katherine’s mother replied, saying she already knew what jewelry she’d wear, but she knew someone who would love to wear them…

The bride’s “something old” was a longtime favorite from her mother’s collection– a vintage David Morris necklace with diamond daisies along the collarbone. And her makeup artist, Alexa Rodulfo, innovatively affixed Katherine’s “something blue” into her French twist—a cerulean hydrangea.

The groom sported a black Ralph Lauren Purple Label tuxedo, topped off with Alexander McQueen skull cufflinks. These were a gift from the couple’s dear friend, Perri.

The welcome party on the beach kicked off the weekend’s festivities with Daniel E. Johnson Band. After a few hours of dancing and kicking up sand, everyone was asking the band about their future touring schedule.

On August 21, 2021, Katherine and Louis married in an interfaith ceremony. “Louis is Jewish, and I am Episcopalian, so we thought long and hard about the ceremony,” Katherine says. “I love the sincerity of weddings in religious spaces, and there happens to be the most amazing historic chapel across the street from Ocean House, modeled after the hull of an upturned ship.”

The priest and rabbi are the respective Protestant and Jewish chaplains at a nearby university who curated a service that would honor and include traditions without alienating members from either faith. Katherine asserts, “It was an incredible journey putting together that ceremony and felt profoundly personal in the moment.”

Katherine and Louis were overwhelmed by the emotions of being married in front of their friends and families. Plus, they hadn’t considered the poor ventilation of the old chapel. “I really thought I might faint,” Katherine laughs.”I was weeping and sweating under the chuppah. Instagram vs. Reality.”

As soon as the ceremony was complete, High and Mighty Brass Band from Brooklyn led a procession from the chapel to the terrace of Ocean House, as the sun set. “They have the best energy in the business,” Katherine boasts about the musicians. The band would play Tuesday nights at the bar Louis took Katherine to on their first Valentine’s Day as a couple.

After cocktail hour and Rhode Island oysters, guests ventured into the tent for dinner and the reception. “Tara Guérard and her team set an intimate, indoor-outdoor scene for the meal,” Katherine gushes. “There were painted wall panels based on my favorite de Gournay pattern, creeping vines and toile chandeliers suspended from the ceiling, and Ginori china and low centerpieces on the tables.”

The dinner that followed was “late-summer simple.” Katherine truly basked in the magnitude of their vows during the seated portion of the day. “Sitting on a cozy banquet with my new husband, surrounded by my favorite people, drinking my favorite wine and eating my favorite Chicken Milanese…unforgettable!” she divulges.

Guests walked through a sailcloth hallway into the lounge tent, where they waltzed onto the green, diamond-tiled dance floor. This centerpiece was modeled after the La Sponda restaurant in Positano. The adjacent bar was upholstered in a green and white stripe cotton, with great swaths of the same fabric draped across the ceiling. Scattered throughout the space were floral lampshades and rattan furniture.

Simply Irresistible played the reception and simply “brought the house down,” as Katherine recalls. Just outside there was a green-striped ice cream cart, rattan loveseats under tassled umbrellas, and Hurricane Henri. Just as the party really got started, the storm rolled by.

After the reception, the High and Mighty band emerged into the tent with their horns blaring and their energy up. They led guests through the lantern-lit pathway toward the hotel’s restaurant.

“The defining décor in this space is a monumental, sexy wooden bar, near-panoramic views of the sea and a roaring fire,” Katherine describes. “The band played for hours, as the storm continued to surge and those rolling Atlantic Ocean waves battered the beach below.” Unfortunately, the photographers had to leave early, so there is little photographic evidence of this incredibly surreal and legendary after-party.