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This Couple Said, “I Do,” Under a Green Arch of White Gardenias and Garden Roses at Hotel Del Monte in Carmel

By Cathleen Freedman | Photography by 

Sarah Noel

|Planning by 

Abby and Caroline Events

While celebrating the Fourth of July in Lake Tahoe, Katie Lincoln overheard someone talking to the bartender about the New England Patriots. She interjected and said that he had “no business talking about the team so far away from New England.”

Tensions rose but soon dissipated after a few Sunnyside Mai Tais. Katie, her mother, and her brother, Drew, began chatting with this New England fan, Thomas. Soon enough, his friend Carson Drake joined the conversation. He quickly learned that the Lincoln family was from Princeton. His own parents lived in Pennington, the town over, in the ’80s. Katie’s mother Laurie pieced together that she had actually attended a Junior League meeting at his parents’ home in 1986.

The very next day, Carson and Katie ran into each other at Chambers Landing. They exchanged numbers and texted over the next many months while Carson lived in San Francisco and Katie was based in Santa Monica. But finally, at the beginning of the new year, Carson took Katie on their first official date to Post Ranch Inn.

Eighteen months later, their surfing plans were almost dashed when Katie suffered a migraine. Carson never presses Katie to do something she isn’t interested in, so when he insisted they still hit the water, Katie had a sneaking suspicion that this Saturday afternoon might be different from any other before it. After paddling in the choppy water, her hunch was confirmed. Carson reached into his wetsuit sleeve and pulled out a solid gold band with their birthstones and an emerald. This would serve as an interim engagement ring until the real Victoria Lampley sparkler was ready. He custom-designed the ring with Lampley, the founder of The Stax and Katie’s dear friend.

Carson and Katie immediately decided on saying “I do” along the Monterey Peninsula in Carmel. “It has everything we love, the dramatic coastline, golf, and lots of wonderful wine,” Katie says. Her parents and grandparents have long called Carmel their home. Her matrilineal side of the family tree has roots in 1888 California and was integral to the community’s agriculture business exporting cherries, apricots, and Meyer lemons. More than a century later, the city would be where Carson and Katie spent most of the pandemic falling in love.

Katie wanted a venue that would highlight Californian old-world style with a modern aesthetic. Her mother recommended the historic Hotel Del Monte. Originally built in 1880 as the country’s first resort frequented by Salvador Dali and Bob Hope, it was eventually leased to the Navy during WWII. Today, it is the Naval Postgraduate School and is not available to the public—under normal circumstances. Katie’s youngest brother is a Lieutenant in Special Operations and was able to grant the couple access. Abby and Caroline Events assisted in the rest of the wedding planning.

On a whim, Katie visited LOHO Bride in Los Angeles and tried on nearly 20 dresses before slipping on a gown by NEWHITE. “It was unlike anything I had seen with the organza sleeves, but the shape was classic and enhanced all of my best features,” she describes. Shoes were the most difficult style decision. The search was over when she found a pair of Stuart Weitzman slingback pumps.

Katie layered her jewelry with her grandmother’s sapphire and diamond ring, a gold band her grandmother gifted, and her mother’s first wedding band. She added pearl drop earrings, a present from her friend, Jill, when Katie was a bridesmaid in her wedding. For Katie’s final accessory, she wore the bespoke Jenna Katz wedding band she designed with Katz and Lampley.

Katie only trusted her friend Tessa Rapaczynski for her bridal beauty. “Tessa has been doing my makeup since 2008, when we were summer counselors at a camp,” Katie divulges. “She would somehow perfect my makeup in the back seat in the dark on our way to a party deep in the Maine woods, so if anyone was up for the challenge it would be her.”

Carson sported a custom white dinner jacket his family tailor-made and paired the look with Tom Ford pants, shirt, and bowtie along with his signature Salvatore Ferragamo loafers.

The couple did not have a traditional wedding party. Their friends’ children and Carson’s niece, Violet, instead participated in the ceremony, decked out in Julia Armory x Smockingbird green printed dresses and Trotters Shotteralls. Katie confirms, “They were beyond adorable!”

On a sunny May 14, 2022, the Episcopalian ceremony on the active military base took place early. Guests milled about the property and sipped limoncello spritzes in the rose garden. Then, the bride and groom’s families formally walked down the aisle, joined by the flower kids.

Katie walked down the aisle with her father next. Her groom and the Reverend Leslie Smith waited for her under the green arch of white gardenias and garden roses by Pigsty. After saying “I do,” the newlyweds excited to a string quartet playing Felix Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March.”

Round and long tables were interspersed throughout the massive ballroom, and the band was set in the middle of the floral-decorated and votive-filled space. Guests enjoyed a delectable seated dinner before enjoying Loria Stern cookies and root beer floats. The father of the bride kicked off the toasts with a line from the ever-relevant Nancy Meyers’s Father of the Bride. Katie’s childhood best friend, Carson’s siblings, and Katie’s brothers finished off with speeches.

The couple’s first dance to “Take Yo Praise” by Camille Yarbrough was followed by many hours of dancing to Wayne Foster Entertainment‘s musical selection. The exclusive, casual, and informal after-party commenced with late-night food with plenty of laughter and dancing in the newlyweds’ home kitchen.