Maggie Miller and Will Bernitsky were set up on their first date by, wait for it . . . their mothers! “Our parents have been friends since medical school, when my father was the chief resident of urology to his mother,” explains Maggie. “Our mothers used to play bridge together, and our fathers would golf. But shortly after Will was born, his family moved back to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where his parents practiced medicine.” Maggie never met Will back then, but their fathers continued to go on a golf trip together with many of their friends from medical school each year.
In 2010, the dads and two more of their friends planned a trip that included their wives. “While our mothers were catching up and sipping cocktails by the pool, they quickly realized that they each had a single child living in NYC,” says Maggie. “Will and I both received phone calls from our respective mothers insisting we meet immediately. However, because we were both skeptical of such a set-up, neither one of us acted on it. It wasn’t until Will’s mother issued him an ultimatum, stating that he was not welcome home for Christmas that year unless he took me out on a date. Will forwarded me that email, apologizing for the forwardness but asking me if I would please join him for a drink so that he could go home to see his family for Christmas that year. Once we met, that was it! It pains both of us to say it, but in our case, our mothers really did know best.”
The two had been dating for just shy of four years when Will asked Maggie to marry him. “After six months of seeing each other in New York, Will had moved to Dallas to attend business school at SMU, and I moved back to Oklahoma City so that I could establish my in-state residence and apply to medical school there,” says Maggie. “We continued to date long-distance between Oklahoma City and Dallas for two years (during which time I switched from a goal of medical school to a career in energy), after which I moved down to Dallas to be with Will and begin business school at SMU.”
Will had arranged for the two of them to take a weekend trip back to New York after Maggie’s first set of business school exams in early October. They had left behind many close friends there so were anxious to go back for a visit. They arrived late Friday night and met a close friend in Brooklyn for a drink, then woke up early on Saturday morning to walk around the city and visit all of their old favorites. They hit up Momofuku for pork buns at lunch, then decided to walk over to Washington Square Park to enjoy the sunny afternoon. “This park was our favorite place in NYC, as the first six months of our relationship were spent meeting there before walking over to hang out with many of my Oklahoma City-born friends to watch the Oklahoma City Thunder at our unofficial watch bar, Barrow Street Ale House, in the West Village,” says Maggie. “So that day in early October, we walked over and just as we passed by the arch, Will paused, told me how much he loved me, then got on one knee and asked me to marry him. There were several whoops and cheers from the surrounding crowd, and I said ‘yes.’ We spent the rest of the afternoon happily strolling through my old neighborhood (NoLiTa), before dinner at Alta. After that, Will suggested we head to my old neighborhood bar, Spring Lounge, for a drink, where our family and friends were waiting to surprise us. It was incredible and totally indicative of the type of man Will is—thoughtful, caring, and full of love.”
The couple knew from the get-go that they wanted to get married in Oklahoma City: Will had been born there and has many family members still there, and Maggie spent the first 18 years of her life there. Once they’d agreed on that, deciding where to do the ceremony and reception was pretty easy. “I attended Casady School, a small Episcopalian Day school, from age 3-18. Starting in first grade, I attended chapel services every school day at St. Edwards Chapel, the Episcopalian chapel located just off of the lake on our 80-acre campus,” says Maggie. “It is a beautiful space that holds many important, wonderful memories for me.” After seeing the chapel and meeting with the priest, Will was onboard.
As for the reception venue, Maggie and Will both wanted to celebrate with family and friends at the Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club, located just down the street from the chapel. “I grew up spending summers on the swim team, taking golf and tennis lessons, and later attending my debutante ball and friends’ weddings at the club,” says Maggie. “It is a gorgeous place with grand rooms that are capable of any type of décor.” Additionally, it was large enough to comfortably accommodate their 315 guests.
“Neither my mother nor I would describe ourselves as creative, so we left a large part of the details in the trusty hands of our wedding planner, Judy Lehmbeck,” says Maggie. “Will and I were most concerned about the fact that a lot of our guests would be traveling many miles in order to attend our wedding—the majority of our out-of-town guests were from New York, San Francisco, London, and Dallas. As such, we really wanted everyone to enjoy a delicious meal in an easy-going yet elegant, intimate, candlelit setting.”
Lehmbeck had everything under control. “She has been planning weddings in Oklahoma City and at the Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club in particular for 25 years,” explains the bride. “She was incredible, and I really can’t speak highly enough about her. Her expertise stood out when my mother and I rattled off a short list lacking any real detail of what we had in mind for the wedding. Judy returned to us very quickly with an outline of the most beautiful wedding and reception—it truly was beyond our imagination. She can read her clients easily. I also appreciated her experience with our venue, as she worked seamlessly with the team at the club to ensure that no detail was overlooked. Additionally, she had worked with our photographer Ace Cuervo many times before. The two of them together are a truly impressive team.”
Choosing her wedding gown unfortunately wasn’t as straightforward. “I visited three bridal salons in Dallas, TX—Stanley Korshak, Neiman Marcus, and Warren Barron,” says Maggie. “I also went to J.J. Kelly Oklahoma City and Pronovias and Amsale in New York City. I saw a vast selection of beautiful dresses, but ultimately could not find ‘the one.’ I decided to work with the bridal consultant that I felt most comfortable with, a woman at Stanley Korshak named Elise McCarthy. After finding my favorite designers in the various salons that I visited, I spent time looking through each of their runway shows online, then selected dresses that I liked which Elise then requested in store. I knew the second that it was on that the Ines Di Santo backless Alençon lace dress with detachable train and asymmetrical bow was the one for me.”
With such a beautiful and detailed back to my dress, Maggie opted for a simple veil elongated to the length of her train. For shoes, comfort was paramount, so she went with her favorite shoe designer, Jimmy Choo, and wore champagne heeled crisscrossed sandals. She wanted to keep her jewelry simple, so she borrowed her mother’s diamond earrings and also wore the beautiful diamond tennis bracelet that Will’s parents gave her as a wedding gift.
For makeup and hair, she hired Sharon Tabb. “I had seen and experienced Sharon’s work at previous friends’ weddings, and as a woman who does not wear much makeup, I loved her ability to make her clients look their most beautiful without hiding their true selves,” explains Maggie. “She is very talented and made me feel like my absolute best.”
Maggie returned to Elise at Stanley Korshak for her after-party dress. “She introduced me to the designs of Nha Khanh, a Dallas-based designer, and I selected a long-sleeve, simple white dress for my after-party that I loved.”
The ceremony was Episcopalian and officiated by the priest at St. Edwards and the priest from the Catholic Church Maggie attended in Oklahoma City. “It was important to me to have both priests present, as I was raised in the Catholic Church but spent much of my life attending services at St. Edwards,” says Maggie. “They did a beautiful job of honoring both parts of my upbringing.” Maggie’s parents hired professional singers to perform prior to the ceremony as guests entered the chapel. Her house party wore white knee-length dresses of their choosing and helped to hand out programs, and Will’s ushers guided guests to their seats. The bridesmaids were in long navy gowns of their choosing, and Will’s groomsmen wore tuxedos with grey silk bow ties.
“It was important to me that my bridesmaids and house party choose their own dresses—I value each of them as the strong, smart, beautiful, independent women that they are—it only fits that they choose the dress that they feel most comfortable in,” explains Maggie. Will’s brother served as best man and included both of Maggie’s brothers were ushers. Will’s sister was a member of Maggie’s house party. “Will has a best female friend that he thinks of as an additional sister and I have a best male friend that I think of as an additional brother, so we asked both of them to do the readings for our wedding so that we could include them in the service too,” says Maggie. The couple then recited traditional vows, and after blessings from both priests, left arm in arm as husband and wife.
When guests arrived at the Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club following the ceremony, they were greeted by cocktails, appetizers, and a string quartet. Once the dining room was opened, guests sat at their assigned tables and listened to the heartfelt, hilarious toast given by the father of the bride. After a prayer, everyone had a first course salad of Boston Bibb lettuce, assorted berries, toasted almonds, Feta and balsamic vinaigrette. The second course was smoked tenderloin and BBQ jumbo shrimp, twice baked potatoes and grilled asparagus. Finally, dessert was both chocolate-dipped key lime pie and wedding cake made by Mishelle Handy.
Then everyone flooded the dance floor and got down all night to Busta Groove!, a bay-area wedding band that the bride’s parents hired after hearing unanimously from her older brother’s college friends that they were the best band they’d ever heard at a wedding. “They were right!” says Maggie. “At midnight, I quickly changed into my after-party dress, and Will and I walked out to our waiting car under a flurry of confetti before heading to Will’s godparent’s house at the Old Dolese Mansion, a beautiful, historic home in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Oklahoma City. His godparents and another close family friend hosted an amazing after-party there with catered late-night snacks, bartenders making delicious cocktails, and more great music. We all celebrated until buses took us back to the hotel at around 4:00 A.M.!”