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Not Even Hurricane Ian Could Put a Damper on This Nantucket Wedding with Jewish and Indian Elements

By Cathleen Freedman | Photography by 

Katie Kaizer Photography

|Planning by 

Plan It Martha’s Vineyard & Nantucket

Two years after Marisa Siegel met Jonathan “Jono” Fernandes on Hinge, he started planning a proposal with help from her sister, Hanna. Jono orchestrated an elaborate ruse under the pretense of celebrating Hanna’s birthday. While picnicking near the Hudson River, he asked Marisa to marry him. After she said yes, the newly-engaged pair headed to their first date spot, Gottino Enoteca e Salumeria.

They began planning their wedding, selecting the private estate of Ducksholm on Nantucket. “Getting married at a private property, instead of a traditional wedding venue, also allowed us to really build a wedding aesthetic from scratch that merged our backgrounds and cultures into one unique, yet cohesive feel,” Marisa explains. “If we were to summarize our wedding aesthetic in one phrase, it would be something like: ‘India meets Nantucket fall by the sea, all under the stars’—figuratively and literally.” The couple turned to Kate Conde Foster of Plan It Martha’s Vineyard & Nantucket to make this dream a reality, and Katie Kaizer photographed the day. They enlisted Mary Beth Ferro Flora Designs for the rehearsal dinner and wedding floral arrangements.

Cohesion and attention to detail were integral to their process. The invitations, created by friend and artist Sam Crosby, interspersed Nantucket nautical elements with Indian block printing and autumnal hues. His motifs recurred throughout programs, menus, table numbers, gift bags, and even the custom-made linens from India. Jono’s father designed paper lantern stars that are customary in Goa, India, where Jono’s family is from.

Marisa adored curating her bridal outfits and spending hours sourcing pieces that represented her style and her and her betrothed’s cultures. She wore Rachel Gilbert to the rehearsal dinner at her Aunt Ann’s home. It was important to her that she wear an Australian designer to honor Jono’s Sydney roots. She finished the look with gold Larroudé heels that matched her gold Anita Dongre earrings. Her accessories even matched Jono’s Jodhpuri Indian jacket.

After four “marathon” days of shopping, the second dress Marisa tried on—Monique Lhuillier’s Tuileries gown—was the ultimate winner. She complemented it with a custom, matching veil from India, which would not have been possible without Cheryl’s, Jono’s mother, coordination from Mumbai. “I love the embroidery on my dress and veil so much that I’m now remaking my veil into a shawl by having the embroidery from my veil overlaid onto a cashmere scarf,” Marisa shares. “A little memory I can continue to wear and use from my wedding day!”

An assortment of gems from Raineri Jewelers and Jono’s family was Marisa’s something new. A sapphire ring from her mother and her aunt’s necklace with her grandmother’s engagement ring solitaire were her something blue and something old, respectively. And lastly, to complete the entire bridal outfit, she slid into Loeffler Randall sandals.

Jono looked dashing in a custom-made black tuxedo from Alan David Custom Suits NYC, paired with Jack Erwin shoes. 

Marisa’s ten bridesmaids donned a mixture of colors, fabrics, and prints. “Instead of assigning matching dresses, I worked with my florist on a color palette to match our wedding aesthetic and then shared the jewel tone color palette with my bridesmaids, as well as some inspiration dresses,” the bride explains. Marisa’s niece wore a custom dress that matched the green embroidery on the bride’s. Marisa adds, “I’m very close with my niece, so us having matching dresses was such a special touch that Cheryl helped make possible.” Marisa’s mother also wore a Monique Lhuillier dress. “I think she was manifesting me choosing the Monique Lhuillier gown by buying her mother-of-the-bride dress first,” Marisa observes, “And it worked!”

“On October 1, 2022, our ceremony ended up looking nothing like what we had planned but ultimately was even more intimate and memorable than we could have imagined,” Marisa confides. Their original plans outlined a ceremony and cocktail hour on the bluff overlooking the ocean. Hurricane Ian, however, had other plans. Instead, on the morning of the wedding, the couple moved all of the events into the reception tent. “Despite the last-minute change, our all-star vendor team was able to pull off an absolutely beautiful and special ceremony in the reception tent.”

Thankfully, all of the personal details they planned with their families were intact. Jono’s mother Cheryl hand-embroidered the florals along the chuppah. “Both my parents walked me from the main house into the side of the tent while a tunnel of umbrellas helped us from getting soaked, making for one of my favorite photos from the wedding,” she says. Once under the chuppah, Marisa’s sister and father joined the band to sing “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” which coincidentally ended up being the exact one the couple chose for Marisa’s walk down the aisle. Marisa’s brother-in-law officiated a secular ceremony with Jewish elements, and other family members conducted readings. There was a storm outside, and not a dry eye in the tent.

“Our reception ended up feeling like one big cozy hug under the stars,” Marisa remembers. The paper lantern stars changed colors, which Jono switched with a mini remote controller. This set the mood for the couple’s first dance to Louis Armstrong’s “La Vie en Rose.” A seated dinner by Fusion of Flavor commenced, along with tender speeches—one included a rewritten version of “Take Me Home, Country Roads” that hit all of the couple’s milestones. 

The groom and his mother danced to Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.” Instead of a father-daughter dance, the bride and her father performed a classical guitar duet to Bach’s “Sleepers Awake!” They’ve played classical guitar together for over thirty years, so this felt much more appropriate.

The dance floor soon filled with the Horah. The musical stylings of the band, Hello Brooklyn, kept everyone dancing all night long, save for the 30-minute interlude by Marisa’s father’s rock n’ roll band, ROCtopia. Guests shuttled off to the Lemon Press in downtown Nantucket for the after-party. Marisa switched into her Staud Olivette dress and borrowed Hunter galoshes for the occasion.