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A Celebration At A Bride’s Childhood Home in Massachusetts

By Alexandra Macon

Polly Hackett and Brad Kraus’s initial meeting took place across the pond in London, where they both were living and working at the time. “We were friends for about a year before we started dating,” remembers Polly. “After a year of dating, we both moved back to New York.”

Three years after that, Brad proposed. “The week leading up to this, he was out of town on business and his sister Hayley asked me to attend a work event with her,” says Polly. “The work event happened to be a photo-shoot on a sail boat off the Upper West Side. When I arrived, Hayley was nowhere to be found, but a boat-hand claiming to be her co-worker ushered me aboard the sailboat. I remember calling and texting Hayley asking where she was when the boat suddenly left the dock. There was definitely a split second there where I thought I was being captured! Then, Brad shot up from the cabin (looking a little seasick!) and immediately got down on one knee. I was so stunned it took me a second to realize what was happening before shouting out: ‘Yes, yes!’ We spent the next hour just the two of us sailing down the Hudson. It was so peaceful on the water with the lights and chaos of New York City in the background. It was the perfect way to soak it all in together. When we arrived back at the dock, both our entire families as well as a few of my best friends were there as a surprise. It was a surreal and magical experience—lots of tears and hugging. I honestly have never felt so special and the fact that Brad had organized for our family and friends to fly in and share in the evening made me fall in love with him all over again.”

Although they explored several different locations in England, Italy, and Colorado as potential wedding destinations, ultimately, Polly’s hometown of Ipswich, Massachusetts felt like the right place at the end of the of the day. “Our main concern with Ipswich was the lack of accommodations and the difficulty many of our guests, more than a few were coming from abroad, might face getting there—it’s a small seaside town 30 miles north of Boston,” explains Polly. The couple’s wedding planners, Francie Dorman and Britt Cole of 42 North, suggested having the Friday night welcome dinner and guest accommodations in Boston and then providing coaches to and from the wedding in Ipswich.

Polly and Brad loved the idea and chose the Museum of Fine Arts for their welcome dinner venue. Guests stayed at the Mandarin Oriental in Boston. “Brad and I loved that the welcome dinner and wedding provided two very different experiences for guests and that the weekend incorporated our love for both the city and country,” says Polly. “I also went to college in Boston so it was fun to have a portion of the weekend there.”

As for aesthetic, Polly and Brad wanted the wedding to be luxurious, yet understated. It was important to them that their guests felt relaxed and carefree. “The setting is naturally unique and beautiful and we knew would speak for itself,” says Polly. “And, 42 North has a refined, timeless style that aligned well with our vision and made the process so much easier.”

For her wedding day look, Polly wanted a simple, yet elegant dress and was drawn to a few French designers whose dresses fit what she was looking for. “I only tried on two gowns before selecting ‘the one’ by Rime Arodaky,” she says. “I loved that the buttons up the front reminded me of a chic suit, yet the remainder of the dress was feminine.” Her veil was handmade in England.

On the wedding day, Polly wore her mother’s diamond stud earrings (something borrowed), her boarding school ring passed down from my grandmother (something old), and her wedding band, which has sapphires, and worked as her something blue. She wore minimal make up and had her hair in a low up-do.

Meanwhile, Brad had become friendly with Luke Sweeney and Thom Whiddett, the co-founders of Thom Sweeney, a menswear company, during his time in London, and when it came time to decide what to wear to the wedding, they were the natural choice. Brad wore a black peak lapel tuxedo for the ceremony and changed into a midnight blue velvet double breasted dinner jacket for the reception, both bespoke by Thom Sweeney. His groomsmen were in midnight blue shawl collar tuxedos, also by Thom Sweeney. All of the men in the bridal party wore Cinabre bow ties and Del Toro tux slippers.

The bridesmaids all chose their own dresses. The only direction that Polly gave was that they all should be white. “I wanted everyone’s individual style to come through and for my friends to all feel like themselves,” says the bride. “To tie together the looks, they all wore matching tassel earrings in different colors.”

The wedding was held in a large field with hay bales overlooking a salt water marsh. A long path—mowed in the weeks before—led guests through the field from the tent and reception site to the ceremony at the far end of the field. “My father and a good friend built the chuppah from birch trees which marked the ceremony site,” says Polly. “Brad even helped chop down the birch trees!”

The music featured a cello quartet, which included the bride’s younger brother, and elements of Jewish wedding traditions were woven throughout the ceremony as an ode to Brad’s heritage. Two readings were read by good friends and the couple’s vows reflected traditional English vows. “We also encouraged female guests to wear hats, which is traditional in an English wedding,” says Polly. “Guests loved this and really had fun with it!”

“After the ceremony, I remember walking back down the aisle with just the long grassy path in front of us—it was a special moment. This was really when I think everything hit us,” she adds. “Having the ceremony in the middle of a field which held so many happy childhood memories was very grounding and I think made me less nervous.”

Dinner included a plated starter and then various seasonal family style dishes. There were long farm tables, which along with the family style meal created an intimate feel. “I loved that we were able to bring family pieces from my parent’s house down the road for various lounge area set-ups both inside and outside the tent,” explains Polly. Flameless candles placed on top of the hay bales lit up in the field during dinner as a last minute surprise from a family friend—“they were so pretty to look out at from the tent,” adds the bride.

Toasts were made throughout dinner by Polly’s parents, her older sister who served as Maid of Honor, and Brad’s brother who was Best Man. The first dances were scattered throughout dinner. “Brad and I danced to ‘Man on Fire’ by Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros; my father and I danced to ‘Love Train’ by O’Jays; and Brad and his mother danced to ‘Your Mother Should Know’ by the Beatles,” notes Polly. “The band was so incredible, our guests kept getting up and joining on the dance floor during all the first dances. There was no stopping them—literally until the early morning hours.”

polly + brad from Meredith Heuer on Vimeo.