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The Bride Wore Cecilie Bahnsen to Her 1960s-Meets-Marie Antoinette Wedding at Sunset Beach

By Shayna Seid | Photography by 

Jillian Mitchell

Ruby Redstone and Gabriel Sommer both grew up in New York and have many mutual friends but never met until they were 20 years old. “We spoke for the first time on social media, which makes us a very 21st-century couple, but shortly after that first message, we shared a beer in the park together and have been inseparable ever since,” she says. “We sat on the grass by the Hudson River and split a beer in the rain,” he remembers. “Ruby smelled incredible—the way a person smells only after glowing in the summer streets all day. I smelled terrible, like I just worked a double in the summer.”

For the first two years of their relationship, they did long-distance, as Ruby finished university in Scotland. “We both value marriage a lot—we’re very lucky to both have parents who have been happily married since their early twenties—and it was so important to have that as an end goal, when we had to spend so much time apart,” she explains.” Ruby and I used to mail each other little tokens that were doused in our perfumes,” Gabriel says. “We shared everything with each other which meant a lot of incredible phone calls as well as some really difficult ones. It’s so easy to get so sad when your love is far away.”

While at her family’s cabin in Utah on Christmas Eve, Gabriel proposed in the snow, halfway up a ridge. It was important that he ask her there, as the house was built by her great-grandparents, and it’s where her parents met by total chance. The locale would’ve made for a great wedding venue, but it’s difficult for so many people to reach, so the engaged couple chose the Sunset Beach Hotel on Shelter Island instead.

Sunset Beach is where Gabriel first met Ruby’s family, who have a house there, and it has been the setting for their summer antics ever since. “Our overarching [wedding] theme was 1960s-meets-Marie Antoinette—a decadent combination of our favorite things that happened to fall perfectly in step with the French ’60s motel decor of Sunset Beach,” Ruby explains. The couple took on all of the planning aspects but had talented, creative friends who created a heart-shaped archway for the ceremony, a neon sign version of their crest, and countless tie-dye sweatshirts for wedding favors. 

The night before the wedding, a hurricane blew over the island, and Gabriel and his groomsmen piled into a truck with Ruby’s father to secure a rain tent on the beach for the welcome dinner. “By the end of the weekend, I would’ve been hard-pressed to find someone who hadn’t pitched in to make our wedding happen,” the bride says. “The best reward was to spend the night dancing with everyone on the dance floor, which seemed in danger of caving in from all the excitement, celebrating the love that they all helped to build.”

To say, “I do,” Ruby chose a Cecilie Bahnsen dress, which was the first and only option she tried on. “I knew, before beginning my search, pretty much exactly what I would want: something true to my love of Victorian clothing, big sleeves, enough room to show off some accessories, and short,” she explains. Her bridal footwear was a new pair of Repetto shoes in a style she usually wears everyday, and she also chose a pair of Sophie Bille Brahe pearl earrings for the day.

“I had been determined to not set foot in a bridal store throughout this entire process, but I decided just a few weeks before the big day that I wanted a veil and ended up making a very last-minute appointment at Kleinfeld’s, where I found an ethereal Ariel Taub one sprinkled with crystals,” she says. Her grandmother also gave her a pink cameo brooch that her own grandmother had given her on her wedding day, so Ruby fastened it to a white velvet ribbon and tied it to her wrist. “I’m someone who writes and generally thinks too much about clothing for a living, and I am so happy to say that I wouldn’t change a thing about my wedding outfit.”

The groom looked dapper in a custom, powder blue suit from Seize Sur Vingt, Gucci glasses, Alexander Olch pocket round, Mr. Porter tie,and a single Gucci pink velvet slipper with a foot brace because he had broken his ankle two months prior. “I think I spent more time piecing my outfit together than Ruby did,” Gabriel says. “Coincidentally, Ruby’s grandfather, who officiated the ceremony, and I ended up wearing the same tie which brought me so much joy.”

On the day-of, the couple walked down the aisle to Suicide’s “Dream Baby Dream,” and the non-traditional service began. There were readings of Tolstoy, an ancient hand-binding ceremony, and a modern version of a Ketubah known as a Brit Ahava. As the two come from different religious backgrounds, they made sure to pay homage to each while honoring who they are in their own right. “I feel like no one properly conveys just how terrifying it is to stand up in front of everyone you know and speak your deepest, truest feelings!” Ruby says. “Gabriel’s vows will forever be my favorite piece of writing, and hearing him speak them to me on that day felt like pure light.”

Immediately following the pronouncement of the new married couple, cocktails and oysters were served, while Ruby and Gabriel’s parents and siblings gave heartwarming speeches. “Gabriel’s family presented us with intricately braided bread and salt—a Russian tradition that is meant to bring happiness and prosperity to newlyweds,” the bride explains. At sunset, everyone took their seats for a delicious dinner of artichokes, mussels, and fries. 

To conclude the meal, the newlyweds attempted to cut their Ispahan cake from Ladurée and then took to the dance floor for their first dance to “Hellhole Ratrace” by Girls. “This song is something that I used to listen to alone in my room in high school, before I felt secure and comfortable in my own skin,” the groom explains. “I used to dream of slow dancing to it with my future love.” Gabriel then grabbed the mic and performed an 11-minute, original song he’d written for his wife, which led to many tears. 

Once the music came to a stop, the new Mr. and Mrs. ran down to the beach with everyone who was still awake to swim in the sea and share a bottle of wine—the ideal end to a perfect day.