Now that it’s crystal clear that hosting a big wedding at this time is just not possible due to the spread of COVID-19, we’re sharing the experiences of real couples navigating the re-scheduling, cancellation, and civil and commemorative wedding processes in an attempt to help others make informed decisions and to spread our support to all during this time.
Sarah Rose Suchoff and Brenden Fitzgerald Becker’s love story sounds like the perfect premise for a Nicholas Sparks novel. They grew up together, just several houses from each other in Bell Island, located in Rowayton, Connecticut. Always just good friends, Sarah actually set Brenden on dates with her friends! It wasn’t until 2015 that they finally began dating each other.
Even before getting engaged, the couple knew they wanted a Bell Island wedding. Their two-year engagement allowed them plenty of time to pick the perfect date: September 12th, 2020. The couple tried to stay optimistic, but by July, they realized their 150-guest wedding would not be feasible by the end of summer. They decided to keep their original date and downsize their wedding party to 50 guests. “To be honest,” Sarah says, “it was one of the most difficult and stressful decisions we’ve had to make.” But ultimately, they realized that their wedding was a “celebration of love” and their “commitment to one another as man and wife.” With a smaller guest list, Sarah and Brenden switched their venue from a park to Brenden’s childhood home.
Rocky Point is a special spot in Bell Island, and it has been the background for important milestones in Brenden and Sarah’s relationship. It’s where they would scour for minnows and crabs as children, officially start dating years later, and then, get engaged. With Rocky Point as a witness to their love story, there could be no better place in Bell Island to tie the knot. They planned the ceremony around the Rocky Point tide.
Over the course of the two-year engagement, Brenden and Sarah were able to organize most of the wedding themselves. But they eventually decided that they wanted the day to be as stress-free as possible. “Hiring Ronit Feldman from A&R Events was one of the best decisions!” Sarah mentions.
Sarah’s beachy bridal look matched the nautical summertime milieu. The first dress she ever bookmarked on Instagram, a gorgeous low-back silk A La Robe slip, ended up being “the one.” After going to several bridal boutiques in New York and Connecticut, she stumbled upon the exact same dress at Spina Bride. “I have never felt so confident in a dress in my entire life,” Sarah says. “I plan on hemming the dress and re-wearing it as many times as possible!”
She paired the dress with sleek Jila sandals from Cult Gaia. These modern shoes with their spherical heel reminded Sarah of something Cinderella might wear today. She added a gold “B” necklace that Brenden gave her several years ago. At the time, the “B” signified his first name, but by wearing the necklace on her wedding day, the “B” now stood for her new last name “Becker.” Sarah also planned on wearing pearl earrings, but her aunt surprised her with her late grandmother’s diamond drop earrings—the perfect something borrowed. “It was extremely sentimental to have my grandmother be a part of our wedding day,” Sarah avows. Lorna Made Me Blush and MK Studio kept Sarah’s hair and makeup easy and simple.
Sarah knew that she didn’t want her bridesmaids to wear the same identical gown. Using inspiration from previous Over The Moon weddings with mix-and-match coteries, she asked her bridesmaids to select their own light blue floral dresses. The bridesmaids wore dresses from LoveShackFancy, Veronica Beard, Reformation, and Rebecca Taylor. Sarah gifted each lady with gold hoop earrings that best captured their personalities and dresses.
Even the ceremony seating was laidback. “We went for a living room-style vibe,” Sarah says. There was an assortment of different seating options: rattan and wicker chairs, poufs, ottomans, and benches—each adorned with a variety of pillows. Extended guests watched the waterfront ceremony from their boats. For the bridal march, Christian Rottner played an acoustic rendition of “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” Sarah and her father walked down the aisle, which was lined with billowing seagrasses in silver canisters. The breeze unfurled her veil at a perfect horizontal angle as she made her way to the altar. “It seemed straight out a movie!”
Sarah’s brother, who also happens to be Brenden’s childhood friend, officiated the ceremony. “He did such an incredible job painting a full-circle picture of our childhood, our love story, the importance of family, and the beauty and magic of Bell Island,” Sarah beams. The couple proceeded to exchange their own vows. Brenden kept guests laughing with his, while Sarah’s vows were more serious. When they finally said “I do,” their guests who watched from their boats laid on their horns in celebration of the nuptials.
Cocktail hour at Rocky Point began with freshly harvested and shucked oysters from Precious Oysters. Afterwards, the party walked to Brenden’s childhood home for the reception. The Band Method played as guests trickled in underneath the strung bistro lights. They had a stunning dinner catered by Marcia Selden.
The dinner party quickly turned into a dance party. Sarah swears that she didn’t leave the dance floor the entire night. Brenden and Sarah’s first dance was to “Sweetest Thing” Allman Brown. Afterward, she danced with her father to “How Sweet It Is” by James Taylor. Brenden and his mother danced to “Great Balls of Fire,” a tribute to one of their most-watched films Top Gun.
Instead of a cake, the couple committed to an epic ice cream sandwich bar. The cookies were from By The Way Bakery; the ice cream, Van Leeuwen. Sarah thinks she might very well be Van Leeuwen’s #1 fan!
While the couple wishes they could celebrate with every single one of their friends and family members, they truly believe there is something special about having such an intimate wedding. Despite changing their original plans, they feel “really, really blessed and lucky” to be married.