A Midsummer Night’s Dream: This Bride Wore Custom Giambattista Valli for Her Wedding in the Hamptons
It all started out east in the Hamptons, where a mutual friend’s birthday party was the setting for Chloë Richards and Lee Rubenstein’s meet-cute. “Lee approached me and introduced himself,” remembers Chloë, the creative director of Made to Measure (M2M). “We chatted for a bit that day but just remained friends at first.” Everything changed the following spring, when she visited some friends at the University of Pennsylvania where Lee was in school. “We reconnected, and only a few weeks after that fateful Spring Fling weekend, Lee and I began to date. We’ve been together ever since.”
Six years later, he proposed. “Without my knowledge, he had been planning it for months,” Chloë explains. “He had devised a plan to whisk me away from work in the midst of Fashion Week on a perfect Sunday morning in October.” They headed uptown to the Central Park Conservatory Garden off 105th Street. “Walking in through the iron gates made us feel as if we were entering a garden in France. I was immediately in awe and could not believe that having grown up in New York, I had never been. As we wandered throughout the park, we found a charming corridor lined with trees and a row of park benches with no one in sight. We sat down, and Lee asked me to marry him. It was perfect—a private moment that was only shared by the two of us . . . and the gardener who was working at the far end of the line of benches!”
From the very beginning, Chloë and Lee liked the idea of a wedding at home. “For us, there is nothing more special than the idea of having our loved ones share this moment in such an intimate setting,” Chloë says. When they began the planning process, the couple visited Chloë’s family’s place in Southampton for a weekend in early spring, and as they walked through the rose garden in the backyard and down the tree-lined path towards the gazebo, it felt right. “The Hamptons are where we met, where we spend our weekends over the summer, and where I have been going with my family since I was a little girl,” Chloë explains.
Playing off of the French-inspired architecture, they set out to establish a timeless, elegant aesthetic. “We wanted our guests to feel the intimacy, ease, and warmth of joining us at home to celebrate our marriage,” Chloë says. Throughout their planning, they were inspired by everything from still-life paintings to Victorian landscapes and calligraphy. “It was important to us that our wedding reflect our personal style, both individually and as a couple.”
When designing their save the dates, they stumbled upon a classic chinoiserie painted above a mantel from the early 1900s and loved the idea of re-creating it as their own. “We worked with the incredibly talented team at De Gournay to bring the concept to life, adding small hints of detail to signify our upcoming nuptials,” Chloë explains. This concept was then applied to other elements of the wedding, creating a holistic story for the paper suite, ceremony aesthetic, and reception decor.
For the floral design, the couple collaborated with Darroch and Michael of Putnam & Putnam. The floral artists, along with wedding planner extraordinaire Stefanie Cove, created a sense of natural elegance with overgrown ivy and pops of seasonal vibrant citrus tones and fruits. “Lee and I can’t remember a time when we had to worry about less,” Chloë says. “Stef was not only able to beautifully execute our vision, but she also pays immense attention to detail and her production was seamless.”
The festivities kicked off on Friday night with a formal sit-down dinner at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, New York. “A close friend who heads up Raf Simons’s By Appointment team at Calvin Klein reached out to ask me if I had found my rehearsal dress,” Chloë remembers. “Since Raf’s reign at Jil Sander and Dior, I have always admired his designs. . . . It was truly an honor to work with Raf and the visionaries at Calvin Klein by Appointment on a dress [for the first night of the wedding weekend].” The couple put their own spin on the black-tie affair, with two long tables filled with candlesticks, sterling silver servingware, and a hip-hop soundtrack.
For her actual wedding day, Chloë knew she was never going to dress the part of the traditional bride. “I wanted my look to reflect the romanticism and ease of the evening,” she explains. “As I began to search for inspiration, I found myself going through the Vogue Runway archives. The couture collections were showing, and I came across a dress by Giambattista Valli. I love how his designs embody femininity through romantic silhouettes, while also offering a sense of effortless style and ease. Eventually, my mom and I took a trip to Paris to meet with the team. They were so wonderful to work with, and together, over the next year, we began the design process. I remember showing a few of my closest friends and family a photo of my dress before the wedding, and their collective response was, ‘That is you in a dress!’”
To complement her dress, Chloë found a pair of two-inch white satin Manolo Blahnik slides that possessed a certain Old World charm. She kept her jewelry simple, working with family friend Ron Rosenblum of XIV Karats to design a pair of pear-shaped diamond earrings. “Aside from the earrings, I wore a delicate baguette necklace that Lee had given me a few years prior for our anniversary that I never take off,” Chloë adds. “And as for my something borrowed, I was married in the gold wedding band that my mommom married my poppop in, which was then passed down to my mom when she married my dad, and then on to me for my wedding.”
Chloë enlisted Liana Le from Marie Robinson Salon for hair—“I’ve been seeing her for years, and she and the master of ‘makeup no makeup,’ Miguel Ramos, are my dream team!” Le pulled the bride’s hair back loosely into a textured bun and placed baby’s breath around the crown of her veil. After the ceremony—knowing a night of dancing lay ahead—Chloë let her hair down, and Le wove flowers through the rest of it, tying each one with a delicate pink ribbon.
It rained the morning of the wedding, but Chloë and Lee stayed calm. “We knew we were so lucky to be celebrating our love and marriage with our family and friends, and if it had to rain, then we were ready to dance in the rain!” Chloë laughs. “My dad and I even went out in the rain to practice our father-daughter dance before we got ready!”
Luckily, a drenched father-daughter dance wasn’t in the cards, and an hour before the ceremony began, the sky cleared and the sun began to beam down. As guests arrived, they walked into the house, through the rose garden, and down the tree-lined aisle surrounded by wild grasses, delphinium, baby’s breath, and lisianthus. The chuppah sat directly in front of the gazebo, covered in overgrown ivy and climbing garden roses.
“As I exited the house to meet my parents and walk down the aisle, I felt overwhelmed with emotion,” Chloë says. “The sunlight cast a natural spotlight through the trees onto Lee as he waited for me under the chuppah, and it magically shined on the two of us throughout the entire ceremony. Although our service was rooted in tradition, our incredible rabbi, Angela Buchdahl, created an experience that was so warm and personal.”
After the ceremony concluded, guests made their way to an alfresco cocktail hour. There were canopied stations filled with overflowing “studies” of food (charcuterie, breads, crudités, and fruits). For the transition from cocktails to the reception, Chloë wanted guests to feel as if they were walking back inside the house, so the walls of the tent were painted to look like wallpaper, inspired by De Gournay, and dinner tables were filled with overgrown floral arrangements. Sterling silver candelabras illuminated the evening.
The newlyweds did their first dance to Beyoncé’s “Love on Top,” and then everyone sat down for a dinner catered by Creative Edge Parties. For dessert, there were two tables consisting of the couple’s favorite cakes, topped with delicate flowers and overgrown ivy, and fresh fruit pies. “Three of the cakes were topped with wedding toppers—one from our wedding, one from my parents’ wedding, and one from Lee’s parents’ wedding,” Chloë says. “Although it was a small detail, it was incredibly sentimental to us and represented the importance of family in both of our lives.” On the other side of the dance floor, there was a berry bar, which consisted of all different kinds of berries and whipped cream.
After dinner, everyone headed to the dance floor. Lee was instrumental in curating the soundtrack for the entire weekend. For dinner, he worked with the couple’s band, Ground Control, to curate a favorite selection of love songs. Once the dancing picked up, the band played Motown, soul, and funk classics. Then, DJ Cassidy arrived in a chic pink linen suit and wicker brimmed hat. “He perfectly matched the vibe of the evening and is the ultimate entertainer,” Chloë laughs. Late that night, those still dancing moved back into the house for the after-after-party. “Our friend DJ William Grand took over the music as we danced into the early hours of the morning.”