What happens when a dreamy boho vision meets a beautiful coastal location? Exactly this.
How did you two meet?
Sam: I’m from Connecticut
Ethan: And I’m from North Kingstown. We were both in college when we met. She was at URI and I was at RIC. We had a bunch of mutual friends and we kind of met through them…
S: There was a birthday party and he had just come back from California—he was there for school for a year.
E: I was just getting to know all of these new people. I knew some of them and she had known them for a while and like a lot of the people were her close friends. But when I first started hanging out with them, she hadn’t been around. But she was there one time and I actually thought she was someone else’s girlfriend. I knew the guy and knew his girlfriend lived out of state, so when I saw Sam talking to him, I was like, ‘Oh, that must be her. Damn, his girlfriend is hot!’ And then we met, and I found out she wasn’t his girlfriend. That night we all actually went to Chipotle. We went with a big group of people, we didn’t even sit at the same table, but still.
S: And we didn’t talk for a little while….
E: We saw each other again at a Halloween party and we flirted….
S: And then we started talking.
E: A few months later I asked her out…
S: We went to Diego’s in Newport.
E: We obviously really like Mexican food.
How and when did you get engaged?
E: We were together for a year.
E: Why is that shocking?
S: I don’t know, I feel like we met so long ago…that does not seem like long enough now. *laughs* Clearly it worked out though!
E: So what happened was she had said to me, ‘I want this ring, this is where it is, this is how much it is and this is the day you should buy it because they’re having a sale.’ She literally laid it all out so I thought it was would be easy enough. I drove up to New Hampshire, bought it, came back. At the time I ended up texting one of her best friends and, in my memory—she remembers it differently—I was texting her friend and she was like, ‘This isn’t what she wants, she changed her mind.’
S: I’m no longer friends with this girl. She should have told him I didn’t want this ring. That was all not true.
E: In any event, it made me think, ‘Oh shoot, I got the wrong ring, she’s not gonna like it.’ But I knew if I had proposed with that one, she would have been totally fine, no issues, but I didn’t want there to be any sort of doubt and I knew her taste had changed a little bit. I wanted something to really fit what she wanted, so I got a second engagement ring. Which is the one she is wearing today. We still have the other one
S: I loved that ring! I never had any problems with it.
E: This one is definitely more your style. It’s more you. I wanted to sell the first one.
S: But he had the day we started dating engraved into it, so we’re keeping it as an heirloom. This has nothing to do with how we got engaged, though. You still haven’t answered the question!
E: Oh, right, sorry. It was Superbowl Sunday and we were going to a party and I said hey lets go stop at Bonnet point in Narragansett. Sam used to live there and we would go on walks there when we were dating. It’s just a cool spot and she loves the ocean, so I was like, ‘Hey, let’s go hangout for a sec before we go to this party.”
S: Um, and don’t forget after I got dressed, you asked, ‘Are you going to put makeup on?’
E: I did say that, yeah…
S: I don’t wear makeup very often, like I wasn’t going to put it on to go to a Superbowl party, but he was like, ‘You should, you look so nice when you have makeup on… and I was like, ‘Excuse me!?’ In hindsight I was glad I did, but at the time I was very insulted.
E: But yeas so we walked out to the point and my photographer friend was hiding in the bushes. I popped down on one knee and asked the question and the photographer jumped out and was like, ‘Yay!’ So, we hung out with her for a little bit, got some more photos and then we drove to Oceanside where a bunch of friends and family were waiting, and we had a little soiree. We did not see any part of the Superbowl.
What were your favorite and least favorite parts of planning?
E: I know the least favorite part…. Remember what happened to you two weeks before our wedding day?
S: I broke my ankle. I got up in the middle to go pee and I don’t know what happened… I stood up and my ankle just snapped.
E: I woke up to her screaming on the floor
S: I had never broken anything, so I didn’t know what it felt like. My foot just felt like it was asleep almost but like really painful. I had told Ethan to pull me up so I could just shake it out and he looked at it and was like, ‘No, it’s not asleep.’
E: I drove her to the emergency room and the doctor was like, ‘you will not be able to walk in two weeks.’
S: She had terrible bedside manner.
E: Granted, it was 4 in the morning.
S: She told me I would not walk or dance at my wedding. Straight up, flat out.
E: So, a year and a half of planning was thrown out the window in her mind. That’s what it felt like.
S: Then we went to Dr. Bob on Main Street in Wakefield. He gave me something different to wear for it, gave me crutches, told me how long to wait and what not to do. And then I left and just didn’t walk on it. A couple of days before I tried slowly putting weight on it… and at the wedding I walked, I danced, treated it normally. Then I paid for it after! I was in a wheelchair at the airport. But it was worth it. As for the best part… honestly, I loved the whole thing. I loved it.
E: She honestly went through depression after, like post-partum depression as if the wedding were her baby. She was like, ‘what do I do now?’ She worked 40+ hours a week on the wedding. And then it was gone… I think that was really tough. She’s also just good at it, so when you love something and you’re good at it… like my Uncle came up to me and said this is the best wedding I’ve ever been to in my entire life. And I feel like that was common… everyone was just like this was insane, so good.
S: And I totally understand why someone would want to just pay a lump fee to have someone take care of everything for them, because they have a crazy job or they have kids or a million other things going on or they just don’t like doing it, but I loved it.
How did you come across Dragonline Studios?
S: I think I Googled ‘boho beach wedding Rhode island.’ I found a blog post from a bride and I was like, ‘where is this?!’ I reached out to the owner and it was the first venue we toured. I looked at a bunch after because I wanted to make sure that, one, it’s what I wanted and, two, it was expensive, so I had to do a lot of research to map out… I didn’t want to pay for it first and then realize how expensive everything else was. We did a lot of budgeting before we booked it. But yea we loved it. It’s kind of an under-the-radar wedding venue.
Ethan: Whoever’s doing their wedding there, it’s going to look different every single time. And a testament to my wife, she did 100% of everything that wasn’t nailed down on the property—how it looked at our wedding is really because of what you did, your designs and your ideas.
S: It’s very customizable. You definitely need a vision and have to be willing to put work into it. The tent was a rental. Pretty much everything was a rental or something that I found. Just the building, which is set up like an artists’ studio, is there. We got ready upstairs and then downstairs I slept there the night before. You get it for the whole weekend. It’s nice because, since you are bringing all this stuff in, you don’t have to do it all on Saturday and then be gone.
E: It was cool to use the whole space. The owner also lets people use the little house down by the water as like a honeymoon suite. We didn’t use it, but to be fair, the reason was for us was because we had to leave so early to catch a flight. We slept like an hour—people probably stayed until 12:30 a.m., we stayed up till 2 a.m. and then had to leave at 3 to drive to Boston and then fly to Mexico.
Sam, tell us about your dress!
S: It’s from an Australian company. Since I’ve bought it, they’ve opened a showroom in New York, LA and Austin but at the time it was… Okay, so, I had Pinned a dress in high school. Most people have seen it, if you’re a bride, you’ve seen it. It kind of went viral, but I pinned it to my board and when I studied abroad in Australia, I found out that the shop was right down the road from where I was staying. So, I made an appointment and I brought my roommate—who later was one of my bridesmaids—with me and I tried on all of the dresses they had. Just to kind of see for when I someday got engaged…. Yeah, that’s the thing, we weren’t engaged yet.
E: It’s not as crazy as it sounds! Before and during her time in Australia, we had talked about an engagement. It’s not like it wasn’t on the table.
S: Right, it’s not like we were dating for a month and I was like, ‘Wedding dress time!’ Anyways, I tried them on, then left. A couple weeks later, they released a limited-edition capsule. So, I emailed the stylist and was like, ‘I need to try this dress on,’ and while wearing it, I was like, ‘this is the one.’ The designer said, ‘Well, we only made three and you’re wearing the last one.’ That’s a lot of pressure! I Facetimed my mom and was like, ‘What do I do?’ At first she said, ‘You’re crazy, you’re not even engaged!’ but then she was like just do it. I didn’t tell anyone because, obviously, I’d sound like a psychopath. But that was my carry-on coming home: my wedding dress before I was even engaged!
We loved the bridesmaid dress color—how did that come about?
S: I picked the color and then they all picked the style. I almost went with peach because I could not find the color I wanted. I didn’t want navy; I didn’t want seafoam—I could not find it. I was like, ‘Whatever, I’m doing neutral, and they can just do whatever they want.’ But then they released that silver/sage crisp color, and I probably called every Nordstrom in the country to find all of them. Cause the different sizes were selling out.
E: She led the charge on the suits, too.
S: That was another color where I was like, ‘this is what I want.’ But it doesn’t exist!
E: She let me have some say, like do I want to go with dark navy, a khaki suit, gray… and I really wanted basically what I wore. The brown shoes, a plain white shirt, gray suit, no tie… We wanted more of a causal look and ties are just uncomfortable. But I made all of my groomsmen wear ties.
S: Color-wise, it tied it in.
E: Yea and then I wanted to differentiate in some way, so I went tie-less. But she bought all of the suits for everyone.
S: I got the pants for $11. Another instance where I probably called every Macys in the country. That was harder than the dresses, ‘cause they were on like super clearance.
E: And then I gave the Groomsmen wooden tie clips with their initials engraved on it for their gifts. It worked out really well—it was something we decided on together, but it was really funny because on the day of the wedding, it was really windy. And all of the groomsmen were complaining like, ‘I can’t get my tie to lay flat, ugh!’ And I was like, ‘problem solved, dude’
S: For my bridesmaids I bought all different rock/geo earrings from Etsy and then bathrobes for them to get ready in, plus hangers made for their dresses with their names painted on them.
We saw you did a first look—would you recommend other couples do one?
S: I would recommend it. I didn’t think I was nervous, but I didn’t really eat all day…. We did our first look and then I went back inside and while we were waiting to walk down the aisle, I was shoving my face with cheese. I was like, ‘I don’t even care, I’m not nervous now.’
E: It definitely broke a lot of nerves. I was pretty nervous, too—it was nice to see each other.
S: And we did get a lot of pictures out of the way, from a logistical standpoint.
Tell us about your officiant.
S: That was my cousin. He lives in North Carolina and he became ordained just for this. He wrote the whole ceremony. He put a lot into it, he had this whole binder, and he did a really fantastic job. He was an actor in LA for a little while, so we figured he would be comfortable…. Like you think, ‘Oh, I’d love to marry my friends,’ but It’s a lot. He did such a good job.
E: He’s a little bit older than us and we’ve always looked up to him. He’s a very spiritual person, too. He works well with a lot of people… So it was definitely something in his wheelhouse. We were stoked to have him.
S: He did a little sand ceremony for us and he had us face everyone while he spoke on us and spoke on everyone—it was really cool.
What was the best part of the ceremony?
S: The whole ceremony was written by us or my cousin. I really like it when people write their own vows, I think it’s really special. And I’m not, by any means, a writer, but I just think it’s special.
E: She’s selling herself short, she’s an excellent writer. And I love public speaking. Which is weird. Like if you ask anybody in this world, most people don’t. But I felt comfortable speaking from the heart, whereas some people just read something because it’s so terrifying. Like, here’s all my closest family and friends and now I’m going to reveal the innermost thoughts of my heart… But I think, for us, we were comfortable with writing and getting up there and saying those things. That was what worked best for us.
Do you have any advice for writing your own vows?
S: We gave each other a general idea of how much we were saying so it didn’t look like one person wrote a novel while the other has three lines.
E: My advice is don’t put any pressure on it. Just say whatever you want, your wedding is about you and how you feel. Don’t think about anyone else but yourself and who you are marrying. Your wedding day is the one day where everything is about you. Which sounds selfish, but it’s also a big significant moment so you want to embrace it and make the most of it. So, I would just say make it organic and speak from the heart.
Was that Chipotle we spied for your catering?
S: It was a new service they just launched. They don’t do delivery, normally. We went to the Chipotle in Middletown and we were just talking to the owner and he personally used his car to deliver the food to us. We just did their maximum order—they were like, ‘This is the most we’ve ever done before!’ We had about 140ish guests, so it was lot of Chipotle!
E: And if you don’t like burritos, you could just have the chicken or the veggies. You could find something ‘cause it was all broken down. And another big thing for catering was Sam needed to eat gluten free.
S: I have Celiac, and everything there is gluten-free except for the flour tortillas. So, we had corn shells and chips and then a bowl or a salad. It was so easy.
What was your first dance song?
S: “Lava” from the Disney Pixar short that aired before Inside Out. We love that song! It’s about two volcanoes falling in love.
E: The lyrics are “I lava you”. It was cute.
S: He picked it!
E: That was one of like three movies that we had seen together in theaters – I’m a huge cinephile and she is not. But she loved that movie but I knew she really loved that short and so I was like, ‘Let’s do this!’
S: We also had a live performance while we cut the cake. One of my bridesmaids and one of his groomsmen played “XO” by Beyonce.
E: The guy who played, we’ve been really good friends since we were 12. We were in three bands together. We played music and we kind of came into music together, so it was cool for him to play at my wedding. And then her bridesmaid has a phenomenal voice.
S: They rehearsed once. They did a great job.
E: As for the DJ, we went to college together at Rhode Island College, and he was the only person I talked to as far as any of the wedding stuff. I was like, ‘Hey man, I’m getting married, and I need a DJ…’ and he was on board right away. He rocked the house.
Were there any vendors you were particularly impressed with?
S: Sin was awesome. They have gluten-free options, so we did mini cupcakes, regular cupcakes— four different kinds—and then the sweetheart cake.
E: Shout out to Sam’s mom, the biggest cupcake fan. She had to have some influence there.
S: And then for flowers, honestly, I don’t even know where we found her. She fosters dogs and puppies and her garage she turned into a flower shed. She is so good. And you can tell she’s just so passionate about it, she loves it. But she showed up the day before and set up everything she could and then on the day of, she brought me ladders and all this stuff that she had for free that brides had just given her after their weddings. She’s fantastic. I could never say enough good things for her. I said what I wanted, and she knew, she just got it.
We loved your favors! How did those come about?
S: We gave out little Geode agate slices that I wrote everyone’s names on.
E: We’ll go to people’s houses and they’ll be on display. It’s really cool. She worked hard on them and did beautiful calligraphy—spent time writing out all 150 names.
S: It’s one of those things where you’re like, ‘this is a great idea!’ and then halfway through you’re like, ‘oh, this is not a good idea.’ But no, really, it was good. I saw the idea somewhere on Pinterest and I was like I can do that.
E: You’ve always been a big rock fan.
S: I love rocks.
Are there any other special details you’d like to share?
S: My grandma and her partner, who’s a woman, both signed our marriage certificate—they were our witnesses. Less than a month after our wedding, her partner passed away suddenly. And that was the last time we were all together… A lot of people hold that event as more than just a wedding. Because they would not have seen her before she passed away, otherwise. It became really significant. It was special to have photos of us signing it together.
What were each of your favorite moments from that day?
S: Being fed guacamole? No, haha. It’s all such a blur!
E: It’ such a whirlwind. I really loved dancing. That was something I was excited about. People were on the dance floor start to finish. Oh, and then there was moment when I read a letter from one of my favorite people in the world who couldn’t make it. He was busy getting his PhD in Scotland, but he gave a letter to one of my groomsmen. He took me down by the water and like read me that letter and that was… I was crying and laughing, and it was a meaningful moment to me.
S: I had a moment like that, too. For my bridal shower, my sister put a box out and had all the guests write notes for me to read on the morning of the wedding. My mom took me down by the water and I sat and read all these letters from all the women in my life. Which was a really cool moment. But it had nothing to do with [Ethan]!
E: I feel like that’s part of our journey, our story—we as individuals coming together and all these people supporting us. Obviously, I loved marrying my wife, but part of it, too, is we had all our favorite people in the room, and we just partied.
What advice would you give to engaged couples?
S: I struggled with wanting to make other people happy, but it doesn’t matter at all. People will give so many opinions and push what they want. One of my bridesmaids, who ended up not being a bridesmaid, had told me how I shouldn’t do Chipotle because people aren’t going to like it and it just doesn’t matter. It’s not about anyone else. You are inviting them to come share this space with you. So, if they don’t like the food, they can eat when they get home. So, I would say to make decisions based on you as a couple and not based on what other people want. Even if they’re paying for it.
E: As far as the day of the wedding, I took a moment that morning and went on a run and I just kind of embraced what was happening, the significance of it. I took a good hour in the morning to relax, think about it, write things down, meditate. I feel like everyone says the same two things: ‘it’s going to go by so fast’ and ‘you’re never going to have enough time to eat,’ so I was conscious of those two things. I ate and I tried to be very present throughout the whole thing… I feel like I enjoyed all of those moments and made the most of all of it. So, just go in with that intentionality. Don’t treat it like a finish line.
How’s married life treating you?
E: It’s good!
S: What’s your quote?
E: ‘It’s 100% hard, 100% good.’ That was in one of the letters I got on our wedding day.
S: It’s not all butterflies and rainbows, but even if we weren’t married, it wouldn’t be.
E: Our life has changed a lot since we got married, in terms of career and so on. But the best part of it is figuring out what we want to do and finding our passions together.
Photography: From the Daisies // Ceremony & Reception: Dragonline Studios // Officiant: Tyler Pitt (Cousin of the Bride) // Hair and Makeup: Alexa Northup (Friend of the Couple) // Bride’s Dress: Grace Loves Lace // Bridesmaids Dresses: Miu Miu, Nordstrom // Suits: Macy’s // Catering: Chipotle // Sweetheart Cake and Cupcakes: Sin // Plateware: Dollar Tree // Flowers: The Flower Girls // Cake Cutting Music: Victoria Babcock and Tim Clarkin (Bridal Party Members) // Reception Music: Dimitry Mercier // Tent, Tables, Benches, Chairs, Arbor, Lights and Door: Boston Rustic Wedding Rentals // Geode/Agate Slices for Escorts: Sourced from Pelham Grayson // Videography: Lydia Clarkin, LidzVids // Dreamcatcher: @meadowandmoss