“It was really my older brother Maxx who (unintentionally) brought us together,” explains Ariel Kanter of how she and her future husband, Adam Nelson, first started dating. Ariel, a marketer at American Express, met Adam, who works in commercial real estate, when she was in high school. But it wasn’t until Adam and Maxx were sharing a summer house in the Hamptons that the couple’s relationship started to get serious. “While Maxx was a bit hesitant at first about his younger sister dating one of his best friends, it ended up being the best thing that happened to the both of us,” Ariel laughs.
Three years later, Ariel and Adam were living together in New York and on the hunt for a bigger apartment. One Friday afternoon, he asked her if she had time to look at an open house listing in their building. “I headed up to the apartment, knocked on the door, and got not response,” she says. “I tried the door to see if it was open and walked in to see an aisle of candles and rose petals with Adam waiting at the end of it. I was completely shocked!”
The couple was initially set on having an outdoor destination wedding, but when logistics proved to be too difficult, they decided to visit Blue Hill at Stone Barns just outside of the city and quickly fell in love with the Michelin-starred farm-to-table restaurant. “The property is spectacular,” she says.” The hayloft space where we had the reception is the epitome of sophistication and elegance. We didn’t look anywhere else after that!”
They worked with wedding planner Jennifer Zabinski of JZ Events and florist Frank Alexander on the logistics and aesthetics of their wedding day. “While I was wary of too much color at first, after going to a number of all-white weddings, we started to expand into other colors and textures,” she says. They ended up with a sunset palette for the reception—the blue delphiniums were the showstoppers—and chose a rustic elegant feel for the ceremony decor. “The climbing roses on the chuppah were the inspiration for the custom painting on their invitation by Red Bliss Design.”
Ariel went into the wedding dress search pretty open-minded; her only criteria was that she wanted something that fit the setting of Blue Hill and possibly had a long sleeve. She ended up finding just that in a Naeem Khan gown at Saks Fifth Avenue. “The neckline, the embroidery, and the fact that it wasn’t a traditional white wedding dress were what really sealed the decision for me,” she says.
For her accessories, she kept things simple and wore a pair of earrings that were a gift from her parents (her something new), tucked in a brooch from her late grandmother (something old) under her Oscar de la Rent veil on loan from her cousin (something borrowed), and had a small ribbon stitched with Adam and her initials engraved in blue sewn into the lining of her gown. For shoes, she wore a pair of nude Alexandre Birman heels, but quickly changed into satin Tabitha Simmons platforms when it came time to dance.
As for the groom, Adam wore a blue suit by Ralph Lauren with a satin tie by Gucci, while bridesmaids were asked to choose their own dresses in ivory—Ariel loved the idea of a white wedding—and groomsmen wore dark navy suits.
On an early spring day, guests convened in the courtyard at Blue Hill, surrounded by stone walls and soaring trees, for the ceremony. A close friend of the groom’s family officiated and immediately put the couple at ease. “It felt incredibly intimate, but not overly serious,” she says. “We both chose to each write our own vows, which left everyone in a fit of laughter and tears.”
A dinner reception catered by Blue Hill followed inside, and needless to say, the food was spectacular. “Their process is a bit unique in that they only provide a proposed menu about a week in advance of the wedding so that they can take into consideration which ingredients will be the freshest from the farm on that day,” Ariel explains. “They served their famous farm eggs over asparagus, gnocchi with hen of the woods mushrooms, and beef filet. It was the best wedding food we’ll ever eat!”
Toasts were given by the bride’s parents and her older brother (and inadvertent matchmaker) Maxx. “As he’s my older brother and one of Adam’s best friends, he had a lot of material to work with,” she admits. “He was absolutely hysterical; the standing ovation didn’t do him justice”
For their first dance, the newlyweds wanted something upbeat and fun and ended up choosing Florence and the Machine’s “You’ve Got The Love.” Then, for the rest of the night, The Elements band from Elan Artists kept everyone on the dance floor. Late night, the musical reins were handed over to a DJ, who kept the after-party going while grilled cheese, sliders, donuts, and s’more pops were served. “The three bars flanking the room definitely helped to keep the party going as well,” Ariel admits. As for how the couple decided to end their unforgettable evening? “We took off our shoes and dug into the goodie bags of homemade scones and chocolate chip cookies!”