College sweethearts Irina Schwatka and Michael Straw first met during freshman year at Tufts University, but not exactly by chance. “We were introduced through mutual friends, but I found out later that he had seen me on campus a month before and had been trying to orchestrate a meeting ever since,” Irina recalls.
The two dated all throughout college and a few years after graduating, Michael popped the question on his 27th birthday. “I got home from work and he was there when I opened the door with about a hundred candles lit in the apartment,” she says. The newly engaged couple then celebrated with dinner at Carbone and afterwards at a surprise party at Irina’s sister’s apartment. “I had always told him it would be impossible to throw me a surprise party, so he was really proud of himself!”
Irina had grown up spending summers at her family’s house on the North Fork of Long Island, and she knew it would be the perfect spot for her wedding. “We liked that it was far enough away that people could make a weekend out of it,” she explains. “But easy to get to as far as destination weddings go.” For their ceremony and reception venue, they chose the Peconic Bay Yacht Club, known for its stunning views of the water, and focused the wedding decor and invitations around the lush landscape of the North Fork. While the bride did most of the planning herself—with a lot of help from her older sister, Phoebe De Croisset, who works in Vogue’s special events team—she ended up enlisting Just About Married wedding coordinator Elizabeth Leath on the big day.
Dress shopping came easy, as Irina found her Ines di Santo wedding dress at a Bergdorf Goodman trunk show early on in the process. “I loved that the front was understated but the sheer back was fun and sexy,” she says. She rounded out her bridal look with a pair of nude, low heeled Loeffler Randall sandals, and vintage Schlumberger pearl and diamond earrings, borrowed from one of her sisters. Irina, who had chosen her three sisters to be her bridesmaids, dressed them in mix-and-match floor length blue dresses by J. Mendel and Zimmerman. Hair and makeup for all four sisters was done by Vensette.
Since the event’s dress code was cocktail, Michael went with a dark, blue Loro Piana custom suit, paired with a white shirt and pink and blue Hermes tie—the same color scheme his groomsmen wore to the wedding.
The bride walked down the aisle to The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun” played by an instrumental duo, and a close family friend officiated the ceremony. “Michael and I read the vows which we had written together,” she explains. “My favorite part was the traditional Greek Crowning Ceremony. At the end, guests threw petals from white paper cones which looked beautiful.”
After they were pronounced husband and wife, guests headed over to the second floor patio of the club for cocktails—the evening’s signature was an Aperol Spritz—and hors d’oeuvres made from local and seasonal ingredients, such as crab cakes, mini lobster rolls, and fish tacos with mini margaritas. From there, the party moved on to the main reception hall, where dinner and dancing awaited. “Our band Atomic Funk Project kept people dancing like crazy all night,” Irina adds. (Their first dance as Mr. and Mrs. Straw was to “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys.) “Speeches were given by my dad first and then each of our siblings. We also had a photo booth outdoors which was was a huge hit and definitely produced the funniest pictures of the night.”
Unlike most weddings these days, Michael and Irina chose to skip having an after-party and instead hosted friends and family at a brunch pool party at her parent’s house the day after. “We had a local food truck serving breakfast tacos,” she remembers. “It was such a fun way to close the weekend.”
Video by Meredith Heuer, courtesy of Irina Schwatka.