During a particularly lazy Saturday morning, Nicholas Rockwell surprised his girlfriend Mary Elizabeth “Mary Beth” Edwards with breakfast in bed at their home in San Francisco. Along with scrambled eggs and extra crispy bacon, there was a small jewelry box on the tray. Inside lay a single blade of grass, which may have been a surprise for anyone else, but Mary Beth knew the meaning behind it. “I had always joked with my friends that I loved Nick so much that if he proposed with a blade of grass, I’d still say yes,” she explains. “Clearly this story had gotten back to him!” Nick later got down on one knee and pulled out the real ring, an oval cut sapphire flanked by two perfect, brilliant cut diamonds that had belonged to his grandmother.
The couple had dated for four and a half years before Nick popped the question, but they’d known each other from even further back, when they both attended the Hotchkiss School as teenagers. After graduating from boarding school, they reconnected six years in New York and subsequently moved to San Francisco—he’s now a Senior Partnerships Manager at Funding Circle and she’s a Vice President on the Capital Introduction team at BTIG—and as they say, the rest is history.
At first, their wedding location was completely up in the air. The two considered Jackson Hole, Beaver Creek, and even briefly toyed with the idea of a ceremony at Hotchkiss, but during a trip to Louisville, Kentucky (the bride’s hometown), Mary Beth felt she had finally found the perfect place. “When I saw Oxmoor Farm for the first time, it really sealed the deal for me,” she says. “It’s not a turn-key venue and made me feel as if I would be inviting our guests into my own home.”
Now that the location was set, the dress was next on the agenda. Mary Beth tried on at least 100 dresses until she saw one (that she didn’t quite love) at Jin Wang’s studio in San Francisco. “Jin had custom designed that particular gown for another bride so she started telling me about the creative process for a custom gown and I was sold,” she recalls. “We worked on it together for the better part of a year. It’s such an intense process but totally worth it as I was so thrilled with the final product.” The two decided to keep the design simple in the front and focus instead on adding ethereal organza details in the back. For accessories, the bride chose to keep things traditional and originally planned to borrow her mother’s diamond studs–Nick ended up surprising her with a pair of her own, however, so she of course wore those instead.
When the big day finally arrived, the weather didn’t exactly cooperate. “Unfortunately, the forecast promised thunderstorms throughout the night, but thankfully just a few minutes before the ceremony was set to begin, the clouds parted and the sun came out,” says Mary Beth. A string quartet started playing “Pachelbel’s Canon in D and Trumpet Voluntary” as the bride walked down the aisle in her dress by Jin Wang. Once at the altar, the couple was married by the bride’s cousin, Adam Webb, a Baptist minister who had grown to know the groom well too. Hoping to keep things short and sweet, they chose to have only one reading during the ceremony: “Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116.” Once they were declared man and wife, Mr. and Mrs. Rockwell strolled out to Donna Lewis’s spot-on song, “I Love You Always Forever.”
For cocktail hour, the couple paid tribute to the bride’s roots and offered guests Kentucky mules—they also had a bourbon bar on hand. Later on, guests were ushered into a separate tent for dinner and dancing, and the bride was delighted to see that her hope of creating A Midsummer’s Night Dream-like atmosphere had come to life. “My planner, Lauren Chitwood, did a wonderful job executing my vision decor-wise,” Mary Beth recalls. “White flowers and greenery everywhere with a stunning hanging garden over the dance floor.”
After a dinner of peppercorn strip steak and cheese grits, the nods to Mary Beth’s upbringing continued with a small cupcake dessert made from the same bakery that made all of her birthday cakes growing up. Several friends and family members had toasted the couple the night before the rehearsal dinner so Mary Beth’s father was the only person who delivered a speech at the reception, which made his words extra special. “I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who cried,” she says with a laugh.
For their first song on the dance floor, the two immediately settled on Van Morrison’s “Wavelength.” “It’s an incredible song that Nick has been obsessed with since college,” she says. “When we first started dating, we’d come back to his apartment after dinner and dance around to it on repeat.” The rest of the evening, the Sultans of Swing played classics from Frank Sinatra and Etta James, mixed with hits by Justin Timberlake and Bruce Springsteen. At midnight, a glitter bomb went off, and a sparkler exit directed guests to another tent to enjoy one last late night dance session DJed by the couple’s friend, Clark Winter (aka Cole Trickle). “His set list was amazing, and I think everyone probably could’ve kept dancing longer if the bus drivers hadn’t insisted we leave!”