Mignonne “Maggie” Gavigan, founder of her namesake accessories brand, and Graham “Gray” Fielding Smith met at a party in New York City. The pair had been dating for four years when he proposed while on a trip in Millbrook. They were sitting down to dinner at their vacation home, when Mignonne picked up the ring box Gray had left near the plates on the dinner table. “He asked if I would marry him. I think I didn’t hear him at first, so he asked again, and I said, ‘YES!!!’” Maggie remembers.
The two southerners decided they wanted a destination wedding, rather hosting in either of their hometowns. Playa del Carmen was, and still is, such an amazing beach wedding location—“laid back vibes, amazing food, perfect weather,” explains the bride. With the date set for December 3, 2011, Maggie and Gray started planning mostly on their own. Below, Maggie shares how she went about choosing her fashion, her accessories (of course), and the one piece of advice she’d give to everyone getting married right now.
How did you choose what you wore?
“I was sure I was going to wear a slinky, vintage slip dress because I was very overwhelmed by the whole idea of choosing THE dress. But as soon as I saw this Vera Wang strapless dress with a giant tulle rosette as the volume in the skirt, I died . . . I knew I needed it. I made my belt and veil and bought some vintage earrings in Paris. I was designing shoes at the time, and our factory cut an extra pair in some fun colors as a surprise for me. For beauty, I did my own hair and make-up. I knew after getting my hair and makeup done at friends’ weddings that it’s just better if I do it myself.”
Tell us about the ceremony.
“We got married on the terrace over-looking the clear waters of the Gulf, and my favorite part of the ceremony was looking at Gray who had the biggest smile on his face and was belting out a huge laugh. We were having the best time. It was really windy, so the laugh wasn’t loud but even thinking of it now makes me smile.”
What about the reception?
“Sitting down to dinner, under the white circular paper lights, is a wonderful memory. The setting was gorgeous, and my nerves were shot—I was ready for a glass of wine. Hearing my dad’s toast at the reception was something I’ll never forget. He is wise beyond his years, and he has always meant so much to me.”
What song did you first dance to?
We danced to “Just Breathe” by Pearl Jam.
What was your favorite part of the reception?
“I know I said it before, but my dad’s speech was something I’ll hold with me the rest of my life. The setting also left a lasting impression on me. We built a dance floor on the beach and hung a line of those white paper ball lanterns across the floor. Hitting the dance floor after the reception with friends and family was literally the BEST.”
What happened after the reception?
“Because we were in Mexico, we obviously had to have tequila as a cocktail after the ceremony . . . to this day, all the guests still talk about the stories of their husbands passing out early on the beaches, on the dance floor couches, on their porches because they couldn’t make it to their hotel room doors. This was the first time most of my closest friends were getting away after baby one or two, and they were able to truly relax—it was a great time!”
What’s one piece of advice you’d like to give out?
“Keep things simple. Don’t stress too much, and don’t make things too complicated. Make sure you’re with the ones you love and enjoy yourself—it goes by in the blink of an eye.”