wedding

The Bride Designed Her Own Dresses for Her Wedding on Jupiter Island

Lesea Bourke and Andrew Berry’s wedding was initially scheduled for May 2, 2020. It was going to be held at the bride’s grandmother’s house in Jupiter Island, Florida. But by March 14, 2020, it became clear they would have to postpone because of the pandemic. 

So they had a micro-wedding in Maine and rescheduled their big celebration for November 13, 2021. By that point, the two had been together for eight years. “We met through friends who introduced us at a college party,” Lesea, who now works in fashion marketing, says. “Andrew was a senior at the time, and I was a sophomore.” He moved to New York after college, so the two had a long distance romance until Lesea joined Andrew in New York upon her own graduation. Eventually, he proposed on a family trip to St. Lucia.

Lesea and Andrew escape to her grandparents’ house in Jupiter Island every chance they get, so the decision to host their main event there felt very natural. “The ceremony was held in the backyard of their home,” Lesea says. “It has an Italian facade so we used that for the overall aesthetic of the weekend. We went for an Italian Gardenesque theme, with a focus on lemons as a motif.”

The couple worked with Jessica and Michael Masi from Masi Events. “We were very specific when interviewing planners because my mother and I are very DIY and had a vision,” Lesea says. “We needed someone who would not only let us run with some ideas but also help us bring it all to life. They were very organized and kept everything on schedule.”

When thinking about what she would wear, the veil was the first thing Lesea picked out. “It’s a bit backwards,” she says. “But I knew I wanted it to be from Monvieve. Alison, the creative director, makes the most intricate and stunning bespoke veils from Italy. I remember she told me not to fuss with it too much because it moves so beautifully naturally and that is exactly what I did.”

For the dress, Lesea visited ateliers in New York to try on many styles and silhouettes, but ultimately she decided to just design it herself. “I was traveling to London with my family for Thanksgiving, so I took the opportunity to search for the fabric,” she remembers. “My mother and I found the most exquisite brocade in a store just outside of the city. I purchased about 20 yards and had to buy a new suitcase just to bring it home with me.”

Once back in the States, she spent hours searching for inspiration on Pinterest, Instagram, and at the library, where she looked through fashion history books. “The final sketch gave me all of the feels that I was aiming for: sexy, elegant, and timeless,” Lesea explains. “It was fitted at the waist, with understated sleeves and two long, removable capes that draped from the shoulders. When I tried on the first muslin sample, I immediately began to cry because I knew this was the one.”

For the second dress, Lesea looked to actress Ginger Rogers for inspiration, designing with the idea that it should move with her as she danced. She also designed custom floral embroidery to reflect the flowers from their wedding crest. And for her final look of the evening, she went for a sequined mini dress using the same brocade from London.

For beauty, Lesea fell in love with Daniela Gozlan’s work when she did her makeup trial. “I had tried out two other makeup artists who covered every inch of my face in heavy foundation, which I did not want,” she says. “With Daniela, it was simple, quick, and easy. She made me feel and look like myself. She used a very light foundation with SPF, eye gloss—which I had never heard of and now can’t live without, blush, highlighter, bronzer, and her own lip makeup. It felt very natural, which was my goal.”

The groom and his groomsmen wore custom blue blazers by the London-based brand New & Lingwood. “Andrew is one of 10 siblings, and he has seven brothers who were all included in the wedding party,” Lesea says. “They all went to the New & Lingwood shop in New York City for a fitting and each got to select their lining, which was a fun way to make them special.”

The morning of the ceremony was sun-drenched and beautiful. There was a classical string quartet, big baskets of pastel flowers, and a carpet of rose petals leading down the aisle. Andrew’s entrance was backed by a troop of bagpipers, and Lesea walked down the aisle with her father to “Can’t Help Falling in Love with You.”

The ceremony was officiated by Andrew’s eldest brother, Michael, who managed to make it both humorous and sentimental. Immediately afterwards, guests gathered at the top of the lawn for champagne, tuna wasabi on crispy wontons, herbed artichoke and parmesan rolls, and other hors d’oeuvres. “The most magical surprise of the day was the bevy of butterflies unexpectedly flitting from flower to flower,” Lesea remembers. “It was truly spectacular watching them float around us.”

At the end of cocktails, the newlyweds took a boat—that Lesea’s grandfather had restored for them—to the reception, where the ceiling was hung with custom lemon tree organza fabric, greens, and basket lanterns, and lemon trees dotted the flower-strewn tables. “My mother, husband, and I spent many hours transferring our wedding crest onto a hundred tambourines which hung on the chair backs,” Lesea says. “The perimeter of the tent was also lined with twenty eight-foot-tall hand-stenciled panels of lemon trees that were painted by my incredible mother.”

After dinner, the couple cut into the funfetti wedding cake, iced with buttermilk frosting and decorated with a medley of edible flowers. “It was a surreal feeling to have finally arrived at this moment surrounded by all of our friends and family,” Lesea says. “To kick things off, we danced to ‘You and Me,’ by Penny and the Quarters. I was laughing the whole time, but Andrew really brought out his best moves. At that moment, I felt like it was the best beginning of our next chapter.”

The dancing continued all night long. “At one point, I looked over to see my grandfather doing the air guitar on his knees,” Lesea says. “The Sultans of Swing had amazing energy and played all our favorite dance songs. There was never a moment where the dance floor wasn’t full with people!”

After the reception, the newlyweds made a fake exit, running through a shower of petals to Lesea’s grandparents’ 1952 Silver Dawn Rolls Royce, which had been their getaway car more than 60 years earlier. “We entered one side, had a nice long kiss, got out the other side and dashed back in to get the after-party going in the big bar adjacent to the reception tent,” the bride remembers. Balloons covered the room and DJ Colin Jamieson oversaw the music, playing everything from Abba to Sofi Tukker. “There were late night snacks including french fries, mini cheeseburgers, mini grilled cheeses, and mac and cheese served in cones,” Lesea says. “The after-party really took it all up a notch!”