We asked Kate Gundry of Boston-based Pluck PR to share the details of her absolutely gorgeous New Hampshire summer wedding. Gundry and new husband, Ross, threw a camp-theme wedding and reception at the bride’s family summer home, which provided a perfect laid back — yet expertly designed — setting for their multi-day affair. Every moment was created with special attention to detail and a whole lotta of unexpected elbow grease, so be sure to soak it all in. Ah, feels like a New England summer already.
How did you meet?
Ross and I met at college but we didn’t fall in love until many years later – we barely even knew each other at school. I used to work facing Copley Square and Ross works across from the Boston Public Library, I was walking down Boylston for lunch one day in August of 2010 and saw him. I wasn’t sure he was who I thought he was, went back to work and Googled him – turns out it was him, so I sent him a note. He came to a house party my old roommate and I threw a few weeks later and the rest is history. I still have the dress I wore that night!
Tell us about your venue.
The venue is my parent’s farm in Southwestern NH. I’ve been going there since I was about 5 and over the last 25 years the property has changed a lot! My mother’s a landscape architect (She is a longtime steward of the Boston parks and Mayor Menino gave her the first Parks Partner Award for it!) and my dad’s a former Nebraska farmer so the gardens, orchard, ornamental grass beds, even the forests are all a labor of love. My parents spent months preparing the house and gardens for the wedding, they even had the pool deck sanded so no one got splinters. It was truly insane how much work they did!
This couldn’t be any more charming — was it a rental or did you build it? How was it designed?
The chuppah was built by the wedding designer, it was the same one she used at her own wedding, I believe. I’m not sure it was truly designed but it took a long time to assemble!
Obviously we have to know about the tents.
The tents! These were a vision of my mom and I’s since we saw Matthew McConaughey’s wedding pics years ago. There also aren’t many hotels near our house so we needed to provide housing for the younger guests. The safari tents were the best idea, two cots per tent, we had 40 tents, and used a provider from Buffalo called Contentment Camping. About 80 people camped out and it was a debacle!
The tent company forgot bedding and pillows so the morning of the wedding I was up at 6 a.m. at the local hospital borrowing 80 pillow cases and 160 sheets and luckily my mom has a blanket addiction so we were able to outfit the tents almost entirely in cute patchwork quilts she had in the house. The day before the wedding was also a monsoon so we had to buy a Shop-Vac and suck all the water out of each tent, open all the doors and windows and cross our fingers that they dried out in time. We were on our hands and knees with towels mopping them out still around noon! Crisis averted because every single member of my family and Ross’ — including grandma — plus some neighbors pitched in to make the 80 beds the day of the wedding. It was insane.
These are so cute! What are they and what is in them?
The boxes were little “camper kits’’ I made for each tent of guests. We wanted people to be comfortable and have a little takeaway from the party. I sourced the boxes from a company out West that sold them as 3-Bottle Wine Boxes. I removed the “slats’’ and my mom sponge-painted our wedding logo onto the tops — I loved having a logo, I put it on everything. Ross loves Adams Caps so I found a company in Minnesota that would custom embroider them for us with our logo as well. I ordered a bulk order of mini Coleman lanterns, enamel camp cups and then also individual packs of Advil and Off wipes just in case a mosquito slipped through our bug sprayer that my mom hired to spray the property. Finally, I ordered temporary tattoos of our logo too, just for fun, and put those in cute little chevron bags in the box too. 40 pounds of brown crinkle paper and hours in the basement packing the boxes later and we had them all done! Ross and my mom were instrumental in getting those done and his brothers helped me carry them all out to the tents the day of the wedding to put them in each tent!
Heart tree — fate or coincidence?
The heart tree is a happy accident. I’m sure everyone recalls the ice storm of 2008 that decimated New England. That storm really walloped our property and my dad, in particular. We were without power for I think about 10 days and instead of heading back to Boston as my mom did, my dad stayed in New Hampshire keeping the house warm with fires he stoked all night long to keep the pipes from freezing. Did I mention he loves New Hampshire? Many of our trees were damaged in the storm — several that featured prominently in the wedding. We almost lost what we now call the ‘heart’ tree. It was so badly damaged, branches broken off, we didn’t know if it would survive, but it did and the next summer little greens started popping out again. We’re so happy we didn’t cut it down as it was just so perfect. Someday the heart will be grown over again and a big healthy tree will remain, but it was perfect the year we got engaged and the year of the wedding.
This is a great bouquet!
The flowers were all Petal Floral’s Becca Olcott and they were gorgeous. I really love anemones and air plants and I just wanted something unique. I didn’t know what it would truly look like until it showed up at the house. The big flower is called a King Protea and it was beautiful but it was heavy! I had never held a bouquet before, I wish someone did a tutorial on that before weddings! I had to keep being reminded to hold it normally given the weight of it — the low hold was tricky!
We love your ring! Is it vintage?
Ross and his mother (and grandma too, I believe) picked out the engagement ring in Los Angeles and the band was vintage that we bought at Small Pleasures on Newbury. I’m addicted to that store and so was thrilled to find my band there. The gold one is actually a claw and open on one side, not a full band. I wanted a spacer between my band an engagement ring and I like mixing metals. It’s from a designer called Eva Fehren.
This is a really fun idea!
The jukebox was an idea we came up with because we didn’t really have the space or the set up for a band, but at the last minute we decided to have a band for the ceremony and reception/dinner.
So many people have told us that the band (The Goodtime Stringband) was their favorite part of the night so I’m so glad they were there! They were also so unbelievably nice. We were definitely unprepared for how much manual labor we needed the day of the wedding and the band ended up carrying out all of the furniture for the dinner after the ceremony and setting up the whole dining area on the lawn. It was not in their job description but they pitched in to help out my family above and beyond the call of duty!
How did you handle the meal portion of the night? Did you do a formal dinner?
We didn’t have a seating chart, which was so nice. People made new friends. The main course was a buffet and then we had tables with chairs, high tops and picnic blankets set out. It was about 115 people total.
Was this your version of guest book?
The stag head was a great idea and one that the wedding designer came up with. I believe it was from West Elm. It goes in our home well as we also have a paper mache rhino head. The stag is covered in people’s well wishes and them saying nice things about how much fun they had at the party.
The food — OMG. Tell us everything about the food.
We didn’t do a formal meal. The meat was cooked over the spit and so leading up to it being ready, we had a raw bar, created by Harris Welden at Pearl Restaurant and Oyster Bar in the town next to ours.
Jeremy and Jim [of Fire Roasted Catering] were the easiest people to work with. They did our rehearsal dinner as well. Even in the pouring rain they didn’t bat an eye, got the whole fire/spit going and made an amazing meal for our 115 guests. I have recommended them 100x since and am thrilled that my college roommate will be using them in June so I can enjoy their food again!
The caterers were also able to take advantage of the outdoor pizza oven my mom and dad built by hand a few years ago. I had always dreamed of having someone staff the oven to keep a constant flow of pizzas coming out and the team at Fire Roasted Catering delivered with many different pizzas that we also served as late night snacks.
The coffee makers are called Chemex. I wanted the coffee to be fresh, I’m not a fan of big cuppers of coffee that hold 50+ cups. These were a fun, personal alternative. They were brought by our caterers who were the absolute best.
Your lighting was beautiful. Who designed?
The lighting was incredible. I found an amazing vendor, Northern Outdoor Lighting, after some aggressive searching online. Bill, the owner, had never done event lighting before, his installations are permanent outdoor creations so this was new to him. I’m sure he thought I was crazy but he turned my vision into reality. My parents liked it so much that after the wedding they had him come back and make much of the tree and water feature lighting permanent.
And you had fireworks!
The fireworks were also terrific. We used Atlas Pyrotechnics and they are luckily based in the same town as our house so we were an easy stop at the end of their night. They were total pros. Came in, set it up, blasted it off on schedule, no drama. It was epic. I love being close to fireworks so you can feel them. I’m pretty sure our neighbors were less thrilled but we had invited them all to come watch. All I told the guys at Atlas was that I loved the ones that look like Weeping Willows and they obliged.
Any final words of advice for our soon-to-wed readers?
Everyone says it, but it goes by so fast. Don’t forget to see your new partner in all the excitement!
Kate & Ross’s vendor list:
Bride’s Gown: Reem Acra from L’Elite
Hair/Makeup: Maura from Beaucage
mStarr event design
New England Country Rentals
Outdoor Lighting: Northern Outdoor Lighting
Fire Roasted Catering
Hello Love Photography
And from Kate: A special shout out for saving the wedding should go to Public Service of New Hampshire. They weren’t a vendor, and we wished they’d never been, but when the transformer blew out 30 minutes before the ceremony, it was not ideal and they saved the day, getting it all fixed by the time the ceremony ended.