Janie McGraw, Head of Customer Experience and Operations at Soludos, and Ned Pierrepont, Assistant Vice President at Marsh, met through mutual friends at an event in the Hamptons. Her first date was on the tennis court, and in August 2020, Ned proposed at her parents’ lake house in Lake Placid New York.
Shortly thereafter, they decided to get married at the Mill Reef Club in Antigua. “My grandmother, Jane Love, has been there for over 50 years and my parents took me with them for the first time when I was 9 months old,” recalls Janie. “I wanted to share this special place with Ned too.”
Because of the pandemic, the couple, like so many others, had no idea what might be possible in terms of travel restrictions and numbers. “We didn’t know what to expect,” says Janie. “We just knew we were going to get married on May 1st at the Mill Reef Club!” However, the health and safety of their guests has always been the most important factor when planning the wedding. Each guest was required to present a negative COVID test result upon arrival, and each was retested before attending the wedding. “The Mill Reef Club staff did an excellent job organizing the tests and following the required COVID protocols,” says Janie. “And of course we were so happy that the vaccine became available” [ahead of our wedding] and that more of our family and good friends could come to us on the weekend. “
Janie and Ned worked with Mary Thornton from Party Party Fairfield to help plan the entire wedding weekend. “She was the bridesmaid at my mother’s wedding,” says Janie. “Destination weddings are challenging, but she made the planning process so fun and easy – we really enjoyed working with her to bring our special day to life.”
Janie always knew she wanted to channel Carolyn Bessette on her wedding day, and that reference inspired her wardrobe for the weekend. “I looked at four different places before I found the perfect dress at Vera Wang, which also happened to be my mother’s wedding dress,” says Janie. “It was totally timeless and perfect for an Antigua wedding.” Since the dress itself was simple and sleek, Janie opted for a dramatic two-tier veil to add depth and complete the whole look. Her hair was tied back in a tight bun to accentuate the veil and she adorned it with Tiffany jewelry.
The fashion policy for the bridesmaids was that their look feel authentic to Antigua. To this end, they wore bespoke dresses from Coco Shop, an Antigua-based brand founded in 1949 that features beautiful local prints on the island. “I wanted to incorporate both green and yellow prints to bring out the flowery beauty of the island,” notes Janie. In the meantime, Ned and his groomsmen oriented themselves to the location and wore matching pink jackets with 5.1.21 embroidery on the collar and their initials on the inside of the jacket.
The ceremony took place on the golf course overlooking the water. “My father and I shared a nice 15-minute drive there, that was a special moment for me,” recalls Janie. “He noticed that I was getting nervous and kept telling me how proud he was of me.”
Around 5 p.m. it cooled down and luckily a cool breeze was blowing. “As soon as the ceremony began and I saw Ned and our closest relatives and friends, my nerves turned into excitement,” says Janie. “I could tell that Ned was fighting back tears and we both felt very present.”
A local minister who provided premarital counseling for the couple led the service. “She was so nice, and Ned and I felt like we got to know her really well,” says Janie. “We both decided to write our own vows in addition to reading the traditional vows.”
At the end of the ceremony, the wind picked up and in a dramatic, unplanned moment, Janie’s veil flew off her head. Fortunately, a crisis was averted when Janie’s sister earned maid of honor and caught her before she was completely blown away.
After the ceremony, the guests moved into the cocktail tent to enjoy light bites and grapefruit margaritas. Then, drinks in hand, they were sung about “When the Saints Go Marching In” as they went to the main tent for dinner and dancing. Before the fireworks show, Janie donned a feathered party dress from Cult Gaia and completed the look with Oscar de la Renta earrings and a high ponytail styled for the dance floor appearance. “It was a turbulent weekend,” she says. “And now we can hardly wait to start our life together.”