Janie McGraw, head of customer experience and operations at Soludos, and Ned Pierrpont, deputy vice president of a private equity firm, met through mutual friends at an event in the Hamptons. Their first date was on the tennis court, and in August 2020, Ned proposed to his parents’ lake house in Lake Placid New York.
They decided soon after that they wanted to get married at the Mill Reef Club in Antigua. “My grandmother Jane Love has been going there for over 50 years and my parents first took me there when I was 9 months old,” recalls Janie. “I also wanted to share this special place with Ned.”
Due to the pandemic, the couple, like so many others, had no idea what might be possible in terms of restrictions and number of trips. “We didn’t know what to expect,” Janie says. “We just knew we wanted to get married on May 1st at the Mill Reef Club! With that said, the health and safety of their guests has always been the most important consideration when planning the wedding. Each guest was required to present a negative COVID test result once arrived, and everyone was tested again before attending the wedding. “The staff at the Mill Reef Club have done an outstanding job in organizing the testing and following the necessary COVID protocols,” Janie said. “And, of course, we were so happy that the vaccine was available [ahead of our wedding] and that more of our family and good friends could join us for the weekend.
Janie and Ned worked with Party Party Fairfield’s Mary Thornton to plan the entire wedding weekend. “She was a bridesmaid at my mom’s wedding,” Janie says. “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 coincidentally was also where my mother’s wedding dress came from,” says Janie. “It was totally timeless and perfect for a wedding in Antigua.” Since the dress itself was simple and elegant, Janie decided to go for a dramatic two-tiered veil to increase the set and complete the entire look. Her hair was pulled into a tight bun to emphasize the veil, and she accessorized with Tiffany jewelry.
The fashion guideline for bridesmaids was that their appearance be authentic in Antigua. To that end, they wore custom dresses from Coco Shop, an Antigua-based brand founded in 1949 that features beautiful local island prints. “I wanted to incorporate green and yellow prints to highlight the floral beauty of the island,” notes Janie. Meanwhile, Ned and his groomsmen took inspiration from the spot and wore matching pink jackets with 5.1.21 embroidered on the collar and their initials inside the jacket.
The ceremony took place on the golf course overlooking the water. “My dad and I shared a nice 15 minute car ride there, which was a special moment for me,” Janie recalls. “He could tell I was starting to get nervous and kept telling me how proud he was of me.”
It cooled down around 5:00 PM tee time and luckily there was a cool breeze. “As soon as the ceremony started and I saw Ned, our closest family and friends, my nerves turned to excitement,” Janie said. “I could tell that Ned was fighting back tears, and we both felt very present with each other.”
A local minister who provided the couple with pre-marriage counseling officiated the service. “She was so adorable, and Ned and I felt we really got to know her really well,” Janie says. “We both decided to write our own vows in addition to reading the traditional vows.”
At the end of the ceremony, the wind started to pick up and in an unforeseen dramatic moment, Janie’s veil flew from her head. Fortunately, a crisis was averted when Janie’s sister gained her bridesmaid status and grabbed her before she collapsed completely.
After the ceremony, guests moved to the cocktail tent for light bites and grapefruit margaritas. Then, with drinks in hand, they heard a serenade with “When the Saints Come in” as they made their way to the main tent for dinner and dancing. Before the fireworks, Janie donned a Cult Gaia feathered evening gown and finished the look with Oscar de la Renta earrings and a high ponytail, designed to hit the dance floor. “It was a weekend whirlwind,” she says. “And now we can’t wait to start our life together.”