Watch Hill Chapel & Ocean House

August 9, 2014

Kaitlin Kestenberg and David Messina both call Somers, New York, home but Kait’s family moved there while she was in high school, after David had left for New York University, so they didn’t meet immediately. “I was friends with Dave’s younger brother, and the summer before junior year, we were introduced at a summer party,” Kait says. “We became best friends, and a year after our introduction, he asked me on a date.”

He proposed in Paris. Dave says his hand shook as he wrote, “Engagement ring, please be discreet,” on a note and wrapped it around the ring box in his carry-on bag as he packed for the trip. “I hoped to keep the ring a secret until we arrived in Paris,” he says. “I wasn’t sure how I would propose, but the security checkpoint at JFK was not what I had envisioned. Luckily, it didn’t come to that.”

Instead, he proposed at the romantic Pont des Arts bridge, then known as the Eternal Love Bridge because thousands of couples had affixed padlocks to the railing and thrown the key into the Seine River as a sign of their commitment. As the couple searched for the perfect spot for their padlock, Dave let Kait walk ahead. “When she turned to tell me she had found the spot, I was on bended knee asking her to make me the happiest man in the world,” he says.

Kait’s family has a summer home in Quonochontaug, and she grew up on South County’s beaches. After they started dating, Dave’s family bought a home in South Kingstown. But their decision to marry in South County was made long before that. The bride says she watched the renovations to the historic Ocean House in Watch Hill, and told her parents she had to be married there someday. The ceremony before 120 friends and family was held at the Watch Hill Chapel, with the reception following at Ocean House. “The wedding was truly a dream come true,” Kait says.

She chose a Ramona Keveza Couture gown with a sweetheart neckline, mermaid and trumpet silhouette and layers of tulle with hand-sewn applique. “I fell in love with the beauty of the couture and the fantastic way the hand applique provided a very different and exciting look to the dress. It truly shimmered in the sunlight,” the bride says. Their cake was decorated to mimick the exquisite hand work.

The couple’s palette of coral, green and champagne decorated the chapel and chuppah, adding a soft, glowing pink for the reception. The night sky added to the glow. “We planned the wedding to be on a full moon, but did not know it would be a super moon, where the moon literally looked as though it filled the full sky,” the bride says.

They treasure the memories of their big day. As he took his first look at his soon-to-be wife, “I truly felt that all the stress of the day melted away at that moment and it was just the two of us together from that point forward,” Dave says. Kait recalls reading their vows — each written in secret — and how they had written such similar things about each other.

During the reception, they danced their first dance as man and wife to “Everything,” by Michael Bublé. “It equally captured the feelings for both of us,” she says. They honeymooned in Valencia and Barcelona, Spain, and make their home in New York City.

Their advice to South County couples? “Have fun! The best part of planning a wedding in South County is enjoying Rhode Island at the same time!”

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