October 5, 2013 | The Village Inn, Narragansett
Classmates Peter Espinal and Sarah Cohen met at Peking Tokyo on Fortin Road, near the University of Rhode Island campus. Peter and a friend were eating lunch following their political science class when Sarah walked in.
"Orange shorts blazing, she made her way to our table and proceeded to brag about a bruise on her leg she had gotten the night before, hopping the football fence," Peter says. "Our mutual friend introduced us and our lives were never the same." After graduation, the couple went house-hunting and had settled on a house in Warwick. "We returned to our apartment excited that we were about to purchase our first home," Sarah says. "As soon as we walked in, he left me for a minute and returned with a box and got down on one knee. He told me how happy he was that we were starting to form such an amazing future."
Since The Village Inn in Narragansett held special family memories for Sarah, it was a no-brainer for their fall nuptials. A native of New Jersey, Sarah and her family would often visit the Ocean State to see her grandfather, who lived at Miramar, a historic home on Ocean Road, near the hotel. "As kids, my siblings and I used to walk along the sea wall, count the ships out to sea, fish on the rocks and eats tons of Nana's Gelato," she says. "I had dreams of getting ready in that old gorgeous home and getting married right on the deck of the Village Inn."
Sarah's grandfather developed Alzheimer's disease and died shortly before she moved to Rhode Island. "I knew I had to be married at my favorite childhood location in honor of his memory," she says.
A Maggie Sottero gown with an ivory form-fitting bodice and sweetheart neckline, a corset back and tulle mermaid skirt, wasn't what she originally expected she'd wear. "I didn't think I'd go for all the tulle and lace, but I loved this dress was beyond my dreams — sexy, dramatic and elegant," she says.
A fall theme led their decision making, with a wine and ivory color scheme, including wine-colored, floor length, chiffon bridesmaids gowns with sweetheart necklines and corset backs. The groomsmen wore vintage tan suits with coordinating wine-colored ties.
A Fresh Cut provided the floral arrangements and bouquets — ivory roses and hydrangeas, white tulips, peach peonies and light green succulents, with an assortment of purple flowers — but only after the original floral shop went out of business a mere two weeks before the wedding. "I walked in hysterical," Sarah says of her first trip to A Fresh Cut. "The poor florist had no idea what she just got herself into. My face was bright red and I had tears streaming. She was so nurturing and loving; she immediately jumped to the rescue and saved the day."
Once everything was in order, Sarah and Peter shared vows on the deck of the Village Inn. "The smell of the sweet sea air and the gentle touch of the wind was so romantic," she says. "We were married at sunset, the perfect lighting." The aisle was covered with colorful fall leaves, and the flower girl tossed more as she walked down the aisle.
To decide who would take their vows first, Sarah and Peter engaged in a playful round of "Rock, Paper, Scissors" at the altar. Sarah's uncles, also newlyweds, read Bob Marley quotes during the ceremony. "There was no describing how much love was felt while listening to the readings," Sarah says. A citation from their friend, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, offered another special moment.
Guests were treated to a cocktail hour featuring Del's Lemonade, New England clam chowder and quesadillas, with a dinner of chicken Winchester and sliced tenderloin. Nana's Gelato, a nod to childhood memories, was served for dessert, along with a four-tiered wedding cake with spiced pumpkin flavor, chocolate ganache filling and hand-decorated with a cascading paisley design.
As dinner ended and the party began, the couple had their first dance to "How Deep is Your Love," a Bee Gees cover by the British pop group, Take That. "Sarah lived in England for two years when she was younger and absolutely loved this song," Peter says.
They honeymooned in the Dominican Republic, where Peter has family. Two weeks after the wedding, they put their wedding finery back on for a second round of photos. "I like to refer to it as "our take two," Sarah says. "We took pictures at Roger Williams Park in Providence. The foliage was perfect and we had all the time in the world."
The bride's advice? "Enjoy every minute of it. And I can't stress the importance of keeping records on every detail," she says. "Not just for the receipts, but one day, you will want to look back on everything and remember each step you took to get to that special day." She added, "On the wedding day focus on each other. His smile when he first sees you, the kiss you share and the vows promised."