Ellen McKee and Michael Staebler had a “Brady Bunch” first date. “Each of us had two children from previous marriages,” the bride says. “We had our first date with the children at Mike’s house. We had pizza.”
The evening was a success, in part because the youngest children, then 8-year-olds Julia and Aiden, were already good friends, and the older children, Jack and Kathryn, were both 11.
They were engaged Memorial Day 2013. Mike’s proposal came during a blended family trip to Deer Isle, Maine, where they spent the weekend at Ellen’s best friend’s family home. “We had all gone together the year before. Mike had planned on asking me there during a huge annual party,” Ellen says. “I had no idea of his plan, but it was perfect. I got to tell my best friend and have our silly giggles, and then we gathered all of the children (eight, including the host family’s children) and told them together. It was the best response ever!”
Ellen describes the weather that weekend in the old Victorian home surrounded by the ocean as “wet and fidget,” but nothing could put a damper on their celebration. “Sunday night, we had a big Maine lobster dinner and the older family members put two lobster statues on the table decorated as a bride and groom.”
Those became the centerpiece at their wedding at The Dunes Club in Narragansett on Sept. 22, 2013. “The Dunes Club is very special to me as I grew up in South County,” Ellen says. “It is my home and nothing is more beautiful.”
The bride chose a one-shoulder Jenny Yoo gown with an asymmetrical bottom and a beautiful beaded belt. “I wanted something simple,” the bride says. “I came across this dress online, but the only place to see it was in Connecticut. I did not want to make a big deal out of the dress, so I looked locally, but I always went back to this dress.”
Mike wore Nantucket Reds and the groomsmen Vineyard Vines. Ellen allowed the bridesmaids to pick the dresses they wanted, and left the color scheme open. “It was just loads of different colors.”
The morning of the wedding was overcast. The ceremony was to be held outside, and the club staff asked if they wanted to move it inside. “We all agreed we would wait it out,” Ellen says. “Minutes before the ceremony started, the sun came out and it was perfect.”
The reception featured lobster salad, a raw bar, and turkey and prime rib stations. For dessert, there were Key Lime tarts, chocolate roulade and a Tiramisu ice cream sundae bar. The couple danced their first dance as Mr. and Mrs. Staebler to their special song, Adele’s “Make You Feel My Love,” and spent their honeymoon on Martha’s Vineyard.
“Having all of our children with us during the ceremony and the amazing weather — it was just the best day ever,” the bride says. “So much happiness!”