We were so honoured to have one of our brides, Tamara featured in the latest issue of MARTHA STEWART Weddings Magazine. Read more about this beautiful wedding below.
Tamara McCarthy and Brett Nidel knew they would eventually get married within a week of meeting. Tamara was born in Dublin, grew up on Spain’s Canary Islands, and came to New York City for a semester during college to study design. She rented an apartment down the street from friends of Brett, a born-and-raised New Yorker. The two met by chance one night; however, the pair didn’t reconnect until a few years later when Tamara graduated from college in Ireland and officially moved to NYC. Brett’s friends put them in touch again, and, as the saying goes, the rest is history. “Honestly, after Tamara got an apartment that she stayed in for a total of about one week, we moved in with each other—no more than four weeks after!” says Brett
A year and a half later, right before Tamara’s mom was coming to visit, Brett planned to propose. He took great measures when it came to Tamara’s engagement ring: he stole a different band from her closet to get the piece sized correctly and he even turned off the locater app on his iPhone whenever he went to the jeweler. However, despite his sneaky tactics, the surprise proposal almost fell apart—twice! First, after Brett asked Tamara’s mom permission to pop the question, she accidentally emailed her daughter to express excitement about the plan. Brett reacted quickly and told Tamara not to look at the email because it gave details of a (nonexistent) surprise birthday party planned for her during an upcoming vacation to the Canary Islands. The second close call came after Brett told his father and stepmom about the proposal. When Tamara walked in the room afterwards, Brett’s father was so excited that he slipped and said, “Well I guess congratulations are due…” Brett improvised something like, “That her mom is coming to visit?” and avoided spoiling the surprise once mor
In the end, everything played out smoothly. “I was shaking with nerves but it was the happiest moment of my life. She said yes!” says Brett.
He and Tamara journeyed to the bride’s childhood home of Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, for a destination wedding on September 13, 2014. About 120 guests from all over the world attended the rustic and modern ceremony, which had a color palette of charcoal, kraft brown, and gold. The big day joined two cultures, two languages, and two religions—and not to mention two people—together in a very memorable way.
Since Tamara holds her childhood home of Gran Canaria close to her heart, the New York City-based couple chose to get married on the Spanish island. The ceremony and reception took place at Finca Condal Vega Grande, a restored manor house that embodies the traditional architecture of the location. Although the Canary Islands was a long plane ride for the couple’s American guests, other invitees didn’t have to travel far: 40 hailed from Spain and the rest came from Ireland and other nearby countries.
Tamara, a graphic designer, created the stationery and the couple’s “13” logo—the number signified the wedding date of September 13 and also represents good luck in Brett’s Jewish faith. El Calotipo screen-printed and letterpressed Tamara’s design onto each piece of stationery. The suite also introduced a feather motif that appeared throughout the wedding to symbolize the fauna on Gran Canaria.
Did Tamara try on a lot of gowns? “I think that’s an understatement!” she says. “I tried on every gown in the city.” As a real estate broker, Brett had recently helped designer Karen Willis Holmes set up her first bridal boutique stateside, and Karen helped Tamara finally land the dress of her dreams. “I was her first U.S. bride, and meeting her was just meant to be,” says Tamara. During her dress hunt, the bride-to-be avoided all strapless and poofy numbers. However, when she realized that the style of gown she sought didn’t suit her body type, she ended up with none other than a strapless, poofy dress. Tamara completed her look with strappy sandals by Manolo Blahnik (a fellow Canarian), a veil by Karen Willis Holmes, and her custom Shine Jewelers engagement ring.
In order to maximize time with their guests, Tamara and Brett decided to have a first look and take portraits before the ceremony. The couple spent a few heartfelt moments together, and then photographer Pablo Beglez whisked them away in a small car and drove five minutes down the coast on a bumpy road. “He hadn’t told us this little plan, but he had scouted an incredible landscape, which is really representative of the island, to take pictures in,” says Tamara. “These are some of our favorite photos of the two of us.”
Officiant Lynn Levy, Brett’s godmother, mixed the couple’s cultures, languages, and religions to create a personalized and unique ceremony. The bride and groom lit candles, which is normally done in a Catholic mass, but added a Jewish twist of using them to honor those that couldn’t be there, including Brett’s close childhood friend, grandparents, and Tamara’s father. The couple also incorporated the seven blessings rather than traditional Bible readings. At the end of the ceremony, Brett participated in the Jewish wedding ritual of breaking the glass.
As a shout-out to their wedding destination, Tamara and Brett served Canarian food made by Gamonal. On the menu was cheese salad with berry vinaigrette, herbed steak with vegetables, grilled cherne (white fish) with grilled potatoes and vegetables, and white chocolate mouse with passion fruit. Later in the night, churros with chocolate provided a pick-me-up for hungry dancers. Guests also enjoyed a vanilla wedding cake baked by a family friend.
Tamara credits the dinner as the most memorable moment of the day. “I looked up and saw a mix of people that have touched my life in different stages all coming together—people from my childhood in Spain, my college life in Ireland, and my new life in the USA,” she says.
Tamara and Brett danced to “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong. “Dancing outside in the beautiful weather under those lights to that gorgeous song, and feeling so in love, was a dream,” says the bride, who added that the song was a favorite of her father’s.
Toward the end of the evening, the wedding party grabbed some chairs and hoisted the bride and groom up for the hora. Guests danced to jazz and world music well into the night, with some partying until 5 a.m. “The late bus was pretty lively. Some English-versus-Spanish song wars broke out, and some people even went to the clubs afterward!” says Tamara.
Photography: Pablo Beglez
Location: Finca Condal Vega Grand
Stationery Printing: El Calotipo
Hair: Mari Carmen Sosa of Salon Mari Carmen
Makeup: Angel Marquez Artiles of Bobbi Brown