Leigh & Brett: Gatsby Style at an Andover Mansion

by Allison Micarelli

Leigh Heffron and Brett Newton met in a classic New York minute: two singletons with intense jobs and fast-paced lifestyles slowed down long enough at a low-key pub (namely, Broome Street Bar) to chat over a beer.

THE BRIDE Leigh Heffron, a 29-year-old visual merchandiser
THE GROOM Brett Newton, a 36-year-old professional squash player
THE DATE July 19
THE SCENE Ceremony and reception at the Lanam Club in Andover.

A WHIRLWIND COURTSHIP They hit it off, started dating immediately, and were engaged a little over three years later. "I had just started a new job as a visual merchandiser at Saks Fifth Avenue, and my birthday fell only a few days after I had started. I didn't know anyone, and I didn't want to have lunch alone on my birthday, so Brett visited me on my lunch hour and took me out to Rockefeller Center," says Leigh. "He proposed over lunch."

LITERARY INSPIRATION In the middle of the ten months of wedding planning, the couple moved back to Boston and found it easy to plan the hometown wedding (she grew up in North Andover) from nearby. Leigh was able to share a lot of the planning with her mom-including the cake tasting that left them both in a sugar coma. "We wanted to achieve a modern-day Great Gatsby feel." Says Leigh. "I wanted a great big party that was as elegant as it was exciting and inviting." To achieve this, the couple rented and utilized the entire home for their celebration. "I loved the way that Gatsby's parties revolved around the mansion setting, and I wanted to use all the parts of the gardens and the mansion to their potential," says Leigh. She chose specific and boldly different color schemes for each room so that every aspect of the wedding would have a unique aesthetic and vibe.

A GARDEN CEREMONY The ceremony took place in the sunken Victorian-style garden at the club at around 4 p.m. Leigh and Brett were married under a huppah made of grape vine intertwined with yellow flowers. "I wanted the color to reflect light and happiness," says Leigh, who adds that her engagement ring is a yellow diamond, and she wanted to incorporate that in some special way. A very warm and personal ceremony delivered by a family friend who is a justice of the peace was partially written by the couple and incorporated Leigh's Jewish-American customs and Brett's Anglican-Australian heritage.

THE BRIDE WORE... The bride wore a Yumi Katsura kimono-style gown made of white duchesse satin with hand-embroidered details and a plunging V-neckline. Instead of a traditional veil, she adorned her hair with a silk flower custom-made by Yumi Katsura. Brett went for old-world elegance with an Italian summer-wool pale taupe suit with pale blue pinstripes; his father, the best man, wore a navy blue suit. Leigh's sister, the maid of honor, wore a Serafina yellow silk shantung dress; the bridesmaids were outfitted in Vera Wang yellow taffeta gowns. "I wanted the whole bridal party to not only love their gowns and the way they looked, but I wanted their dresses to reflect their unique personalities and individual sense of style," says Leigh. "So I let each girl pick out her own dress. The result was beautiful."

A GRAND CELEBRATION After the ceremony, a cocktail hour took place in the gardens and on the great lawn. A pianist played a grand piano inside while a string quartet played in the gardens. "I loved the way that as the sun went down, the votive candles that were hidden from view throughout the gardens were lit," says Leigh. "People had so many places to gather, dance, or even hide away and have a quiet talk." Next, dinner took place under a large white tent set up on the lawn in the back of the mansion, its sides spilling over into the gardens. Various shades of green, cream, and white (such as green and cream toile tablecloths, limes and kumquats in vases, and ivy cascading from the centerpieces) helped to achieve an elegant English-style garden party aura. Dancing took place in the main dining room inside the mansion. Here, the colors were bold and regal: purples, fuchsias, oranges, gold, and magenta warmed the space. Maroon and white toile linens looked striking against the warm oriental rugs and carved ceilings of the mansion. "I wanted everyone to feel they had taken a step back in time," says Leigh of the overall vintage aesthetic. And from the newlyweds' first dance to Barry White's "You're the First, the Last, My Everything," to the last song played (Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York"), the couple requested to keep the dancing going and the wine flowing.

--Allison Micarelli
photography © Alyssa Almeida Duncan

For the ingredients that make up this wedding, see right-hand column of this page.

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