A Winter Wedding in the Country
Amy Mellen, creative director of Calvin Klein Home, dreams up a snowy celebration in an idyllic New England setting
In November 2012, on the heels of a hard breakup, Amy Mellen made her way to her childhood best friend’s house in Maine to clear her mind—and ended meeting David Wimmer, her future husband. “I’d asked Jenny to invite friends over to lighten the mood,” says Mellen, who has been the creative director of Calvin Klein Home since 2009. “I showed up heartbroken—it had been exactly a week since the breakup—and there was David. It was basically love at first sight.”
Almost two years to the day from their first meeting, Wimmer proposed to Mellen at her country house in Kent, Connecticut, where the couple often spent their weekends along with Wimmer’s three boys. Planning a wedding in the area was a no-brainer, but the two wanted to do it quickly. Luckily, Mellen already had the location in mind: the over-200-year-old home of her college roommate Natalie Randall, who owns the garden sculpture and antiques store R.T. Facts. Randall and her husband, Greg, had purchased the house in 2007 from the grandchildren of Theodore Woolsey, a former president of Yale University. It had been in Woolsey’s family for 150 years and needed a gut renovation. Says Randall: “When we bought it, Amy said, ‘If I ever get married, I’m doing it here.’ Like us, she could see the potential.” What’s more, a picturesque one-room church (originally a schoolhouse) was located directly behind the Randalls’ home. “I love the idea of people walking to the reception,” says Mellen.
With just three months to prepare, the rest of the details came together speedily. Mellen’s mother made the wedding invitations; her friend Amanda Bupp, co-owner of the Graham & Co. hotel in Phoenicia, New York, did the flowers—a mix of anemones, ranunculus, delphiniums, spray roses, sweet peas, grape hyacinth, and olive branches, arranged in a free-form, organic style. “I adore white flowers, but it’s so pretty to have color when it’s winter,” Mellen explains.
The ceremony was held at the tiny St. Peter’s Church on a snowy Saturday afternoon. The bride, wearing a simple, diaphanous silk Houghton dress and Prada shoes, carried a nosegay of violets. The groom and his sons wore Calvin Klein. “It was such an awesome bonus to meet someone who has kids,” says Mellen. “It was important to include them [in the wedding], and they were so psyched. They picked out their own ties and got into it.” To serenade the couple during the ceremony, 15-year-old Isaac learned to play the Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun” on his acoustic guitar. Just as the sun began to set, the party exited the church to the tunes of a bagpipe player—a Mellen family tradition for all big events—who accompanied them down the snow-bordered path to the reception. (Mellen donned a silk Calvin Klein Collection coat for the short journey.)
Back at the Randalls’ home, three wood-burning fireplaces on the ground floor welcomed guests and set the tone for an event that felt personal and unstuffy, just as Mellen had hoped. The house—clearly owned by collectors—was already layered with heirlooms and eclectic objets, and little additional decor beyond flowers and candles was needed. The conservatory, usually occupied by a large dining table and abundant plants, was converted into a party-ready room with high-top tables and a vintage disco ball, an impromptu addition to a festive scene.
Pulling off a wedding in just three months—and in the middle of February—might deter even the most ambitious bride. But Mellen remained clearheaded throughout. “My role at Calvin Klein helped me realize that little issues aren’t the end of the world,” she says. By prioritizing personal touches and remaining focused on the intimacy of the occasion, she created a beautifully curated event for her family and friends to remember.