Emily Walton and Joe Keating met during their senior year of college at Bentley University, and there was definitely an immediate attraction. “But while we continuously flirted throughout the year—with Joe making me study guides to try to impress me—it wasn’t until a year after graduation that we went on our first date,” Emily says. “After sharing margaritas, tacos, and many laughs until the restaurant closed up for the night, we quickly realized that this was forever.” Joe proposed five years later.
The Massachusetts couple knew they wanted to get married close to home, but didn’t want the “traditional Cape Cod” wedding, they say. Instead, they took inspiration from abroad. “Emily’s dad worked in Provence from 2005 to 2012, so the wedding design was influenced by her travels there as a pre-teen and teenager,” the couple shares. A private estate setting was just the ticket for the venue—and had a bonus element. “We wanted to be outside on the ocean and be able to spend the week with our family and friends, celebrating in a more relaxed setting for a longer period of time,” the couple shares. “The estate slept 19 people, with a Bay House next door for an additional 10, so a third of our wedding could stay with us on-site.”
They were planning a wedding in a historic time: Post-pandemic, 2022 was a record-breaking year for celebrations. “We got the last 2022 date for many of our vendors and feel so lucky that we did!” Joe and Emily share. It was stressful at points, but “we made it a priority to keep a positive and happy attitude throughout the process with an all-star team of vendors, family, and friends supporting us as we worked to create memories we would cherish for a lifetime.”
Hurricane Fiona roared through the region just days before the wedding, “but once it hit morning on Saturday, the sun was shining and the winds calmed down just in time for the first look,” the couple remembers. “We knew someone was looking out for us that day!”
Read on to see all the romantic details from their French garden wedding, planned by Jessica Hennessey Weddings and photographed by Stephanie Vegliante.
Emily’s glam was natural but romantic, accented with a pop of the perfect nude pink on her lip: Charlotte Tilbury’s Pillow Talk. “I liked how my veil looked better with an updo, and being on the ocean, I wanted my hair out of my face in case of a windy day,” she adds.
She was torn between two gowns: a simple A-line style and the tulle and lace Madi Lane she ultimately chose. “The bridal consultant at Allegria Bridal pointed out I was smiling every time I put this gown on,” Emily says. “It had such a romantic feel.” She added a little something blue with a pair of Loeffler Randall shoes in a French blue hue.
Joe went blue, too, in a classic navy tuxedo with a black lapel. He accessorized with cufflinks from Emily’s grandfather and cheeky Negroni socks he also gifted to the groomsmen.
A first look was scheduled into the day specifically to help calm the couple’s nerves, and give them a chance to exchange personal vows ahead of the ceremony. It also, unexpectedly, provided a good laugh. “Joe’s button to his tuxedo burst, and our planner had to go swap a groomsman’s jacket with Joe’s,” Emily remembers. “We both had a laugh, and it broke the ice for the rest of the day.”
Beautiful bouquets abounded with locally grown dahlias, lisianthus, and cosmos—plus garden roses, ranunculus, and delphinium sourced from afar. Shades of apricot, blush, and blue and soft textural touches made for a beautiful palette and complemented the French blue bridesmaids’ gowns.
Garden-style floral arrangements evoked the French countryside for the couple’s seaside ceremony. “There was a full, lush floral garden arch with delicate color blocking, complementary aisle runners, and a nontraditional ceremony chair layout for a more intimate feel,” planner Jessica Hennessey shares. “Snapdragons were added to represent Emily’s late grandmother.”
“Both my mom and my dad walked me down the aisle,” Emily shares. “I am an only child and we are very close.”
Her uncle officiated the personal ceremony, which was accompanied by live musicians playing classical music. “After the ceremony was complete, we went back to the house and enjoyed a brief moment together,” Emily shares. “The catering staff brought us each a signature drink and one of every appetizer so we could sit and relax before cocktail hour. It was such a special moment together, and we were relieved that the hard part was over and we just had a fun party to enjoy!”
Meanwhile, their 111 guests found escort cards on a toile wallpapered custom wall lined with spices—specifically, take-home favor jars of Herbs de Provence.
The reception vision? “Flowers—everywhere,” Emily says. Floral installations included trellis’ above the dance floor and the U-shaped head table, smilax-lined bistro lighting, living floral runners cascading down tables, and centerpieces accented by candlelight. At each place setting, a handmade paper menu with torn edges was tucked into a French blue napkin.
After our first dance, we had a mini dance party before dinner—would 100 percent recommend!
The newlyweds made their entrance and danced to “Grow Old With Me” by Tom Odell. “After our first dance, we had a mini dance party before dinner,” Emily shares. “We wanted to get everyone off their feet and having fun before we sat down for speeches and food. Everyone commented that it was such a great moment to break the ice and have fun together to kick the night off. Would 100 percent recommend!”
Pastel buttercream florals were created with a palette knife on their peanut butter chocolate cake (there was even Reese’s in the frosting!). They added a French touch to dessert by also serving macarons in flavors like lemon, latte, and raspberry rose.
“It was very important to us that we had a unique menu that reflected our palates,” the couple shares. “When planning our wedding, we wanted our food to be the highlight, as we love cooking! Our caterer, William Ference, set up an incredible display of freshly carved meats, pastas sautéed to order, and vegetables.” The couple hand-selected wines from France and Italy to pair with the meal.
It was the perfect French wedding, and the newlyweds capped it off with a honeymoon in—where else?—Provence.