A week-long celebration
Sparks flew for Alana Segars and Gary DeBerry after three brief encounters over the 2005 Fourth of July weekend. They’re both longtime Island visitors from the New York area, but they had never met until the Vineyard finally brought them together. First, they noticed each other on the ferry from Woods Hole – though they didn’t speak. The next day Alana saw Gary playing basketball as she walked to the beach, and no words were exchanged then either. They were finally introduced when they both turned up at the same party that evening.
“And the rest is history,” Alana says. They became engaged in 2008 and started planning their Island wedding for the next summer. They wanted an outdoor, tented reception and chose Featherstone Center for the Arts, a nine-acre site in Oak Bluffs surrounded by sixteen acres of protected land. “Once we arrived, we knew this was going to be the place. The space and the culture made it an easy choice,” Gary says. Alana agrees, “We thought the grounds were beautiful – especially with the sculptures and the art gallery.”
The couple rented two houses across the street from each other in Oak Bluffs for the wedding week: one for Alana and her bridesmaids, and one for Gary and his groomsmen. “We couldn’t have been any luckier with the housing,” Gary says. “We would alternate between houses for places to eat and enjoy each other’s company.”
Many of the festivities took place in Oak Bluffs, and Alana’s mother handled most of the planning details, with help the week of the wedding from Doris Clark of Event Day Coordination. Alana says she found it challenging to come from the fast-paced environment of New York and find few options for vendors here, but what a week of events they had – a welcome reception at the Island Inn, a sunset dinner cruise with R & R Charter Services (based in Woods Hole) for the bridal party and parents, coed yoga at Inkwell Beach led by Sherry Sidoti of FLY Yoga, a basketball tournament, and a post-wedding brunch at (now-closed) Mediterranean restaurant. “It was only right that we had a basketball tourney considering all of the groomsmen played high school, college, and pro ball,” says Gary, who played in high school and at university. (And of course, there had been that sighting by Alana of Gary playing basketball the day they met.)
Guests were greeted with gift bags that reflected the special events. Everyone received a beach towel, snacks, maps, and a compilation CD of the bride and groom’s favorite music. Plus the basketball players got gym bags with jerseys, shorts, sneakers, and warm-up jackets.
For Friday’s rehearsal dinner, Alana and Gary headed up-Island for an indoor clambake for 50 guests in a private dining room at the Menemsha Inn. “Our rehearsal dinner food was magnificent,” Alana says. “We have friends that still talk about the lobsters.”
Saturday’s nuptials, which included a sand ceremony, were at the East Chop Lighthouse, where the bride’s mother thought parasols would be a practical way to keep the bridesmaids cool – plus they’d be photogenic. Afterward the wedding party arrived at Featherstone, where the drink of the day was a Sea Berry Cocktail, a blend of white cranberry, vodka, and mint syrup. “My mom and I came up with the name – it’s a combination of Segars and DeBerry as well as the ‘sea’ theme since we got married on an island,” Alana says. “The name turned out to be a hit and everyone refers to our wedding as the Sea Berry wedding.” Since Gary comes from a family of professional musicians, for the first dance his sister sang “My Funny Valentine,” accompanied by his mother on piano, his father on bass, and two of his uncles on drums and guitar. “That was a memorable moment, one I will never forget,” Gary says. “I wanted to serenade Alana with a piece on the alto sax but did not have enough prep time. I’m aiming for my performance for our five-year anniversary!”
Looking back, Alana says, “I think one of the best things we did to make our wedding memorable was invite everyone to MV for the week. A lot of people came up the week before our wedding, so we were able to spend time with our closest friends and party the whole week!”
And Gary agrees. “The beaches, night life, and the people on the Island are all positives. The thing I enjoyed was being able to reunite with my groomsmen and spend a full week with each other before the wedding, in Martha’s Vineyard – that was an easy sell.”
[Originally published in the 2010 issue of Martha's Vineyard Magazine's Island Weddings; reviewed for updates in 2012.]