August 30, 2019

Penfield Pavilion, Fairfield

What Cheer Photo

Allison Derwallis and David Coombes both love the water. In fact, they met their freshman year at Alfred (New York) University and were on the swim teams together for four years. Both also happen to love the beach, Allison says, and when the time came, wanted a “relaxed,” “rustic,” beachy-keen kind of setting for their day of days. “We’re not very formal people,” Allison says. Indeed, one of the bride-to-be’s goals was to “not wear shoes for the day,” she laughs. Penfield Pavilion, set against the glorious blues and greens of Penfield Beach in Fairfield, turned out to be the ideal setting for their Aug. 30, 2019, toes-in-the-sand ceremony and reception.

Superstorm Sandy had not been kind to Penfield Pavilion, which remained closed for more than four years after suffering Sandy’s wrath, but reopened in 2017 after a massive $7.4 million renovation. The shining new pavilion’s arched cathedral ceiling and clean, modern feel gave Allison and David, who also happen to be quite the crafty couple, a “beautiful blank space” to make their own day.

Theirs was a “homemade wedding,” Allison says. David handcrafted everything from the handsome wood arbor under which the couple exchanged waterfront vows to the tables’ centerpiece lanterns to the wooden anchor the couple had their guests sign in lieu of a traditional guest book — and then recruited his groomsmen and family to bravely set everything up on the big day itself. (Yep, he’s a keeper!) The bride herself, who studied photography and graphic design at Alfred, designed everything from the invitation suite to the labels on the maple-syrup favors from the farm in Dansville, New York, where David popped the question. Said farm is owned by David’s best man, while a close friend who swam with the pair in college performed the ceremony for which Allison’s brother’s longtime girlfriend sang. Even the couple’s sweet pup, Riley, a 3-year-old Brittany spaniel who the proud bride and groom refer to as their “baby,” was briefly in attendance in order to get in some photos and enthusiastically “kiss” the bride properly herself.

In the end, it was an easy-breezy blue-sky day that suited the relaxed duo perfectly. “Everything is effortless with us,” the grateful bride says. “There’s no pretending; we are who we are. It’s just so easy.”

officiant: Sarah Weigel

day-of coordinator: Krista Frallicciardi, A Perfect Little Plan, New Canaan

dj: Dance to the Music, Wilton

soloist: Anna Muehlichen

keyboardist: Mike Stapleton

caterer: Fitzgerald’s Fine Catering, Bridgeport

florist: Flowers by Danielle, Trumbull

cake: Sweet Cakes, Fairfield

hair + makeup: CKC Salon, Fairfield

favors: Glen Havens Farms, Dansville, New York