Larisa Stinga


Von & Steven

July 2, 2015
Ceremony: Private Home
Reception:  The Outermost Inn

Von Tate, a singer, tells the story of the night she met her husband like this. She had recently started working at B.B. King’s Blues Club in New York City and was catching a show on her night off. The room was packed, standing-room only, but she spied an empty seat next to a “Paul Newman lookalike” and introduced herself. They talked for hours about politics, religion, and their North versus South upbringings. “We could not be more different, but were the same at the core. It was unbelievable; it was magical. I was hooked. I was madly in love.”

Steven Willis, a recently divorced banker enjoying a rare night out on the town, tells it like this. “I went to a blues club in New York City one cold Wednesday night in February and ended up meeting the woman of my dreams.”

The couple dated for three years before getting engaged among the redwoods in California. They planned to have a traditional wedding there, but wanted an intimate, low-key ceremony beforehand. “We wanted something really natural and not really labored and really relaxed,” said Von. Steven said Martha’s Vineyard would fit the bill.

They chose a large rental house in Aquinnah with space for the ceremony and their guests, and spent a week riding bikes around Aquinnah, swimming in the ocean, drinking mimosas, and eating oysters. “Everyone really relaxed,” said Von. “They were the most relaxed I've ever seen them.”

On the day of the wedding, Von wore a long sleeve white T-shirt and tutu. Steven wore a linen shirt and pants from Ralph Lauren. At the last minute, Von swapped out the daisy bouquet she had planned to use for a handful of sunflowers, adding a pop of color to her entrance. They stood before their best friends, Steven’s son and brother, and two Wheaton terriers, and said their vows on the lawn of the rental home. Then it was off to the Outermost Inn for dinner and drinks.

“Do the thing you see when you close your eyes,” Von advised brides-to-be. “When I closed my eyes, I could see how I was supposed to be with my husband and it became easier. Don't labor over it too much. You start by choosing the right partner….it falls into place from there.”


Wedding Planner: My Vineyard Concierge
Photographer: Larisa Stinga
Cake: Dairy Queen
Music: Olivier Marchond via the Ceremony Music Source
First Dance: "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"
Flowers: Morrice Florist
Wedding Attire + Jewelry: Von wore an Ann Taylor blouse and costume tutu; jewelry from Island Importer. Steven wore a Ralph Lauren shirt and pants.
Rehearsal Dinner: Private Home
Rehearsal Dinner Caterer: Tobias Shepard + Vineyard Sound Raw Bars
Honeymoon: Croatia