Tessa & Al

Tessa and Al kept one thing in mind while planning their wedding: the couple sets the tone.

When Tessa Bramhall and Al Culbertson were planning their June wedding, they kept one piece of advice in mind: the couple sets the tone. The tone they wanted to convey was that of an all-out celebration full of fun, love, and family, so they started the reception with an unconventional first dance pick: “Best of My Love” by The Emotions.

Even the tall grasses in the up-Island field where they were married seemed to celebrate, dancing in high winds.

The couple met in 2015 in Boston through mutual friends, and connected over their shared Vineyard ties. Al grew up spending summers in Edgartown and on Chappaquiddick, while Tessa grew up spending time with family up-Island.

“We definitely wanted to keep the Island spirit in the wedding,” Tessa said.

In a nod to Al’s childhood summers, a rehearsal dinner/welcome party was held at the Chappaquiddick Beach Club, with the Edgartown Lighthouse as a backdrop and Rick Bausman’s Beetlebung Steel Band providing the music.

Their wedding ceremony and reception took place at Tessa’s family’s property in West Tisbury, where a long winding aisle of mown grass led to a clearing dubbed the “chapel in the field.” The couple exchanged vows in front of an arbor handmade by Al and Tessa’s father, Everett, using beechwood from a tree in Tessa’s paternal grandparents’ yard. The newlyweds walked back down the aisle to another cheeky song choice: “You Can Call Me Al” by Paul Simon.

“The most memorable moment was walking down the aisle in the beginning and walking back with Al at the end,” Tessa said.

Beyond the kickoff first dance, other touches set a bright, happy vibe, from vibrant floral bridesmaid dresses to orange, yellow, pale pink, and white flowers that adorned the reception tents.

While the couple worked with a month/day-of coordinator, planning the wedding was largely a family affair. Tessa’s mother, Judy, took the lead; she also hand-painted guests’ names on rocks the couple collected from the beach for place settings. One of Al’s mother’s best friends made beach cabana centerpieces for the rehearsal dinner.

“There was a lot of love,” Al said. “It’s really cool when you see all these people coming together for something. It brings this beautiful essence of family and love and celebration.”


Ceremony + Reception: Private Home
Photographer: Joe Mikos

Month/Day-Of Planner: Plan It Martha’s Vineyard
Caterer: Kitchen Porch
Cake: Val Cakes
Music: The Sultans
Flowers: Tea Lane Farm
Tent + Party Supplies: Big Sky Tent and Party Rentals
Transportation: ResortMan
Hair + Makeup: Sea Spa Salon
Invitations: Rabbit Rabbit Design House
Brunch Caterers: Back Door Donuts + Chilmark Coffee Co.
Rehearsal Dinner + Welcome Party: Chappaquiddick Beach Club
Welcome Party Music: The Beetlebung Steel Band – Rick Bausman
Honeymoon: Indonesia
Their Best Advice: Even if you do most of the planning yourself, consider hiring a day-of/week-of coordinator for help with final touches and execution on the day of the wedding.