Nicole & Alex

by Margaret Daniel

July 9, 2022 // The Cloister, Sea Island Resort

This Manhattan couple escaped the hustle of New York to say “I do” underneath The Cloister’s storied oak and terracotta canopy

Photography by KELLI BOYD
Event Planner: TARA SKINNER WEDDINGS & EVENTS

Nicole “Nikki” Amthor was looking for plans after a work event one Thursday evening in 2018 as she stepped onto the Manhattan sidewalk. Meanwhile, Alex Tan, huddled with his friends, immediately noticed the statuesque brunette amid the sea of passersby — so much so that his friend Jameson Wachtell observed Alex’s enchantment, waltzed up to Nikki and brokered an introduction. “Alex was a little embarrassed, but he invited me to go with his friends to get a drink,” Nikki says.

She happily assented. Then, after drinks at The Wren plus two-and-a-half years of dating — including stints spent at Alex’s Bay area home in California and with Nikki’s family in Jacksonville, Florida, during New York’s strict COVID lockdowns — the couple enjoyed a dreamy proposal at California’s Montage Healdsburg in August 2021.

“Remote work was in full swing, so we were spending time with his family, and I didn’t have [a proposal] on my mind at all,” Nikki recalls. “We went to have drinks, just the two of us, at this beautiful pavilion with life-size Jenga. As I placed my final block on top, lo and behold, he was behind me on one knee. I was so surprised.”

With wedding venues backlogged in New York and California, the couple turned their attention farther afield, landing on The Cloister at Sea Island Resort. “We grew up going to their sister resort in Colorado, The Broadmoor,” Nikki says. “It became such an obvious choice to select a property we knew was tried-and-true, somewhere that felt like an extension of our backyard.”

To the bride’s amazement, the resort had a perfect summer Saturday available, and she signed for July 9, 2022.

To kick off the weekend, the groom’s mother, Christina Tan, collaborated with wedding planner Hannah Perry (Tara Skinner Weddings & Events) and Sea Island’s Senior Event Design Manager Caroline Weidhaas.

Together, the trio dreamed up a “Serena & Lily in Cabo San Lucas” dinner party complete with Baha-inspired taco and margarita bars set against a backdrop of fresh citrus in woven baskets and vases of brilliant orange birds of paradise and orchids.

“We wanted the rehearsal dinner to feel like a pivot from what was to come at the wedding. We did not want to duplicate any colors that would be used at the wedding, and, with it being July, we wanted to have tropical influence in the florals.”

— Caroline Weidhaas,
SEA ISLAND SENIOR EVENT DESIGN MANAGER

“We wanted the rehearsal dinner to feel like a pivot from what was to come at the wedding,” Weidhaas says. “We did not want to duplicate any colors that would be used at the wedding, and, with it being July, we wanted to have tropical influence in the florals.”

“I am very blessed to have a very stylish mother and mother-in-law,” Nikki says. “We sometimes joke that, in some past life, Christina was an event planner because she nails every detail.”

The next day was a classic, formal affair. For the ceremony, Nikki donned an intricately beaded gown from Carolina Herrera’s Spring 2019 collection and carried a petite bouquet of lilies of the valley.

“The dress felt like the perfect nod to the chinoiserie accents we wanted to include,” Nikki says of the homage to Alex’s Chinese American heritage. “[It was] the right balance of sleek and dramatic.”

After the vows, guests followed a bagpiper to the resort’s Mizner Ballroom, which Perry and Weidhaas’ teams transformed into a verdant garden of lime trees, white lisianthus, roses, Canterbury bells and plentiful olive greenery pouring out of terracotta vessels, blue and white ginger jars and cascading down from the chandeliers.

“My family is Italian, so the olive branch not only symbolizes the joining of two families and peace, but I also wanted it to feel like a garden party inside the ballroom,” Nikki says.

The requested greenery appeared again on the pièce de résistance — an arched canopy soaring above the head table and mimicking the ballroom’s six towering, arched windows.

“Right off the bat, we really got to know the couple, the things that are important to them. We are not afraid to go left field and reinvent the wheel with the design concept,” Perry says of the chinoiserie-meets-Mediterranean soirée.

Before enlivening the ballroom with hours of dancing and karaoke, attendees enjoyed a three-course meal crafted by the Sea Island culinary team, finished with a coconut wedding cake and chocolate-peanut butter groom’s cake.

“I am still dreaming of the cake their pastry team provided for our wedding,” Nikki says.

After departing in a golf cart, fizzing sparklers surrounding them, the couple enjoyed a picturesque honeymoon at the Château de la Messardière in Saint Tropez, followed by stays in Gordes and Paris, before returning to Manhattan to begin married life.

Looking back, the couple remains enchanted by their colorful, classic festivities. “I think anyone planning a wedding during the 2020 era is in a league of their own,” Nikki says of the process, which shed much of its stress once the Tara Skinner and Sea Island events teams got involved.

“We hope to bring our children to Sea Island in years to come,” Nikki adds.

DETAILS

  • Date: July 9, 2022
  • Planner: Tara Skinner Weddings & Events
  • Photography: Kelli Boyd Photography
  • Ceremony: The Cloister, Sea Island Resort
  • Reception: Mizner Ballroom, Sea Island Resort
  • Florals: The Vine
  • Ceremony music: Music by Pegge
  • Reception music: Legacy Band
  • Cake: Sea Island Catering
  • Catering: Sea Island Catering
  • Rehearsal dinner: The Cloister, Sea Island Resort
  • Hair and makeup: Meg Workman Beauty
  • Nikki’s attire: Carolina Herrera gowns; Jimmy Choo and Stuart Weitzman shoes
  • Wedding party attire: Johanna Ortiz; Staud; Rhode; Show Me Your Mumu
  • Rentals: The Vine; Tara Skinner Weddings & Events
  • Stationery: Studio R Designs
  • Number of guests: 135

Find more Real Weddings stories and wedding planning resources in our 2023-24 issue of Southern Coastal Weddings.