Fashion photographer Dean Isidro and Nicholas Holder, a sales direct at a cybercrime and fraud protection company, were both technically “off the market” when they met, so go to know each other as friends first. “A couple years later, life brought us back together,” Nicholas remembers. This time around, there was a puppy—Nicholas’s Great Pyrenese/Spanish Mastiff mix—to add to the equation. “Dean was the first person who watched Luca while I was on a work trip to California, and within a few seconds of meeting her for the first time, she crawled up into his arms and fell asleep on his chest,” Nicholas says. “I knew it was a done deal after that!”
“Luca Belle really brought us together in a way that has bonded us ever since,” Dean adds.
Because they were able to get to know one another platonically before officially dating, the proposal happened fairly quickly. “We had been officially dating for just over a year when Dean asked me to marry him on the last day of 2019,” Nicholas remembers.
“I was certain early on that it was just a matter of time before I would propose to Nicholas,” Dean admits. “He fit so perfectly and stepped right in with my NY family in a way that was so nonchalant and effortless.”
Nicholas had just gotten home from visiting his family in Wisconsin over Christmas break. “It was one of those super mild December days, and we decided to take the dog to our favorite beach—The Cut in Bridgehampton,” Nicholas recalls. “Dean wanted to take a photo of me as the sun was going down. I had my back to him, and when I turned around, I noticed Luca had on an indigo collar on with beautiful bows and a box. She ran up to me and as I started to open the box a handmade bracelet fell out with beads spelling, ‘Will u marry me?’ Once I got past the shock and noticed the ring, I immediately started crying and hugging him…I think I forgot to say yes.”
Before the pandemic, the plan was always to get married where Dean’s best friend, LoveShackFancy founder Rebecca Hessel Cohen, got married 10 years before—at her mom and dad’s in Watermill, New York, surrounded by an apple orchard and centered in a field of wild grasses. “The natural beauty of Rebecca’s mom Nancy’s property can only be summed up by two words, romantically enchanting,” Nicholas says. “When COVID happened, it threw everything into uncertainty. The only thing that was certain come early May was that we had canceled whatever plans had been made and accommodations had been booked for family and friends. We spent the summer really in limbo and just trying to be present. We only saw our quarantine pod—a.k.a. Rebecca and her family—getting together every once in a while for a socially-distanced dinner or drink. Summer came and almost went and it was during one of those dinners in early August that Rebecca really encouraged us to stick to our plan. ‘Love wins,’ she said, and boy did we need a reason for some love! So we decided to scale back and bring our pod and our closest friends together for an intimate dinner celebration and official ceremony.”
Once the decision had been made to move forward, they had exactly 10 days to plan the wedding. Because it was essential to make sure their guests were comfortable and that they bring people together in the safest way possible, an all outdoor environment was critical. “So much so that four days out when the weather called for rain, we had to make the decision to push the date back one day to August 30, 2020,” Nicholas explains. “Maybe not so surprisingly, everyone was still able to make it—including the over 75+ guests joining the celebration virtually.”
The aesthetic—from the clothes to flowers—was clean, white, simple, and organic. The day before the wedding, the vibe took on an additional direction, though, when Rebecca found the perfect dress. She was shopping with her mom, Nancy, in East Hampton, when they walked past the Ralph Lauren store and saw this beautiful indigo dress draped over a chair in the window display. “Dean has always had a passion for indigo dyeing so it seemed only natural to incorporate more of these hues into the aesthetic,” Nicholas says. “One of the most special moments was watching Dean and Nancy indigo dye vintage lace and LoveShackFancy tablecloth prints to add a whole new depth and layer to the reception table set-up.”
For their own looks, Nicholas and Dean both had clear but very different ideas as to what they wanted to wear to the wedding. "I knew I’d feel most comfortable in one of my vintage white tees, a white Gucci tux, and a pair of my paint-splattered Camp Isidro pants,” Dean says. Nicholas, whose tastes are classic at heart, wore the same Gucci tuxedo jacket with a pair of white linen Ralph Lauren Purple Label pants and indigo dyed Golden Goose sneakers. And, of course, Luca, the couple’s two-year-old pup, had her own indigo bow collar—the same one that she wore the day Dean proposed to Nicholas.
Guests were given the directive to wear anything white, cream, or off-white. “We also made sure to pass along the theme to all of our family and friends who would be watching the ceremony virtually. I wanted them to feel like they were right there with us. It was pretty amazing to see over 75 of our closest friends and family who couldn’t be there because of the pandemic, share in this moment, and have fun,” Nicholas says. “We also made vintage mud cloth masks for everyone and distressed indigo-dyed hoodie sweatshirts with an embroidered D+N in a heart.”
The couple was married outside under an antique arbor covered in beautiful flowers by Missi in the field behind Nancy’s, affectionately known as The Dining Shed, a location that’s been the setting for many LoveShackFancy shoots over the years. “It was important to me that we timed the ceremony as the afternoon sun sets across the apple orchards, turning to twilight and later lit by moonlight,” Dean explains. “It is such a favorite and familiar light I know so well.”
Rebecca and her two daughters, Stella and Scarlett, were the first to walk down the aisle. As they walked barefoot in their LoveShackFancy dresses through the grass, they sprinkled white rose petals to pave the way for their mother. Then Nicholas, Dean, and Luca followed the trail of flower petals, passing friends and family as they made their way to the arbor. “It was there in front of family and friends we exchanged our wedding vows,” Dean says. “I’ll always remember that moment, the afternoon sun across his face, his hair blowing gently and our pup looking up at us as we kissed.”
“In all of the craziness and last-minute running around—from making sure the camera was unobstructed for our Zoom guests to trying to locate my tux jacket—as soon as we started to walk down the aisle the world melted away,” Nicholas says. “I’ve never experienced a feeling quite like it. Being completely present and with your best friend, who you couldn’t be more excited to spend the rest of your life with. Being in that moment, just looking into his eyes and reading our very personal vows to one another was one of most incredible moments of my life.”
At the reception that followed, there was one long farm table for the LoveShackFancy friends and family pod. “Dean had planted cedar beam poles and strung lights for an amazing glow that played off the full moon and antique silver candelabras,” Nicholas says. “We included three additional vintage English iron tables for families so that they could maintain social distance and stay in their quarantine pods.”
During dinner, Rebecca delivered a heartfelt toast, before she and her daughters sang an original acapella rendition of “The Bones” by Maren Morris. Afterwards, the dancing started—“and like any successful wedding, we ended up drinking wine late in the night with family and ultimately found ourselves in the kitchen,” Nicholas says. “I think COVID stripped back a lot of frivolous things that don’t really matter. It was really heartbreaking for both Dean and I to realize none of our family would be able to travel because of the pandemic. So when we decided to move forward with the wedding, we put just as much energy and thought into the virtual portion. When we knew a big piece of our hearts, all our immediate family who couldn’t travel from Wisconsin and California because of the pandemic wouldn’t be joining, we wanted to feel as if they were right there with us. My family had their own wedding celebration in Wisconsin, getting together for the first time since the pandemic. Dean’s family did the same from Santa Cruz, California. I’m still struck remembering the love that came through the video screen from our family and friends joining us across the globe.”