The North Fork of Long Island offers year round, magical backdrops for dream weddings of all sizes, tastes, and budgets. There are so many decisions to be made from the venue to the food, the flowers and music; to the season and the style. Here, we are providing advice from local experts.
Selecting the right season for this milestone event will have a great impact on your overall budget and ease of planning, as the shoulder seasons can allow for more flexibility when it comes to availability and pricing. On the North Fork, the mid-season months are March through early June (except for Memorial Day) and late October through November. For the absolute value, brides may also consider a late Fall or Winter wedding when hotels and venues offer their best rates.
This article is the first in a series of interviews with local vendors who will share their advice for creating a memorable occasion for brides and grooms, as well as other celebrants year round. We will be speaking with a floral designer, a photographer, a caterer and a wedding venue manager. These professionals all serve the North Fork from their businesses located in and around Greenport Village. For any of you planning your wedding in Greenport or other towns on the North Fork, feel free to ask questions and share your ideas in the comments section. We want to hear from you.
Our first interview is with Peter Clarke, Floral Designer and Co-owner of Clarke’s Garden and Home.
I remember the first time I saw Peter Clarke setting up his floral arrangements for the wedding of two dear friends. He glided into the room with an elegance that is reminiscent of a Southern gentleman; working quietly and skillfully in the background of clinking glasses and frantic waiters setting up for the event. He had clearly studied the bride’s color scheme and style, as these two women prefer all that is understated. The tablecloths were a light hue of lavender, and with the green/grayish colors of the arrangement of succulents designed by Peter, the feel of natural elegance with a bit of glamour complemented the betrothed.
Although originally a Southerner from Virginia, Peter has been living in Greenport for almost 20 years after having spent his career in the corporate floral and luxury product business. He embodies everything that is his background: Luxurious and diverse in nature, his design aesthetic rooted in the garden, his floral business is constantly evolving, as every bride is a muse, inspiring new color palettes with each season.
Tell us about the vision that brought you to Greenport and to founding Clarke’s Garden and Home?
“ I found Greenport quite by accident on a July 4th weekend in 1997. There was an immediate connection; A small, relatively sleepy, seaside village that seemed untouched by its proximity to NYC. I bought my 1892 cottage in 1998 and became a year-round resident in 2010, the year that we opened Clarke’s Garden and Home. I was inspired by the history and potential of the area, the North Fork, and the people that I met. My love of plants and flowers coupled with my partner’s Interior Design experience led us to open our store in Spring of 2010.”
What do you love about the fours seasons on the North Fork?
“Spring can be an extended season here, typical New England weather, cool nights and warm days. The coastal waters protect us from excessive heat and the season is typically quite lush. ” Autumn offers rich colors with floral selections from sunflowers to Crepe Myrtle or Japanese Anemones.
What are your favorite seasonal local flowers to work with for bouquets and table arrangements?
“I love woodland themes for Spring weddings with the bounty of the Spring garden; Tulips, Peonies and Roses accompanied by lush ferns and small ephemeral Spring flowers.” For winter the bright hues of Amaryllis and Mahonias against the backdrop of any variety of evergreen branches and holly provide festive colors for the season.
What advice do you have for brides looking to have a stress-free wedding day?
“Keep it simple, elegant and beautiful. Plan everything in advance and delegate all decisions and troubleshooting on the day of the wedding to a trusted Wedding Planner or close friend/relative. If you don’t have a full budget for flowers, work with a florist and order potted plants from him/her they can deliver and group them on tables as an alternative to centerpieces. Here at Clarke’s Garden, we work with North Fork Flower Farm in Orient Point, Pierpont Blossom Farm, Salt Air Farm and Patty’s Berries and Bunches.”