A sampling of weddings Becky McDermott has orchestrated.
BY JANICE LLANES FABRY
As the country reopens, so too are wedding celebrations. Future brides and grooms are excited to be able to start planning memorable and large receptions once again — packed dance floors, lavish dinner menus, and resplendent floral arrangements — and Becky McDermott Interiors and Weddings vows to conjure up nuptial bliss.
McDermott traces her passion for weddings back to third grade, when her teacher, Miss Mahoney, got married. “I still have the scrapbook to prove it!” She added, “I’ve always loved the happiness and fun around weddings, the month of June.”
She recalls traveling on the Queen Mary as an 8-year-old. While her older brother was soaking up the culture, she was draping the sheer panels behind the luxurious curtains over her head, pretending they were wedding veils.
The third-generation Rye native was always keenly aware of her surroundings, whether on an iconic ocean liner or at her grand home on Hidden Spring Lane.
“My parents had a beautiful house, and my mother had a natural flair for home and garden,” she recalled fondly.
At once elegant, classic, and chic, McDermott inherited her mother’s good taste, distinctive style, and aesthetic appreciation. As a 7-year-old playing with a dollhouse made by her grandfather, she preferred rearranging the miniature furniture to playing with the dolls. She was always coloring and drawing. She remembers coming home from summer camp to a wonderful surprise — “My mother had wallpapered my closet to match my bedroom wallpaper.”
In 1988, after working as a fashion editor at Town and Country Magazine, a stylist for the New York Times Home Entertaining and Home Design sections, and a decorative painter and colorist, she started Becky McDermott Interiors. Interior design was a natural segue into the stylistic world of weddings.
“They require similar skills,” she explained. “In both fields, you have to manage a lot of vendors and be highly organized. The creative circle for wedding production, like interior design, includes drawing, sketching, and understanding form and shape,” noted McDermott, who, as a college student at Hobart and William Smith, excelled in the sculpture honors program.
If she acquired her singular style from her mother, she inherited her administrative gifts from her father.
“My father taught me that the art of management is getting people to do what they’re meant to do, when they’re meant to, because they want to do it,” she stated.
“I have a top-notch team that helps me execute my clients’ vision, whether I’m running a wedding or an installation in a house. However, one person needs to be in charge, and I like that responsibility, from the budget to the logistics. At the end of the day, I’m responsible for a trolley breaking down or rain dripping through a tent.”
Some of her “very talented” vendors are Jill at J Papers in Greenwich, local floral designer Hunter Smith @followtheflower, Fabio of Fabrico Lighting and Décor in New Jersey, Katie Henry of Rumphius Flowers, and La Tavola Fine Linen in Napa Valley. Her “number one assistant” and husband of 39 years, Tom McDermott, is at the wedding site Wednesday through Sunday, orchestrating the rehearsal dinner and post-wedding events as well.
Through word of mouth, she has acquired clients from New York City to Millbrook, Massachusetts, to San Francisco. Becky McDermott Interiors and Weddings has appeared in Westchester and Serendipity magazines, Vogue.com, and Tory Burch.
Does she have a signature style? An emphatic “no”. McDermott says she derives inspiration from each couple and their venue, approaching every wedding as a new adventure. She often tempers her clients’ nerves by quipping, “It’s just a party with a band and a cake.”
McDermott’s philosophy is: “A good designer has to know when to pull back and edit. Whether it’s a dining table, an outfit, or a wedding, less is more.
When she first sits down with a prospective bride and groom, she acquires a sense of the wedding they envision. “Being a good listener is an essential skill in order to understand what they ultimately want.”
Once she determines what the couple’s dream wedding might be, she presents them with three or four floral, lighting, and music options in a variety of price points. She finesses each project with an artist’s eye for space, color, and texture. Subsequently, she creates a scheme sheet of those items plus table settings, chairs, candle holders, and place cards.
Handling everything from invitations to seating charts, McDermott leaves no stone unturned, but is modest about her contributions.
“Creating the look, lighting, and design is essential, but the magic really happens because of the bride and groom and their fun guests. The party takes on a life of its own.”
For more information, visit Beckymcdermottinteriorsandweddings.com and follow Becky on Instagram @beckymcdermottdesign.