Boxwood-threaded chandeliers swung from branches, emerald ivy and coral peonies clung to white backdrops, ranunculus floated over moss green silk-topped tables, and a black-and-white checkerboard dance floor was tucked amid the trees. Candlelight (and a few fireflies) flickered. If the early November setting for the wedding of Dallas-raised Maisie Allison to Connecticut native John Owen sounds surreal, that was the intention.
The way Maisie and John would meet at Harvard College is itself poetic. They connected during initiation for The Harvard Lampoon—Maisie, a sophomore, joined as a business board member, and John, as a freshman writer. Maisie’s father, Wick Allison, is founder and chairman of D Magazine Partners, and her mother, Christine, is president; both of John’s parents are writers (his father is on staff at The New Yorker). John’s parents also met at The Lampoon.
They began dating when Maisie was a senior—and it was instantly apparent that they belonged to one another, John says. “We find joy in so many of the same facets of life,” he says. “And we surprise each other. Even after a decade, Maisie has never, for a single day, stopped surprising me.” Despite their initial assurance, more than seven years passed before the proposal—John was busy as a Disney TV animation writer in Los Angeles, and Maisie worked in media until she changed course to study law. She recently earned her degree from the University of Texas School of Law and will practice in Los Angeles.
When the timing was right, John proposed in Los Alamos in the Santa Barbara wine country. “It was very sincere and sweet,” Maisie recalls. “We were shy about it in the moment even though we’d been together so long.” The bride’s sister, Loddie, helped John design the simple, elegant diamond engagement band, which “set the tone for an understated, semi-traditional wedding,” Maisie says. The Nasher Sculpture Center was an easy choice, as was the wedding dress, which Maisie found in a mere hour at Kleinfeld Bridal with Loddie while both were passing through New York.
Translating Maisie’s vision was the challenge. “We wanted an elegant and organic dinner party in the garden so that it felt like the wedding was naturally emerging from the environment,” Maisie says. Loddie was instrumental in planning, and they enlisted the help of Julian Leaver of Julian Leaver Events, with florals and decor by Todd Fiscus of Todd Events. Fiscus was inspired by Maisie’s Japanese-American heritage, as well as the cheery floral bridesmaids’ dresses by Lela Rose and Bea Harper.
Fiscus ingeniously thought to host the ceremony in the Nasher’s amphitheater, and had custom benches made for seated guests. He oriented the reception around Richard Serra’s “My Curves Are Not Mad” steel sculpture at the back of the garden; topped tables with flowers nestled in glass vials; and adorned the cocktail bar, DJ booth, and dance floor with boxwoods.
On the surprisingly balmy fall evening, 120 friends and family members gathered to celebrate. Maisie’s cousin, Jack Peterson, played “Clair de Lune” on the cello as she descended the steps with the support of a loved one down each stair. Maisie’s aunt and uncle, Ginny and David Bauer, officiated the ceremony, which included readings selected by John’s mother. Indie rock and soul music played during the cocktail hour; come nightfall, guests danced to contemporary pop and laughed late into the evening. “It felt surreal,” Maisie says. “The light from the lanterns and the shadows they cast on the dance floor and the grass—it was romantic.”
The night closed with guests gathering to sing “One Day More” from Les Misérables, a sentimental tribute to Maisie’s sister’s late godmother. “The wedding felt so much about their family,” planner Julian Leaver says. “It was intimate and magical.”
“It felt surreal,” Maisie says. “The light from the lanterns and the shadows they cast on the dance floor and the grass—it was romantic.”
Ceremony & Reception Site
NBarrett Photography; Redman Pictures
Bridal Gown Designer
Bridal Gown Retailer
Kleinfeld Bridal (New York City)
Hair & Makeup
James DeFrange, Pura Vida (hair); Mayra Rams-Sanabria, My Fabulous Faces (makeup)
Custom Theory, a gift from Mirza Burazerovic
Bridesmaids Dresses Designer
Lela Rose; Bea Harper, The Fitting Room
Cake & Desserts
Wolfgang Puck Catering
DJs Jennifer Miller and Paul Paredes
The bride’s father’s car
La Tavola Fine Linen
POSH Couture Rentals
DFW Dance Floors; Top Tier Event Rentals