The invitations for jewelry designer—and 2014 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund runner up—Eva Fehren Zuckerman’s wedding were custom-printed beach towels that she designed. They read: “Best Time, Best Place, Best Friends”—and it truly was. Eva met photographer and creative director Dimitri Scheblanov back in 2001 on their first day of school at Cooper Union in New York City on what was her 18th birthday, and they immediately started dating. But it wasn’t the right time for romance, and they quickly downshifted back to friends, becoming inseparable creative collaborators and platonic soul mates, but nothing more.
“When we graduated from school, we were worried about how we were going to stay connected,” Eva admits. “We vowed to keep creating things together and to be intrinsic in each other’s lives.” They continued working on projects: making T-shirts, producing photo shoots. He was by her side as she built her eponymous jewelry company, which is known for its minimalist, architectural designs. From day one, Dimitri handled the branding, the art direction, and shot all of the ad campaigns. “Dimitri has been my champion and best friend for 18 years,” Eva explains. “So waking up one day and realizing I was in love with him was both amazing and terrifying! Luckily, he loved me back.”
After that had been established, things moved quickly. “We got back together at a time in our lives where it seemed that every minute counted, and we didn’t want to wait,” Eva says. “[Dimitri proposed] around eight months of dating later, after 18 years of building up trust, respect, and love.”
Early on, they had discussed that Eva might potentially be the hardest person to gift an engagement ring, considering she designs them for a living. “He knows me so well and knew that designing me a ring—or purchasing one from another designer—was not an option!” she says. Dimitri sweetly kept making little rings, made of string, rubber bands, or plant stems, and putting them on her finger. She would wear them until they eventually fell off, but it never felt official. “They felt like promises,” she says. “Like: Just wait, it’s coming.”
They had just moved into their apartment in the West Village when they hosted a birthday party for Dimitri at a nearby restaurant. When they returned home that night, he got down on his knees. “I laughed and reminded him only one knee was necessary,” Eva remembers. “But he seemed ok with it looking like he was begging.” They had just had his set of keys made, and he slipped the key ring onto her finger and asked her to marry him. “It was super romantic and felt like us,” Eva says. “I made the key ring into a super delicate band that I still wear today.”
Both Eva and Dimitri have always been hyper-focused on their work, and the antidote to this frenetic pace of life has been Harbour Island. “Desperate to find a place to escape and get a breather from New York, I booked a vacation there,” Eva says. “I had dreamed of the pink sand beaches, and as soon as we got there, Dimitri and I knew that we had found our place.” They quickly fell in love with the easy, relaxed vibe of the Ocean View Club. “It felt like our home away from home. It was the only place we really had in mind for our wedding.”
They worked with Charlotte Simmons at Little Island Designs to create an intimate event where they could spend quality time with their close family and friends. “Charlotte and her husband Ben own the Ocean View Club,” Eva explains. “We have become friends with their family while visiting the hotel, so it really felt right to have them involved.” The aesthetic was pared down and clean (think crisp white details, accented with local foraged greenery and fruit), which served to highlight the incredible backdrop: the beach—and in turn informed Eva’s wardrobe choices.
“The pink sand beaches are what drew me to Harbour Island in the first place, and I knew I wanted to wear a blushy-nude gown,” she says. “I never imagined myself wearing a formal white wedding dress—it just isn’t me.” In keeping with the close-knit spirit of the wedding, she reached out to her friend Brandon Maxwell for help with her dress.
“I wanted the dress to feel light, easy, slightly sheer, and as weightless as possible. More than anything, I didn’t want to feel too dressed up,” she says. “I remember walking into Brandon’s studio, and his team was creating the corsetry and tulle underlayer of a beautiful dress, and I found it breathtaking. We used that base as the jumping-off point for my dress.” Brandon was happy for the process to be collaborative. “They kept joking that the dress looked like Eva Fehren and Brandon Maxwell had a baby!” Eva jokes. And, in true Eva form, he went so far as to incorporate a signature ‘X’ into the draping, as well as a sheer tank (which is part of her daily uniform).
For the veil, Eva enlisted friend and fellow CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund alum Gigi Burris to make one of the non-traditional, editorial veils she’s known for. “We had been brainstorming about a collaboration for several months and decided this would be the perfect time to create something together,” Eva explains. Gigi created a beautiful, nude, violette-style veil sprinkled with rose-cut white diamonds.
The jewelry, of course, was the easiest part of the whole equation. Looking to add a little edge, Eva wore some of her favorite geometric diamond-blackened white gold and platinum pieces. “I also decided to wear asymmetrical earrings with layered geometric diamond studs, and one long graduated hexagonal diamond drop earring,” she says. “I wore blackened white-diamond line bracelets on my wrist, and my portrait-cut hexagon engagement ring. I tried to go for graphic, yet classic pieces that would contrast my dress.”
The couple walked down the aisle hand in hand to a reggae rendition of Talking Heads’ “This Must Be The Place” played by Rocky and Ersley—one of Harbour Island’s best bands. The bride and groom stood on the beach under an arbor decorated with greenery, mangos, and coconuts, and as waves crashed behind them, they recited the vows they’d written themselves. “Dimitri and I have been so much to each other already, and it felt wonderful to redefine our relationship in front of people who have been in our lives for so many years.” Then, they broke the glass and recessed to “Man Smart, Woman Smarter.” “Marriage is full of compromises, and compromise #1 for me was having this song playing during our processional,” Eva jokes. “We wanted there to be playfulness and humor about the whole day.”
After the ceremony, people gathered on outdoor seating areas surrounding a fire pit just a few feet from the ocean. There were string lights, candles, and lanterns sprinkled around the lounge area. The reception was meant to bring the indoors and outdoors together, and the dinner and dance floor were set up in a beautiful white tent with two long tables. “After we ate, I ditched my dress and ran into the ocean and looked up at the stars,” Eva says. “It was magical!”