Molly Cerne’s brother, Justin Cerne, is the artistic director of Theatre Workshop of Nantucket, located on Nantucket Island. With a degree in dance performance and a background in musical theatre, Molly was working as an actress in Los Angeles when her brother asked if she’d like to choreograph Footloose for the theatre. Molly took the job and stayed through opening night, which ended in a benefit gala for the theatre. Her parents were there as well, and she was introduced to Justin’s friend – Harrison Roach – in the theatre lobby.
The Early Days
The early days of Molly and Harrison’s relationship started with heartbreak on April 9, 2020.
“My dad, Captain Victor L. Cerne USN retired, died in an instant from multiple ruptured aortic dissections in the backyard of my parent’s home in Granbury, Texas,” Molly shares. “My brother and his husband were staying with them at the time because the world had shut down. My brother called me in LA and relayed the tragic news to me. I got on a plane to Texas to be with my family. Due to the circumstances at the time, it seemed best that we all return to Nantucket together and be there with each other for as long as we were able.”
“New York showed us so much love.”
Harrison was the first to come to pay a condolence call to Justin. He didn’t know Molly would be there, and quickly recalled meeting her at the theatre two years prior.
“That night around the courtyard table, Justin, his husband Andrew, Harrison, and I drank wine and laughed and cried,” Molly describes. “Eventually Justin and Andrew headed to bed, but we stayed up talking outside nearly all night. We made a plan to take a ride on the Roach’s boat the next afternoon. I was the only one who was able to make it. I was not at my best, given the night before, and ended up being sick over the side of the boat for most of what would become our first unofficial date. Harrison didn’t seem to mind at all, and we were laughing about it already.”
Despite dating long-distance, Molly and Harrison were solid and confident in their love for one another. Thanksgiving 2020 was spent with the Roach’s, and Molly thought she and her boyfriend would be going out for a nice dinner that Saturday, as everyone else seemingly had plans.
“My brother and his husband took off at some point while I was getting ready, and then my mom came in and we had a very lovely moment and chat before she headed out to help out at a friend’s shop in town,” she recalls. “Harrison arrived at the house; I was running behind and a bit cranky to be honest, but he was patient. Finally, we left the house to go to dinner. The plan was to stop by the theater to see the set for the Christmas telethon they were putting up, as they were not able to do live theatre at the time. I was headed into the theatre when I felt Harrison grab my hand and turn me around.
He was down on one knee in the lobby of the theatre, where we were introduced years earlier, and asked me to marry him. Then we opened the door to the theatre and the stage was filled with our family and a few close friends. Music was playing and we were able to toast and celebrate in an intimate gathering at the theatre.”
The party continued at the Roach’s house, where everyone ate, drank, and sang together while Molly’s brother-in-law played the piano.
“We are both so close to our families,” she adds, “it was incredible to get to celebrate with them at that moment. My Mom later told me she insisted Harrison say it was a nice dinner because otherwise I would be in combat boots and holey jeans when he proposed; and she would have been correct.”
A Classic New York City Hotel
Both Molly and Harrison love Manhattan and the fall season, so it was easy to decide on a classic NYC wedding in October. The couple also chose a classic New York City hotel, the St. Regis, as their wedding venue, while the ceremony was held at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church.
“Harrison and I share pretty traditional sensibilities and decided that we wanted to have a wedding that felt classic,” says Molly. “We weren’t looking to do something no one had ever seen before. We just wanted it to be lovely and for our guests to have a wonderful time. Amy Jones of ACE Event was an incredible wedding planner for us who lead us to such amazing people that became a part of our event – including Lauren Larson. So many of the wedding details seemed to fall perfectly in place. I think everyone involved was on the same page and had a very clear picture of what it needed to be.”
“The ceremony was so special and the most important part to us,” she continues. “We did not have wedding parties but found ways to incorporate important people in our lives. My brother walked me down the aisle. He stepped in and provided the comfort and support we needed in the huge absence of our father. We lit a candle in memory of Harrison’s brother Robert and my father Vic. We also processed and recessed to the same music my mom and dad had at their wedding.
Amy told us after the ceremony that we were about to walk out to the most incredible moment of our lives, and she was 100% correct. Our guests had been lined up for a ribbon send off and there was a brass band playing to march us across Fifth Avenue to the St Regis. It was unreal. Traffic stopped, cabs were honking along in celebration, strangers were filming the band, and all of the guests following us to the reception, ribbons waving, random people on the streets of New York yelling out congratulations. It was an indescribable moment. Amy doesn’t miss a single detail and she was able to create many unexpected moments. New York showed us so much love.”
A Black-Tie Wedding at The St. Regis
The ballroom at the St. Regis provided the perfect setting for Molly and Harrison’s black-tie wedding. For their flowers, the couple chose to lean into the pink, purple, and blue that already existed in the classic New York City hotel, complementing the ballroom perfectly.
“The cake was important to both of us,” Molly shares. “The cake cutting seemed like such a classic moment for the bride and groom. We wanted all white with pillars to evoke the cakes of the 50’s and 60’s. RBI cakes put a fresh twist on it using stunning sugar flowers that were the same was the flowers used in our table arrangements, and it tasted incredible. All of the paper goods set the tone before the event, and Nichole at Coral Pheasant is remarkable both with the knowledge and quality of paper and printing techniques. She also has impeccable taste. She took our thoughts and ideas and wove them into a beautiful and perfect paper story throughout the entire event.”
The next day, a farewell brunch was held at Lotus Club. It was a wonderful way for the newlyweds to send their guests off after a beautiful black-tie wedding in NYC.
“We were so grateful to have one more opportunity to see many of our guests and have a gradual come down for the high of the wedding day,” says Molly.
Location: The St. Regis New York, New York, NY; Planning & Event Design: Amy Champagne Events; Floral Design: Forever in Bloom; Rentals: Luxe Event Rentals; Dress: Pronovias; Groom’s Attire: Tom Ford; Photography: Lauren Larsen Studio