In the Spring of 2017, Benjamin St-Juste slid into Julia Hall’s DMs when they were freshmen at the University of Michigan. After deciding to hang out together, the two students quickly realized they had a lot more in common than they thought, and thoroughly enjoyed spending time together. Julia left school for the summer, not expecting to continue to talk much with the new French boy she had just met; but Benjamin called Julia every day that summer, and the two have been together ever since.
Ben graduated in two and a half years and left for the University Minnesota. Before leaving, he promised Julia nothing would change, and he gave her a small pear-shaped promise ring. Yet again, distance couldn’t keep the two apart. Julia traveled for Benjamin's football games, Benjamin traveled to watch Julia's track meets, and both traveled to spend any quality time together they could.
“The couple wanted the wedding to reflect both their styles, which was elegant and timeless.”
In January of 2021, Ben signed with an agency for football. One of the first things he asked for was their help to connect him with a jeweler to he could create the perfect engagement ring. A year and a half later, Julia and Ben’s long-distance relationship was finally over. At the first home track meet of the year, Benjamin asked Julia’s parents’ permission for her hand in marriage – and in June of 2021, he proposed with a beautiful pear-shaped engagement ring on a stunning beach in Portugal.
That summer, Julia started planning for a timeless New York wedding by researching venues and watching videos online. She found Oheka Castle on a TikTok video and was in awe of the European-style venue. She showed Benjamin, and he fell in love with Oheka Castle as well. Julia’s mom, Ronette, was the most helpful throughout the wedding planning process. The couple wanted the wedding to reflect both their styles, which was elegant and timeless, while also culturally honoring Benjamin’s French and Haitian background. Benjamin’s phrase for wedding inspiration was “French bourgeoisie,” while Julia described her vision as “modern day Bridgerton.” Ronette and Karyn, the couple’s wedding planner, helped bring the perfect blend of French and English influences to life. The menu, for example, was printed in both English and French.
Benjamin was quite involved in the planning process, despite having a busy NFL season, and chose their wedding DJ while Julia picked the string quartet. For the bridal party, Julia chose black for her bridesmaids because it's her favorite color, goes well with everything, and the dresses looked beautiful on all the bridesmaids. Benjamin chose a classic black tuxedo for himself, his groomsmen, and Beau the ring bearer to match the energy and vibe of the venue. Julia shopped for her wedding dress with her mom and three sisters on Facetime. She wanted a dress that fit the venue, flattered her body, and would make a statement.
After nine months of planning, the wedding weekend was met with a great deal of excitement and anticipation. Julia, Benjamin, and their dog Beau drove up from Virginia to New York. The night before the wedding, there was a wedding rehearsal orchestrated by the couple’s officiant, Kelly Haecker – a family friend who has known the Halls since Julia was 8 years-old. That night, Benjamin gifted his bride-to-be a beautiful diamond bracelet to wear for the wedding day. In return, she gifted him a new cologne from Tiffany’s, which would be remembered as their signature wedding day scent.
The big day could not have gone any smoother, with all of Oheka Castle’s staff being so kind and attentive from start to finish. Upon arrival, guests were welcomed with a glass of champagne, the smell of beautiful floral arrangements on the grand staircase, and the sound of a string quartet playing in the background.
Julia and Benjamin chose to do a first look and are so happy they did – Julia needed that moment with just the two of them. Before the first look, her excitement started turning into nerves; but once she saw her groom, she immediately felt relieved, safe, and ready to commit to a lifetime together. Benjamin was in awe of the bride’s beauty and was left speechless. After their reveals, the bride and groom took advantage of their time together by having the majority of their photos taken before the ceremony, wandering around the scenic grounds of Oheka Castle.
The ceremony was beautiful and intimate. Benjamin cried when Julia walked down the aisle, which was Julia’s dream come true, simply because Benjamin isn’t the crying type. After reciting their own vows to each other, an over-the-top cocktail hour followed, which was filled with delicious food and a special Haitian station featuring Haitian-inspired cuisine. For their grand reception entrance, the bride and groom performed their special handshake they made up together sophomore year of college and danced the night away. Throughout the evening, everyone enjoyed the incredible food and guests were blown away by the dessert café. The couple’s wedding cake, created by Oheka Castle’s in-house Executive Pastry Chef Daniel Andreotti, was also as tasty as it was beautiful.
Location, Catering & Cake: Oheka Castle, Huntington NY; Planner: KME Karyn Michael Events, NY; Floral Design: Pedestals, Garden City, NY; Photography: The Teagues Photography, NY