Elizabeth ‘Missy’ Mandeville Walker grew up in Bedford, attended Rippowam Cisqua before heading off to boarding school, and she is a fourth generation parishioner at St. Matthew’s Church.
“I am lucky to come from a large extended family, many of whom live in Bedford. On Christmas morning we have a tradition of gathering for lunch at St. Matthew’s Parish House because it’s the only place big enough to fit us all. So St. Matthew’s has always been a meaningful place for me and I sort of always knew that I wanted to get married there,” Missy explains. “Besides, I think Bedford is the most beautiful place in the world!”
Missy met Donald ‘Banks’ Bancroft Meyer in December of 2020 on a Hinge date in Manhattan. “It was during covid, so our first date was outside at the Waverly Inn in the West Village. It was about 20 degrees out, and I was wearing snow pants to try and keep warm… but I just remember laughing the whole time,” Missy smiles, “we clicked right away.”
Banks recalls, “I’d just moved to Manhattan from Colorado. On our first date I asked Missy what she thought the top three things were to do for a new New Yorker – and one thing she suggested was to run the New York City Marathon! I thought that was a bit ambitious, but I liked the enthusiasm! We really just had the best time, and then spoke pretty much every day afterwards.”
“We live in Manhattan but spend a lot of time in Bedford on the weekends, particularly in Summer. We got engaged in March 2022, and immediately knew we wanted Bedford, and St. Matthew’s, to be the setting for our day,” Missy said. As an odd coincidence, the current Rector at St. Matthew’s is from Charleston, South Carolina, where Banks was born and raised, and for a few years ministered at a church Banks attended as a child, “it was pure happenstance, and cool to have both our backgrounds represented like that,” Banks said.
Missy and Banks exchanged vows in a late morning traditional ceremony on a perfectly sunny day, with fifteen groomsmen and fifteen bridesmaids beside them, and their family and friends in attendance.
Banks and Missy did not do a first look and instead saw each other for the first time that morning at the altar. “I really wanted that moment to happen organically at the ceremony,” Missy explains. And Banks jumps in “…It worked! I was beaming ear to ear when I saw her walk through the doors of the church.”
Missy wore a tea length Markarian dress and the church was adorned with beautiful seasonal arrangements of white lilies and installations of white and green flowers from Bedford Village Flower Shoppe. Missy said, “I don’t know anything about flowers, and the team at Bedford Village Flower Shoppe was so knowledgeable and collaborative. They really understood our vision of understated and classic, and made the space exactly that!”
The ceremony was followed by a luncheon at St. Matthew’s Parish House, with lively speeches from the bride’s sisters (joint Maids-of-Honor), as well as Banks’ best friend from Charleston. It was catered by Bedford Gourmet, featuring a selection of the couple’s favorite gourmet sandwich halves, as well as salad, butternut squash soup, and a tiered arrangement of miniature cupcakes. “We wanted our guests to experience all the things we love about Bedford…and the sandwiches from Bedford Gourmet are definitely high on that list!” Missy says.
After Missy threw her bouquet, the couple waved goodbye to their guests. “We were supposed to make our grand exit afterwards in my uncle’s loaned pickup truck, but in the excitement of wedding planning, my mother forgot to warn us that it was a stick shift! Banks hadn’t driven one in years… so our guests had quite a laugh when we stalled out three times in the parking lot!”
Later that evening, Missy and Banks reconvened with their guests for a black tie reception at the Rainbow Room in Manhattan.
“Because all of the formality had been accomplished earlier in the day at our traditional church wedding, everyone was free to relax and enjoy the reception as a true party – and that’s just the way we wanted it.” the couple exclaimed.
The Bedford Village Flower Shoppe decorated the room using arrangements of peonies, calla lilies, and snapdragons, as well as tall candelabras to highlight the scale of the space. “The Rainbow Room has so much history and personality, and Bedford Village Flower Shoppe did an amazing job complementing those elements while also referencing our morning ceremony,” Missy said, “the flowers were a nice way to make the whole day feel connected.”
The bride wore an Amsale gown, and the couple kicked off the evening with a first dance to the tune of ‘The Best of My Love’.
“Our band, Cafe Wha, kept everyone dancing all night long, and we loved that they are local to Manhattan. Some of our most fun dates have been going to see them play in Greenwich Village at their namesake underground bar,” Missy said.