This past weekend, in historic Newburyport, along the Merrimack River, Eventi had the honor and pleasure of transforming Nicole and Carolyn's wedding vision into reality. Having worked with this lovely couple for nine months honing their vision, designing every detail, and creating a wedding that was meaningful and reflective of them as a couple, I think I was as excited for their wedding as they were.
Carolyn and Nicole met through work in D.C. where they both live, beginning a friendship that, in time, turned into love. Their wedding date, significantly, was also their five-year anniversary.
They share their home with a Boston Terrier and a French Bulldog.
They are hardworking professionals, strong, caring women, and an interesting, intelligent, fun and laidback couple, who seem to balance one another, and were wonderful to work with over the course of many months.
They are fortunate to have lovely and close-knit families who were involved, generous, and helpful during the planning and day of the wedding and who I was glad to get to know during this process.
The Wedding Party
Joining Nicole and Carolyn on their wedding day were their bridal party - a fun, outgoing, and diverse group of ladies - consisting of bridesmaids and friends Kim, Dairine, Melissa, and Joelle. Serving as matrons of honor were the brides' sisters, Kristin and Laura.
Rounding out the wedding party were Nicole's nephews, Benjamin and Hunter, serving as ring bearers, and Carolyn's twin niece and nephew, Nick and Nina, as flower kids.
The brides chose to get prepared separately and later meet up for a “first look" where the brides could see each other in their dresses for the first time.
Nikki spent the morning with her bridemaids and parents at her mom’s house in Amesbury, while Carolyn got ready with her family and bridesmaids at a beach house in Hampton.
Helping the brides perfect their wedding looks and providing the couple and their attendants with beautiful hair and makeup were the LE Glam Team from Dover, New Hampshire, specifically Madison and Leanne.
Both brides wanted a natural look; Leanne and Madison were able to accomplish an understated and elegant look that had both brides feeling comfortable yet glowing with confidence.
Some of the bridesmaids relied on the deft makeup skills of Jennifer Petricig-Simply J Wellness for their wedding look.
The brides chose to do a "first look" and formal wedding party photos before the ceremony at the Hale Memorial Park, a quaint and beautifully lush park tucked away across the street from the water. Arriving separately in black limousines from Black Tie Limousine, the brides were finally able to see one another and share a few intimate moments before the wedding began.
Capturing on film the pre-wedding preparations, the emotional first look, and all of the special moments throughout the day was the couple's talented and upbeat photographer, Danielle from Summergrace Photography.
Also present for the first look and family photos were Carolyn's parents, Nick and Dorothy and Nicole's, Diane and David.
The Venue and Location
The couple's choice of the Custom House Maritime Museum was not by chance, but by design and not without a certain amount of nostalgia. Nikki grew up in the area and as a child would bike along the waterfront to Oldies antique market next to the Custom House. When the couple visited last year and saw a wedding being held on the Museum's lawn, the idea to have their nuptials there was born.
The Custom House was built in 1835 to collect taxes on imported goods and designed by Robert Mills, architect of the Washington Monument and U.S. Treasury Building and features vaulted ceilings and a cantilevered staircase. It now showcases various displays, exhibits, and galleries of ships.
Also, snapping pictures at the wedding on behalf of Eventi was a member of the Eventi team, Casey from Casey Laplante Photography. (Photos credited where appropriate).
Despite the fact that the area was open to passersby, the wedding did not have an exposed feeling; in fact, as the ceremony began, you felt a sense of intimacy unusual for such a public venue. The semi-circular arrangement of the ceremony seats gave guests an optimal view of the couple and allowed the brides to be “surrounded” by the love from their family and friends as they wed.
The stunning sailcloth tent, dance floor and bistro lighting were rented from Sperry Tents. The tables, farmhouse sweetheart table, white ceremony chairs, and beautiful fruitwood reception chairs were provided by PEAK Events.
As the sun set, the tent's bistro lights cast a romantic glow over the guests and an enchantment of sorts stole over the area, blocking out the rest of the world and giving the illusion that the brides and their family and friends were the only ones present.
The ceremony took place beside the water and was officiated by friend of the bride, Christina Meyer. Just as the wedding party began their entrance, the skies, which had been clouded over most of the day, parted and the sun made a brief appearance, just long enough to shine down on the beautiful brides as they said their vows.
Eventi team members, Nick and Kristin (Assistant Coordinator) were responsible for taking the seating arrangement from concept to reality and were invaluable in setting up the ceremony and reception areas and decor prior to the wedding.
The couple exited the ceremony to Pete Townshend's Let My Love Open the Door, a light-hearted and off-beat choice that perfectly fit the couple and tone they wanted to set for the reception to follow.
Following the ceremony, guests milled about the lawn, under the tent, and around the Tapmobile during cocktail hour, listening to music, mingling, and sampling hors d'oeuvres until the bridal party's entrance signaled the beginning of the reception.
Event design, full wedding planning, hand lettering of seating chart and all signage, and full wedding coordination provided by Eventi Planning and Coordination.
The cool factor of this wedding was ratcheted up even further when the couple enlisted the Ipswich Ale company to serve Pilsner, IPA, and Pale Ale from kegs out of “Shag,” a 1948 Dodge Van turned Tapmobile. Guests also had their choice of wine, custom orange cream soda, and seltzer water served by bartenders Josh and Brandon.
In a touching and meaningful gesture, Carolyn chose as her "something blue," the blue diaper pin her father wore as an infant, which could just be seen pinned to the beaded belt on her wedding dress.
Keeping the party going and the guests dancing into the night was DJ Mike Guyre of Audio Events. From personalized intros of the wedding party to sweet anecdotes about the brides and their fathers prior to the father-daughter dances, Mike injected personal and memorable touches into the reception.
The Matrons of Honor each toasted the couple, Nikki's sister, Kristin, gave a touching and beautiful speech honoring them individually and as a couple; Carolyn's sister, Laura, got the couple and crowd laughing with more humorous anecdotes and words for the couple.
Forever Young by Rod Stewart played as Nikki and her dad, David, took the floor for their father-daughter dance.
The father-daughter dance for Carolyn and dad, Nick, was to her grandmother's favorite song, Love is Blue.
The brides shared their first dance as a married couple to Billy Joel's She's Got A Way.
Food & Drink
Cocktail hour offered stationary hors d'oeuvres including a selection of crudite, dips, fruit and berries, various meats, hard and soft artisan cheeses, and assorted crackers.
Also available were fresh fruit cups with mint.
The couple chose to offer guests a taste of New England fare with passed hors d'oeuvres of shrimp cocktail shooters, clam chowder cups, and mini lobster rolls.
Catering the event and providing the delicious food was The Wooden Spoon Catering Company. Dinner included rosemary sea salt rolls, salad with orange champagne dressing, chicken piccata with linguine, spinach and butternut squash lasagna, and for the vegans, quinoa and bean stuffed peppers.
While Ipswich Ale provided the beer for the day's event, the various selections of wine and champagne were provided by Marcorelle's
The couple's beautiful cake sat atop an antique blueberry crate, repurposed to use as a cake stand.
The cake itself was a three layer beauty created by Hippie Chick Bakery with an ombre design and a palette knife finish. Fresh flowers provided by Distinct Floral Design adorned the cake.
Wanting fresh and light flavor combinations, the couple chose to have the cake alternate between a layer of orange swirl cake and vanilla filling and layers of vanilla cake and strawberry filling. The entire cake was finished with an Italian Meringue Buttercream.
The stunning florals for this wedding were provided by Distinct Floral Designs.
The brides' bouquets were complimentary but not identical; sharing color scheme and shape but unique and complimentary to each bride's dress.
Nikki's bouquet included Juliet English roses, ranunculas, Royal Porcelina roses, and Playa Blanca roses. Carolyn's bouquet included Cafe Au Lait dahlias, Tiffany roses, David Austin English roses, and White Majolika roses. Both included gray succulents, dusty miller, and silver brunia.
Centerpieces included ranunculus, roses, olive foliage, dusty miller, blue thistle, and hydrangea in either wooden boxes or adorning white lanterns.
Details & Decor
Instead of a traditional guestbook, the couple invited guests to sign an antique oar, which was refinished and given as a shower gift to the couple, and which can later be mounted or displayed in their home.
The couple offered guests gift bags containing a local specialty - saltwater taffy - as a favor. Guests were also invited to take home bags of delicious assorted Italian cookies made by Carolyn's family members.
The couple wanted decor that reflected the seaport locale and maritime theme of the wedding but was elegant and understated. They chose a palette of cream, gray, coral and navy for the wedding and displayed carefully selected and authentic decor items. One such item was an antique lobster trap placed atop an authentic fisherman's net to serve as their card box.
This wedding was full of poignant, romantic, entertaining, and lively moments. While some were captured on film, the memory of those moments as a whole and how the ambiance of love suffused all those in attendance is what guests, the brides, and I will remember.
Nikki and Carolyn, thank you for asking me to be part of your wedding celebration and for trusting me to make it exceptional and unique.
The love you two share is inspiring and I wish you every happiness!
Rena Dandurant, owner of Eventi Planning & Coordination.