Classy New England wedding at the Beauport Hotel
Bry and Nick were married on August 25, 2017 at the Beauport Hotel in Gloucester, MA. The bride got ready in her room with eight of her closest friends. They wore adorable powder blue robes while they got their hair and makeup done. Nick and his groomsmen got ready at the same time. Nick gave each of them Maui Jim sunglasses, socks, and custom cufflinks.
The bride and groom exchanged gifts and loving letters to one another before the ceremony. She gave Nick gold cufflinks and he gave Bry diamond earrings, but the letters were the special part for them. Nick had been sending Bry handwritten letters since 2011, back when Bry thought their relationship was purely platonic. They wrote back and forth to one another until they finally met up and Nick confessed his feelings to her. They started a long distance relationship and made it work for four years until they could finally be in the same place (where they were completely inseparable).
The couple chose to do a first look on the back porch of the Beauport Hotel, overlooking the ocean. Afterwards, they did a portrait session and practiced their first dance because they hadn’t practiced it yet in Bryanna’s wedding gown (which, by the way, was classic and fit her perfectly). They were married by the dean of students at Phillips Exeter Academy, where they met in the environmental club ten years earlier.
Bryanna spent the year after their engagement studying for the bar and passed it 3 weeks before their wedding. Nick is now going to business school at MIT and Bry is an associate at Sheehan Phinney in Manchester, NH. It’s incredibly impressive how much they’ve accomplished and that they’ve carried their relationship through all of it.
An Interview with the Bride
Q: Tell us about your wedding! What was the inspiration behind your day? Did you have a specific theme, style or color palette? Did you incorporate any cultural or religious traditions in any part of your day?
A: The main ideas we kept in mind when planning our wedding were: "classy, elegant and timeless." I didn't want anything at my wedding that I would look back on 20 years from now and regret. We didn't have a theme. Our colors were different shades of blue, ivory and accents of gold. We didn't have a religious ceremony, but our ceremony was spiritual in nature as it was officiated by a minister. The ceremony was actually one of the things we were looking forward to most because our friend was the officiant-- he had been a dean of ours at the boarding school where we met, he was my advisor and my coach. We were so excited to have a personalized ceremony as you don't see that very often these days.
Q: Let's talk wedding decor. How did you decorate your space for the ceremony and the reception? Was any part of the decor DIY?
A: We alternated tall flower arrangements with candle arrangements. Half the tables had tall gold candelabras filled with dark blue hydrangeas, white dendrobium orchids, seeded eucalyptus, white roses and snapdragons. The other half of the tables had 3 large hurricane vases filled with pillar candles. On the large entrance table where we had our escort cards, we had a massive arrangement filled with curly willow, white roses, white orchids, blue delphiniums, and snapdragons. Our florist glued some of the orchids throughout the willow. For our ceremony, we had an arbor that the groomsmen assembled the day before the wedding. That was decorated with white satin fabric, white, blue and green flowers, and lots of ivy. We had a large photo that our photographer had taken at our engagement shoot as our guest book-- we blew it up and had people sign the white mat border. My sister made our cocktail sign and welcome sign on large gold frames and she wrote on the glass. One of our favorite things was having gold acrylic names 3d-printed for each guest that we placed on the plates for assigned seating.
Q: What were the florals like in your wedding? Did you use flowers in any of your design elements like the bridal bouquets, centerpieces or ceremony backdrop? Did they play an important part in the overall style of your wedding?
A: See Q2 for lots of flower details. My bouquet was beautiful. It was green hydrangea, white lisianthus, white calla lilly, white roses, seeded eucalyptus and small leaf eucalyptus. My bridesmaids had basically a smaller version of my bouquet. We didn't add the arbor for our ceremony until 2 weeks before. We got married overlooking the ocean and we thought we didn't want to disturb that view, but then we realized it didn't look special enough without some sort of decoration. We couldn't have large raised planters of flowers because of the wind. We got a quote to rent an arbor and were shocked by the cost. So, we decided to look how much it would be to buy one and it was 1/3 of the cost we were quoted to rent. So, we bought an arbor and it was fun for the groomsmen to have a few drinks and put the arbor together. We are so glad we had the arbor. All our guests used that as the backdrop for their own pictures they took.
Q: Did you personalize the day in any way (food trucks, guest entertainment etc.)? What were some of your favorite parts of your wedding?
A: We had little touches of personalization throughout. We had a table dedicated to Nick's dad and stepdad who have both passed away. Our wedding favors were local artisan salts, which is very us because we always focus on buying local. Our band played all oldies music because that's the music we like. The band was insane. A live band made all the difference. Already 4 of our guests have tried to get the band for their kids' wedding or themselves! We had late-night snacks come out at around 11:30pm which was fun! One of Nick and my favorite parts of the wedding was my sister's Maid of honor speech-- she had saved text messages I sent her from 5 years ago about Nick because she had an inkling she might need them for this speech years down the road. She cobbled together the text messages and basically told our story through the text messages I had sent her in 2012.
Q: Let's talk fashion. How did you choose your wedding day look? How did the groom? Describe both looks in detail.
A: I had in mind that I wanted strapless sweetheart cut gown. When I went to try on gowns, I tried on many of those and they looked awesome. But when I tried on the Romona Keveza dress, my stylist said she wouldn't let me get any other dress because that one was the one. It wasn't what I had envisioned, but ultimately, it was better than anything I had ever seen or envisioned. Once I got that dress, I knew my bridesmaid dresses would have to be formal and the wedding would need to be formal. My dress kind of set the tone for the formality of the wedding. I wanted my makeup to be classic, but stand out a little more than a natural look. Because my dress had sleeves, and because it could be very windy on the ocean, I wanted all my hair up. The boys were hard to figure out. We were scared it would be a 90 degree August day and the boys would be miserable on the deck, in the beating sun, in black wool tuxes. Nick really wanted the boys to be in dark grey suits, but we couldn't do that because our guests would be in tuxes. I saw these beautiful white dinner jackets and knew that was what they needed to wear. I convinced Nick by telling him it was very James Bond. We were concerned about all the white being hard to photograph, but that wasn't a problem. Two of the groomsmen have worn their jackets for their own weddings!
Q: How did you meet? Tell us about the proposal.
A: We went to boarding school together. Nick was two years ahead of me and we knew each other from various environmental clubs we were in together. We graduated-- he went to Dartmouth and I went on a gap year and then to Middlebury College. Nick will say that when I got back from my gap year and told him all these amazing stories about my travels he thought to himself "I've got to marry a girl like that someday." We kept in touch throughout the years, but I was always bad at responding. So, Nick started writing me handwritten letters because he knew somebody couldn't not respond to a handwritten letter. He was right. I wrote back and kept writing back. I though we were just penpals and didn't know he liked me. In 2012, we reconnected while I was a sophomore at Middlebury and he was working in DC. We went out to dinner and at the end of the dinner, he told me he liked me. I was shocked. He was confused about why I was shocked because he had been "courting me" with the handwritten letters. I told him I thought he just wanted a penpal. I now see how oblivious I was. We started dating after that. We got engaged at the boarding school where we met. Every year we go back in September for an alumni leadership weekend. On the Friday night of that weekend, after having dinner, we went on a walk around campus. We went into the Academy Building, which is the main, quintessential building you think of when you think of Phillips Exeter. He led my up to the balcony, I told him it wasn't going to be unlocked because I had tried to go there many times as a student. Not only was the balcony unlocked, but it was ajar. We went out on the balcony, overlooking campus, and I knew then what was going to happen. He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I had a hard time containing my excitement and kept trying to pull him off the ground and he just kept saying "I can't get up until you say 'yes!'" After I said "yes" there was another little surprise. All our family had flown and driven to celebrate and were waiting for us at our old Russian teacher's house. We had a little engagement party then.
Q: What was the most anticipated or special moment of your wedding day?
A: The first look.
Q: Do you have any wedding planning or marriage advice that you'd like to share with other couples planning their day?
A: I was studying for the bar while I was planning the wedding, so I was very stressed. We were engaged for two years, so I had a lot of time to plan the major things before i began studying. Then, I sort of ignored the wedding from May-August. The last three weeks before the wedding were a whirlwind. It's hard not to, but don't stress about the wedding. It's for you...not anybody else! Stick to your gut and don't let people sway you because you don't want to regret anything from your wedding later. There will be so many little things you want to do to make your wedding special, but you just run out of time to get to those things. And it doesn't matter because nobody notices. All people want is good food, good alcohol, and good music!