Oh summer 2020, one the wedding industry (and any couples that got married this year!) won’t soon forget! Eliza and Danny were one of my couples that had a wedding scheduled for mid-August during the season of Coronavirus. These two had an even bigger planning challenge – they lived in South Carolina and were trying to plan a wedding along New Hampshire’s Seacoast. As if planning a wedding from a distance isn’t stressful enough, let’s add in a worldwide pandemic and travel restrictions to really test a bride’s patience levels!
Even with everything going on, they never even considered postponing their wedding. It was important to them to be married this year and whether there was 10 people or 100 people in attendance, it didn’t matter. They understood the day was about their expression of love for each other and not a big show.
As spring turned into summer, we quickly realized that Covid wasn’t going away anytime soon. Eliza, her mother and myself spoke constantly to monitor the everchanging situation and adjust when we needed to. We put together a Plan A and a Plan B along with guest lists for each gathering capacity. We talked about safety measures including masks for guests, socially distanced tables, and plenty of hand sanitizer!
The wedding took place on the beautiful island of New Castle just outside of Portsmouth. New Castle is near and dear to my heart as this is where I first started working weddings at the iconic Wentworth by the Sea Hotel (which was right around the corner from their family property!) The first time I drove up to their home, I immediately recognized it as one I had passed by many times on my morning/evening runs from the Wentworth!
The family had two homes on the island and the smaller cottage was our location for their rehearsal dinner. Guests dined al fresco (we were fortunate to have perfect weather all weekend! We celebrated this victory!) with the Portsmouth Yacht Club in the background. Guests were treated to a New England lobster bake and ice cream for dessert. So many of their friends and family wanted to give toasts so we did the majority of these during the rehearsal dinner. A secret flash mob (a family tradition!) emerged during the final toast! At the end of the night, everyone went their separate ways to catch a few zzz’s before the big party the next day!
Saturday was absolute perfection! Eliza and her ladies got dolled up at the cottage while Danny and his groomsmen prepped at the big house. New Castle has a quintessential white church in the center of the island that Eliza’s parents were married at and she knew she wanted to do her First Look with Danny here. This was such a special moment for the two of them and one they will remember forever!
The wedding ceremony, cocktail hour and reception all took place at their property overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Their processional route takes the cake as the longest one to date! Everyone was staged from the back deck of the home then marched across the street, down the gravel path and through the field to our final destination. From here, guests transitioned into an outdoor cocktail hour before moving under the Sperry sailcloth tent for the reception.
Our design was classic and timeless. Every detail was meticulously selected to match Eliza’s desired aesthetics. We wanted to enhance the beauty of the property and chose a neutral color palette that blended with the landscape versus detracted from it. We wanted it to feel welcoming, warm, and romantic. I think we achieved that goal!
Everything about their wedding weekend was perfect – from the delicious food catered by White Apron, to the music played by Boston band Ripcord, the whimsical wedding cake by Three Sisters Cake Shop and all the love and energy given by the guests. It was something that everyone needed in a time of uncertainty. We needed to know that love prevails and life goes on. And most importantly, that we will get through this together!
Eliza and Danny, thank you for trusting me with your wedding day and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for you two!
Venue: Private Residence
Catering: White Apron
Photography: Clay Austin
Video: Shutter & Sound
Flowers: The Flower Kiosk
Cake: Three Sisters Cake Shop
Beauty: Studio 90
Transportation: Seacoast Trolleys