A stunning long sleeve lace gown? Check. Richly hued red florals? You bet. Versailles-inspired venue smack dab in the states? Oh yeah. Get ready to pack those Pinterest boards full of pretty, because Jen & John’s wedding is just that good. Rebecca Arthurs was behind the lens capturing New England magic married with major elegance and we’ve got it all waiting for you to witness in The Vault!
From the Bride… Like many other couples today, my now-husband, John, and I met online four years ago. Despite the modern way in which we met, however, our relationship is decidedly traditional and even old-fashioned. Much of our mutual love for tradition resulted from our very similar childhoods – both of us grew up having similar hobbies, such as playing classical piano and riding horses. Horses continue to be an important part in our lives, and actually played a pivotal role in how we became engaged. When it came time to propose, John was careful in selecting the perfect setting: a horse farm and former plantation estate in the pristine rolling hills of Loudoun County, Virginia. His idea was to propose to me while we were surrounded by nothing but a herd of horses. Determined to carry out his plan, the two of us walked through the field for close to half an hour in search of horses – any horse, really – but none were to be found (we discovered later that it was their feeding time and they were all on the other side of the property munching happily away at their hay). Though the horses refused to join us that day in the fields, John nervously proposed anyways in the company of the plantation owner’s four dogs, which was, nonetheless, still very romantic.
Within the first month, I threw myself into full wedding planning mode. John’s family is Italian, so, initially, I had this dream of us being married in Italy. To me, Italy embodies timeless romance – the rolling, golden fields, statuesque cypress trees, and stunning villas all combine to create this “heaven-on-earth” feel that I envisioned for our intimate event.
Unfortunately, due to the difficulty in having a Catholic wedding ceremony overseas, we had to alter our plans a bit (and by a bit I mean not getting married in Italy); however, I hadn’t completely let go of my “Italian Dream”, and figured I could still incorporate the same warmth and romance in a destination wedding in the United States. Like most brides, I spent a lot of time scouring Pinterest for the perfect venue. One day, I came across a pin of a gorgeous chateau that I was convinced had to be somewhere in Europe. I was (luckily) wrong – it was the Glen Manor House in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, just five hours north of where we lived! The Glen Manor House, with its elegant Versailles-inspired interior and beautiful Italian gardens overlooking the Narragansett Bay, had everything I was looking for to carry out my “mini-destination” wedding day plans.
Though the number of guests who attended our black-tie wedding (50 in total) was small in comparison to the burgeoning size of many guest lists today, it was truly a memorable event nonetheless. The Catholic ceremony was held in St. Mary’s Church in Bristol and was full of personal touches – I walked down the aisle with my father to my favorite classical piece, Clair de Lune, John’s cousin presided over the ceremony, and we exchanged rings that John had carved and cast himself. For the reception, our florist was able to create a warm, romantic atmosphere reminiscent of an Italian villa – the manor was teeming with sprawling vines and wine-hued florals that looked organic and untouched, as if they had been allowed to grow on the tables and furnishings for several years; flickering candles cast an amber glow in the mirrors and on the mantelpieces and were reflected back in the smiling faces of our closest family and friends. Dinner, which consisted of five separate courses, embodied traditional Italian fare, including monkfish, roasted rapini, and pappardelle in a forest mushroom cream sauce. The “cake” was actually a multi-layer Italian pastry known as a millefoglie decorated with fresh berries and displayed on a wooden cake stand that was also made by John.
We concluded the night dancing to live swing and jazz music, with a cigar and armagnac table set up outside for the gentlemen (and a few ladies!) who wanted a night cap. As an homage to our traditional side, we spent nine months before our wedding learning how to foxtrot and performed our first dance to “L-O-V-E”. It was the perfect ending to the perfect day that was in every way a reflection of us.
Photography: Rebecca Arthurs | Event Planning: Merren Events | Floral Design: Greenlion Design | Wedding Dress: PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com | Wedding Cake: Confectionery Designs | Invitations: DIY Bride | Reception Venue: Glen Manor House | Bride's Shoes: Gianvito Rossi / Valentino | Catering: Blackstone Catering | Hair + Makeup: Jennie Kay beauty | Groom's Attire: Ede and Ravenscroft | Bridesmaids' Dress: Halston Heritage | Ceremony Church: St. Mary's Church of Bristol, RI | Reception Music: Jan Marie Olownia | Rentals: Rentals Unlimited