Photography by Erin McGinn.
We have such a treat for you today! First of all, this elegant New England wedding has some seriously beautiful elements. Our favorites? The bride and her bridesmaids all in white, the stunning seaside backdrop, and the classic navy and white stationery suite. Even better, we have this lovely couple’s entire ceremony script for you, including their reading and vows. And the best part of all? Today telling you all about the wedding is (drumroll, please): the groom! Bride Eva pops in here and there but her husband Brandon takes us through all of the choices that went into their big day. Let’s dive in!
Tell us about your decision to hold your wedding in Newport. Eva: Brendon and I have had a really interesting journey. We met in New York the summer after we graduated from NYU and have grown a lot over the last nine years, individually and together. We had a bumpy road for the first five years (including breaking up at least once a year!) but decided during a New Year’s Eve trip to Newport in 2012 that we were going to make this work and we have been together (sans breakups!) ever since.
Our decision to have a wedding weekend in Newport and our wedding itself at Castle Hill Inn was very easy for us. Not only was Newport the place we spent our first NYE deciding to make this relationship really work several years ago, but we are both New Englanders (I’m from Boston and Brendon is from Lynn, MA) who lived in NYC for seven years, and now live there again). We both love the New England way of life and also have an appreciation for classic, understated elegance. While Newport is not “understated” by any means, we appreciate the mix of old and new, traditional and modern that we experience whenever we visit.
Throughout our relationship, Brendon was always telling me how he couldn’t wait to get married and have kids. A wedding was never something that I fantasized about growing up. Nonetheless, it was something Brendon wanted, so I had started thinking seriously about it a few years ago. One afternoon, Brendon and I were in Newport and went to Castle Hill Inn for lunch, having read about it on a fashion and lifestyle blog. The minute we pulled up, I said to Brendon, “we can get married IF we have our wedding here.” I was so taken with the views, the ease, and just the overall feel of the place and the staff. A couple months later, he proposed and I said yes! We both still get this tingly excited feel every time we drive the road leading up to the Main Mansion at Castle Hill Inn. It is such a special place for us.
Eva tells us, “my mom made my veil. This was very special to me because growing up she always made my Halloween costumes, my school play costumes, and she even made my prom dress (I designed it)! So it was really awesome to be able to have her make something as part of my wedding day.”
Your ceremony in three words. Elegant, intimate, deliberate.
How did you go about planning your ceremony? We started with a pretty clear idea of what we wanted – a relatively small wedding with just our closest friends and family. We also knew that we did not want a religious ceremony but did want to retain the feel of a structured, deliberate ritual that reflected our personalities. For Eva, choosing the right music was a critical detail, while I preferred to focus on the reading.
Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? Just the major ones – rings, vows, songs, and a reading.
You can read Eva & Brendon’s vows right here!
What was your ceremony music? The processional was Come Away With Me by Norah Jones. Eva walked down the aisle to a Luke Wade cover of the Otis Redding classic That’s How Strong My Love Is. The recessional was Signed Sealed Delivered by Stevie Wonder.
Who officiated your ceremony? How did you choose him/her? We chose our good friend Dave Semanoff as the officiant. Eva met David the first day of Freshman year and they’ve been great friends ever since, and he and I became friends when Eva and I started dating. Dave has a strong personality, and we felt his wit, charm, and intelligence would set the right tone for our ceremony.
Were there any other elements of your ceremony you’d like to tell us about? Eva: My sister and uncles played a song during our ceremony that Brendon and I listened to a lot when we got back together in 2012. It’s an Emeli Sande song called Where I Sleep. My sister and uncles are musical so we thought it would be really special if they performed it, rather than just having the DJ play it.
What were your ceremony readings? Our reading was a passage from The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin. I read this book for the first time before we’d even gotten engaged. The relationship between the two main characters struck me deeply and certain passages captured the connection Eva and I share. I knew I wanted to incorporate one of these passages into the wedding ceremony.
I know it might be corny, but it seemed to capture some essential element of my relationship with Eva. It’s hard for me to articulate, and so that’s why that book, and those sections in particular have such a deep meaning for me. Not to mention it’s just so damn beautifully written!
You can see Eva & Brandon’s entire reading right here!
What was the best advice you received as a groom? Be an active participant in wedding planning! Too many guys choose to just leave things to the bride and her family, and some are intentionally excluded. Be vocal about what’s important to you and why, but also recognize that not all of your ideas will be implemented.
Don’t Eva and her bridesmaids look so fresh and elegant in their white gowns? Their simple bouquets of greenery and white work beautifully with the gowns and really compliment the overall chic, pared back look.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Make wedding planning a team project. Eva and I have some very different interests, and it was really nice to have a big project like this to work on together. Instead of retreating into our own hobbies when we got home at the end of the day, we’d work on invitation design or review seating charts. These things can get stressful, but if you can make it a joint project, it’s a lot more fun. Also, to the greatest extent possible, do what you two want to do! Listen to input from family and friends, but ultimately remember that this is your (as in, both the bride AND groom) wedding day. We are blessed to have very supportive, open-minded families.
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? In terms of wedding planning, I moved to NYC to start a new job just three months before our wedding day, while Eva stayed in Boston. This move was planned in advance, but it still added an entire extra level of stress and anxiety to the planning process. Of course we figured out how to make the distance work, but it would have been better to move after the wedding.
But in terms of the wedding itself? Not a thing!
Wedding film by Frame + Anchor