Wedding Date: 8-2-2013
It was 2006 when Emily was a junior in college moving into a condo in downtown Newport for the first time. Rumor had it that a bunch of bachelors lived next door, so she was keeping her eyes open to see if there were any romantic prospects of interest.
Gardiner and three other bachelors had just purchased the house behind Emily, and they were all (unsurprisingly) checking out the new girls on the block. Later on, Gardiner recalls that after seeing Emily for the first time he told his buddies,”0oh, that one—she’s mine.” Likewise, the first time Emily saw Gardiner walking his one-year-old golden retriever, Titus, across the street to the park, she was immediately interested. (Believe the stereotype, guys—puppies totally work for getting the girls!) Attempting to be inconspicuous, Emily would wander over to the park whenever she saw Gardiner there, and after a while she even began to walk Titus on occasion. When the pair started adding weekly New England Patriots games to their social calendars, they began to realize that this was really going somewhere. Six years and one more dog later, (a beagle-pug mix named Lilly), Gardiner was finally ready to take the “next step”. The couple was strolling along their favorite dog-walking route on the beach searching for sea glass when Gardiner distracted her by pointing out a piece. He swiftly knelt on a rock and proposed in the classic, romantic way that so many girls dream about. Emily was so shocked that her first response was “Are you kidding!?” Of course, she then gave an ecstatic answer, ‘YES’.
August 2nd, the day of their wedding, began typically with all of the girls gathering for hair and makeup appointments at the Hyatt hotel on Goat Island, and all the boys gathering at her house for a rowdy game of wiffle ball and a glass of scotch to toast the occasion.
Emily recalls taking a quiet moment to herself before she slipped into her dress, when she finally had the chance to look at a very special picture that her father had put in her bridal suite. It was an old photograph of her grandparents on their wedding day. Although they had passed away, at that moment it felt like were present on the most special occasion of her life, as they were commemorated by a beautiful memorial table at the reception along with other close relatives that had passed.
While the couple chose to go the traditional route and see each other for the first time at the altar, the bride-to-be did have a very important “first look” planned. Her father and three brothers were brought into their suite while the she and the bridesmaids hid in the bathroom. As Emily walked out to greet the four most important men in her life, she realized how much this moment meant to her and thought, “hold it together for the pictures, Emily!” While her family has always joked around during emotional moments, everyone was speechless on this particular occasion, and it was a moment full of love and sentimentality as her parents and brothers stopped for a brief time to take it all in.
Emily and Gardiner’s ceremony was unique in the respect that they had a family priest perform their wedding. Being that he has ministered many baptisms and marriages for Emily’s relatives, her family decided to fly him in from Hawaii for the occasion. The homily was very original and unexpected, as the priest passed out mind-bending riddles and had the bride and groom try to answer them while on the altar. “It definitely eased our anxieties and helped us gain some perspective for the day” Emily reflects.
And needles to say, a wedding can be overwhelming in a lot of ways. Everyone’s focus is on the bride and groom at all times, and every couple has their own way of mitigating too much attention. Emily and Gardiner reflect on how the simple, impromptu moments of their wedding day were most enjoyable. One of her favorite photo opportunities, for instance, was when the couple decided to stop in downtown Newport for a spur-of-the-moment picture. The couple had the trolley stop on the cobble stone street of upper Thames, where bystanders stopped in the street to cheer and congratulate them. For Emily, it was during that instant that it truly felt like the world was celebrating with her and her husband.
As most newlyweds hope, Emily and Gardiner wanted each moment to last forever in their memories. Although they took photos before and during the cocktail hour, the couple (like many others) kept hoping that the pictures would be able to capture the full story of their wedding day. However, the newlyweds were so busy making sure they got incredible footage that Emily almost didn’t notice her groom’s strained smile. “How are you doing babe?” she whispered, finally realizing that the excitement and focused attention might actually be rattling her steadfast husband. He whispered back, “I think I’m done.” And then, suddenly, he said “Stop! I’m groomzilla-ing out!” That was the first time either family had heard this new and comical term. Even though everyone was slightly amused, Emily immediately began to panic. Gardiner continued by saying, “I just got married and I haven’t even seen her yet!” He turned to look at Emily as he went on. “I just want a nice, quiet moment alone with my WIFE!” The panic dissipated and Emily began to glow; she just could not remain upset as she melted at the sound of that word. The couple was quickly whisked away by their bridal attendant and brought into the bridal suite, where they enjoyed their very own hors d’oeuvre platter and an extra glass of champagne before introductions began. For the couple, this time spent alone was not only a relief—it was a humorous and sweetly romantic moment they will surely never forget.
Emily and Gardiner’s wedding was filled to the brim with individualized embellishments. One particularly unique aspect of their reception, for instance, was the Mojo Photobooth. Guests raved about the fun they had at this manned Photobooth where they were able to receive a copy of the photos. The Photobooth company even made an album on site in which each guest signed next to their photo strip, and the newlyweds were able to share it with family and friends the next day at their post-wedding brunch. Yet another fun and quirky feature of this wedding was the many personalized catering touches, as suggested by George Gregorian. George paid close attention to the fact it was a special day and suggested some truly unique catering ideas, such as serving heart-shaped sliders and Frenchy’s Popcorn at the reception. These late-night snacks, along with a mini steak and cheese sub, popcorn, and cotton candy, were largely popular with the wedding’s guests.
The many details, ornaments, and arrangements of wedding planning mean nothing without the beauty of the reward. And as they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” but only if the real-life moments and memories behind the picture are just as golden. Looking back, the images seem to capture it all for Gardiner and Emily on their wedding. Beautiful memories of a beautiful day.
Photos Courtesy EG Photo – Soozie Sundlun
Our Lady of Mercy Chapel of Salve Regina University-ceremony venue
Belle Mer, Longwood Events-reception venue/ caterer
(Hyatt Regency Newport- accommodations and post-wedding brunch)
Soozie Sundlun East Greenwich Photo & Studio-photography
Toni Chandler Flowers & Events- florist
Frenchy’s popcorn, George Gregorian- late night snacks (exceptional!)
pdr Events by Pamela D’orsi Ryan-paper goods
Wishing Well Bridal-Maggie Sottero bridal gown
Carl Anthony Tuxedo-groomsmen, fathers, and bride’s brothers
Bridal Garden- bridesmaids and mother of the bride
Spectrum Makeup Artistry by Jennifer Hodge-makeup
Stillwater Spa at Hyatt Regency Newport- hair for bride, bridesmaids and mothers