Hannah and Jackie have always worked to make their relationship work, and they shared a heart-felt and unique ceremony in a small barn in the South Shore of Massachusetts
Tell us about the proposal.
J: On my birthday Hannah texted me while walking the dog and told me that Bean had found something on the beach. At the time, we lived in our first house together, which also happened to be close to the ocean. So I walked down the beach to find Hannah, Bean, and a message in a bottle. After reading a really sweet note, Hannah asked me to marry her, and the engagement ring was attached to Beanie’s collar. After the proposal, we went to my birthday party and got to celebrate with a bunch of family and friends. Hannah had also arranged to have my best friend surprise me, so we got to surprise her as soon as she arrived with our engagement! It was a magical night.
How did Covid affect your wedding planning?
Being Covid brides was highly stressful, but it actually worked to our advantage in some ways. I think we got to refocus on what’s important (celebrating our love with our family and friends) versus having everything be perfect.
We always wanted a small wedding, but with two massive families, we ended up inviting almost 200 people the first time around. After we postponed, we had to cut back numbers to 100 guests, and then about two months before the wedding, all restrictions were lifted.
Many of our guests had made other plans, so we ended up only having 120 RSVPs which was the number we originally wanted! All the most important people were there, and although it was stressful, it worked out.
A Covid silver lining, I guess!
What was the inspiration behind the theme?
Our theme was very much ocean-rustic. We wanted it to be classy but not over the top. Also, we knew it would be hot, so we wanted people to be comfortable and cool.
We jokingly called it “beach formal,” Our guests really ran with that! So many beautiful sundresses and men in blue and green hues.
Did you undertake any DIY projects for the big day?
Yes, we did a lot of the decorations by hand. We filled the table number bottles with sand from our beach and sea glass we had collected. Many of the shells and sea glass on the tables we bought from Michael’s and had our wedding coordinator lay them out in a way that we described.
We hand-painted all of the crates and our ring box, and Hannah labeled the sizes for the flip flop boxes in the women’s bathroom and hand-made the chalkboard signs from Michael’s as well. We had a particular vision, so we wanted to ensure we had a hand in almost all of the elements to keep our “casual but classy” vibe. On the other hand, we didn’t want it to be too over-the-top themed, so doing a lot of stuff ourselves allowed us to keep with that.
Talk to us about the wedding day!
July had been a lousy month in Mass, which is unusual. There was SO MUCH rain, and usually, it was reserved for the weekends. Even on the Thursday of the rehearsal, it down poured. That’s why we were somewhat relieved that we chose an indoor venue. We didn’t have to worry about the weather.
It was a pretty relaxed day; we spent the night apart with our bridal parties, and both delivered a little wedding gift and note the morning of the wedding. We didn’t write our own vows, so we said a lot of what we needed to say privately in our letters.
J: I accidentally got the time wrong for the hair and makeup, so there was a lot of downtime in the morning, which was kind of nice. It gave us more time with our bridal parties, many of them we hadn’t seen since before Covid hit because of travel restrictions. A happy mistake! We both drank lots of mimosas with our bridal parties and listened to good music to keep us calm.
We did our first look in the afternoon, just the two of us, and took pictures with our bridal parties and immediate families. It was nice to get some alone time with our closest people before the ceremony.
The ceremony went on without a hitch. Our brother-in-law Aaron did an incredible job. When Aaron was reciting our vows, he used questions that we both wrote answers to craft our unique vows that we could say “I do” to. Only us and he knew that when he was describing each of us, it was based on what the other one wrote. There’s something special about that moment between us and the bit of privacy that went along with it.
We aren’t really “shout it from the rooftops” kind of people, so when we were looking at each other during that moment, it was really special, and it seemed like no one else was there but the three of us. That was the goal since we knew we’d be nervous standing up in front of so many people! After we both said I do and put on our rings, Aaron asked that the audience say “we do” to show that we had the love and support of everyone in the room. We had Hannah’s aunt and my best friend from childhood do readings that they had written themselves. It was a really personal and beautiful ceremony, and there were lots of tears from the crowd and us!
We lifted the mood and got everyone into their party shoes by walking back down the aisle as wife and wife to “Born this Way” by Lady Gaga. People were cheering and dancing, and it was a really fun moment!
Once the ceremony was over, we did the speeches, and then the fun began, and we danced the night away! The Silver Arrow Band was incredible and had people on the floor all night!
What are your favorite moments?
I think our favorite moments were the first look; we were both super nervous about the ceremony. Neither of us liked being up in front of people, so seeing each other calmed our nerves. There was so much build-up, and neither of us knew what the other’s dress looked like, so it was somewhat breathtaking to see what the other had chosen.
Another memorable moment was the speeches. It reaffirmed how fortunate we are to have two supportive families that love us no matter what. None of those speeches were really about the fact that we’re two women. But more so about how we complement and complete each other. It helped us both to realize how much our wife’s family loves us as well. Jackie’s dad, sister, and brother spoke and Hannah’s maids of honor, brother, and sister-in-law spoke. We always knew how much they love us and were rooting for us, but it was a special moment.
What does marriage mean to you?
Our marriage was never about the event, as much as it was about us making the conscious choice to take the next step of life together. Our love story isn’t sunshine or butterflies, although, of course, there are those moments. It’s been a long and hard-fought battle, a commitment and a choice. There have been some really tough times that have helped make the good times that much sweeter and more beautiful. That is the theme of our marriage and wedding. We choose every single day to be together. That’s not luck. It’s work and commitment to one another and the life we’ve built. There’s something about choosing one another every day that makes us feel so strong in our relationship and give us the utmost hope in our longevity as wives.
Lastly, is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
We are so glad we didn’t let anyone’s expectations (including societies) dictate our day. Hannah and I chose not to do a first dance, read personal vows or cut the cake in front of everyone because we weren’t comfortable with it. Neither of us likes being the center of attention. So we worked around that not only with our wedding coordinator but our officiant as well. Those decisions made so much of our wedding personal to us. We got to share many private moments. The morning gifts, our first look, or cake cutting with just the two of us. Those will always be some of the most memorable parts of our wedding day.
Photography by Simone Schiess Photography
Cake Montilio’s Baking Company
Catering & Venue The Red Lion Inn
Decorative Elements Michael’s
Dress Boutique BHLDN
Dress Designers Watters
Engagement Rings Brilliant Earth
Entertainment The Silver Arrow Band
Florist Flowers by Mary Ellen
Flower Girl Outfits & Wedding Party Outfits David’s Bridal
H&MU Glitz & Glam Bridal Company
Shoes Nina Shoes
Officiant Aaron Novy
Vest Perry Ellis
Wedding Rings Harmony Winters Jewelry