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Gretchen & Christopher | December 8

Gretchen & Christopher | December 8

📷: Maria Burton Photography

Where are you both from and how did you meet?   

I’m from Galesburg, Illinois.  Christopher is from Barrington, Rhode Island.  My work colleague (and bridesmaid), Elizabeth, grew up with Christopher in Barrington, and introduced us the old-fashioned way. 

How long were you together before you were engaged? How did you get engaged? 

We were together eleven months.  Chris was going to propose at the one-year mark, but I was putting on the pressure!  😉  For the proposal, we went to Newport for the Volvo Ocean Race, and then after, he replicated our first date on Second Beach in Middletown.  He got down on one knee in the sand, and simply said, “are you ready to cry?”  I said yes….and cried.

Did you always know that you wanted a winter wedding?

The winter wedding was out of necessity.  Christopher manages Bristol Yacht Club and summers are too busy with his demanding work schedule. My extended family are farmers in Illinois, so spring and fall are too busy with planting and harvest.  Plus, a winter wedding is so fun!  We wanted the wedding to be timeless and tasteful, and to also match the venue.  We also wanted it to be lighthearted and fun. 

What drew you to the New Bedford Whaling Museum

My summers in college were spent as a nanny on Nantucket, and I loved the Nantucket Whaling Museum.  I learned of the New Bedford Whaling Museum while there and visited when I first moved to Rhode Island. I dreamed of having a wedding there for years, if I were lucky enough to meet the right man and get married.  We thought it was such a unique venue, very different from others, plus we really liked how the museum paid homage to New England maritime history. 

How did you come across Maria for your photographer? 

Simply by accident.  I had spoken to one of her colleagues, Maaike Bernstrom, who was planning to shoot our wedding, but she ran into a scheduling conflict, so she referred us to Maria.  We absolutely loved Maria, and to this day we are now great friends, we’re even in a book club together!  

Christopher, what was going through your mind when Gretchen was walking down the aisle?

I hadn’t seen Gretchen since the night before and was so happy just to have her by my side.  Also, I was hoping my son Tristan wasn’t locking his knees and about to pass out behind me. 

Gretchen, what was going through yours? 

I was worried my Dad was going to step on my dress.  I was relieved to make it safely down the aisle and lock eyes with my future husband.  Neither of us like to be the center of attention, so we were both a little nervous.

What was your first dance song? (and did we spy some snow?) 

Our first dance song was, ‘Cruisin’ by Huey Lewis and Gwyneth Paltrow.  We were having a hard time deciding, and it came to us in the CVS parking lot a week before.  It just seemed like us.  And YES — that was SNOW!  Luke knocked it out of the park by offering to make it snow during our reception.  We almost didn’t use the snow machine, but he convinced us to, and it made everything so magical!

Was there a vendor that you were particularly impressed with that day? 

We were so lucky to have such wonderful vendors — each one really impressed us, and not one thing went awry, at least to our knowledge!  We wouldn’t have done it any differently. 

Did you run into any issues while planning or on the day of the wedding?

Because we are both planners by nature and both know how to run events with attention to detail, we didn’t encounter too many issues.  We knew to start the planning well in advance, and that worked for us nicely.  The toughest task was to secure both the wedding and reception venues and times.  Once that was set, the fun began!  

If you had to narrow it down, what would you say were each of your favorite moments from that day? 

Christopher: For me, it was really special to see my son, Tristan, get introduced at the wedding reception.  He came in wearing sunglasses to the song, ‘Legend’ by The Score, and had been practicing his dance routine for months.  He really got into it.  Luke made it extra special for him by playing the Hockey Goal Horn they play at Bruins games. 

Gretchen: Definitely when Santa arrived during the reception.  The room turned red, the snow started to fall, Santa entered the room to the classic song, ‘Sleigh Ride’ and the Russell Morin staff came out in Santa hats with trays of cookies and milk.  Everyone loved it, and we all felt like giddy school children — it was amazing.  It really set the tone for the holiday season!

Do you have any advice for recently engaged couples? 

Try to enjoy the moments of planning.  It can be really stressful pulling it all together.  Remember the real reason for the occasion.  Also, don’t get the flu on your honeymoon. ☹☹


The Details

Photography: Maria Burton Photography // Ceremony: Seamen’s Bethel // Reception: New Bedford Whaling Museum // Officiant:  Reverend Robert Pardon // Hair & Makeup:  La La Luxe Salon // Bridesmaids’ dresses:  Jessica Howard // Groom’s suit and groomsmen’s formal wear: Brooks Brothers // Catering and cake:  Russell Morin Catering and Events // Flowers: Sayles Livingston Design // Reception music:  Luke Renchan Entertainment // Signage: Printed at 136 Printing // Table, linen and chair rentals:  Peak Event Services //  Santa Claus: Michael Reilly // Invitations: Minted Wedding Invitations

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