📸: Brad Smith
The Meet Cute
Nelson took notice of Chris on the first day of their 8:30 a.m. calculus class at Providence College, but it would be another month before he introduced himself at a freshman social. Soon after, Nelson pulled a Mean Girls move (before the movie was made) and suggested the two of them study together for class even though he knew all the answers and Chris, not so much.
After years of long-distance culminating with a move to Washington D.C., the couple decided to visit their alma mater. “Nelson asked me to take a walk around PC’s campus and on our way, we stopped at the former soccer fields off Eaton Street; the spot where we watched the sunrise and shared our first kiss all those years ago,” Chris says. “He braved the rain puddles, got down on one knee, and proposed.”
Providence holds a special place in the couple’s hearts. “It’s a beautiful, vibrant city that we wanted to share with our non-New England family and friends,” Chris says. “The Providence Public Library [PPL] came as a recommendation from a friend; the layout, the architectural detail and the downtown location were a perfect combination.” To fit the library theme, the grooms designed bookmark save-the-dates, modeled their invitations after a library check-out card (complete with key dates in their relationship) and rented a card catalog from the PPL to display our seating cards). “We also visited vintage bookstores in D.C. and Providence to find books that would be of interest to our guests and ensured those books were at their tables.”
One of the best parts of planning was the tastings. “We know that tastings sometimes don’t reflect the quality of the food when it’s mass prepared, but Russell Morin really delivered,” says Chris. “We had rave reviews from even our pickiest family and friends!” Another was planning the centerpieces; as a botanist, Nelson couldn’t have been happier with Robin Hollow Farm. “We provided them with a color palette, some basic design preferences (we like looser, free-flowing arrangements), and a few “do not use” flowers (sorry, carnations!), and their design team produced incredible results,” he says. The worst of it, though, was planning from afar. “We didn’t have the opportunity to meet vendors face-to-face, and since we planned our wedding pre-pandemic, Zoom and other video conferencing options weren’t the norm,” Chris explains.
The First Dance
Nelson and Chris thought of You’re Still the One by Lee DeWyze early on. “When listening to love songs, most explicitly state male/female pronouns or make other references that simply didn’t describe our relationship,” Nelson says. “But,after spending most of our sixteen-year relationship long distance, it’s undeniable that ‘We mighta took the long way; We knew we’d get there someday’ and ‘we’re still together, still going strong,’ are lyrics that ring true to us.”
“Just prior to walking down the aisle to an acoustic/instrumental version of Sam Smith’s Lay Me Down, I was overcome with emotion. I tried to hold back the tears as much as I could… No one wants to ugly cry with everyone’s eyes pointed at them!” — Chris
“For me, it was the ceremony exit. There was something extremely powerful about walking hand-in-hand with Chris through a crowd of cheering family and friends. The years of anxious anticipation simply melted away, and I felt like I could be fully present to celebrate our love with everyone in attendance.” — Nelson
Ceremony and Reception: Providence Public Library in Providence, RI | Grooms’ Suits: Tuxedos by Sarno | Catering and Cake: Russell Morin Catering and Events | Cake Topper: cutebobble.com | Flowers: Robin Hollow Farm | Signage and Invitations: Designed by the grooms; Printed by Minuteman Press | Officiant: Alyson C. Arnold | Reception Music: Nelson Cruz Entertainment | Photo Booth: Switch Photo Booth | Videography: Rich Ferri Wedding Videography | Rentals: Uniquely Chic Vintage