Until Niki Damascus and Joseph Gesualdi tied the knot, the long-distance couple had never lived in the same state. That's right: From the time mutual friends set them up until they said their vows, the couple commuted from Boston to Rhode Island to sneak in time together. But the distance actually brought them closer together. "Even when we first met, I remember thinking how strange it was that there were no awkward pauses or weirdness," Niki says. "It was like we had known each other forever."
To celebrate joining their lives — metaphorically and (finally!) geographically — the couple simply envisioned one big party. But it turned out that their July 25, 2015, wedding in Newport, Rhode Island, was more than just an epic bash. With a soft peach-and-pink color palette, their day was romantic and glamorous, with charming vintage touches.
It took a little more than a year — and the help of wedding planner Details With Love — to pull off the big day. "This wedding truly was a labor of love," says Niki. "Even though we hired a wedding planner, it was important to me that I be involved in selecting every wedding element, from the largest to the smallest detail." And, as you'll see in these images from Jack Jeffries of Christian Oth Studio, her attention to detail more than paid off.
Says Niki, "When it came time to pick a wedding location, we wanted somewhere that was not only meaningful to us as a couple, but also a place that could serve as a weekend getaway full of fun and festivity for our guests." Therefore, they invited their 150 guests to join them in Newport, Rhode Island, where they have vacationed with friends for years, selecting the stunning Rosecliff Mansion as the site of their reception.
"It was very important for us that our guests have an amazing weekend start to finish, from the rehearsal dinner to the wedding and brunch and the beach the next day," Niki says. "Since wedding days are typically a blur, we wanted the opportunity to spend the entire weekend making memories with our favorite people."
The bride knew her Carolina Herrera wedding dress was The One when she couldn't bring herself to slip out of the lace fit-and-flare gown. "With every other dress I tried there was always something I wasn't sure about or that I wanted to change," Niki says. "But with my dress there wasn't a thing I wanted to change."
The lesson? "There's the perfect dress out there for every woman, and you should never settle for something you're not absolutely in love with," the bride says.
Niki initially wanted to carry a peony bouquet but with the time of year that the couple got married, the beloved bridal bloom wasn't an affordable option. Instead, her florist created a for a romantic and organic bouquet packed with less spendy — but equally gorgeous — garden roses in hues of cream, blush, and peach.
In keeping with the rest of the wedding, Niki wanted the bridesmaids' dresses to feel romantic and ethereal. The bride chose off-the-shoulder, floor-length Amsale gowns in the party-appropriate hue of "Bellini." Meanwhile, the groomsmen kept their looks classic in traditional black-and-white tuxedos.
Niki and Joseph held their ceremony at St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church, a small but beautiful church with décor that really packed a punch. "Because Greek Orthodox churches tend to be very ornate, we decided to keep our ceremony décor to a minimum," the bride says. A few pews were adorned with small floral arrangements and pink ribbons while two large arrangements flanked the altar.
Photo: Christian Oth Studio
The couple's traditional Greek Orthodox ceremony didn't include vows, but did include a tradition in which the bride and groom don crowns tied to one another to symbolize their union.
When it came to their reception, it was very important to the couple that the grandeur and natural beauty of Rosecliff Mansion be able to speak for itself without being overpowered by additional decorations. The couple's soft color palette made that easy to do, even with towering arrangements of garden roses, hydrangeas, orchids, and greenery throughout the room. "We wanted the space to feel warm and inviting, so we used candlelight, lanterns, and soft amber lighting throughout the room," the bride says.
The couple' reception décor included a mix of towering and low floral arrangements, all accented with trailing sprays of Dendrobium orchids. "We chose vintage inspired gold and crystal vases for the high arrangements, and mixed metals and mercury glass for the low tables," the bride says, adding that candles on each table lent a romantic ambiance to the party.
Table settings included vintage-inspired flatware, glasses, plates, and chargers, while menus cards and table numbers where etched in gold calligraphy. "We also incorporated our monogram throughout the day on the menus, our welcome notes, and seating chart," Niki says.
Because the bride and groom are huge foodies, the menu was very important detail for both Niki and Joseph. In the end, they decided to serve casual fare like mini short rib sliders and truffle tries, fish and chips in newspaper cones, and nachos paired with margarita shooters during cocktail hour, then indulged in a more formal dinner of Greek and Italian table stations, and capped off the night with a taco truck. "We thought that was the perfect post-bubbly snack for our guests on their ride home," Niki says.
The couple's five-tier wedding cake was made from layers of toasted almond cake with dulce de leche over apricot preserves and vanilla mousseline, and dark chocolate cake with raspberry mousseline and bittersweet ganache over raspberry preserves. It was covered in cascading sugar flowers, gold dusted piping, and fondant pearls.
Niki and Joseph didn't want a traditional bridal party entrance, so they walked into the reception and straight onto the dance floor, taking their first twirl to Leon Bridges' "Coming Home," a moment the bride says she'll never forget.
Looking back on their wedding day, Niki urges couples with the means to hire a wedding planner. "The last thing you want is to be stressed out about details or what is or isn't happening," she explains. "The best decision I made was having a wedding planner who not only helped with the planning, but also handled everything the day of. I don't even think my phone range once the whole morning. It was so nice to have the day to relax and spend time with my girlfriends without having to worry about anything."
Ceremony Venue: St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church || Reception Venue: Rosecliff Mansion || Wedding Planner: Details With Love || Bride's Wedding Dress and veil: Carolina Herrera || Jewelry & Wedding Bands: Tiffany & Co. || Shoes: Prada || Hair & Makeup: Jennie Kay Beauty || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Amsale || Groom's Attire: Armani || Groomsmen Attire: The Black Tux || Florist: Stoneblossom Floral and Event Design || Invitations: Sugar Paper || Music: Occasional Brass & Strings; Vali Entertainment || Catering: Russell Moring Catering & Events || Cake: Ana Parzych Cakes || Rentals: La Tavola Fine Linen; Rentals Unlimited || Favors: The Booth || Videographer & Photographer: Christian Oth Studio