A Colorful Wedding at a Boston Art Museum
Christina and Matt
It was the first day at a new job for Matt Kiernan, when he crossed paths with Christina Dorobek. His first impression? "She was smart, attractive, and motivated to succeed." Christina adds, "I found him handsome, bright, and thoughtful." But they were both in relationships at the time. Even when they became single, Matt never thought he'd have a chance with her. Nevertheless the chemistry was there. Both conscious of dating someone in the workplace, Christina and Matt pretended to be friends for a while, eventually deciding it was worth the risk.
They dated for three years and then bought a condo in the South End neighborhood of Boston. She was longing for a Moroccan wedding blanket for the foot of their bed, but thinking it was unlucky to buy it before getting engaged, she held back. The couple also opted to only give housewarming gifts to one another with a $25 price cap and that were "necessities only." So Christina gave Matt four boxes of tissues. He surprised her with the blanket she wanted, and an engagement ring tucked inside. "Not exactly fair," she says. "When I opened his gift, I knew he was going to propose and immediately burst into tears. The tissues were used instantly." With their song playing in the background, she said "yes" and promptly got down on her own knee and proposed to him, too.
A little over a year later (and exactly five years since they first said "I Love You"), on Sunday, May 29, 2016, they took the next step and became husband and wife. With help from Easton Events, they dreamed up a wedding at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where they were surrounded by 150 loved ones and beautiful artwork. "The MFA offers a glimpse into the human experience, and it was a meaningful setting for our wedding," says Matt. "I didn't want to get married in a church but loved that the space still felt spiritual," adds Christina.
The downtown, black-tie affair infused the couple's personalities and style, with subtle influences from the masterpieces on view, and a colorful palette. Special touches abound, from menu inspiration to bespoke vows, and a very surprising performance by the groom himself.
Save the Date
"We wanted the save-the-dates to reveal the venue, but weren't concerned with them coordinating with anything else we were going to do," Christina says. "The big challenge we gave the Cheree Berry Paper team was how to blend the antique feeling of our ceremony site with the modern feeling of the reception room." The resulting piece was a gold-foiled frame on the card, which was tucked into a vellum envelope with a bright green pattern (inspired by the Dale Chihuly sculpture that guests would see at the party). Matt picked the fonts, which were classic but young and fresh.
The classic letterpressed invites by Cheree Berry Paper were finished off with a gold beveled edge and featured the same fonts as the save-the-date. To infuse some personality (and a nod to the art museum locale), the reception card responses were customized with "Yes, and it will be surreal!" and "No, my presence will be abstract." Small wedding weekend booklets were tucked in, too—with everything going in an envelope lined with a floral pattern inspired by old Dutch Masters paintings. On the fronts of the envelopes, a series of gold frames made the postage look like works of art.
Welcome to Boston
Christina's mom handled the welcome boxes—sourcing several different parcels until she found the right one, a glossy white number with a magnetic flap to keep it closed.
"Our goal was to make sure guests didn't have to tap into the minibar and to welcome them with local snacks," Christina says, so they were stocked with goodies from Massachusetts-based companies: Cape Cod potato chips, 88 Acre snack bars, Spindrift sparkling water, and Taza chocolate. Revelry & Remedy bags from A Signature Welcome were filled with the necessities. A Cheree Berry Paper-designed floral band wrapped around the box, which also included a welcome booklet outlining the couple's favorite places to visit, things to do in Boston, and their "must order" item at some of their go-to spots to eat. They added their wedding hashtag (#LetsGoghGetMarried) to the back, along with a sketch of Vincent Van Gogh in a frame to illustrate the pun.
The First Look
"Seeing Christina in her wedding dress for the first time was by far the most special and memorable moment for me," Matt says of their first look on the stairs leading up to the rotunda. Adds Christina, "I got so incredibly nervous leading up to it. My legs were shaking and I was struggling to walk up the stairs. Something about seeing Matt while I was wearing my dress made the enormity of this day sink in. He immediately put me at ease and literally helped me stand strong and walk straight. I loved the symbol of us walking hand in hand together into our wedding."
Matt was equally supportive and present later in the event, when he pulled Christina to the back of the room and told her he wanted to take a step back and commit the evening to memory.
Oh So Fashionable
Christina chose an Oscar de la Renta wedding dress with corded scroll Chantilly lace bodice and faille trumpet skirt. "I loved how fabulous I felt in the dress—and comfortable too because straps were a must," she says. Her matron of honor and bridesmaid dazzled too, in ready-to-wear gold-and-white Diane von Furstenberg gowns. Graphic gold earrings (a gift from the bride) added a bit more pizzazz to the look.
A Dramatic Accent
"I loved that the dress was a classic but had a little bit of edge with the awesome bow in the back," Christina says of the bold embellishment on her Oscar de la Renta gown.
A White Bridal Bouquet
All the Guys
Matt's college buddies served as groomsmen, with some of his high school pals serving as ushers.
The Ceremony Setting
The ceremony took place in the William I. Koch Gallery of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The room showcases 16th to 17th century European art on its red damask-covered walls, as well as exquisite Roman tapestries. So as not to compete with the space, but still anchor the area surrounding the couple, two large gold vases were filled with flowering Kousa dogwood by Winston Flowers.
Tying the Knot
During the ceremony, Matt's sister read an excerpt about love from Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernières, Christina's dear friend and bridesmaid lead a community vow where friends and family members were asked to commit to supporting the bride and groom through the years to come, and the officiant turned interviews with the couple's parents into a blessing of marriage. The music throughout was modern, though played by a classic strings ensemble. It started with Paul McCartney's "Maybe I'm Amazed" for the family processional, then on to "Kiss Me" by Ed Sheeran for the wedding party's entrance, Beyonce's "Halo" when Christina and her father came down the aisle, and "Here Comes the Sun" by the Beatles for the recessional.
Christina's mother, Julie Farr Dorobek, complemented the color scheme, with her green Victor Alfaro gown. The two got some alone time post-ceremony as Julie helped bustle the gown and Christina jazzed up her outfit a bit with more bling and changed into her dancing shoes.
Cocktail hour occurred in the rotunda. The bride and groom's favorite cocktails—Kir Royale for her, Sazerac for him—were served, along with hors d'oeuvres like zucchini cakes with whipped feta, salmon tartar with green apple on taro root chips, and oyster shooters—the couple love oysters and always "cheers" their oysters together.
One Colorful Reception
Guests were seated for dinner in the courtyard of the museum—an outdoor space converted to an interior room years prior during an expansion. "It's a magnificent space because you have a modern feel with glass walls and abstract sculptural art, but can see the original exterior of the museum," Christina says. "The courtyard is spectacular, but massive in scale," says Augusta Cole of Easton Events. "Our challenge was to create intimacy in a vast room that is essentially a glass and metal box with 40-foot ceilings and an extraordinary glass sculpture. Ultimately we chose the strategy of scale and color!"
A mix of tables dressed in green linens warmed up the room, tied it all together, and nodded to the Chihuly piece on view, "Lime Green Icicle Tower." Easton Events chose long runs of rectangular tables to create mass in the space, and combined them with rounds to mix things up a bit. Round tables were anchored with 6-foot tall centerpieces to take advantage of the soaring ceilings and take up more space visually. They were made from glass trumpet-shaped vases atop a mirrored cube riser, and held Kousa dogwood en masse. Glass perfume-style bud vases holding coordinating blossoms surrounded the base, along with glowing votive candles.
During the planning, when Lynn Easton and Augusta Cole of Easton Events were in town for the site visit, Christina and Matt had them over to their new place. "We had just finished decorating it and I think it was tremendously helpful in giving them an idea of our style," says the bride. "When we went to check out rentals the next day, all four of us were really in sync and left with our linens and entire tabletop selected. Lynn said it's unheard of to strike gold the first time."
But they definitely did, in more ways than one. Each place was set with clear glass chargers and a series of mismatched patterned plates—all edged and accented with gold. The flatware and stemware were gilded, too, with a hammered-style flute, and confetti-inspired wine glass. The couple knew they wanted the metallic pieces as they had just finished registering for gold-rimmed formal dinnerware. Color came in floral form, with peonies, garden roses, asclepia, spirea, fern, sweet peas, parrot tulips, and ranunculus arranged by Winston Flowers.
The couple chose their chairs because they resembled love knots. Flowers and greenery garlands adorned the backs of the seats the newlyweds took, thanks to Winston Flowers.
Matt's mom is Italian and has a family tradition of serving a ravioli course before all family holidays—even Thanksgiving. Christina, a fellow pasta-lover, fell in love with this practice and wanted to incorporate it into the wedding meal. And so, the amuse-bouche course was devised. A beet and yogurt salad followed. For the main, it was a spin on the classic surf and turf, with a pairing of lamb and monkfish.
The printed menus offered a nod to another family member, with a dedication to Matt's grandmother. Different "would you rather" questions (there were 10 in total) were printed on them to promote conversation among guests and incorporate the couple's sense of humor.
Time to Dance
Following dinner, it was time to dance. The couple kicked things off with their first dance to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros' "Home"—which Matt played when he proposed. Christina had been trying to make "Only Wanna Be With You" by Hootie and the Blowfish their song for years, but Matt wasn't on board. But he surprised her at the reception by joining the band on stage and singing it to her. "My only regret was having not learned all the lyrics ahead of time," he says. "When I realized the band didn't have them available I hid behind a staff-only section of the venue to listen to the song a few times on my phone. When I had emerged, everyone was asking where I had disappeared to, which I had to keep quiet about until we finally performed."
"It was one of the highlights of the night for me," Christina recounts.
Another entertaining part of the night came with the hora loca. Christina's bridesmaid had tied the knot a few months prior in Cartagena, where the fun hour is a staple and the crowd goes wild. Light-up bow ties and engagement rings were brought out, a cocktail with dry ice was served, and everyone was pumped for the last hour of dancing. Mini Fenway Franks and petite pop tarts (a nod to a brunch item at one of the duo's fave brunch spots) were passed as late-night snacks.
The Wedding Cake
The invitation suite's envelope liner inspired the design of the wedding cake—with painted flowers on three of the five tiers, and fresh blooms adorning the top. Inside the Oakleaf Cakes Bake Shop creation was a light and fresh combination of lemon cake and buttercream frosting.
At midnight, the party came to a conclusion, with guests gathering with glow sticks to send the couple on their way. An after party kept the revelry going at Liberty Hotel, complete with grilled cheeses, s'mores, and cocktails.
Photography, Belathée Photography
Location and Catering, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Event Design, Styling, and Production, Easton Events
Flowers, Winston Flowers
Videography, Artistic Wedding Films
Officiant, Deb Goldman
Stationery, Cheree Berry Paper
Calligraphy, Left Handed Calligrapher
Cake, Oakleaf Cakes Bake Shop
Bride's gown, Oscar de la Renta
Hair, Mane Event
Makeup, Sarra Studios
Bridesmaids' dresses, Diane Von Furstenberg
Groom's tuxedo, Armani
Groom's shoes, Salvatore Ferragamo
Lighting, High Output
Transportation, DPV Transportation