Sophisticated Touches Defined This Black-and-White Ballroom Wedding in New Hampshire

bride and groom standing on balcony outside
Alicia Rinka

Veronica Pontes has lived in Boston her entire life—so when Adam Rudd, who she met online, moved into town from Florida, he knew there was only one person who could show him the city. He had been texting and calling her ("This was impressive," says Veronica, "as almost everyone sticks to texts these days") ahead of the move and took her on a date before he set foot in his new apartment. "He wanted to go to a bar in Harvard Square," she says. "I accepted and picked a spot with great food and drinks right in the heart of the university." During their first vis-à-vis, Veronica was surprised that their differences felt complementary; he was a small-town country boy from east Texas, while she was a city-minded Bostonian. On paper, it didn't necessarily work—but in practice, it did. He asked her on a second date, and then a third. "We got serious pretty quickly," she says. " I like to think I scooped him up before any Boston girls had a chance."

The couple got engaged two years later, on March 6, 2020, a week before the world shut down. "If it hadn't been for COVID-19, we probably would have gotten married much quicker," says the bride, noting the pair opted to ride out the pandemic before making definite plans. They grew tired of waiting, however, and at the start of 2021, booked their July 24 date. "We figured, whatever happened, we were getting married that day, regardless," she explains.

With the day set and venue—The Envio, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire—selected, all they had to do was agree on a vision, something that was easier said than done. "Honestly, we have such different visions for everything, it's a miracle whenever we agree," says Veronica. "Pre-pandemic, I would have loved a grand wedding affair, but Adam wanted a much smaller, intimate get-together where the focus was just us getting married." Their ultimate celebration melded their wishes: They kept the head count intimate at 75 guests and, with the help of Signature Designs by Monica, went grand on the décor, via a black-and-white color palette that filled the ballroom space with sophistication. "None of it felt easy—it seemed like every decision held so much weight," says Veronica. "But we enjoyed knowing that we were working towards the first day of our forever together, and that made everything worth it."

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Modern Moment

black and white invitation suite
Alicia Rinka

"Our event planner, Signature Designs by Monica, had mentioned that our invitations would be the first impression guests had of our big day," says Veronica, noting that the couple worked with Boxed Wedding Invitations to format a classic suite that previewed the event's black-and-white color palette. Given the short notice, they nixed save-the-dates, opting for traditional notes with a few timeless fonts; their joint monogram, an overlapped "A" and "V" was situated at the top.

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Classically Bridal

bride wearing lace high neck, short sleeve, a-line wedding dress
Alicia Rinka

Veronica tried on countless wedding dresses—many had something she loved, but Vera Wang's "Marthe" gown, which she found at Musette Bridal, spoke to her. "It just felt like me," she says, adding that she thought the lace bodice and high neck would look timeless and sophisticated alongside Adam's uniform. "The best thing I did was go home. I took some time to sleep on it. As I thought more about how I wanted to look on the big day, I kept picturing myself in this dress. That's how I knew it was the one!" Veronica wanted to tie Adam's grandparents into her look—"Both sets have been married for over 60 years, and are living in his hometown, but were not able to be physically present at our wedding," says the bride—and did so via her earrings, on load from his grandmother. Christian Louboutin pumps and a simple hairpiece completed her ensemble.

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bride under long white wedding veil with lace trim detail
Alicia Rinka

At the urging of her mother, Veronica wore a veil, which she also sourced from Musette Bridal, during the ceremony. "I plan to let my sister use it at her own wedding as her something borrowed," she says of the now-heirloom piece.

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Moment with Mom

mother of bride embracing bride
Alicia Rinka

When Veronica's mother and sister first saw her try on her wedding dress at the atelier, they agreed—she looked like a bride. On the big day, however, emotions were bigger; Veronica and her mother shared a tearful moment after she put on the finishing touches.

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'Maids in Black

bride standing with bridesmaids wearing black dresses
Alicia Rinka

Sourcing her bridesmaids' dresses—especially since half of her attendants live far away—was a challenge. "I really did not want any of them to have to spend too much time, effort, or money finding a dress for one night," she says. "And yes, like every bride says, but hardly delivers, I wanted them to be able to wear it again." After visiting several shops, she gave her 'maids a list of long, black, affordable dresses from Lulus. "It worked out great. Adam's party had some groomswomen, and I asked them to wear black as well. Everyone was able to pick something they loved and felt comfortable in. It was totally worth it—it took the stress of bridesmaids' attire away."

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Basket Ready

flower girl wearing white dress and pearl bracelet
Alicia Rinka

"The first rule Adam and I agreed on was we wanted an adults-only wedding with the exception of his two nieces," says Veronica. "Adam's youngest niece was our flower girl and we knew that it would be a game-day decision of whether she'd be comfortable walking alone and we were fine with that. She ended up being a total pro and got a round of applause as she finished her walk—and her big sister, junior bridesmaid, was right there behind her."

07 of 23

Groom in Uniform

groom wearing uniform suit
Alicia Rinka

Adam wore his formal Air Force uniform during the ceremony, but switched into an all-black suit during the reception ("So that he could sport his slate gray Stetson cowboy hat and black-cherry Tony Lama cowboy boots!" says Veronica).

Several members in his half of the wedding party also dressed in uniform for the event. "Being in the military often results in friendships built through some of the most trying times, consisting of people from widely various backgrounds both culturally and geographically," explains his bride. "A few of these friendships truly last lifetimes, no matter the distance and time between being with one another. This was the first time that Adam was able to have all the most important people in his life, in one room at the same time."

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Banded Together

groom wearing uniform suit buttoning his sleeve
Alicia Rinka

He received his most meaningful accessory, his wedding band, during the pair's ceremony: He worked with a jeweler to remake a gold-and-platinum ring that incorporated his grandfather's own bauble.

09 of 23

All Around the World

world map wedding seating chart
Alicia Rinka

"Our people were traveling in from all over and we wanted to acknowledge that, so we purchased a large map of the world and asked our guests to pin where they came from or the most interesting place they have ever been," says the bride. "We plan to keep it forever and add in our own travels."

10 of 23

That Light

clear wedding ceremony chairs lined ballroom space
Alicia Rinka

A black-and-white backdrop marked the ceremony altar, which was surrounded by trumpet vases filled with white florals and greenery. A customized runner, with the pair's names and the wedding date, defined the aisle; ghost chairs let the beautiful light in and through.

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Here Comes the Bride

bride smiling walking down processional with father
Alicia Rinka

"My father (who I, and pretty much everyone else, call Papi) walked me down the aisle. It was such an important moment," says Veronica, whose father has always been her superhero. "He showed me what a good man is, which helped me to spot a good man when I found him. Right when we got to the aisle, we took a shot of tequila together—it was my 'last shot as a Pontes.'"

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Vow Books

black and white bride and groom wedding vow books
Alicia Rinka

Two weeks before the wedding, the couple decided ("Okay, I decided," says Veronica) to write their own vows. "I am so glad we did. We wanted a quick ceremony—there were no readings, traditions, or much talking. The vows made it special and really, they were the most important part of the day!"

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Together Forever

bride and groom ballroom wedding ceremony
Alicia Rinka

The religious pair hopes to celebrate their nuptials in the context of their faith in the future, but it was more important, they say, to know their officiant; they asked Veronica's cousin, the oldest son of her late godfather, to do the honors. "We are so glad he said yes," she says. "The ceremony was absolutely perfect, and we could not thank my cousin enough for getting ordained and performing his very first wedding for us."

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Portrait Mode

bride and groom smiling walking on grass outside
Alicia Rinka

As guests moved on to the cocktail hour, the pair stole away for portraits. "These are some of our favorite pictures—they are our first official photos as husband and wife," says Veronica, who advises all couples to hire a photographer who makes them feel comfortable in front of the lens. "It was amazing to have that time together, basking in newlywed bliss, before we hit the reception."

15 of 23

Sit and Sip

cocktail glass escort display area
Alicia Rinka

Sleek coupes, tagged with cocktail names, were set up on matte black shelves, topped with white floral arrangements.

16 of 23

Contemporary Ballroom

black and white themed reception decor
Alicia Rinka

The wedding party sat at a long acrylic table, surrounded by onyx chairs; trumpet vases filled with white flowers and cascading greenery ran the length of the station, and were interspersed with floating candles.

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On the Table

black and white themed table numbers and decor details
Alicia Rinka

Ribbed glassware, smaller bud vases, and taper candles housed in hurricanes added warmth and texture.

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Marble Aesthetic

black and white reception place settings
Alicia Rinka

At each setting, black chargers were topped with white plates and flanked with dark, modern flatware, coordinating with the monochrome palette. A custom black-and-white napkin and menu were situated were the finishing touches.

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Meet the Rudds

black and white last name wedding sign at sweetheart table
Alicia Rinka

Custom walls were built around the newlyweds' sweetheart table and completed with their shared last name.

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Get on the Dance Floor

guests dancing during reception
Alicia Rinka

Ahead of the wedding, the duo spent some time with DJ Real P, talking through their vibe and conveying their favorite musical styles. "We played everything from Jerry Jeff Walker to Cardi B," says Veronica of the mixed playlist. "We had almost everyone out on the dance floor, learning new moves and hearing new sounds. Adam had his country music, I had my hip hop, and we played music from Cape Verde, the country my parents are from, that got my aunts and uncles on their feet."

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Sugar Flowers

black and white themed wedding cake
Alicia Rinka

Caked By Mel created the pair's four-tier red velvet, chocolate, and strawberry wedding cake, which was topped with their initials and sugar orchids.

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Sweet Ending

custom bride and groom illustration wrapped chocolate bar wedding favors
Alicia Rinka

For her bridal shower, Veronica had commissioned artist Nela Gáliková to draw an illustration of the pair; they used this sketch on the custom wrappers of Hershey bar favors.

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groom looking at bride looking back at the camera
Alicia Rinka

Photography, Alicia Rinka Photography
Venue and Catering, The Envio
Wedding Planning and Event Design, Signature Designs by Monica
Videography, Vargas Videography
Flowers, Sydney Smith Design
Invitations, Boxed Wedding Invitations
Day-of Paper Products and Favors, D&S Creations
Bride's Gown, Vera Wang via Musette Bridal
Bride's Accessories, Christian Louboutin (shoes), Musette Bridal (veil)
Hair, Hair by Orisa
Makeup, Kat V & Dulce Andrade
Bridesmaids' Dresses, Lulus
Wedding Bands, Stucchi Jewelers
Music, DJ Real P
MC, Elie C.
Cake, Caked By Mel
Rentals, Be Seated Boston, Dez Collective, Party Perfect Rentals, Curated Rentals, Peak Events Services
Favor Illustration, Nela Gáliková
Lighting, Boston Pro Sound
Dance Floor Wrap, Go To Shout
Custom Acrylics, Mel's Designs, Kulgrå
Photo Booth, Level Up Your Selfie
Photo Booth Signs, So Fenomenal
Custom Seating Chart, IYHTVDesigns

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