Real Wedding: Julie Ciollo & Elisse Gaynor

Draw inspiration from their stylish celebration.

August 20, 2016
The Lyman Estate
Waltham, Massachusetts

Julie Ciollo Elisse Gaynor real wedding 2

The couple was married by Elisse’s aunt, a Unitarian minister, but wrote their own vows. / Photograph by Silver + Salt


In August 2013, Julie Ciollo was ready to call it quits on online dating. “I’d started calling it OkStupid,” she says. Then she got a message from Elisse Gaynor, who’d just joined the site. According to OkCupid’s compatibility score, the two were a 94 percent match. This was enough to satisfy Elisse, who calls herself “a very analytical person.” After chatting for a couple weeks, the two agreed to meet in person. Maybe OkCupid wasn’t so dumb after all.

Their first date was a “mini tour of Cambridge” that started at the now-shuttered West Side Lounge, progressed to Chez Henri, and continued on from there. “We didn’t want to end the night,” Elisse says. By December 2014, the couple had moved in together.

It was a Friday afternoon the following spring when Julie popped the question. “I knew Elisse had been wanting a bicycle, so I conceived a plan to buy her the bike and put the ring in the seat bag,” says Julie, who was waiting on the couch when Elisse got home from work. After several attempts to draw her attention to the ring— “I kept asking her, ‘What do you think about the seat bag, the color?’” she says—she finally demanded Elisse make sure the bag could fit her phone. “And inside was the ring!” Elisse says.

A little over a year later, the couple tied the knot at a late-summer Lyman Estate wedding. In keeping with tradition, the brides didn’t see each other’s dresses before the day. At the big reveal, Julie says, “I almost died laughing: Two versions of the same dress—definitely different, but complementary.” Not unlike the couple themselves.


Julie Ciollo Elisse Gaynor real wedding 1

Photograph by Silver + Salt

Elisse’s sister Erin fastened her sparkly Haute Bride clip before the ceremony.

Julie Ciollo Elisse Gaynor real wedding 3

Photograph by Silver + Salt

For their first dance, Elisse and Julie chose an acoustic version of Sam Smith’s “Latch.”

Julie Ciollo Elisse Gaynor real wedding 4

Photograph by Silver + Salt

The single point of planning contention: the invitations. “I tend to have a simpler aesthetic, and Elisse was more flower-forward,” Julie says. In the end, they went with a classic design and a floral envelope liner.

Julie Ciollo Elisse Gaynor real wedding 5

Photograph by Silver + Salt

Bow Street Flowers created arrangements in blush and cream tones.

Julie Ciollo Elisse Gaynor real wedding 6

Photograph by Silver + Salt

In lieu of a traditional cake, the brides cut a mini apple pie from Petsi.

Julie Ciollo Elisse Gaynor real wedding 7

Photograph by Silver + Salt

The Lyman’s spectacular outdoor grounds didn’t need much in the way of décor. “When you decide to have you wedding at the Lyman, you’re getting the Lyman,” says Elisse of the historical venue, which dates to 1793.

Julie Ciollo Elisse Gaynor real wedding 8

Photograph by Silver + Salt

The small wedding party included Julie’s brother and sister-in-law and Elisse’s sister and now-brother-in-law, with the women in one-shoulder J.Crew dresses.


Brides’ Dresses Judd Waddell, Allegria Bridal (Elisse); Galina, David’s Bridal (Julie)
Bridesmaid Dresses J.Crew
Catering Capers Catering
Dessert Petsi Pies; Gracie’s Ice Cream
DJ White Label DJs
Flowers Bow Street Flowers
Hair and Makeup Pyara Aveda
Transportation LTI Worldwide Limousine
Save-the-Dates and Invitations Nick Pioggia
Day-of Stationery Sara Hicks Malone, Minted
Rentals Peterson Party Center

Getting married? Start and end your wedding planning journey with Boston Weddings' guide to the best wedding vendors in the city.