This Bride Dreamed of a Romantic Wedding at Newport’s Belle Mer

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Photo by Alexsandra Wiciel Photography

THE STORY

As a former bridal makeup artist, Rachael Rubin has been to her fair share of weddings. So when she and her long-term boyfriend Michael Shtifter got engaged, the owner of Parlr—a hybrid salon, spa, and portrait studio in Framingham—knew exactly how she wanted to celebrate. “The day after I proposed, Rachael came with a notebook,” Michael says, laughing. “She was ready to go.” The most important box she had already checked (aside from the groom, of course)? The venue. At age 19, Rachael worked with a bride at Belle Mer in Newport, Rhode Island, where she immediately fell for the spot’s blank-canvas feel and views of Narragansett Bay. “I called my mom and told her there would be no place else I would ever get married,” Rachael recalls. Years later, her mind was still made up. “I’ve never seen anything like it, and I’ve been to every venue in the state,” she adds.

And so it was that, on a blue-skied day in November 2019, Rachael and Michael swapped vows in Belle Mer’s white-walled ballroom, filled with friends, family, and a whole lot of floral arrangements. “We had a tremendous number of flowers,” the bride says, laughing. After the ceremony—during which a rabbi read aloud from letters the pair had written to each other—the newlyweds and their guests sipped palomas and “Newport mules” in an adjoining space, overlooking the water, before returning to the ballroom for a dance party that lasted well into the evening. “The romance of the sun setting with everybody having their cocktails was so glamorous and beautiful,” Rachael says. “It was truly the best.”

THE DETAILS

Photo by Alexsandra Wiciel Photography

Rachael’s company Parlr—which functions as a salon, a spa, a portrait studio, and a brand agency—designed the couple’s elegant stationery.

Photo by Alexsandra Wiciel Photography

“I am an absolute flower addict,” Rachael says of the couple’s bloom-filled ceremony space. “That was one of our biggest investments. I wanted everything else to remain classic and chic.”

Photo by Alexsandra Wiciel Photography

The bride and groom chose to forgo a first look to create a more dramatic entrance at the start of the ceremony; when Michael first caught a glimpse of Rachael at the top of the floral-adorned staircase, he could hardly believe his eyes. “I was thinking that this was the moment I’d been waiting for the whole time I knew her,” he says. “She looked beautiful.”

Photo by Alexsandra Wiciel Photography

Upside-down roses accented the escort-card table.

Photo by Alexsandra Wiciel Photography

Michael and Rachael’s 24-person wedding party stunned in black attire, with each bridesmaid selecting her own raven-hued dress. Rachael’s only guideline for her ’maids? “Make it Lady Gaga meets Met Gala meets the Emmys,” she recalls.

Photo by Alexsandra Wiciel Photography

Predominantly monochromatic, the Frugal Flower’s towering arrangements featured eucalyptus, ranunculus, and spray roses. Australia-imported maroon peonies, meanwhile, added a distinct autumnal feel.

Photo by Alexsandra Wiciel Photography

When the couple heard Libido playing at a wedding they attended in the Bahamas, they scrapped their original DJ plans and booked the Florida-based band on the spot.

Photo by Alexsandra Wiciel Photography

The couple snapped candids in a custom photo booth by Pose.

Photo by Alexsandra Wiciel Photography

“Rachael has an energy and light that makes people happy and makes people better,” Michael says. “She’s very giving and unselfish and I love that about her.” As for Rachael, the feeling’s mutual: “Mike is just the purest form of goodness,” she gushes.

THE FILE

After-Party DJ, Day-of-Coordinator, Lighting Siagel Productions
Band Libido, Tropics Entertainment
Bride’s Dress & Tuxedos Vera Wang
Calligraphy Details and Swirls
Caterer Belle Mer
Dessert Ben & Jerry’s
Flowers The Frugal Flower
Hair & Makeup, Stationery, Videography Parlr
Photobooth Pose
Rings Barmakian Jewelers

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Source URL: https://www.bostonmagazine.com/weddings/2020/11/30/belle-mer-2/