After Three Years of Planning, This Couple Pulled Off a Party at Castle Hill Inn
A scaled-back celebration paves the way for a splendid Newport soiree.
When Gina Spilatro and Mike Collins decided to take their time planning their wedding after Mike popped the question in 2018, they had no idea just how long it would be before they walked down the aisle. “We weren’t in any rush,” Gina says. “We wanted to enjoy our engagement.” In early 2020—with their June 20 wedding date fast approaching—they were just putting the finishing touches on their plans when COVID hit.
Soon it became clear the big bash they had planned for Newport’s Castle Hill Inn wasn’t going to happen. Not knowing how long the pandemic would last, they didn’t want to wait any longer. So they scaled way back on their original plans, tying the knot at a Catholic church nearby and having an intimate dinner at Castle Hill with just 15 guests (the largest group allowed at that time). “We were so happy that we made that decision,” Mike says. “If you told us after that we would never have a big celebration, we would have been okay.”
But a full year later, with restrictions lifted and vaccines readily available, they pulled off the party that was almost three years in the making—this time, without the big-day jitters. “We didn’t have to think about the fact that it was our wedding,” Gina says. “That commitment was a big deal, and this was just a celebration.”
The newlyweds boarded a Castle Hill–bound trolley with their nearest and dearest after their first ceremony.
Beach Plum Floral incorporated pops of blue and buttery yellow (the bride’s favorite color) into bouquets for both ceremonies.
After trying on many gowns, Gina spotted the perfect dress “on a Monique Lhuillier model walking around the streets of New York during Bridal Fashion Week,” she remembers.
“Gina is one of the most caring people I know in this world,” Mike says. “She brings a sense of tranquility to our lives.”
Mulberry & Elm took inspiration from Gina’s ginger jar collection and the oceanfront venue for the stationery. The envelope liner featured sand dollars, sailboats, and lobsters.
The groom’s father officiated the short-and-sweet vow recommitment ceremony. “People joked that it was the best ceremony ever,” Mike says. “It was like two minutes!”
Mike’s only request was to have a wooden boat filled with drinks so guests could serve themselves, a nice touch
the couple had seen at the wedding of the mutual friend who first set them up.
Kate Murtaugh Events & Design and Beach Plum Floral worked closely with Gina to execute her vision, including lemon tree centerpieces and rattan pendant lights. “When we first walked into the tent was one of the only moments I cried,” Gina says. “It was just so beautiful.”
The couple had albums of photos from their first wedding scattered around the venue for guests to enjoy.
Drink cozies featured the bride and groom’s custom watercolor crest and ginger jar–style pattern.
Later in the evening, the couple were lifted into the (now empty) beverage boat. “I was surprised Gina got in it with me,” Mike recalls, laughing. “It was a really great party.”
The invitation’s envelope liner pattern reappeared in the reception décor, including in the backdrop to the
“So many times we thought the wedding wasn’t going to happen,” Gina says. “To actually see it all come together was incredible.”
Band Young Love & The Thrills
Bride’s Dress Monique Lhuillier
Caterer Castle Hill Inn
Flowers Beach Plum Floral
Groom’s Tux The Black Tux
Hair/Makeup BellaBeauty Bridal
Lighting Ryan Designs
Planner Kate Murtaugh Events & Design
Rentals Nüage Designs; Peak Event Services; Ryan Designs
Stationery Mulberry & Elm
Tent Newport Tent Company
Videographer 1K Words Media
Getting married? Start and end your wedding planning journey with Boston Weddings' guide to the best wedding vendors in the city.