Real Weddings

Real Weddings: Dream Nuptials in an Italianate Garden

College newspaper sweethearts Julie Xie & Mike Wisniewski said "I do" in Wellesley's Italianate Garden at Elm Bank.

Photo by Sean Gallery Photography

Julie Xie and Mike Wisniewski shared an office for six months before ever saying a word to each other. The two met in 2012 while working for their college newspaper at the University of Pennsylvania: Julie covered news, while Mike was on sports. “Traditionally, those two teams don’t ever cross paths,” Julie says. But by the second semester, Mike broke the silence at a party by asking Julie to be his beer-pong partner.

“Very college,” Mike jokes.

Eight years later, Mike gathered their college newspaper friends together again for a hiking trip in the Poconos—where the now couple took their first trip together—and proposed to Julie overlooking the Delaware Water Gap. In the summer of 2022, the friends and some 140 of those closest to the pair came together for perhaps their most important assignment yet: watching the duo say “I do” in the Italianate Garden at Elm Bank.

Photo by Sean Gallery Photography

Photo by Sean Gallery Photography


“We wanted bright, bold colors,” Julie says. “We worked with Artistic Blossoms to have florals that complemented the garden instead of trying to compete with it.”

Photo by Sean Gallery Photography


“Red is a very auspicious color in Chinese culture,” Julie says. She honored her heritage by having the bridesmaids wear vibrant, satin red dresses.

Photo by Sean Gallery Photography


“It was actually the first dress I tried on,” Julie says of her gown. “I thought the lacey flower work on the front went well with the venue setting.” And while she didn’t want a dramatic train, Julie notes, “This one was the right amount of drama.”

Photo by Sean Gallery Photography


Julie’s friend from Japan did the calligraphy on the escort cards. “A couple of days before the wedding, I was in her hotel room with her, and she was finishing up, I was tying the ribbons, and it was really fun to have her involved in that way,” Julie says.

Photo by Sean Gallery Photography


“At Julie’s bridal shower, there was a question, ‘Who’s going to cry first?’ and we both agreed it was going to be me—and it was me throughout the entire day,” Mike says. “There was no rain on our wedding day, but there was a steady rain from Mike throughout,” Julie says jokingly.


The couple danced to “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley (“Mike is a big Elvis fan,” Julie says). The moment was made even more special by surprising Julie’s mom—a dancer by hobby—with a choreographed number while Mike’s brother, the best man, sang the song alongside the band.

Photo by Sean Gallery Photography


Traditionally, Mike’s father sings “Mack the Knife” at every family wedding. Although he was hesitant at first to sing alongside the nine-piece horn band, Dad pulled off a memorable performance. “It was one of the most special moments of the night,” Mike says.

Photo by Sean Gallery Photography

Photo by Sean Gallery Photography

Soul City Band

Jenny’s Wedding Cakes

Gourmet Caterers

Artistic Blossoms

Hair & Makeup
Min-Ah Campos

Design Light Company

Kezia Bacon

Sean Gallery Photography

Stone Event Planning

Peak Event Services and Sperry Tents

Albertine Press

Dav El Transportation and Local Motion Transportation

Photo by Sean Gallery Photography

First published in the print issue of Boston Weddings 2024.

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