Real Weddings

Wedding Parties: Briana Gochenour & Elizabeth Stein’s Fairmont Copley Plaza Celebration

After a small family ceremony, this couple channeled a beautiful, fun celebration at the Fairmont Copley Plaza a year later.

Photo by 309 Weddings

Even though they had been fellow students—just one year apart—Briana Gochenour and Elizabeth Stein did not know each other while at Colgate University. It was after both had graduated (Briana in 2011 and Elizabeth in 2012) and were living and working in Boston that mutual friends connected them when they learned that Elizabeth was planning to join the charitable organization City Year Greater Boston, where Briana was already a volunteer.

What started off as a friendship soon blossomed into a romance. “I could talk with her about anything, and she was always down to go on adventures,” says Elizabeth, while Briana says that she realized her now wife was “so smart and made me question how I thought about things and helped me to see the world through a different lens.” The couple tied the knot in a small family wedding in New Hampshire in 2021 and at a larger celebration, with 150 friends and family members, in Boston exactly one year later. The couple, who live in Hopkinton, says their wedding not only captured the essence of the “beautiful and fun” theme they sought, but it exceeded their expectations.

Photo by 309 Weddings


While the couple says they love the aesthetics of the Fairmont Copley Plaza—as well as its “wonderful” staff—the hotel’s location in the Back Bay, near City Year Greater Boston, where they met and their courtship began, was also a factor in choosing it. “The fact that it was around the corner from where we met and had our love story is very kismet,”
Briana says.

Photo by 309 Weddings


The brides made a dual entrance, with their fathers walking them at the same time down the staircases that flanked the area where they would exchange their vows. “Since we were coming in from the other direction, we were able to see our guests and see their faces react to us when we came out,” Briana says.


Maple-syrup favors were a nod to the couple’s small family wedding, which they called their “minimony,” in New Hampshire’s White Mountains a year earlier.

Photo by 309 Weddings


Briana and Elizabeth wanted to kick off the evening with the LGBTQ+ tradition of passing champagne to “help the guests who maybe had never experienced an LGBTQ+ wedding before feel a bit more comfortable and take the edge off,” Elizabeth says.

Photo by 309 Weddings


All invitations and day-of paper products were designed by Elizabeth, a former graphic designer.

Photo by 309 Weddings


Briana and Elizabeth’s first dance song was to “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds. The father/daughter dance (for both brides and their dads) was “Stand by Me” by Ben E. King.

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“The Fairmont went overboard for us. All our guests kept saying how wonderful the food was and how much there was. There was even a cheeseboard toward the end, which was a bit of an homage to me growing up in Wisconsin,” Elizabeth says of the four-course plated dinner.

Photo by 309 Weddings

Photo by 309 Weddings

Fairmont Copley Plaza

Flour Bakery & Café

Cocktail Hour Violinist
Violin Viiv

DJ & Photobooth
Beat Train Productions

Table & Tulip

Hair & Makeup
Charlotte & Company

Hotel Coordinator
Ashley Kirouac

309 Weddings

Ashley Elaine Events

Kadeema Rentals, Peak Event Services, and Party Rental Ltd.

Jan Boyd Calligraphy

Photo by 309 Weddings

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