Google Product Marketing Manager Charlotte Cucchiaro met John Ames, a VP at Wafra Investment Advisory Group, at Bates College. “We were introduced by two very close friends of ours,” remembers Charlotte. “John was a senior at Harvard visiting for the weekend—his roommate was dating my roommate. Even though the two of us only had a few conversations that weekend, talking to him came so naturally. We both felt strange parting ways at the end of the weekend—we had just met, but we already missed each other. It was such a unique feeling.”
The two saw each other again when Charlotte made the trip home to Massachusetts for the holidays. They rang in 2006 together and that’s when their relationship really got started. “We had so much fun sharing weekends together at Harvard and in Maine,” says Charlotte.
After graduating, John took a finance job in New York, and they maintained a long distance relationship for the next three years, but were together during the summers. Eventually Charlotte graduated, and got a job in New York so she could join John.
He proposed in December of 2013 while they were on the Weeks Footbridge at Harvard, exactly where their relationship had begun. “I had a work trip in Boston and had asked John to come with me so we could spend the weekend there before my event,” Charlotte says. “He made dinner plans for us in Cambridge on Saturday, so I suggested we head into town early and walk around the Harvard campus to kill time. This is a tradition of ours so nothing about the day felt suspicious to me because—I honestly thought I was in charge of the plans all along!”
The couple visited their old haunts, and then looking over the Charles River, John reminded Charlotte that eight years ago was when they had first been introduced. “He continued sharing some beautiful words, and then he was down on one knee, asking me to marry him,” Charlotte says. “Allegedly, I gave a teary ‘yes,’ but I was so overcome with happiness and surprise that my mind went dark. So, of course, I insisted that he ask me again—kneel and all—so that I could remember it properly.”
Little did she know, he had more in store. After eating burgers at Kirkland Tap Room, just the two of them, they went back to Charlotte’s mom’s house. There, John had secretly arranged for family and friends to surprise them with an engagement party. “We drank Champagne all night,” says Charlotte. “It was perfect!”
The couple set a date of July 18, 2015. “Newport in the summer is so classic, fun, and full of energy,” explains Charlotte. “We knew we wanted to get married on the water, and for our wedding weekend to feel like a real getaway, with as much celebrating as possible.”
The festivities kicked off with a backyard barbecue for early arrivals, followed by a night out of dancing at the Clarke Cooke House. On Friday, everyone soaked up the perfect weather on a Champagne sail with family and the bridal parties on Charlotte’s dad’s catamaran, “Flow.” Later that evening, guests gathered for a traditional New England clambake al freso on the lawn at the Eisenhower House, stone pit and all. (“I wore a light summery Dolce & Gabbana dress,” recalls Charlotte.)
The ceremony took place at The New York Yacht Club. “Harbour Court has the perfect ambiance,” says Charlotte. “It’s Old World Newport—understated elegance, simple yet beautiful, and best of all right on the harbor. It’s equally magical in the sun and breeze during the day and with all the sailboats and bridge illuminated as a backdrop after dark. Everything about the grounds is stunning, from the old, ivy-colored mansion with its green and white awnings and lily pond to the steep, rolling hills above where our tent sat.”
Charlotte wore an Oscar de la Renta dress that she found at Mark Ingram Atelier in Manhattan. “From the moment I tried it on, I fell so in love with the stunning lacework and the perfect, A-line fit,” she says. “It ended up being so light and comfortable, too. The lace of my veil matched my dress, and I had the tailor lengthen it by about a foot to create extra drama during my walk down the aisle.” Her wedding shoes were also Oscar de la Renta and served as her something blue. Charlotte knew she’d be on the dance floor all night though, so she came prepared and changed into Stubbs & Wootton slippers that said “I do” later in the evening. She wore her late maternal grandmother’s engagement ring as her something old, and borrowed diamond teardrop earrings. “Giving those back was not easy!” admits Charlotte.
The couple put a lot of care into planning the Catholic ceremony. “This might sound odd, but we actually had so much fun,” says Charlotte. “Our priest, Fr. Kris von Maluski, made it so personal and full of joy and laughs.”
In the weeks leading up to the wedding, he gave John and Charlotte each a writing assignment with questions about how they met, their proposal, and the moment they knew they were in love and asked that they send it back privately without seeing each other’s answers. He then shared their sentiments and words of love during the ceremony. “It was so special and emotional,” says Charlotte. “But he wasn’t afraid to make us and our guests laugh either, which made for a unique service.”
A violinist and classical guitarist played in accompaniment with the St. Mary’s organist, and then readings, carefully selected by the couple in the months prior, were delivered by close members of the bridal party and Charlotte’s grandfather. “That was so touching!” remembers Charlotte.
After the newlyweds made their way out of the church, they climbed into their “Just Married” getaway car (a ‘66 red mustang convertible), riding through town to lots of cheers and hollering from strangers. Meanwhile, guests got a guided trolley tour of old Newport in between the ceremony and reception.
Charlotte and John then arrived at the water, where they boarded an old wooden yacht, shared some private vows, and took a little ride around the harbor with their families and bridal parties. (Del’s lemonade cocktails—a Newport specialty—were served liberally.) Then they docked and greeted the rest of their guests at the New York Yacht Club – Harbour Court, right there on the water.
During cocktail hour, everyone enjoyed an epic crudo and oyster bar, and Charlotte and John—to their ecstatic surprise—got to pour a giant champagne tower for their guests as a celebratory transition to dinnertime. They created a menu with New York City Chef Parisi of local, seasonal items (like Narragansett ricotta and heirloom tomatoes) and some of our favorite rustic Italian dishes, served family style (like Porchetta; and gemelli with chili, breadcrumbs, and lemon), as a nod to their roots. This also included Charlotte’s grandmother’s legendary meatballs, which they served as an hors d’oeuvre during cocktail hour. Lemon granita was a post-meal palate cleanser, inspired by one of their favorite treats from a trip to Sicily that they had taken the year before.
Each table at the reception was named after a harbor that was meaningful to them and the entire tent was decked out in stunning green-and-white décor. “We were speechless when we first walked in,” remembers Charlotte. Sicilian cypress trees lined the perimeter, and arbors of greenery, filled with candles suspended in glass orbs hung above our long, Tuscan-style fruitwood tables, adorned with runners of olive leaves, white peonies and herbs.
The father of the bride, maid of honor, Rachel, and best man, Alex, all gave heartfelt toasts. “We felt so lucky and full of love,” says Charlotte. “Holding back tears was impossible.”
They danced to a full Stevie Wonder set of their favorite songs, amongst other R&B hits, by the best Stevie tribute band they could find, “Natural Wonder,” featuring Gabriel Bello, and with vocal cameos by John’s sister, Christina. The dance party was non-stop, until it was time for their send-off at the NYYC dock, surrounded by all of their friends and loved ones holding sparklers, the newlyweds departed by boat. “It was surreal to ride around the quiet harbor after the party, reflecting on the day and everything that had just happened,” says Charlotte. “We then made our way to the wharf to join our friends and family for an after-party at Fluke, a downtown wine bar. That is, the ones who were still standing!”