Christen Brown owes a friend a big thank you for setting her up on a blind date with Craig Aronoff, the man who turned out to be her future husband. “We dated for seven years,” she says. “A few words that would describe our courtship, engagement, and wedding would be natural, easy going, and relaxed.”
Christen, who works in textile sales, had an inkling Craig, a real estate developer, was going to propose during a trip to Nantucket, after he booked their favorite restaurant for their last night on the island. “I should have known better. He had a totally unexpected game plan of his own,” she says. The dinner did not end with a proposal, but after leaving the island, the two took an unplanned detour to Christen’s parent’s house in Pennsylvania, and it was there over burgers and wine in the quiet backyard, that he popped the question.
While it’s traditional in Virginia, where the bride’s from, to get married at home, the couple knew most of their friends and family would enjoy a destination wedding in Nantucket. After finding out that St. Mary, Our Lady of the Isle, their first choice location for their ceremony, was available, they quickly moved forward and booked Galley Beach, a seaside restaurant, for their reception, and hired David and Donald of David M Handy Events to help plan their wedding. “With all in place, we then had a year to worry about the weather,” Christen laughs. And, to look for a dress . . .
Christen admits that the reality of finding a wedding dress was quite different from what she initially imagined. For starters, she picked the first dress she tried on: a tulle, A-line gown with floral embroidery in Oscar De La Renta’s 2015 collection. “I ended up wearing it all day and night. Bustling the gown never crossed my mind,” she says. She wore her everyday pearl stud earrings and a diamond bracelet gifted by her in-laws for jewelry, and a small beaded bag that once belonged to her great-grandmother as an accessory. “I found the place cards from my parents’s wedding in there!” Meanwhile Craig chose a blue Hickey Freeman suit with a small scaled patterned Brooks Brother’s tie for his big day.
On September 9th, 2017, friends and family gathered at St. Mary, Our Lady of the Isle Church to witness Christen and Craig’s vows. “Scriptures were ready by family members and Father Bouchard gave a meaningful homily on marriage and commitment,” remembers the bride. “There wasn’t a dry eye when the cantor sang ‘Ave Maria,’ one of my family’s traditions at wedding.”
After the couple was declared husband and wife, guests were treated to a cocktail hour featuring a raw bar of oysters and clams, and music performed by a jazz trio. Since Mother Nature was kind enough to provide good weather on the day of their wedding, the clear top tent was opened and guests were seated for an al fresco dinner. The couple had their first dance to Stevie Wonder’s “Ribbon in the Sky,” and later the bride’s dad gave a toast, while Craig’s mom said a blessing. After dinner, the Boss Band hit the stage and dancing didn’t stop until the very end. As for the wedding cake, it was cut right at sunset so guests could enjoy the view. “It’s hard picking a favorite moment, but I think I loved our seaside setting the most,” Christen notes. “That, and the people who came to celebrate with us!”