All photos by Giovanni Photographic Artist
In an era of high-impact installations and all-out opulence, a born-and-raised Westchester couple stood out by doing less in Yonkers.
Westchester blogger Jenna McDermott has garnered nearly 15,000 Instagram followers thanks to her classic, pared-down style. Think timeless looks, like camel sweater dresses, crisp trench coats, and sleek high-waist jeans. It’s no surprise, then, that McDermott applied the same minimalist ethos to her August wedding to longtime beau, Rory McDermott.
The couple, though five years apart, grew up in Yonkers together attending Sacred Heart Parish. “Our families have been friends for decades,” Jenna explains. “When Rory Facebook poked me eight years ago (this was before sliding into the DMs), the rest was history.”
Jenna & Rory
AUGUST 28, 2021
It was a no-brainer that the couple would return to Sacred Heart for a traditional Catholic mass and ceremony. They let the church’s beautiful architecture set the scene, with two white floral arrangements flanking the altar.
The McDermotts exercised similar restraint in their attire. The bride wore a mermaid-cut gown with a plunging neckline and subtle rhinestone detailing. “I think everyone expected me to wear a ballgown, a princess dress,” she says. “I wanted to be classic and simple, and I loved Pnina Tornai’s designs. I even met her at Kleinfeld, and she got to see me in my dress.”
Similarly, bridesmaids wore understated beige dresses (they were able to pick the silhouette from Birdie Grey) and held bouquets of white roses and eucalyptus. The guys, groom included, sported classic black tuxes from Men’s Wearhouse.
Jenna and Rory wanted to participate in another age-old custom: sleeping apart the night before their wedding. The bride and her maids got ready at Sleepy Hollow Hotel + Conference Center in Tarrytown while the groom and his 18 groomsmen (Rory is one of 13, so he has lots of siblings and close friends) gathered in the couple’s apartment.
The two groups met at the church for the ceremony, and it was then that things finally felt real for the bride. “My sister was fixing my veil, and my dad was standing next to me,” Jenna remembers. “I stared at all of my bridesmaids lined up and thought, Oh my god, I can’t believe that this is finally happening. I started to cry, and my bridesmaids started to cry. I couldn’t wait to walk down the aisle and marry Rory in front of everyone we love.”
After doing just that, the newlyweds posed in front of the church for photos before heading to nearby Untermyer Park for a more verdant backdrop.
Like many couples today, the McDermotts had to pivot their venue plans due to New York State health requirements. Instead of dwelling on the circumstances, they enlisted X20 Xaviars on the Hudson (where they had their first date) to host the reception. “We thought, let’s go by the rules, cut our list a little bit and get married where we first fell in love,” the bride offers. “It’s always been a special place to us.”
Upon entering the reception, guests were greeted with a sushi bar, passed hors d’oeuvres and a photo booth. Instead of complex centerpieces, the couple created a moody glow, with candles galore. “I’m not a huge flower person,” the bride admits. “I didn’t want flowers on the table, so we opted for candles instead. We had greenery on each table along with hundreds of candles.”
After the bridal party’s grand entrance, Jenna and Rory danced to “Speechless” by Dan and Shay. Then, DJs@Work spun a play list of upbeat oldie songs in line with the couple’s classic tastes, and guests crowded the dance floor. “After not seeing so many of our friends and family for over a year, due to the pandemic, it was amazing to finally see everyone having such an awesome time,” Rory offers. “I remember looking around the room during our reception and thinking, Wow, I can’t believe everyone we love is here right now. We were so lucky to have celebrated with all of them on our special day.”