Credit Vanessa, maid of honor for Julia McDonnell (formerly Lonski), with her matchmaking skills. Vanessa knew that Julia would hit it off with Allan McDonnell when all three of them were seniors in high school. She made the introduction at a mutual friend’s party, Julia and Allan started dating a couple weeks later, a proposal followed on a trip to Morocco some time after that, and a wedding was planned for October 2014—eight years after that initial party.
When it came time to plan the wedding, the couple wanted to honor both the Fairfield County roots of Julia, today an analyst at Spencer Stuart, and the Westchester roots of Allan, now a senior fund accountant at Kensico Capital Management. They chose to have the ceremony at Christ Church in Greenwich, CT, with a reception following at the Whitby Castle in Rye.
The bride chose a stunningly embellished gown by Liancarlo.
“Christ Church reminded us of all the cathedrals we had visited in Europe, and Whitby Castle felt incredibly Old World,” Julia says. “We loved the Moorish style windows overlooking the golf course and Long Island Sound, which reminded us of where we got in engaged in Morocco.”
The Moorish motif became the inspiration for invitations and centerpieces, which featured silver Moroccan lanterns and votives.
Wedding invitations set the tone for the Moorish motif that carried through the reception décor.
Continuing in the theme of honoring their heritage, a bagpiper played entrance music for guests and led the newlyweds into their reception. “It was important we incorporate our families’ Irish and Welsh ancestry in the wedding,” Julia says.
At the reception, Julia and Allan had one goal: to get everybody up and dancing. Julia, her dad, and her bridesmaids surprised everyone—including the groom—with a surprise dance following their father/daughter dance. “This started the night off with a bang,” Julia says. Allan and his mother got in on the act, too, during their mother/son dance, where they made a sudden change from “Forever Young” to “The Twist.” Says Julia, “We knew we were successful when, for the majority of the night, everyone was out on the dance floor dancing to the band.”
Allan wore a custom suit from Brooklyn’s Martin Greenfield Clothiers, which has made suits for Presidents Clinton and Obama (and the cast of Boardwalk Empire).
Tablescapes featured Moroccan lanterns that cast a romantic glow when lit; Lulu’s Cake Boutique made a cake that was vanilla with chocolate buttercream and chocolate hazelnut crunch. “We couldn’t chose between two flavors and they said we could do both!” Julia says.”
The Whitby Castle in Rye reminded the couple of the great cathedrals of Europe.
After the wedding, Julia and Allan embarked on a honeymoon befitting a couple who got engaged in Morocco: They continued their world travels with a mini-moon in Nantucket, followed by two weeks in Southeast Asia, touring Thailand, Cambodia, Hong Kong, and Bali.
Nate Creamer Photography
Lulu Cake Boutique
Something Special Flowers
Stolen Moments Entertainment
Al Scatt’s Band of Gold
Gregor MacIntyre of the Greenwich Pipe Band
Noir by Lazaro gowns purchased at A Little Something White
Martin Greenfield Clothiers