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A Bright, Fun, and Romantic Wedding at Castle Hill Inn

By Shayna Seid | Photography by 

Heather Waraksa

|Planning by 

Ashley Douglass Events

Caitlin Shaughnessy and Christopher DeNunzio first met in middle school at the Greenwich Country Day School in Connecticut, when she was “the new kid” from Texas. He helped her feel welcome and every night when she signed onto AOL instant messenger, she would get a message, almost instantly, from Chris.

On a trip to St. Lucia to celebrate their 10-year anniversary, Chris surprised Caitie with a proposal by the water. She wasn’t expecting anything, as they had discussed waiting a year to get engaged. He told her they were going on a sunset cruise to see the dolphins, but as they arrived next to the basin, a boat was nowhere in sight. He pretended to be flustered, but as a “stranger” passed by, Chris asked if the person could take a photo of Caitie and himself. As the camera was raised, he got down on one knee and asked Caitie if she would marry him.

Once engaged, the New York City-based couple looked for a venue that people could get to from the city without hopping on a plane. Newport, Rhode Island, checked off all the boxes, and due to the pandemic, Caitie and Chris booked Castle Hill Inn sight unseen. “We loved that we could have the entire wedding from pre-ceremony bubbles to the after-party all in different locations at the inn,” the bride shares. “For the wedding aesthetic, we wanted it to feel a little un-traditional and overall happy, fun, and very romantic. With the help of our wedding planner, Ashley Douglass Events, and our florist, Stoneblossom, we incorporated lots of flowers to bring the elevated atmosphere and different types of lighting for a romantic feel during the entire evening.” Bella Figura set the tone for the weekend with a beautiful invitation suite.

“For the welcome party at 41 North, I chose a Marchesa Notte gown, detailed with floral embroidery, beaded embellishments, and tiers of long fringe,” Caitie shares. She searched long and hard for her ceremony gown and wanted something “romantic, elegant, and playful all at the same time.” With help from her mother and her sister, Caitie knew the new embroidered Fiona dress by Mira Zwillinger was “the one” from the moment she tried it on. The bride-to-be removed the bow at the back to better fit her style and paired it with simple jewelry.

For beauty, hairstylist Frankie Denise and makeup artist Brandy Rhoads traveled from New York City for the weekend events. “Frankie has been cutting my hair in New York for years and has become a close friend,” Caitie explains. “We met Brandy through Frankie and she did the beauty for my sister’s wedding a few years ago. From the second I got engaged, I knew that I wanted to have Frankie and Brandy there by my side for the wedding weekend.”

On September 11, 2021, Caitie walked down the aisle, lined by pink, peach, and papaya florals, to the ombré arch, as “You” by Dave Matthews Band played. “This was very special and emotional, because this has been ‘our song’ since we first started dating as seniors in high school,” Caitie shares. The ceremony was officiated by the bride’s cousin, Melissa Allen. The couple’s favorite part of the service was reading their personal vows to one another, and once announced as husband and wife, they walked back down the aisle to “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)” by Stevie Wonder.

The reception tent was covered in romantic bistro lights, bright flowers, and papaya-colored drapery by Ryan Designs. Brooklyn Sound of Hank Lane Music brought the energy to the dance floor all night, as guests enjoyed signature classic and spicy margaritas.

Caitie and Chris had their first dance to “Electric Love” by Børns. And after the delicious dinner, peanut butter cake and donuts from Confectionary Designs were served for dessert and to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth.

For the after-party, Caitie changed into a Bronx and Banco dress to dance at the Castle Hill Mansion. “The disco was SO much fun,” Caitie gushes. “We had wigs and lots of props—and everyone got really into it, which we LOVED. I’ll never forget Chris crushing the air guitar to ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’ by Billy Joel.”