Caroline Taylor Passano, Membership and Major Gifts Associate at the National Portrait Gallery, and William Patrick Cagney IV, Deputy of Intelligence for the Maryland National Guard, were set up by his sister and his sister’s best friend. They had been wanting to set the couple up for two years, and it finally happened at a Halloween party, where they were the only single people handing out candy. After a little less than two years of dating, he proposed in the vineyards of Stags’ Leap Winery in Napa.
They decided to host their reception at the Gibson Island Club, where Caroline grew up summering. “My great-grandparents started going to Gibson Island in the 1940s, and my father grew up on the island. When Will and I started dating, we would go a lot on weekends, and we started to make our own memories there,” Caroline says. “Our wedding was a combination of pinks, greens, blues, monograms, family touches, and nods to the military—Will left for Afghanistan shortly after we started dating.”
To help plan their early summer wedding, they hired Aimee and Christina of A. Dominick Events. And to capture every moment, Caroline and her mother knew Lisa Blume was the photographer for them—“to seal the deal, we found out she and my mother went to the same, small all girls school!”
On a June day, Caroline put on the first dress she had tried on—the Elma by Pronovias. “I just loved the column, Audrey Hepburn, classic look with the timeless neckline and dramatic back.” To complete her look, she wore pink Manolo Blahnik shoes, her grandmother’s engraved necklace, pearl and sapphire earrings gifted to her by her parents, and a charm bracelet from Will.
At St. Ignatius of Loyola, the same church Caroline’s parents’ were married at 38 years earlier, the bride walked down the aisle to her fiancé in his military mess uniform. Her uncle, a Jesuit priest, married the two in a moving ceremony. Once announced as husband and wife, the two got into Caroline’s father’s original WWII Army Jeep and headed to the reception.
A month before the wedding, Caroline and Will buried a bourbon bottle for clear skies, and it worked! The day saw a high of 83-degrees with a gentle breeze. Guests reconvened on the lawn, overlooking the bay, for cocktail hour and then headed inside for dinner and dancing.
Big Ric Rising Band made sure the music got people up and moving all night. “Dancing was one of my favorite parts of the night,” the bride says. The newlyweds had their first dance to King Harvest’s “Dancing in the Moonlight,” and after the mother-son dance, the bride and groom danced with Caroline’s grandparents. “It was truly a special moment that I will cherish forever.”
Once the reception came to a close, the married pair made their getaway in Caroline’s father’s 1950s firetruck. “We circled back, since many of our friends were staying on the island, and we had a little after-party with pizza and games at the club!”