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A Roaring Twenties Wedding at Edith Wharton’s Home in Massachusetts

By Shayna Seid | Photography by 

Christina Bernales

Emerald Finneran, a nurse, and Brian Davis, who is in real estate private equity, actually lived together for about a year in south Boston after college, before they met. In their triple-decker, she lived on the third floor and he on the first. Wanting to have a BBQ in the backyard, she and her friends asked Brian and his friends living below if they could use their grill, and of course, they extended the invitation to join them. “Brian and his friends said it was the best party they ever had—30 girls just showed up in their backyard!” says Emerald. From then on, the two hung out pretty much everyday—convenient when only a couple of stairs separate you.

After four years of dating, the two were at Brian’s parents house in Cape Cod, when he unexpectedly proposed. While loading a boat, headed for the Nantucket Food & Wine Festival, Emerald was busy trying to get everything set for the weekend. “I was flustered because Brian was moving so slow! We were walking back from the boat, and I was going 100 mph as always, and I turned around (probably to tell him to hurry up), and he was down on one knee!” she recalls.

Emerald had always wanted to get married near her family home in Ireland, but with the logistics quickly proving difficult, they switched gears and set out to find a European-style estate somewhere closer. In Lenox, Massachusetts, they discovered The Mount, which was designed and built by Edith Wharton in 1902. “From the first time we saw The Mount, we felt connected. I knew I didn’t have to see another venue,” Emerald says. “The estate, inside and out, felt like our ‘home,’ giving us a huge space to entertain. We wanted it to be elegant but never too extravagant.” To help plan the event, the pair hired Natalie Pinney and Moira Thompson of WHIM Events.

Keeping the Roaring-Twenties-meets-garden-party theme in mind, Emerald wanted a dress that was easy to move in and fit with the location and time-period. “I was very particular that my dress be simple with vintage elegance—no sparkles or beading or anything heavy,” she says. She found a silk dress with a lace-appliqué top and a long train that fit her vision perfectly. Her jewelry was found in a vintage shop, and she got her shoes while she was in Ireland for her hen party.

The groom wore a custom, red-burgundy tuxedo with velvet loafers. “I think his burgundy tux stole the show!” says Emerald.

In the French flower gardens, Emerald’s mother walked her down the aisle, while a string ensemble version of Christina Perry’s song “A Thousand Years” played. “The minute I got to see Brian, I felt instantly at ease; I knew the day was going to be perfect,” says Emerald. During the ceremony, their minister incorporated guests into the ceremony. “We each picked a dear friend to say something special. Brian’s uncle wrote his own reading, and my childhood friend Kellie read the poem “Time Traveler.”

After the “I dos” in the gardens and on the patio, guests enjoyed a cocktail hour with the couple’s favorite cocktails, a gold rush and a French 75. For dinner, guests gathered in a beautiful tented area for a meal served family style, by Mezze Catering. “When we go out to eat with friends we like to share plates. I feel that it really makes you engage with those around you and makes dinner an interactive experience,” says Emerald.

The Broadway Project, an 11-piece band with four lead singers, who had multiple costume changes, stole the show for the evening’s entertainment. To give everyone ample time to dance, a simple dessert of warm cookies and ice cream was offered up. Their first dance was to “Yours” by Russell Dickerson, and then everyone found it hard to stay off the dance floor. The newlyweds even ended up crowd surfing! In true Gatsby form, the party went late and then segued over to the nearby stables where those still up partook in pizza and beer—and late-night wig wearing! “Our friend DJ’ed, and we had a stage built with flashing lights and amazing light sticks—because after midnight, people really just want beers and pizza and to sing on stage.”