Nicole Curtis had the ultimate wing woman when first meeting David Kurland—her sister, Arielle, who happened to be dating David's fraternity brother at the time of the couple's June 2013 run-in. While the foursome attended a mutual friend's wedding, David seemingly made quite the first impression on his future bride's sibling. So much so that she gushed five fateful words: "You would like my sister!" Turns out, Arielle's hunch was correct, and the pair began speaking on the phone every day from New York City and Baltimore. After meeting in person once more in Washington, D.C., a few weeks later, their long-distance relationship and “Ultra Top-Secret Palladium” Amtrak status simultaneously ensued.
Eventually, Nicole packed up to join David in Baltimore, and he popped the question a year later on Fourth of July weekend in 2016. While vacationing at the bride's family summer home, the couple embarked on a bike ride to the beach, where David proposed in the blink of an eye. "We didn’t even have time to leave the handicapped parking spot where we got off our bikes!" recalls the bride.
Nicole, a Boston suburbs native and event planner by profession, envisioned an outdoor affair in the city she still deemed "home" for their September 3, 2017, nuptials. "If the wedding was to be indoors, I didn’t want it feeling stuffy and lacking character—I wanted it to feel open and have a view," adds the bride. However, when few venues fit the bill for the couple's clean, modern theme, Nicole eventually discovered a new event space that crossed off all the boxes: the MIT Samberg Conference Center, decked out with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Boston skyline and a wraparound terrace. Playing off the minimalist, contemporary setting, Nicole developed an eye for geometrics that inspired the muted, metallic color scheme and overall wedding decor.
The big day, however, was not without an unexpectedly devastating hurdle. David, in the process of studying to become a neurosurgeon at the time, discovered weeks before the wedding that his father had developed an aggressive, inoperable brain tumor, and his rapidly deteriorating health left him unable to even travel to Boston for the nuptials. The added emotional weight attached to the wedding, though, propelled the pair into an overwhelming outpour of love from friends and family. Keep reading to see this minimalist ceremony in the midst of a family tragedy, as captured by Henry & Mac.
Both David and Nicole won the day-of wedding gift game, hands-down. The bride composed a song, accompanied by a video photo montage, which David watched on an iPad with headphones—and cried the entire time, for the record! The groom, on the other hand, mustered the best "Why didn't I think of that?" present for his wife: a walkie talkie in a box so that the pair could communicate while separately getting ready. Genius.
Nicole's custom Sareh Nouri dress actually centered around the train. And, with an asymmetrical bow and two cascading petals involved, it's easy to see why. "I had seen the detachable chapel train on one of the dresses from Sareh's latest collection, and absolutely loved it," she says. "However, I wanted a different, more contemporary silhouette." The finished product? A simple strapless sheath that perfectly complemented the backside's attention-stealing focal point. She paired the look with Rene Caovilla slingback pumps and her grandmother's bracelet, which her sister also sported at her own wedding.
The bridal bouquet kept it contemporary, pairing white and blush calla lillies with more subtle white dahlias and accent leaves.
While the bride and groom managed to quickly pull off a first look under the protection of nearby trees, they were forced to move indoors for their official portraits. Luckily, though, the inclement weather surrendered for a brief hiatus after the couple's I dos. "The moment the ceremony ended, our guests rushed outside on the terrace for a breathtaking sunset that caught everyone by surprise," Nicole recalls.
Despite the father of the groom's absence, David kept him close to heart by sporting his cufflinks with a bespoke, textured tux.
Ghost chairs and an acrylic chuppah, draped in calla lilies to match Nicole's bouquet, fed into the affair's understated minimalism. The clean-looking structure also paid homage to the bride's grandfather with his tallis strategically hung from the top.
David and Nicole tag-teamed the wedding's musical selection, steering toward picks that truly encapsulated their relationship. The bride, for example, walked down the aisle to Sam Smith's acoustic version of "Latch" (a song David always sings to her), and the newlyweds chose "Another Day of Sun" from one of their favorite flicks, La La Land, for the recessional.
Friends and family reveled in the rain-free outdoor terrace during cocktail hour, enjoying a full oyster bar and three curated refreshments—a blueberry mojito, Sazerac, and a watermelon-basil infused vodka concoction. Guests also found their seating arrangements among acrylic, hexagonal escort cards, which added yet another decidedly modern feel.
To up the ante on the crowd's energy, the newlyweds made their grand reception entrance to a rather untraditional tune: "H.A.P.P.Y. Radio" by Edwin Starr, a disco song from the '70s that the bride previously introduced to David. "We wanted our guests to be on their feet dancing to the music before we all walked in and danced to it as a group," says Nicole.
Even the florals stayed in vogue, with Nicole selecting green and white blooms with pops of color that were styled to look like works of art. "I had always been fascinated and drawn to tropical flowers and leaves, so we went with those for all the arrangements," the bride explains of the reception decor.
Another meticulously curated component? The menu. "We were looking to push the envelope and give our guests food one does not usually find at a wedding," says Nicole. This translated to a smorgasbord of hors d’oeuvres, roasted root vegetables to start, and a choice of short ribs with parsnip puree, Mediterranean sea bass a la plancha, or grilled cauliflower steak. The newlyweds also opted out of a traditional wedding cake, instead serving rounds of push pops, churros, and gelato in mini ice cream cones atop a tray of rainbow sprinkles.
Nicole admits that picking the band came easiest. "I truly believe a band—with its sound and energy, makes or breaks a wedding reception," she admits, and theirs did the former exceptionally. According to the bride, the 11-piece crew kept up a crowded dance floor and a magnified excitement level until the very last second, while never once pausing for a break. "They brought incredible sound, energy, and fun to our wedding night," Nicole adds of the much-needed entertainment. "Our friends and family are STILL talking about them a year later!"
Speaking of friends and family, the bride advises keeping your wedding attendees at the forefront of your decision making. "As much as it is your day, plan your wedding with your guests in mind," she says. "Think about what you want their experience to be. It will guarantee a great time had by all."
Wedding Planner: Unique Weddings by Alexis
Bride's Dress: Sareh Nouri
Bride's Shoes: Rene Caovilla
Hair: Kacie Corbelle
Makeup: Kerri Herlihy
Bridesmaids' Dresses: Shona Joy
Mother of the Bride Dress: Carol Hannah
Groom's Attire: Suit Supply
Engagement Ring: Barbela Design
Wedding Bands: Misha & Co
Floral Design: Hanaya Floral Design
Invitations & Paper Products: Inviting Company
Escort Cards: Etsy
Music: The Caleb Hensinger Trio, The Hudson Project Band
Catering: Catering by Restaurant Associates
Transportation: Rockstar Limo
Videographer: McElroy Weddings
Photographer: Henry & Mac
Lighting: ALPS Lighting