After joining a step team at Boston College in October of 2007, Carissa Wright and her teammates attended a "bonding night" with other dance teams, which was planned to mimic an evening of speed dating. This is, of course, where she met MacCalvin Romain. “I didn’t catch his name at first, so he very patiently explained that it was like ‘Mac’ and ‘Calvin’ combined, but that I should call him Mac,” she remembers. While that brief first date wasn’t particularly moving, the pair ran into one another again a few weeks later—and it was clear to MacCalvin that Carissa still didn’t remember his name. “It didn’t matter though, because we spent hours talking that night, and he asked me out on a real date,” says the bride. And it was clear that these two were not meant for speed dating. After nearly eight years together, they headed to Carissa’s grandmother’s house for her favorite holiday: The Fourth of July! After a cookout, the whole gang went outside to light sparklers. “I was holding my little cousin, so MacCalvin had to light mine for me but he kept dropping the lighter," Carissa remembers. The last time he dropped it, he stayed down on one knee and instead held up a beautiful ring. “Apparently he had to ask me to marry him a few times before my brain caught on that I hadn’t answered him out loud,” says Carissa. Finally, with a sparkler in one hand, she said yes!
For their May 26, 2017 wedding, Carissa knew exactly what she didn’t want: “I wanted to avoid a generic ballroom or convention center—we wanted lots of character!” she says. The pair found that in the open, airy setting at the Tower Hill Botanic Garden, outside of Boston. “We were supposed to get married on the lawn (where the views are insane), but of course it rained on the day-of,” says the bride. “Luckily, the rain location is a perfect back-up, and is what really sold me on the place!” Despite the spring showers, the couple tied the knot surrounded by lush greenery, exposed brick, and a glass ceiling that didn’t let the rain stop the party. Korrie Leigh Crowley of Photography by KLC was on hand to capture the classic wedding, which was complete with nods to the couple's alma mater, heart-felt vows, and a packed dance floor. (They did meet because of a step team, after all!)
“I knew this dress was the one as soon as I put it on,” says Carissa of her curve-hugging Marisa Bridal gown. “All I wanted to do was jump up and down, squeal, and stare at myself!” But that doesn’t mean the process was easy: Carissa tried on 75 more dresses in a huge range of styles. “I did it for my mom, even if I knew I would never wear them,” she says.
Carissa wanted her bridesmaids to feel like themselves, and with ladies living all over the country, shopping together wasn’t an option. Instead, the bride selected more than30 styles—in shades of in champagne and blush tones—and asked each woman to choose the one she loved best. Their bouquets (all from Whole Foods!) combined peonies, garden roses, ranunculus, eucalyptus leaves, and gold-painted succulents.
The smallest members of the wedding party were dressed to the nines, too. The ring bearers wore blue pants and vests, while the flower girls’ tulle dresses were accented with gold sparkle to match the champagne and gold theme. And funny story: The ring bearers walked right past the aisle before the photographer has to coax them into turning around toward the altar!
Carissa’s father led her through the drizzle to the ceremony, where the altar framed courtyard views.
“Even before we moved the ceremony indoors, I was obsessed with idea of a curtain of carnations at the altar,” says Carissa. “When we moved our ceremony inside, it seemed like the perfect addition.” On the morning of the wedding, her father found an arbor, the florist sourced white carnations—and the last strand was hung just an hour before the ceremony began. “With just the carnations and rose petals on the aisle, everything was perfect,” says the bride.
The self-described goofy couple wanted their guests to also get a peek at the "mushier side" of their relationship. “We wrote our own vows and kept it real, with the good and the bad,” says the bride. “We each spoke about the moment we met, our breakup, his love for the Lakers and mine for Beyoncé (who was invited, but probably couldn’t attend because she was pregnant with twins). MacCalvin even quoted the great poet, Shawn Carter. There were tears, a lot of laughter, and it truly felt like us.”
The groom, in a navy Calvin Klein suit, was confident by the time the first kiss rolled around, but admits that he was so nervous during the proceedings that he looked everywhere except at his bride!
Carissa wanted to add a geometric accent to the classic wedding's centerpieces so she filled terrariums with pillar candles and surrounded them with peonies, garden roses, and eucalyptus.
The couple’s two-tier cake featured layers of vanilla cake with strawberry cream. And there were other desserts, too. Says Carissa, “We had a massive dessert bar, with key lime pie, toffee, tres leches dessert shots, truffles, and my favorite: Cotton candy!”
A true Beyoncé lover, Carissa even got MacCalvin to share their first dance to the star’s “Love on Top.” And since their step teams were what brought the BC grads together, their teams (of course) performed during the reception. “The dance floor was a highlight, from random dance battles to a soul train line and swag surf,” Carissa says. "The dancing kept the energy so high!"
“My favorite memory was the feeling of energy in the room,” Carissa remembers. “There was so much joy, from sing-alongs during dinner to the packed dance floor. The energy and joy was so special!”
After their picture-perfect wedding day, Carissa and MacCalvin admit that they learned a thing or two during the planning process. That's why Carissa has this advice for you brides-to-be: “When you start to get stressed, ask yourself if the thing you’re worrying about is really consequential. No one will remember how the napkins were folded or which chairs you rented, so chill, paint your nails, and go have a cocktail with your friends instead!”
Ceremony and Reception Venue: Tower Hill Botanic Garden
Bride's Dress: Marisa Bridal
Bride's Shoes: Steve Madden
Bride's Jewelry: Tiffany & Co.
Hair: Marissa Outlaw of The Beauty Booth
Makeup: Nicky Bundles of Boston Beauty Bar
Bridesmaids' Dresses: L’Elite Boston, Bella Bridesmaids
Groom & Groomsmen's Attire: Calvin Klein
Engagement Ring: Santisi & Bove
Wedding Bands: R.H. Macy & Co., Becker’s
Floral Design: Whole Foods Wellesley
Paper Products: Minted
Catering & Cake: Tasting Caterers
Photography: Photography by KLC