A Classic Waterfront Wedding in Vermont

The bride’s custom Reem Acra gown is oh-so-beautiful

Bride and groom main image

Photo by Jessica Wright-Moore

Though Cathleen DaCosta and Jeffrey Brusven had known of one another for years (he attended the University of Vermont, and Cathleen grew up in Burlington, Vermont, where the school is located), they didn’t meet until the fall of 2014. Jeffrey was in New York on a four-month work assignment for The North Face, while Cathleen was working as a fashion publicist for the likes of Reem Acra and Elie Saab. “I invited Jeffrey to an event I was hosting for Fashion Week,” Cathleen remembers. The connection was clear, but neither was available, so Jeffrey and Cathleen parted ways. But a year later, on a dare from a friend, Cathleen reached out to see how Jeffrey was doing—and found out he was back in New York on assignment. Two nights later, they had their first date, and when Jeffrey flew back to California, they began a six-month spree of letter-writing that finally led to bi-weekly flights cross country and family introductions. Those weekly letters never stopped, even when, in December of 2016, Jeffrey proposed to Cathleen in front of the fireplace at her childhood home.

Instead of a traditional wedding venue, Cathleen and Jeffrey instead got creative and decided to take over Burlington for their wedding. “We got married in an old lakefront chapel, then invited our guests to celebrate on the waterfront,” says Cathleen. The bride did most of the planning herself and stuck to a palette of crisp white, which let the nautical New England setting really shine. “Planning a Vermont wedding from Laguna Beach was a challenge, but we made it work!” says the bride.

Finally, on August 19, 2017, 150 guests gathered in Vermont for Jeffrey and Cathleen’s airy waterfront celebration, photographed by Jessica Wright-Moore of Wright-Moore Photography. Keep reading to see more!

Handwritten note
Photo by Jessica Wright-Moore

When Jeffrey proposed to Cathleen, he had more than a ring for her: “He surprised me with a dress fitting with Reem Acra herself a few days later!” says the bride.

Bride solo shot
Photo by Jessica Wright-Moore
Bride getting ready
Photo by Jessica Wright-Moore

Cathleen knew she would be in good hands with her former boss, and she was! She ended up floating down the aisle in a stunning Mikado twill ball gown with a sculpted peplum. She adds, “Reem surprised me with a piece I adored from the Spring 2014 collection, a sheer shawl hand-embroidered with the word ‘Love.’” With such a gorgeous accent, the bride didn’t wear any jewelry except her engagement ring.

Wedding chapel
Photo by Jessica Wright-Moore

The Louisa Howard Chapel, built in 1882, is a small space, so only 50 of the couple’s family members and closest friends could squeeze in. “Some of my relatives are buried in the surrounding cemetery,” says Cathleen. “Jeffrey and I liked the circle of life feeling of starting our life together in a cemetery.”

Bride processional
Photo by Jessica Wright-Moore
Bride and groom recessional
Photo by Jessica Wright-Moore

The groom’s favorite moment of the day came at the very beginning of the proceedings. “My father and I approached the closed door of the chapel and knocked on the front door,” remembers the bride. “Then my two cousins opened the doors and he saw me walking down the aisle!”

Bride and groom leaving chapel
Photo by Jessica Wright-Moore

After the ceremony, guests tossed lavender and dried violets, a nod to Jeffrey’s paternal grandmother, Violet. The groom wore a navy three-piece suit, and both the bride and groom’s flowers featured crisp white calla lilies.

Bride and groom on boat
Photo by Jessica Wright-Moore
Bride's shoes
Photo by Jessica Wright-Moore
Bride and groom on boat
Photo by Jessica Wright-Moore

After the vows, Cathleen and Jeffrey boarded a vintage Chris Craft boat to take them from the church to the waterfront reception. “The Burlington ferry honked its horn, and people walked down to the water to wave. It was such a special entrance,” says Cathleen. The couple toasted with champagne, and the bride showed off her violet Manolo Blahnik pumps.

Wedding reception
Photo by Jessica Wright-Moore
Wedding reception venue
Photo by Jessica Wright-Moore

As the couple’s boat came in, guests gathered in front of the white sailcloth tent. “We kept all the decor quite simple. The setting was so stunning, and we didn’t want to gild the lily!” says the bride.

Bride and groom first dance
Photo by Jessica Wright-Moore

Guests were treated to an indulgent display of meats and local cheeses, followed by freshly made seafood paella. “It was so fun to watch them cook the paella on site,” says Cathleen.

Bride and groom dancing
Photo by Jessica Wright-Moore

The bride and groom love the atmosphere created by live music, so a six-piece band played all night. And as a surprise for Cathleen’s Irish relatives, Irish step dancers performed during the reception. “I wish someone had told me that planning could be emotional and stressful—and that was okay,” Cathleen says. “It’s one of the biggest moments of your life, so why shouldn’t it be emotional?!”

Wedding Team

Ceremony Venue: Louisa Howard Chapel

Reception Venue: Burlington Waterfront

Bride's Dress & Veil: Reem Acra

Bride's Shoes: Manolo Blahnik

Hair: Orbit Hair Design

Makeup: Mirror Mirror

Maid of Honor’s Dress: Jarlo London

Groom's Attire: Mark Pomerantz

Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: David G Diamonds

Floral Design: Ruth Henning

Paper Products: Poste

Catering: Paellas at Your Place by Antonio, Arts Riot

Cake: New Moon

Entertainment: McFadden Irish Dance, Silver Arrow Band

Rentals: Vermont Tent Company

Photo Booth: Photo Booth Planet

Photography: Jessica Wright-Moore

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