August 10, 2019

Saint Clements Castle, Portland 

Garret Ward Photography, Jenn Chirico

Elizabeth Donald fell in love with France when she was 12 years old and visited for the first time with her father. While in Paris they visited the Eiffel Tower, of course, and although at the time he didn’t share the fact with his daughter, once they were at the top of the tower, Elizabeth’s dad whispered a prayer that the next time his daughter was standing at that same spot it would be with someone very special to her. On March 8, 2019, one Mr. William Adams, whom Elizabeth had met in 2016 while spending the summer working together at a Hartford law firm, proposed to Elizabeth on a small foot bridge by the Eiffel Tower. Afterward, they celebrated with dinner in the tower and then made their way to the top to take in the City of Light. Elizabeth had found her “someone special.”

“Because Will proposed in Paris, we wanted to get married at a venue with a European feel,” Elizabeth says. “As soon as we saw Saint Clements, we knew ‘this is it.’” Saint Clements Castle in Portland, built in 1902, is modeled after the 16th-century castles of Europe. It boasts two Norman towers, one of which reaches five stories and is wreathed in ivy, a balcony that was modeled after the Inn of William the Conqueror at Divers, France, and an opulent art gallery modeled after the Great Hall of the Château de Langeais, a medieval castle-turned-château in Indre-et-Loire, France. “Everywhere you turn is something beautiful,” Elizabeth says.

William and Elizabeth also rented the circa-1872 French Empire-style East Hampton mansion known as Bevin House Bed & Breakfast for the weekend so that everyone would have a central spot to get ready for le grand jour, and it was here that the bride and groom-to-be had their emotional first look. “I was crying,” Elizabeth admits. “I couldn’t believe that I was marrying such a wonderful man. Will is so caring and thoughtful, his drive and his work ethic are incredible, and, to add to that, he’s the funniest person I know.”

A string quartet played during their ceremony on the castle’s sweeping back lawn overlooking the Connecticut River, as did the bride’s brother, Jake, a graduate of the Berklee College of Music, who played Bach’s beautiful “Cello Suite 1 in D Major” on guitar. Elizabeth’s pastor from when she was a child presided over their very personal nuptials, which were followed by a reception for 180 guests in the Waterford Ballroom at which William and Elizabeth (who studied ballet for much of her life) performed a show-stopping choreographed dance to a mélange of songs ranging from “La Vie En Rose” and “Old Town Road” to “Despacito.”

“We couldn’t have asked for a better day,” Elizabeth sums up. “We had beautiful 74-degree weather, but, more importantly, we were surrounded by all our closest loved ones, who traveled from across the country and around the world to be with us.”

As for the new Mr. and Mrs., do we really need to tell you where they went on their honeymoon?

officiant: The Rev. Mark Abernethy

dress designer: Calla Blanche

dress/headpiece boutique: Mariella Creations, Rocky Hill

shoes: Badgley Mischka

bridesmaids dresses: Bill Levkoff

bridesmaid dress boutique: Mariella Creations, Rocky Hill

tuxedos: Tux King, Vernon

dj / lighting: After Hours DJ Entertainment, East Windsor

string quartet: Suite Occasions, Windsor

florist: Sharon Elizabeth’s, Berlin

cakes: Chimirri’s Italian Pastry Shoppe, Wethersfield; Dee’s One Smart Cookie, Glastonbury

hair + makeup: Modern Designs Salon, West Suffield

invitations: Minted

transportation: Liberty Limousine, Meriden