“Although we consider ourselves to be a fairly traditional couple, we met in the most modern of ways: online,” Michael Hrycelak reveals as he remembers meeting his future husband, Christopher Miles. After getting better acquainted in person, the two eventually became inseparable. In addition to the ring, Michael surprised Chris with a choral flash mob during his proposal. “Chris spent the majority of the serenade not completely sure what was happening, until [I] joined in as a soloist before getting down on one knee,” he muses.
Chris and Michael dedicated 15 months to planning their sophisticated fête in a New England city that holds a special place in their hearts. “Only a few weeks into our relationship, [I] decided to take a chance and invite Chris up to Newport, Rhode Island to celebrate the New Year. From that time, we have spent every New Year's Eve in the ‘City by the Sea,’ making it a logical as well as emotional place to formalize our marriage,” Michael tells. In addition to the readings and music selections, guests witnessed Ukrainian wedding traditions in honor of Michael’s roots. “Our hands were bound in an elaborately embroidered cloth, and we were crowned with wreaths of myrtle, a symbol of love and purity. We then took our first steps together in a circular pattern, symbolizing a journey without beginning or end,” he explains. Upon leaving the ceremony, guests received silver bells to ring as the newly married couple exited the venue.
The couple envisioned a palette of ivory, gold, burgundy, and navy as a nod to the era in which their reception venue was founded. Their vendors adorned the antique locale with lush blooms, greenery, fruit, and the couple’s customized monogram. “The monogram was a central part of the design, which added a personal touch to the stationery, cake, ice sculpture, and even a pair of Chris’ shoes,” Michael smiles. In lieu of place cards, each guest found a handwritten note from the couple at their table setting. As the night came to a close, friends and family also received cookies designed to look like the special venue.
While the couple enjoyed celebrating with their loved ones, they also stress the importance of spending time together. “Be sure to build in some time to be alone as a couple,” Michael urges. “The day goes by so quickly, and it is important to step out for a minute or two to be alone and enjoy the day.”