Fellow actors Monette Magrath and David Macdonald couldn’t have met in a more perfect way: being cast together as Daisy and Gatsby in the stage rendition of The Great Gatsby.
“Working together on such an iconic love story meant we needed to trust each other very quickly,” says Monette. “Thankfully, we did, and became good friends. But it wasn’t until two years later that we began dating while each in Broadway shows, our theaters just blocks apart. The courtship was a whirlwind, capped off by the sweetest surprise of our lives – a baby on the way!”
“MY HOPE IS CONSTANT IN THEE.”
The proposal took place while the couple was in Rochester, New York, performing together again in Noël Coward’s Private Lives. During their final day off, they decided to take their daughter to Niagara Falls. Unbeknownst to Monette, David had his mother and grandmother’s ring on his pinky finger, waiting for the right moment to pop the question near Bridal Veil Falls.
“Unaware of daddy's intentions, our daughter, now three, kept running this way and that,” describes Monette. “He decided to wait until there were fewer distractions and carefully returned the ring to his pocket, nervous the whole drive home for its safety. Thankfully, it was there when we returned to our apartment near the theatre, where David had arranged rose petals, champagne, and candles.”
The next day, when David asked his new fiancé about what her dream wedding would be, she simply answered with, “Italy.” Their wedding planning process began with searching for a venue where they could stay with their guests, while also hosting a ceremony and reception at the same location. Once they came across Il Grande prato in Castelfiorentino, they knew it’d be the perfect spot.
Several different themes emerged as Monette and David pieced together their wedding day. The first was butterflies, as Monette has always loved the concept of, “just when the caterpillar thought life was over, it became a butterfly.” It also symbolized the fact that it’s never too late to live a happily ever after. The next theme, quite fittingly, was a theatre curtain which was present in the artwork of the couple’s custom wedding invitations and provided the backdrop for the wedding ceremony. Renaissance Florentine paper was also a central décor theme, with bold jewel tones and ornate designs inspiring the mix-and-match jewel-toned dresses for the attendants, and multicolored reception glassware. Finally, there was David’s family clan motto, which beautifully represented the couple’s sentiments: “My Hope Is Constant in Thee.”
When it came time for the wedding ceremony, the bride and groom were joined by their guests on a stunning hillside, where they recited vows they had written, along with poetry and the tunes of an acoustic guitar. The bride carried a bouquet she had made herself from vintage jewelry, complete with precious family heirlooms. For the reception, Edison bulbs were strung over a single, long reception table, and fairy lights in the trees added a warm glow to the outdoor patio for dancing.
“When we left the next morning to honeymoon in Cinque Terre, Lake Como, and Venice, it felt like we had lived a dream the night before,” Monette shares. “Some great scene out of a novel, a film, or a play. This time, though, it was our story. Truly, the greatest production of our lives.”
Planner and Event Design: Weddings in Tuscany Tuscany, Italy