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A Contemporary Art Museum Wedding in Boston

by Staff

For Alyssa “Nicole” Kutteh and Kristen Kuhn, it all started on the court. The two met in August of 2007 at the beginning of freshman year of high school during pre-season for the tennis team. While Nicole had attended the Philadelphia school since first grade, Kristen was the new kid. After that first day of practice, Kristen decided tennis wasn’t for them, but her encounter with Nicole was fate.

Although Kristen didn’t end up joining the team, they were able to rekindle that connection with Nicole at a mutual friend’s house at a later date. The two instantly became best friends and dated on and off throughout high school. When the time came to enroll in college, they both decided to attend Boston University and have been an item ever since.

Instead of a traditional proposal, the couple made the mutual decision in September of 2020 to get married. “There was no big romantic moment, but we wanted to make it official and celebrated with our friends and family once the pandemic receded a bit,” they mention.  

The pair couldn’t wait to tie the knot, so they conceptualized and executed their dream day over the course of nine months. Right after they agreed to spend the rest of their lives together, the duo selected their vendor team. For the rest of their tasks, they adopted a divide-and-conquer approach that fit into their larger vision. “We both are very type-A and shared ownership of tackling the to-dos,” they note. “Our strengths are nicely balanced, so Kristen took on some of the decorative elements, like invitations and signage, while Nicole took on some of the logistical elements, like contracts and payments.”

Overall, the brides enjoyed the wedding planning process, but the easiest part? Selecting their venue: the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston. “The moment we arrived for our tour, we knew right away,” they reflect. “We visited a few venues, but nothing came close to the ICA. You really cannot beat the location right on the water and the blank slate that the theater provided with 180-degree views. We were in love right away!”

On April 23, 2022, the couple traded vows in front of 95 guests during a modern affair that celebrated their love and their identities. “We wanted our wedding day to intentionally center around and celebrate queerness as an extension of our love for each other and our queer and trans friends and family who filled the dance floor,” they share. “Many of our guests commented on how the wedding felt so full of love and celebration, and there is no greater compliment to us.”

Keep scrolling to see how their big day played out, planned by the couple with day-of coordination by The Catered Affair and photographed by Lena Mirisola with Rachel Abell Photography as the second shooter.

Nicole and Kristen’s black invitations with a gold design perfectly captured their wedding aesthetic—modern, minimalist, and bold with a black and gold color scheme. The duo settled on this vision because it served as an extension of their personal style. “Our home has a modern-yet-comfy style full of natural tones with black and metal accents, and we naturally gravitated toward a similar design aesthetic for the event with some extra flair and gravitas,” they explain. For a special touch, the pair made their own wax stamps to seal their invites. 

On the morning of the big day, Kristen suited up in a floral jacquard Sumissura getup featuring blush blooms and olive-colored leaves. “I wanted my wedding suit to be fun and playful,” she states. “I loved the cut and pattern of this suit, and it just so happened to match the cherry blossom floral theme we had at the wedding. Also, when else do you get to wear a floral suit?” They pulled the outfit together with diamond earrings on loan from her mother, a black Nordgreen watch, and custom leather shoes with monk straps and a chunky heel from Sumissura.

Nicole slipped on a custom white bamboo jacket with black satin contrast by 9Tailors, a black mandarin collar shirt, and black tuxedo pants for the occasion. “I knew it was the one on the final fitting when it all came together and fit perfectly,” she recalls. She paired her look with her mother’s diamond earrings, her father’s David Yurman black diamond bracelet, a black Movado watch, and floral Taft shoes.

Instead of retreating to separate rooms, the duo spent the morning getting ready together. They even helped one another with the finishing touches, like putting their jackets on. “It was a sweet, intimate moment, and we’re so glad we made this decision,” they express. 

The couple gave their wedding party the option to don an agave-colored dress from Azazie or a charcoal gray suit from SuitShop. “We thought the agave and charcoal colors would accentuate our wedding color palette nicely, and they looked great day-of with our partly cloudy day on the harbor,” the couple reminisces. Those in gowns accessorized with nude shoes, and those in suits sported white shirts, black leather shoes, and an agave-hued pocket square.

Both brides chose effortless makeup looks and low-maintenance updos for the beautification process. Kristen rocked natural glam and a low bun with a side braid. “Above all, I wanted to feel like myself and lean into my androgynous aesthetic with a little more room to play,” they state. Nicole also selected minimal makeup and had her hair styled in a high bun.  

A black welcome sign with the pair’s names calligraphed in gold greeted guests once they arrived at the waterfront ceremony and set the tone of their modern aesthetic. 

Of course, the Boston Harbor served as the focal point of the ceremony. To accentuate the natural scenery, the future newlyweds swapped vows in front of a gold arbor adorned with cherry blossom branches and white baby’s breath, roses, anemones, and tulips. Clouds of baby’s breath also stood at the front row, where the couple’s family members congregated.

Kristen tapped her mother and grandmother to escort them down the aisle, while Nicole enlisted her mother and father. A pop string quartet from SpeechLess played “Graceland Too” by Phoebe Bridgers for the processional.

Family and friends continued to tell us how our ceremony was the most thoughtful and full of love that they had ever witnessed.

The couple personalized their ceremony with handwritten vows, which included “jokes, stories, and commitments to one another.” To capture their partnership, the twosome also chose four special readings by queer authors, which their friends and family read aloud. “We put so much thought into the selection or our ceremony readings and our individual vows,” Nicole and Kristen say. “Throughout the entire night and into the Sunday brunch, family and friends continued to tell us how our ceremony was the most thoughtful and full of love that they had ever witnessed. This meant so much to both of us!”

After sharing their first kiss as newlyweds, the couple recessed to “You Are the Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne.

Once they were pronounced a married couple, Nicole and Kristen snapped portraits at the Founders Gallery, which overlooked the harbor. While their guests enjoyed cocktail hour, the brides also got a sneak peak of the reception setup. “We were absolutely blown away with how it had all come together,” they gush. “They also brought us our own special plate that included all of the passed hors d’oeuvres and the specialty cocktails. This first quiet moment together in the beautiful theater setting was unforgettable.”

During cocktail hour, friends and family noshed on passed appetizers, such as falafel cakes, short rib sliders, and tuna tartare cornets, and dove into a Middle Eastern mezze spread, which was a nod to Nicole’s heritage. In terms of the décor, bud vases and bar accents featured anemones, hellebores, spray roses, freesia, and tulips.

The brides opted to serve two signature cocktails, each named after their cats. “The Jada” was an Old Fashioned with bourbon, angostura bitters, a sugar cube, a dried orange, and a maraschino cherry. “The Pebble” featured a Hemingway Daiquiri infused with light rum, lime juice, and grapefruit juice and topped with a maraschino cherry and lime wedge.

Champagne coupes suspended from a “Sip and Be Seated” display escorted guests to their seats and kicked off the post-ceremony celebration.

The duo hosted their reception in the venue’s theater, which created the illusion of dining and dancing on the harbor, thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows. Banquet tables featured tall arrangements of cherry blossoms in glass vases, square lanterns with white pillar candles, smaller white votive candles, and bud vases with white blooms. The couple had each place set with marble chargers, black menus, black and gold flatware, and crystal glassware. 

The brides sat at special seats, engulfed in candles and stationed with an arrangement of white buds.

After dining on choice of beef filet, seared halibut, or champagne risotto, friends and family savored a piece of Italian olive oil, marble mocha fudge, and Chantilly cake. The confection included four circular tiers covered in black fondant and splattered with gold leaf.

The newlyweds spun around the dance floor to “Coming Home” by Leon Bridges for their first dance as newlyweds. Three hanging floral installations of baby’s breath and cherry blossom branches towered above the dance floor.

During the festivities, the newlyweds took a moment to share a few words with their guests. 

While friends and family hung out on the dance floor, a live painter, Hetty Easter of HR Easter, recreated the scene.

From their heartfelt vow exchange to the contemporary reception, the whole day felt like a dream to the couple. In addition to hiring a talented team of vendors, the twosome’s vision was able to come to life because they planned their nuptials as a team. “Having done so made the whole process more manageable and enjoyable for us,” they share. “Having decided every detail, it was that much more impactful when it all came together so beautifully!”

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