A Nautical-Themed Wedding at Finz Restaurant in Salem, Massachusetts

                    For Katie McCormack (35 and an human resources director) Steve Donnelly (46 and a sales professional), planning a wedding that t

For Katie McCormack (35 and an human resources director) Steve Donnelly (46 and a sales professional), planning a wedding that truly reflected the joining together of their two families was a must. The couple started by gathering their families and friends at the First Baptist Church in Beverly, Massachusetts, where Katie’s grandparents had once exchanged vows. Both Katie and Steve have children from previous marriages, and it was important to the couple that they feel included in all the day’s proceedings. “We made sure that as bridesmaids, groomsmen and best man, each of the kids felt that they were part of the special day and played a very special role,” Katie says. “The sand ceremony was an amazing part of our ceremony, and we will always be able to look at the sand vessel as a symbol of our happily blended family.” After saying their “I dos,” the newlyweds and their guests headed to Finz Restaurant in Salem, Massachusetts, for an evening of celebrating. Playing off the restaurant’s waterfront location and Steve’s love of boating, the couple opted for a nautical theme for the reception. Crisp white and royal blue linens dressed the tables and handmade sand dollar escort cards, anchor-accented favor boxes of chocolate sailboats and table names named after islands on Lake Winnipesaukee brought the playful theme to life. Cocktail hour even included a raw bar filled with freshly caught seafood like oysters, shrimp and clams. Guests had fun at the couple’s well-stocked photo booth and wrote well wishes for the newlyweds on vintage water skis. A tip from Katie: “For my fellow brides walking down the aisle a second time, go with your heart when you are planning your wedding. There are no wrongs or rights for your day. It's all about what feels right to you.”

When it came to the design decisions, Katie and Steve took their wedding decor in a nautical direction. The couple and their children love to spend the summers on their boat on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, so the theme was the perfect fit. Small details like handmade sand dollar escort cards touched on the theme and gave the decor a playful touch.
As a thank-you to their guests, Katie and Steve sent their friends and family members home with a few locally made sweet treats. The couple picked up sailboat-shape chocolates at Harbor Sweets in Salem, Massachusetts, and wrapped them in small brown boxes dressed up with miniature anchor charms.
Katie and Steve’s engagement was a little spur of the moment. The couple had purchased a home together earlier that year and things were going quite well, but they had no immediate plans for a wedding. But when Katie’s sister called a week before Christmas and offered the pair her grandmother’s engagement ring, all that changed. “When we said we would take it, she drove to our house along with my two nieces, my mom and my aunt to give us the ring,” Katie says. “We agreed to put the ring away until we were ready, but Steve surprised me by proposing right away with our family surrounding us.”
Katie and Steve had Cakes for Occasions whip up a summery, nautical-inspired confection for their post-dinner treat. The three-tier vanilla cake was filled with fresh strawberries and vanilla buttercream frosting, and had white chocolate seashells, playful polka dots and pieces of bright blue ribbon decorating its layers.
Katie’s dress took her by surprise. While she gravitated toward simple, lace gowns at the beginning of her search, a contemporary mermaid-style Jasmine Haute Couture dress eventually won her over. “When I put on the dress, I was told that my face just lit up,” Katie says. “I loved the top half of the dress and all the sparkle.” She had a seamstress customize the gown by reworking the long chapel-length train into a functional sweep style.
Katie and Steve’s daughters and nieces made up Katie’s bridal party. When it came to choosing dresses for the wedding day, Katie took all the girls to Blushing Bride to find the perfect frock. Bill Levkoff’s line of bridesmaid dresses offered an extensive variety of styles for the girls to choose from and Katie had them all choose a gown that they loved in a bright horizon blue hue. “Since all the girls are different ages, ranging from 8 to 15, each chose a different style that best suited them,” Katie says. “It worked out beautifully.”
The couple went for an understated, summery aesthetic when it came to the flowers. For the ceremony, Katie and her bridesmaids carried fresh bunches of gerbera daisies, creme de la creme roses, delphiniums and calla lilies down the aisle in soft, cheerful shades of yellow, peach and blue.
Festive Ceremony Celebration Wands
Making family a big focus of the day was important to both Katie and Steve. In addition to including their children in their wedding party, the couple gathered their families and friends at First Baptist Church in Beverly, Massachusetts, for the ceremony, the church where Katie’s grandparents were married. During the ceremony, family members read poems written by Katie’s grandmother and the couple and their children performed a sand ceremony to symbolize their two families coming together as one.
Pickering Wharf Couples Photos
Traditional Blue Wedding Invitations
With a nautical theme in mind, Katie and Steve set out to find a venue that would fit their wedding day style. Finz Restaurant, located at Pickering Wharf in Salem, Massachusetts, was the ideal spot, offering a prime waterfront location only minutes away from the ceremony site, fresh seafood and a warm, inviting ambiance.