A Second Chance at Love at 68—and a Secret Nantucket Elopement!

Sometimes your friends do know what’s best for you—or at least that was the case for Kristina Dowd and Michael Gethin. The two shared a mutual couple-friend, and eventually, that couple decided to play Cupid. At a summer dinner party, they not-so-subtly sat them next to one another. “I knew coming into that evening that I was about to meet someone special,” says the bride, “but the attraction was immediate. We had very similar interests...and the exact same sense of humor.”

What followed next was the whirlwind-type romance of novels. Just five months from that first meet-cute, Kristina and Michael (both of whom had lost their first spouses earlier in life) were happily engaged and planning a secret wedding on Nantucket Island. We hope you enjoy their incredibly sweet, chic and low-key celebration as much as we did!

This Couple Had a $2,000 Wedding and Good God, Was It Gorgeous

The Proposal

The lovebirds were enjoying a quiet evening together at home when Michael made an announcement: “I’ve changed my mind,” he declared. “I said I’d never get married again, but I think I’ve changed my mind.” With Kristina’s coy response of “well, who were you thinking of?” the two decided to get hitched. Kristina was able to then customize her own engagement ring, working with Single Stone in California to design her vintage-inspired stunner.

The Plan

“We had both done the whole ‘big wedding’ thing with our first marriages,” explains Kristina. “We didn’t need all that this time.” So with wedding wishes in alignment, the couple decided on a secret elopement celebration in the charming village of Sconset in Nantucket, MA. At 30 miles out to sea, the island felt like an especially private, intimate and special place to tie the knot.

The Dress

With an early fall date set, Kristina decided gold would be a fitting color story for her bridal look. After a bit of internet research, she chose this gorgeous brocade, high-low gown by Adrianna Papell. Once the dress was hemmed and tailored, she sent a swatch of the fabric to a local tie company and had them create a corresponding neckpiece for her beau.

The Blooms

For the bouquet and boutonniere, Kristina wanted something fitting for fall and “natural, informal and fun!” She sent an additional sample of dress fabric to her florist at Flowers On Chestnut and entrusted her to put together something appropriate for their laid-back wedding.

The Venue

The couple picked The Chanticleer, a posh yet cozy restaurant set amid a fairy-tale garden, as the site for their celebrations. “I had been there many years back for a wedding, and I remembered it being an incredibly special and romantic place,” says Kristina. “The restaurant was very gracious and let us get married right there in the garden in the middle of the day.”

The Ceremony

Unsurprisingly, their ceremony echoed the breezy, fuss-free mood of the day. The couple enlisted a local justice of the peace, who interviewed them before putting together a brief ceremony and readings for each to recite. As for their (only) guests? The very couple that introduced them, of course!

The Reception

After saying their “I do’s,” Michael promptly popped a special bottle of Champagne for a celebratory toast. Then their tiny wedding party ventured indoors for—fittingly—a fabulous summer dinner party, bringing their story full circle.

The Cake

...And we’d be remiss to mention their stunning, miniature gold-leaf, chocolate wedding cake, which Kristina carried over personally from the mainland.

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Rebecca Love

The Happily Ever After

The newlyweds capped off their nuptials with a luxurious, weekend-long stay at The White Elephant, a waterfront resort on island, before decamping to Coco Beach, Florida where they'll spend their winters together. ("I'm still on my honeymoon!" she jokes.)

And while the couple had given a heads-up to their respective siblings and children on their elopement plans, they didn’t actually make a formal wedding announcement until their photos came in—at which point they sent out a postcard to friends and family. Why the secrecy? “We really just wanted to bask in it for awhile, just the two of us,” says the bride. Heart, melted.

Grace Beuley Hunt

Home Editor

From 2014-2019 Grace Beuley Hunt held the role of Home Editor covering interior design, styling, trends and more.
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