By Eli Wohlenhaus
Styled Shoot | Photos by in His Grace Photography
Location: Hotel DuPont | Wilmington, Delaware
Our site for this edition of Chesapeake Bay Wedding could not have been more perfect. On its website, Hotel DuPont in downtown Wilmington, Del., says when you step inside, you “find yourself transported back to an era of Old World elegance with a reinvented swagger.”
We have to agree.
Hotel DuPont has an incredible history. In the very early 1900s, Pierre S. du Pont built the DuPont Building, which would officially become the city’s first skyscraper in 1904. The hotel is on that same site to this day.
That original building, which was placed on land next to historic Rodney Square in downtown Wilmington, always seemed to be under construction. Pierre S. du Pont was an heir to the vast du Pont family fortune and was a main leader in the E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, which was a chemical corporation.
At the turn of the decade, du Pont was ready for expansion. He authorized construction of two additional wings, which included a 1,300-seat theater called the “DuPont Playhouse.” The wings weren’t the only new things to come for the DuPont Building, as a part of the original structure was converted into a brilliant hotel. Construction of the hotel completed shortly before the beginning of World War I.
On January 15, 1913, the hotel officially opened with a dazzling gala. Some of the hotel’s first celebrity guests were Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh. Throughout its over 100 year history, numerous famous guest have made it a point to stay at Hotel DuPont. From Jonas Salk and Jacques Cousteau to various princes, presidents and first ladies, it just goes to show you how big of a draw the Wilmington staple is to the Chesapeake Bay region and to the world.
And draw you in it does, with its Renaissance Revival-style architecture, complete with astonishing doorways and vast, spiraling staircases. When our team arrived for the day of the cover shoot, collectively our jaws hit the floor.
The location was perfect and our team was ready. It was like “Avengers Assemble,” but for wedding vendors. Christina Maddox, owner of Heaven Sent Weddings, was in total command as the cover shoot planner, and she didn’t miss a beat. She called upon her own floral department director, Reverend Jennell Maddox, to create the beautiful arrangements.
A major thank you, also, to makeup artist Tanya Robinson, and hair stylist Amber Gray. Our cover models, Michael and Rebekah Viall were utterly delightful. They were the perfect pair to capture the magnificence of Hotel DuPont, as their natural wonder and awe practically leap off the page.
For Rebekah and especially Michael, one the highlights was Rebekah wearing her original wedding dress for the photo shoot.
“The best part of the experience for me was getting to see Rebekah in her wedding dress again,”l said, Michael, an electrical designer for an engineering firm. “Getting dressed up and being able to relive the happiest day of my life was an unforgettable experience.”
Michael was dressed in a sleek tux, courtesy of The Country Bride & Gent out of Lansdale, Pa.
A love that began to bloom in 2017 with some help from OkCupid’s arrow, Michael and Rebekah got engaged on May 17, 2019. Unfortunately, they were one of the innumerable couples thwarted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but their love was too strong!
On September 5, 2020, after a four month delay, it was official — Michael and Rebekah were wed. 11 months later it was time for another first — becoming cover models for a premier wedding magazine.
Rebekah said she was honored, and said it was really special becaus it felt like an opportunity to make up for some of the things they missed due to COVID restrictions during their wedding. She said it was especially meaningful because their wedding-day photos felt rushed and this became an opportunity to just enjoy the moments together.
While the architecture and history of Hotel DuPont had them both in awe, they both sang the praise of the hotel staff and amenities provided.
Photos by JennQuinn Creative - jennquinncreative.com
“The hotel staff was really nice,” said Rebekah, a team lead in the medical records department at a hospital. “Everyone was so excited to see us and people kept coming up to us and saying congratulations.”
It may not have been their actual wedding day, but the exuberance of an actual wedding was in full-force for all involved.
And for the Hotel DuPont, well let’s just say it added another timeless classic to its long and beautiful history.
PLANNER & DESIGNER:
Christina D. Maddox - Heaven Sent Weddings
Laura Olson - In His Grace Photography
FLORIST & DECOR: Reverend Jennell
of Heaven Sent Weddings Floral Division
HAIR: Amber Gray
OOH My Hair
MAKE UP: Tanya Robinson
LOCATION: Hotel DuPont
CAKE: Sparkd Creative Pastry.
TUXEDO, SHOES, & VEIL: The Country Bride & Gent