Guests Enjoy Water Views, Ice Cream and Cute Penguins at Springtime New England Aquarium Wedding


By Rachael Devaney

As they exchanged casual conversation at Tufts University, Mark Pellegrini and Maya Jackson had no idea they would eventually walk down the aisle together, surrounded by not only friends and family but also a gaggle of friendly penguins at the New England Aquarium. “We met because we lived across the hall from each other at Houston Hall and became really good friends,” says Maya.

“We liked to go explore the city together and we often toured the various museums,” she continues. “One of our favorite places was the aquarium, and not only did our ceremony overlook the whole harbor, we were also surrounded by marine life and our experience was one of a kind.”

But even before the nuptials, there was the simple yet intimate July Fourth proposal that took place on the balcony of the couple’s New York City apartment. “Mark originally wanted to create this elaborate proposal at Central Park, but it was drizzly and rainy so we stayed home instead,” reminisces Maya. “But to my surprise, as I sat on our balcony watching the thunderstorm, he asked me to marry him. I love thunderstorms, so it was perfect.”

And during the time leading up to the big day, Maya says, the aquarium’s staff was “super supportive,” providing services like catering and tent and linen rentals. Staff also assisted with outside vendors like Boston Uplights and Bostonian Florist, which enabled Mark and Maya to concentrate on their Christopher Columbus Park photo shoot and band.

“Before we got married, we made a list of what mattered most, and it came down to our incredible band, who brought the house down with a great party environment, and our Ben & Jerry’s ice cream bar. My husband didn’t want a cake and everyone loved that,” says Maya. “The aquarium space was also a highlight because guests could spill out of the tent and wander around and check out the exhibits. The penguins were the overall favorite.”

Following the wedding, the pair escaped on a Hawaiian vacation and are now living and working in New York City. “We are enjoying our time together and we are taking time to soak up the city,” she says. “In hindsight, I’m so lucky to have married my best friend. We’ve always had a connection and that makes everything better as we move forward in married life.”

Photography by Kristen Schueler Photography

Featured Vendors: Wedding Planning, Ceremony Location, Reception Venue, Catering, Tent + Linen Rentals + Cake/Dessert: New England Aquarium

Additional Vendors: Officiant: Paulette Dalpes // Lighting: Boston Uplights // Florist: Bostonian Florist // Bridal Gown: by Lillian West from RK Bridal in NYC // Bridal Accessories: Simplebeautyveils (veil, bought on Etsy), Nina (shoes) and RK Bridal (jewelry) // Bridesmaid Dresses: Alfred Angelo, Danvers // Groom Attire: Enzo Custom // Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Wearhouse // Hair Stylist: Jocelyn James, Aveda Stylist // Makeup Stylist: Jana Lamas // Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Brilliant Earth // Invitations: The Social Paper Co // Favors: Pellegrini Vineyards // Ceremony & Reception Music: The Party Factor // Transportation: Boston Coach

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