With many of the country's most incredible Gilded Age mansions, many of which are open for public tours year-round, Newport, Rhode Island is a mecca for design enthusiasts and history buffs. Seeing as it's been the site of some of the biggest celebrity and socialite gatherings for centuries, it's no surprise that newlyweds Jennifer Lawrence and art dealer Cooke Maroney tied the knot there this Saturday, October 19, according to People. And rumor has it they selected one of the most breathtaking, historic, and recently-renovated mansions in the area as their wedding venue, The Belcourt of Newport.
In 1894, wealthy businessman Oliver Belmont wanted a summer "cottage" for himself and his many horses. So he commissioned Richard Morris Hunt to build the home, the same inimitable architect behind the facade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the pedestal for the Statue of Liberty as well as other famed Newport mansions like the Breakers. And though the property is a whopping 40,000-square-feet, there was only one bedroom in it since he planned on using it as a bachelor pad and horse-riding haven. That is, until he met and married his neighbor, Alva Vanderbilt, who transformed the space to accomodate guests for grande soirées.
The home has changed hands several times throughout the years, and today, it's owned by Newport native Carolyn Rafaelian who, "inspired by Alva’s determination," is in the process of restoring the mansion to it's former glory days as one the country's most elite party venues. As of this weekend, it's safe to say she accomplished her mission.
Though the Louis XIII-inspired mansion is back in business, Rafaelian told the New York Times in 2013, “There were energies and entities, some not pleasant. I had a shaman perform ceremonies. We did a major cleansing, energy-wise. There was a lot of heaviness, but we took care of that. Now the house has a different vibration.” A fitting venue for an October spooky season wedding, right? But the real guests of honor at J-Law's wedding included the likes of Amy Schumer, Bradley Cooper, and Adele.
And just because we didn't all earn a coveted spot on the star-studded guest list doesn't mean we can't experience The Belcourt. It's hosting a restoration tour next weekend between Friday, October 25 at 11:00 am and Sunday, October 27 5:00 pm so you can see it for yourself. You can purchase tickets to tour the space here.
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