Though Grace Dillon attended the University of Delaware and John Kohler was at Rowan University in New Jersey, they ran in similar social circles. At one point, Grace even had crush on John. But romance would have to wait until three years after graduation, when she messaged him in 2017 about his trip to Utah’s Zion National Park, a hike that was on her bucket list. Both were living in Wilmington at the time, and after three weeks of direct messages, John and Grace had their first date on New Year’s Day 2018.
More than two years later, when the pandemic diverted plans for a hike up Mount Kilimanjaro, the couple took a consolation camping trip in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Grace knew that John had wanted to propose atop Kilimanjaro, so she didn’t get her hopes up. “He even asked friends from the area to come along to throw me off the scent,” Grace recalls.
The friends left after a day, and the duo ascended Mount Washington, where John proposed at 6,288 feet. “I remember not expecting it was going to happen,” she says. “I was just so surprised and filled with joy.” The feeling was mutual for John, who’d been continuously checking for the ring in his pack on the hike up. “Then we had to hike back down the mountain before we could call anyone,” says Grace.
A dream wedding at Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library wasn’t in their budget. “But we loved the estate vibe and wanted to have the warmth of a home for our guests, so we started looking at other du Pont estates.”
They discovered Brantwyn in New Castle County. “We fell in love with its Old World charm—the elegant rooms, old paintings and the staircase,” says Grace. “It felt like we’d be inviting our guests to an intimate dinner party.”
Their intimate gathering included 96 guests, who first assembled for an Orthodox Christian ceremony at St. Michael the Archangel in Wilmington. The early May weather was wet, so some photos were taken at their home out of necessity. “I love the intimacy of those shots,” Grace says. “And our first house is immortalized.”
Grace’s earrings belonged to John’s great grandmother, and the bride created her own invitations. Another nice touch was a boxed slice of wedding cake for each guest. “Most people miss out on the cake anyway,” Grace says. “It was the perfect sweet treat for our guests to unwind their night with.”
Wedding date: May 6, 2022.
Number of guests: 96.
Ceremony: St. Michael the Archangel Orthodox Church.
Reception: Brantwyn Estate (dupontcountryclub.com).
Bride’s dress: Garnish Boutique (garnishboutique.com).
Hair: Honey Salon (honeysalonllc.com).
Groom’s tux: Men’s Wearhouse (menswearhouse.com).
Wedding planner: Luxe + Lovely Events (luxeandlovelyevents.com).
Flowers: Thurman & Fig Florals (thurmanandfig.com).
Photographer: Rebecca Renner Photography (rebeccarenner.com).
Cake: Spark’d Creative Pastry (sparkdcreativepastry.com).
Stationery: Created by the bride (canva.com, goprint.com).
Entertainment: The Uptown Band (theuptownband.com).
Father-daughter dance: “There She Goes” by Sixpence None the Richer.
Honeymoon: New England coast.
Careers: John works in finance, Grace in medical research regulations.