Wedding bells ring at Greenwich’s Witherell; bride ‘wanted it to be special’ for her 99-year-old Nana

GREENWICH — It was very much a family affair as the Nathaniel Witherell in Greenwich hosted a wedding and helped a bride fulfill her dream.

Elizabeth Carino got married in the rose garden at the nursing and rehabilitation facility, an unconventional site for a wedding. But the June bride wanted to make sure her 99-year-old grandmother, her “Nana,” Frances Carino, a resident of the Witherell, could take part in her wedding service.

So the new bride, her family, her bridegroom and the staff there made it happen June 26.

“Marrying the person I love, in front of the people I love, was what was most important to me. Nathaniel Witherell worked with our family to make sure that Nana could be there to watch me walk down the aisle and that meant the world to me,” said Carino, a Greenwich native now living in the Washington, D.C., area.

“We knew it was going to be small and so we wanted it to be special, and for everything to have meaning, and for everyone to be involved. For my Nana to be a part of it,” Carino said.

“Family is incredibly important to me,” she said.

Carino says she loves spending time with her paternal grandmother when she visits her old hometown.

“She’s sassy and speaks her mind,” Carino said. “And totally with it.”

The newlywed bride said she was appreciative of the care and effort the Witherell staff put into making up her grandmother look elegant and radiant on the special day.

“It was wonderful, I couldn’t have asked for anything more,” said Carino, a reading specialist and department head in the Arlington, Va., school district. “I never had the fantasy of a large wedding. What’s important to me is that the entire family is involved, everyone is there.”

Carino’s maternal grandmother, Domenica ”Dolly” Sarica, also took part in the ceremony.

When Carino pitched the idea of getting married on the grounds of the Witherell, she said, her bridegroom, Nicholas Hann, “didn’t skip a beat.”

Hann works for the Ernst and Young consulting firm, and he spent nearly eight years in the Marine Corps before earning an MBA at Georgetown.

“He said, ‘Of course, I know how important your family is to you.’ So marrying him was amazing, and doing it in that setting made it really special,” Carino said.

The affair was very much a hometown endeavor — the dress was sourced in Greenwich, at Exclusive Bridal, and Carino’s old friends from Greenwich worked on all the details. Nicholas’ sister, Lauren Hann, officiated after obtaining the proper licensing to wed couples.

Mary Tate, volunteer coordinator at the Witherell, a town-owned facility, worked out the arrangements with Peter Carino, Elizabeth’s father, who has been active in youth football in the community for many years.

“It was an honor,” Tate said.

The nurses on Frances Carino’s floor pitched in for the special day, Tate said, and did a first-rate job.

“They did her hair, her makeup, they really took the time. She was beautiful from head to toe. And she was beaming the entire day,” said Tate.

After the ceremony, the bride and bridegroom transported Nana back to her room and thanked the staff who helped with her preparations.

“It was very emotional,” recalled Tate. “I’m tearing up just thinking about it. Post COVID, for a grandmother to see her granddaughter walk down the aisle, that’s what love is all about. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

Elizabeth Carino and her husband are now taking a short wedding trip — a “minimoon,” as she called it — to Charleston, S.C.