January 23, 2021

Alumni Couples Wed Beneath Brompton Oak

From more than 8 feet away, President Troy Paino officiated the socially distanced wedding of UMW alumni Caroline Deale and John Bentley, who wed at Paino’s home at Brompton last month.

From more than 8 feet away, President Troy Paino officiated the socially distanced wedding of UMW alumni Caroline Deale and John Bentley, who wed at Paino’s home at Brompton last month.

It had been seven years since they’d met on this very spot, new Mary Washington first-years eating sherbet and mint chocolate chip on the president’s lawn. That day, during the annual ice cream social for freshmen, Caroline Deale ’17 made a wish. Last month, it came true.

“Your youth may fade away, but your smile will always remind me of the time I first saw you on that sunny day,” she promised John Bentley ’17, MSGA ’19, as they wed beneath the weathered and wise Brompton Oak.

The tree that had seen so much Civil War suffering “got to witness pure love and joy,” UMW President Troy Paino posted on social media that afternoon. As a rare favor during an unprecedented season, he officiated the socially distanced wedding outside his front door.

The event was among two sets of alumni nuptials at Brompton this fall – Isabelle Perrin ’17 and Nathan Dawes ’14, MSGA ’17, married on the seldom-available historic site in October. Both ceremonies were reimagined, with shrinking guest lists and pandemic-related gifts. But COVID-19 couldn’t stop them.

May these UMW love stories – and all the magical bonds formed at Mary Washington throughout the decades – shine a beacon of light on the end of a tumultuous year. Read more.