Emma McGuirk and Will Bain met in college on the track team./All photos: JENNA BRISSON PHOTOGRAPHY

McGuirk, Bain slow down to smell the roses at storybook Vermont wedding

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McGuirk, Bain slow down to smell the roses at storybook Vermont wedding

Emma McGuirk and Will Bain met in college on the track team./All photos: JENNA BRISSON PHOTOGRAPHY

When Emma McGuirk was recruited to run track at Middlebury College, she did not expect her college choice to produce her soulmate.

Will Bain also had been recruited to run. Both were sprinters and they became fast friends once they settled into the team and college life.

“We were kind of opposite personalities, but had the same general outlook,” Will said. “I’m a little bit more laid back, and Emma’s sort of an overachiever, high-energy type of person.”

Navigating undergraduate life, it took them a few years to figure out that there was something more than friendship between them. But they did eventually, and in their junior year, they started dating.

That was 10 years ago this December.

“It hasn’t felt as long as it sounds,” Emma said, sitting beside Will in their home in Newton during a Zoom call with the Journal. “I think because we’ve gone through different stages of life [together].”

Since graduating, Emma and Will have managed to keep pace with each other throughout the twists and turns over the past decade. They graduated from Middlebury in 2015, and both moved back to their respective childhood homes: Emma to Marblehead and Will to Dover. For a year, their relationship consisted of date nights in Boston, and visits to each other’s family homes, until they moved into separate apartments in Brookline in 2016.

In their new adult lives, running remained a tie between them. Whenever they wanted to see each other, Emma and Will would run – physically – the mile-and-a-half route back and forth between each other’s apartments.

“It was kind of crazy,” Emma laughed. “But with parking, and also trying to get a workout in before work, it was a nice rhythm!”

They moved in together in 2020 in Newton, just before the pandemic. They live just a couple of miles from Brandeis University, where Emma is getting her doctorate in neuroscience, and near the highway, so Will can easily commute to his job in Westwood, where he works in private wealth management.

Emma and Will walk down the aisle.

The couple had been discussing marriage for a while, but wanted to live together for at least a year before tying the knot. As they approached the first anniversary of sharing a home, the couple took a trip to Vermont and went on a hike where, many summers before, they had confessed their love for each other for the first time, on a bench overlooking Lake Champlain. Will saw the opportunity to come full circle.

“I thought it’d be fitting to bring the whole story together,” he said. “That’s where our love story started, and had some of its biggest moments.”

On Dec. 18, 2021, Will and Emma went on that hike they’d done so many years before. On the path, Emma thought Will would propose at a pretty rock jutting out into the middle of the lake. “I thought ‘If anything was going to happen it was going to be there,’” she recalled. “And then he was like, ‘OK, let’s go back!’ ”

It was on the way back that they reached that special bench, and sat down. “You were kind of quiet,” Emma said, looking at her now-husband. “I was trying to be patient.”

“I was building up some momentum!” Will protested.

It started to snow. Emma said yes.

The wedding took place on May 20, 2023 in that same area off Lake Champlain at a venue and resort called Basin Harbor, where Will’s family has been vacationing for generations.

The wedding took place at the tail end of a week that predicted rain on the big day – a mild concern for the mostly outdoor event. But the storm held off until late that night, and the wedding went off without a hitch.

Emma and Will were married on May 20.

On theme, that morning began with a “run with the bride,” as Emma called it. “With the first day jitters, I wanted to run,” she said, “And I thought, what with our family, and so many people who enjoy running, why don’t we all just get together and do it at the same time.” She expected, at best, a handful of friends and family to come.

Instead, nearly two dozen of Emma’s close friends and family arrived at 8:30 that morning, ready to run the planned 5k. “It was very special, and unique to me,” she said. “It was so awesome to start the day off that way. It was definitely one of my favorite parts.”

Will opted for morning basketball instead.

The day proceeded smoothly: Will wore a navy suit by Joseph Abboud. Emma wore a mermaid-cut dress, with an off the shoulder sleeve, covered in lace. The bridesmaids wore purple-gray dresses, in keeping with the floral theme of the ties worn by the groom and groomsmen.

“It was important for us to incorporate aspects of a Jewish wedding, or Jewish traditions,” Emma said. Emma was raised Jewish and attended Temple Emanu-El in Marblehead, and Will was raised Christian. The couple were married under a chuppah, strung with Emma’s late Zayde’s talis, and Will stepped on a glass at the conclusion of the ceremony.

Will’s best friend, Michael Dola (who coincidentally got married the week before), officiated the ceremony, and Will’s brother gave a tear-jerking speech at the reception. “He blew everyone out of the water,” said Will. “He generally plays it pretty close to the vest, but he got pretty emotional.” Emma’s mother gave another heartwarming speech the Friday before the wedding about the importance of being included in the Jewish community, and how Emma’s family is welcoming Will’s into that community with this marriage.

“I’m not super-religious,” Will said, “But it was a nice moment to feel like you become a part of something bigger.”

The couple wrote and shared their own vows at the wedding. “We know each other the best out of anybody,” Emma said, turning to Will. “But to see you express that was new for our guests. I loved seeing that.”

“We’d kind of been on the same page for a long time,” Will agreed. “Just getting to share that with everyone in our lives was kind of special – very special.”

After the wedding, the couple took a two-week honeymoon to Portugal, spending time hiking and exploring on the islands of the Azores and then the cities of Porto and Lisbon on the mainland. Θ

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