Inside Jennifer Lawrence's 'haunted' wedding venue

Gillian Wolski
Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
Jennifer Lawrence (pictured in 2015) was married at a spooky mansion on Saturday. Photo: Getty Images.

Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence, 29, tied the knot with her beau Cooke Maroney, 34, in front of family and a bunch of A-list friends on Saturday according to People.

The Oscar winner and her art dealer fiancé said ‘I do’ in front of guests including Adele, Ashley Olsen, Emma Stone, Kris Jenner, and Amy Schumer, with the bride herself reportedly walking down the aisle in a Dior wedding gown.

The newlyweds chose to have their nuptials at a grand estate called the Belcourt of Newport in Newport, Rhode Island, which is rumoured to hide ghostly secrets under its pretty facade.

In fact, the current owner revealed they had a shaman ‘perform ceremonies’ to expel evil entities.

Belcourt of Newport Castle in Rhode Island. Photo: Google Maps

The Belcourt’s dark history

The Belcourt of Newport is one of many sprawling estates on Rhode Island, a state situated north of New York and known for its old money and high-society past.

In 1891, American socialite and politician Oliver Belmont enlisted distinguished architect Richard Morris Hunt - he designed the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty among other prestigious projects - to design a ‘summer cottage’ overlooking the water on the state’s southern coast.

Oliver’s dream ‘bachelor pad’ was inspired by Louis XIII’s hunting lodge at Versailles and featured stables for his many beloved horses and a single bedroom.

Inside Jennifer Lawrence's 'haunted' wedding venue. Photo: Instagram/belcourtofnewport.
Inside Jennifer Lawrence's 'haunted' wedding venue. Photo: Instagram/belcourtofnewport.

But Oliver’s rocky personal life may have left his home tainted.

Without his parents' consent, playboy Oliver married beautiful socialite Sara Swan Whiting, but their romance was short-lived. Oliver’s penchant for absinthe saw him become violent and abusive toward Sara on their honeymoon in Paris and he soon abandoned his new wife for a French dancer.

Sara realised she was pregnant after the two were divorced, giving birth to a daughter Natica Caroline Belmont in 1883. Natica was disowned by Oliver, who she never met, and excluded as a Belmont heir.

Within three years, Oliver had married his recently divorced neighbour, Alva Vanderbilt, who moved into and began renovating the Belmont almost immediately.

Natica met a tragic end at around 22 years old when she found dead in her bed in her New York City apartment. She reportedly passed away from gas poisoning from a gas-lit chandelier.

While she didn’t die at the Belmont, it’s not a stretch to suggest that Natica’s spirit may have come to haunt the home that she was denied.

Inside Jennifer Lawrence's 'haunted' wedding venue. Photo: Instagram/belcourtofnewport.

Is the Belcourt of Newport haunted?

After Oliver’s death, the house stayed in the Belmont family until 1940 making it one of the longest family-owned mansions in the area.

After it was sold, however, it changed hands several times and was at one point used for hosting lavish, raunchy parties - such as a ‘No Underwear Allowed’ do - as it slowly fell into ruin.

Due to it’s rich and controversial history, the Belmont is rumoured to be haunted with various owners running ghost and murder mystery tours over the years to capitalise on its paranormal aspect.

In 2012, the chateau was purchased by jeweller to the stars Carolyn Rafaelian who renovated and cleansed the property.

“There were energies and entities, some not pleasant. I had a shaman perform ceremonies. We did a major cleansing, energy-wise,” she told the New York Times in 2013.

“There was a lot of heaviness, but we took care of that. Now the house has a different vibration,” she added.

Inside Jennifer Lawrence's 'haunted' wedding venue. Photo: Instagram/belcourtofnewport.
The Belcourt founder's daughter, Natica Caroline Belmont. Photo: Instagram/belcourtofnewport.

Inside Jennifer and Cooke’s wedding

Today, thanks to Carolyn’s perseverance, the Belmont has been restored to its former glory making it a fitting venue for Jennifer and Cooke’s nuptials.

The pair hired wedding planner Mark Seed for the affair with 150 people reportedly in attendance, according to TMZ.

Guests were treated to an extravagant menu, including wood-roasted fish with herbs and lemon-infused butter or five-week-aged leg of beef with forager's sauce for their entree. As for dessert, house-made marshmallow s'mores were reportedly on the menu.

The wedding comes one month after the couple were spotted at New York City’s marriage bureau. It's unclear if Lawrence and Maroney, who had famed photographer Mark Seliger in tow, legally wed during the September outing or simply obtained their marriage license.

Regardless, it was always Jennifer's plan to have a large wedding celebration.

The Belcourt, before and after the restoration. Photo: Instagram/belcourtofnewport.
The Belcourt today. Photo: Instagram/belcourtofnewport.

Jennifer and Cooke’s dating timeline

During a chat on the Naked with Catt Sadler podcast a few months ago, the Silver Linings Playbook star said she was pretty relaxed about planning her wedding.

“I’ve been in a good place. I haven’t been neurotic about it. I’m, like, too lazy to be neurotic,” she quipped. “I saw a dress I liked, I was like, ‘That’s the dress.’ I saw a venue, I was like, ‘Cool, we got the venue’”.

The newlyweds, who were first linked in June 2018, got engaged at the beginning of the year. “He’s the greatest human being I’ve ever met,” Jennifer gushed to Sadler. “He really is, and he gets better”.

“I don’t know, I started with the basics," she replied when asked why she chose to marry him.

“‘How do I feel? Is he nice? Is he kind?’ It’s just - this is the one, I know that sounds really stupid but he’s just, he’s - you know. He’s the greatest person I’ve ever met, so I feel very honoured to become a Maroney”.

Newlywed Jennifer Lawrence wants to take her husband Cooke Mulroney's name. Photo: Getty Images.

She added, “I definitely wasn’t at a place where I was like, ‘I’m ready to get married.' I just met Cooke and I wanted to marry him. We wanted to marry each other. We wanted to commit fully”.

The Joy actor said she plans to legally change her name.

“He's my best friend, so I want to legally bind him to me forever. And fortunately, the paperwork exists for such a thing! It's the greatest. You find your favourite person on the planet and you're like, 'You can't leave,'“ she laughed. “So I wanted to take up on that offer”.

This is the first marriage for both the bride and groom.

Cooke Mulroney pictured in 2013. Photo: Getty Images.

Additional reporting by Taryn Ryder.

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