Connecticut Beach Wedding
Beach weddings in Connecticut are few and far between. There’s just not a lot of beach front places to get married in here in the Nutmeg state. And I mean true beach front. There are plenty of waterfront venues, but only a few are true beach front. The few that come to mind are Water’s Edge, Anthony’s Ocean View, Madison Beach Hotel, and Lighthouse Point.
Penfield Beach Wedding Fairfield, CT
I can now add the Jackie Durell Pavilion on Penfield Beach (Fairfield, CT) to that list. And I can thank Wendy, Stephen, and, wedding planner extraordinaire, Knot Just Weddings for that because if it wasn’t for them I would’ve had never known it existed.
I was really excited for Wendy and Stephen’s wedding because it was a second wedding for them both. I love second weddings because they tend to be less about the traditional wedding ‘fluff’ and more about the couple and their relationships. As Wendy put it in her email to me – “[It’s] not a large wedding and not the fantasy photos many brides want. Just REAL! We do have a theme, but it won’t be over the top. I don’t need pictures of my engagement ring or bouquet of flowers …” LOL, She had me at ‘REAL!’. I was all in.
Real, Honest, Love
From start to finish, Wendy and Stephen’s wedding was real, honest, and full of love. Wendy got ready at her brother’s home in Westport surrounding by her family. Their intimate ceremony was as up-close and personal as I’ve seen. The hugs and cheers were plentiful. Their traditional Hora was lively and spirited. The toasts were incredibly heartfelt. And the dance floor was hopin’ all night long.
It was as ‘real’ as you can get. And the Durell Pavilion was the perfect location for their wedding. Small, intimate with a warm and casual feel that perfectly complemented the vibe of the day. Not too mention the amazing beach front location and the spectacular view of the Long Island Sound.
My favorite photo of the day (Wendy’s too) was the image of her and Stephen on the beach at sunset, the two of them laughing in an embrace. A perfectly real moment between two carefree spirits barefoot on the beach at sunset. Just them, some sand, and a fading sun – no fluff. That image was the epitome of their wedding day.
Night falls on Saltwater Farms Vineyard during a summer evening wedding in Connecticut
CT Vineyard weddings are special to me. I’m kind of a wine geek. I used to work in a wine store during my summers as a teacher. I fell in love with wine pretty quickly. Easy to do when the owner let’s you walk around the store with coffee mugs full of wine during your shift. He never really addressed it with us, but we theorized that he let us do it to sell more product. Not sure if it worked for sales, but it sure did a number on me. I loved learning about wine. The different wine countries. The different regions. The different wine making traditions. It was like traveling the world without needing a passport or having to get on a plane.
And that’s what really got me – the stories. Stories of how Italian Amarone is made by drying the grapes until they raisin in the sun or how Sauternes grapes are left on the vine to form their ‘noble rot’ giving it its distinctive taste or how Spanish Sherries are made in the solera system which gradually cascades wine down a pyramid of aged barrels (oldest on top, newest on the bottom) resulting in a wine that literally spans decades of vintages.
Not surprisingly, I love it when I get the chance to photograph CT vineyard weddings. People don’t often think of Connecticut when they think of wine, but this state definitely has some game when it comes to wine. The state is dotted with vineyards up and down the coast, in the eastern farm country, and in the northwest hills. All of which have their own story and their own traditions. And that’s what is really special to me about vineyard weddings. The layers of story and tradition. A couple that is writing a new chapter in their story layered onto a backdrop of a vineyard that has a host of stories, chapters, and history all its own. Pretty cool when you think about it.
Dreaming of CT vineyard weddings? You may want to visit Saltwater Farms Vineyard in Stonington, CT.
Know anyone planning a CT vineyard wedding? Click Share on Facebook to give ’em a little inspiration.
Outdoor Connecticut Weddings
Outdoor Connecticut Weddings – nothing beats ’em! Especially, an elegant backyard wedding celebration!
Throughout my wedding photography career, I’ve been lucky to be part of some really special outdoor Connecticut weddings, but I have to tell you, Katie and Tucker’s took the cake (pun intended!). So, what was it about their wedding that put it in the Outdoor Wedding Hall of Fame? Well, for starters, that elevated portion of their yard where the tent was located didn’t even exist when they bought the house. Tucker BUILT it … HIMSELF! Engineering Feat #1. Second, they had to grow a whole bunch of new grass. That itself doesn’t sound like a huge deal, right? Well, in order to grow a lot of grass, you need a solid irrigation system. Enter Engineering Feat #2! Tucker rigged up a DIY irrigation system using a sump pump and their own pool water. Genius! Last, and certainly not least, was the bar. Yep, Engineering Feat #3 was the conversion of all old dilapidated shed into a bar that would make Anheuser Busch jealous.
Of course, no wedding is complete without a woman’s touch. Katie is an event planner by trade and worked her magic to pull the whole thing off. Using her innate creativity, she created the perfect finishing touches. Old glass bottles to adorn the trees, a hand-made framed seating chart, canned preserves for wedding favors, and hand-crafted yard signs to highlight the bar menu, the wedding day festivities itinerary, and, of course, the all important transportation schedule!
Friends, Family, and a spirited party
Katie and Tucker spent well over a year converting their whole yard into the gorgeous outdoor wedding venue you see here in the photos. It was a lot of work but it paid off because their home served as the perfect setting for what was one of the most spirited wedding receptions I’ve ever been a part of. They had their own personal beer brewed for their wedding (how awesome is that?!). They had a bluegrass band playing throughout the reception. The line at the old shed bar was at least 3 deep most of the night. And the dance floor was hopin’ well after midnight. And, not to be outdone, the groom himself took to the stage with his buddies and belted out a few tunes himself with background vocals supplied by his (new) wife.
But Katie and Tucker’s wedding was more than some new grass, some bluegrass, and a hand-crafted bar. It was a celebration of their relationships (two legged AND four legged). Family and friends are so very important to Katie and Tucker. And that was on full display throughout the day. From the pre-ceremony toasts with Katie and the girls, to the never ending Tucker-hug-a-thon outside the church, to the heartfelt readings during the ceremony, to the myriad of handshakes and laughter during cocktail hour, to the toasts at the reception that pulled more than a few heart strings. Love was on full display.
Keepin’ it local
And they kept it all local to boot. 100% certified Newtown, CT! Local musician’s, hair and makeup at Ricci’s salon, ceremony at the Newtown Meeting House, portraits in Ram’s Pasture, bartending from My Place, and catering from Butcher’s Best. LOL – even the school buses were local. Nice touch!
So, here’s to family and friends, to outdoor Connecticut weddings, to bluegrass standards and Springsteen covers, to keepin’ it local in the 06470 and to getting married in your backyard because home is where your story begins.
Best to you both. I’m sure I’ll see ya ‘round town soon!
March to your own beat
I love it when couples include their dogs in their weddings! Simply love it. So, much so, I dedicated a whole blog post to it.
So, why do I love it so much? Well, to me, it’s a subtle way for a couple to put their own stamp on their wedding day. To make it unique. To let their personalities really shine. And I can so relate to that.
I had a pretty traditional, conservative upbringing – house in the ‘burbs, high school, college, corporate career, etc. I’m sure you can relate. But inside me, I had this desire to stand out. To be different. Now, I didn’t go all rogue and shave my head and get a tribal arm-band tattoo or anything.
No, I was much more subtle. I played lacrosse while everyone else was playing baseball. The Rolling Stones where my band of choice while my classmates were listening to Duran Duran and Madonna. I was grading homework papers while my college buddies were grading stock picks. My idea of a week’s vacation was studying wine at the Chelsea Wine Vault in New York City. Not exactly everyone’s idea of a typical vacation. In short, I marched to the beat of my own drum.
Holly and Patrick share that same trait. They could have leveraged their degrees for some high profile corporate jobs. Instead they’ve chosen to follow a different path – one that’s lead Patrick to the classroom as a teacher at one the country’s top boarding schools and one that’s lead Holly to the leading sports entertainment network in the world. I love it when people follow their passions. It’s inspiring.
When Patrick and Holly and I first met, we knew pretty much right away that we were destined to work together. And it was all because of a dog. Not mine or theirs, but a photo that I had on my brochure of a couple and their pooch on their wedding day.
When I showed them my brochure at our meeting, they both kinda looked at each other and said something like “Oh, there it is!” They recognized it from my website. It’s the reason they contacted me in the first place. They’re both dog lovers and they wanted a photographer that was a dog lover too. Well, they came to the right place!
Family, Friends, and Love
Holly and Patrick’s wedding was special for so many reasons. For starters, it was the hottest wedding I’ve ever photographed in my career. The mercury hit 97 during the pre-ceremony prep! Yeah, that kinda hot! They got married in a castle – how cool is that! And it was also one of the larger weddings I’ve ever photographed.
Normally, I’m more of a smaller, more intimate wedding kinda guy, but their wedding didn’t feel big despite the guest list. In fact, it felt decidedly intimate.
And that’s a testament to them because that feeling of intimacy is directly related to the quality of their relationships. There was such a strong feeling of love and appreciation from their friends and family. And that love permeated throughout the day and made for such a close and comfortable setting.
As an outsider, it can be hard to really blend in with your clients on wedding day. Yeah, not with Holly and Patrick. They made me and my second, Seshu Badrinath, feel right at home. Like we’ve known each other for years.
No wonder their wedding felt so warm and intimate.
Holly/Patrick, kudos to you both for keeping your cool (literally) during that stifling heat, for making everyone feel loved and appreciated, and for putting your unique stamp on your wedding day. The shot of Kemba ‘watering’ the St. Clement’s shrubbery will always have a special home in my heart 🙂
Cheers to you both!