Wedding Champagne

Wedding Champagne

Wedding Champagne

What sparkling wine is right for your wedding? Cremant, Prosecco, Cava, Sparkling, or traditional Champagne?

Which sparkling wine is right for your wedding? (L to R) Cremant, Prosecco, California Sparkling, Cava, or (not pictured) Champagne.

I interrupt your regularly scheduled wedding photography blog post to quickly right a wrong I came across in a local paper or ours here in Connecticut.

The article I read was entitled “Choosing Wine For A Wedding”. In said article there was a picture of a bottle of Prosecco. Under the picture, the caption read “Prosecco is a sweet (Italian) wine …” 

Ugh! Are you kidding me!? Prosecco is NOT a sweet wine! It’s a dry wine. In fact Prosecco is Italy’s version of Champagne which, as we all know, is (mostly) a dry (brut) sparkling wine.

Yes, yes, yes … there are versions of Champagne that range from semi-sweet (demi-sec) to sweet (doux). That is true. However, most of the Champagne you see in the U.S. is dry (brut).

Moscato d’Asti, Asti Spumante, Vin Santo … THOSE are true sweet (Italian) wines!

Misinformation like this drives me insane! Why? Because you’ve got droves of people reading this article and thinking “Oh, look, a new sweet wine to try! Cool!”. Then they buy it, bring it home, and open it, only to find out it’s not sweet at all!  

And I don’t want brides and grooms, especially my brides and grooms, buying Prosecco for their wedding day thinking it’s going to be a sweet wine. That’s just not cool!

Now, truth be told, Prosecco is a great choice for your celebratory wedding day sparkler, but please don’t expect it to be sweet, ‘cause it ain’t.

If you are new to the world of wine and are a bit confused by all this Prosecco and Champagne talk, it might be good for me to give you a little lesson on sparkling wine in general. It may even help you select your perfect bottle of bubbly for your wedding day!

Don’t worry, you can trust me. In a former life, I worked in a wine store and actually carry a certification from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (or WSET as it’s known in the biz).

So, here goes …

There are actually several different kinds of sparkling wine …

Champagne – sparkling wine from the Champagne region of France.

Cremant – a lower pressure sparkling wine from France. There are several regions in France that use this method, namely Alsace, Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Loire.  

Prosecco – sparkling wine made in multiple regions throughout Italy.

Cava – sparkling wine made in Spain.

Sparkling – And of course there’s sparkling wines from right here in the U.S., namely from California.

I’m sure there are more, but those are the big hitters.

Champagne is typically the most well known and the most expensive of the lot with Cremant, Prosecco, Cava, and California Sparkling coming in at lower price points. There are exceptions to this, of course, but it’s a pretty good rule of thumb.

I could write volumes on sparkling wines – from the different production methods, the different styles within each kind, the vintages, the grapes that go into them, etc. etc.

But that’s for another time.

What I do want you to know before you head back to your social media feeds is this …

It is a well know faux-pas to refer to any sparkling wine made outside of the Champagne region of France as ‘Champagne’. ONLY Champagne comes from Champagne (France).

So, that bottle of Korbel or Mumm or Roderer or Schramsberg that you are enjoying (all California wineries) CAN’T be called Champagne. Feel?

Why am I telling you this? Because I don’t want you to lose your street cred when it comes to wine. And because it violates the Treaty of Versailles. Seriously! The French don’t mess around when it comes to their wine!

Don’t believe me? Check out this explanation from Wine Spectator Magazine

The French wanted to protect the use of the term “Champagne” to only refer to bubbly made using traditional methods from grapes grown and vinified in the Champagne region of France, so when the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919 to end WWI, they included limits on the use of the word. However, history buffs may recall that the United States never actually ratified the Treaty of Versailles, and that in 1919 the U.S. was in the midst of Prohibition, so alcohol-labeling laws hardly seemed important at the time. Domestic sparkling wine producers remained free here to legally slap the word “Champagne” on their bottles of bubbly, much to the irritation of the winegrowers in Champagne. Out of respect and to avoid confusion, many producers in the United States called their bubbly “sparkling wine.”

Then, in early 2006, the United States and the European Union signed a wine-trade agreement, and the issue was brought up again. This time, the United States agreed to not allow new uses of certain terms that were previously considered to be “semi-generic,” such as “Champagne” (as well as “Burgundy,” “Chablis,” “Port” and “Chianti”). But anyone who already had an approved label—Korbel and Miller High Life come to mind—was grandfathered in and may continue to use the term.

So, in short, you may very well see the term California Champagne on a label here and there, but it’s because it was ‘grandfathered’ in. Don’t be fooled though, it’s not ‘real’ Champagne. 

Have any wine geek friends who you think would benefit from this info? Click SHARE ON FACEBOOK to spread the love!


Unique Wedding Venues in CT | CT Wedding Photographer

Unique Wedding Venues in CT | CT Wedding Photographer

Photo of outdoor wedding in Jamaica Jeff Lundstrom PhotographyIn this series, I’ve featured rustic venues, barn venues, and venues on the water. This post features a few of my all time favorite venues in CT. These venues don’t fit neatly into a traditional category. I just call them unique. They aren’t country. They aren’t coastal. And they certainly aren’t traditional. But they sure are one of a kind!

I love when couples think outside the box. That may be a trite expression, but it really is true. Anyone can get married in a traditional wedding hall. It takes a really adventurous soul to strike out on their own and choose a non-traditional venue. I admire that spirit. That boldness. That’s what inspired me to write this series of posts. To celebrate couples that break from the norm and follow their own path. And to celebrate the places that they choose to marry in.

So without further ado, let’s take a look at my favorite unique wedding venues in Connecticut.

Photo of Rock Hall. A unique wedding venue located in Colebrook, CT

Rock Hall

The brain child of famed architect Addison Mizner, Rock Hall is hands down the coolest wedding venue I’ve ever been inside of. It’s also the coolest hotel I’ve been inside of (yes, you can actually stay here!). Built in 1912, Rock Hall has seen plenty of history. So much so it’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The 23 acre estate is quietly nestled in the town of Colebrook, CT in the beautiful Litchfield Hills in northwest Connecticut. As you can probably guess, the interior is as stunning as its exterior with gorgeous wood paneling, soaring ceilings, and a fireplace that you can stand inside of. And if you over did it a little at your reception, you can recuperate poolside surrounded by nothing but blue skies and leafy green foliage. If you are looking for a one of kind wedding venue, then Rock Hall is it.

Photo of Gallaher Mansion. A unique wedding venue in Norwalk, CT

Gallaher Mansion

Like Rock Hall, Gallaher Mansion has also seen its share of history. Built in 1930 by Edward Gallaher, Gallaher Mansion was designed in a Tudor Revival style complete with carvings, stained-glass windows and walnut paneled rooms.  A huge flagstone terrace and adjacent gardens make it the perfect venue for an outdoor ceremony and reception. And not to be outdone, the property features a great lawn that makes for a uniquely dramatic backdrop for your wedding.

Photo of Keller Tavern. A unique wedding venue in Ridgefield, CT

Keeler Tavern

In keeping with the history theme, Keeler Tavern is another unique and historic venue in Ridgefield, CT. Like Rock Hall and Gallaher, Keeler Tavern has quite the history. It’s been a farmhouse, a tavern, a stagecoach stop, a post office, a hotel, a home to noted architect Cass Gilbert, and now a museum and wedding venue. It’s no surprise that Keeler is listed on the National Register of Historic Places too! Keeler Tavern is truly one of my favorite venues. I love it’s history and charm and I especially love it’s gorgeous garden. Arguably the best wedding ceremony location in the state!

Photo of Fox Hill Inn. A unique wedding venue in Brookfield, CT

Fox Hill Inn

Some may argue putting Fox Hill Inn on a list of unique wedding venues in CT, but I couldn’t disagree more! Fox Hill is truly unique in my mind. You feel like you are in someone’s home at Fox Hill. It’s a beautiful old southern mansion style home that’s full of character and charm. The foyer boasts a dramatic sweeping staircase, the sunken bar room features a cozy fireplace, the main ball room intimately accommodates your guests, and the back garden is ideal for an outdoor ceremony. I would recommend Fox Hill Inn to anyone looking for a unique experience.

A photo of a tented wedding reception in Essex, CTYour Home

Shhh, I’ve got a secret for ya. Wanna know the only venue SO unique that it’s literally impossible to duplicate anywhere!? You guessed it … Your Home! I love home weddings (aka backyard, private estate, private residence weddings). Whatever you want to call it, a wedding at your home is simply a joy to experience. Surrounded by family and friends and your own history, a home wedding is as intimate and sentimental as you can get. I applaud couples for hosting their own weddings. It may require a little more planning and effort, but it’s SO worth it!


Know anyone who could use a little wedding inspiration? Just click SHARE ON FACEBOOK to share the love!

My Favorite Wedding Venues on the Water in CT

My Favorite Wedding Venues on the Water in CT

A bride and groom enter their water side wedding reception from their boat in Essex, CT

Connecticut has a wonderfully diverse landscape. From its historic cities to its rolling country hills to its vast and furtive farmland to its glistening shores, Connecticut has something for everyone. Especially when it comes to planning a wedding!

In my last two posts, I focused on country themed wedding venues. In this post, I am highlighting a number of water-side wedding venues from the banks of the Connecticut River to the shores of the Long Island Sound to the historic Mystic Seaport. If you are a water lover, your are going to love these venues.

Photo of an outdoor ceremony on the water in CT at the Inn at Longshore Westport, CT

The Inn at Longshore

For an outdoor wedding on the water in Connecticut, it doesn’t get much better than The Inn at Longshore. Situated right on the shores of the Long Island Sound, the Inn is wildly popular with today’s brides and grooms, but it’s history is what makes it a Connecticut icon. Since 1890, the Inn has hosted the likes of the Roosevelts, the Rockefellers, F. Scott and Zelda Fitgerald, Frank Sinatra, and even Marilyn Monroe. So, if you decide to have your wedding at The Inn at Longshore, you’ll be in some pretty good company.

Photo of CT wedding venue on the beach in CT Jacky Durell Pavilion Fairfield, CT

Jacky Durell Pavilion

If a beach wedding is your thing, Jacky Durell Pavilion just may be your perfect venue. Personally, I love Jacky Durell. I love it for it’s laid-back, casual vibe. I love it for its family friendly feel. And I love it for it’s beach front. It feels like a summer share house in the Hamptons. The kind of place where everyone is welcome and there’s always a party! Not a bad place for wedding either!

Photo of a bride and groom at sunset on the beach at Madison Beach Hotel wedding venue

Madison Beach Hotel

Looking for ocean-side luxury for your wedding? Madison Beach Hotel is that resort-like spot you’ve been longing to getaway to. Located in Madison, CT (hence the name), the hotel is tucked away off the main road and only steps away from the waves of the Long Island Sound. It’s such a pristine beach front location that you’ll feel like you packed your bags and flew off to a destination wedding. A local destination wedding!

Photo of a wedding venue on the water in CT Latitude 41 Mystic, CT

Latitude 41 Mystic Seaport

Wanna get married amongst the tall ships!? Yeah, ya do! Mystic, CT speaks for itself. If you’ve spent any time in Connecticut, you’ve undoubtedly been to Mystic, right? The history, the ships, the shops, even the pizza! But did you know that Mystic is home to one of the perfect waterside wedding reception venues in the state? Latitude 41 and the Coastal Gourmet Group have been hosting coastal Connecticut weddings for years and no one does a Mystic wedding better!

photo of an outdoor ceremony on the CT River at Saint Clements Castle in Portland, CT

Saint Clements Castle

It may not be on the coast, but Saint Clements Castle has some of the most breathtaking views of the Connecticut River. You have your choice of saying “I Do” in a gorgeous replica English garden or on a dramatic hillside overlooking the Connecticut River. Built in 1898, the architecture of Saint Clements was incluenced by the French Tudor style and borrows some of its features from the most famous of French Chateaux (Château de Langeais was the inspiration for its medieval style Art Gallery). You will literally feel like a princess on the grounds of Saint Clements Castle.

ct vineyard wedding salt water farm vineyard

Saltwater Farms Vineyard

Love the water? Love wine? Then Saltwater Farms just may be your ideal wedding venue. At Saltwater Farms you get the romance of a vineyard coupled with some of Connecticut’s freshest sea breezes. What bride and groom wouldn’t love that!? Located on the tidal marshes of the Wequetequock Cove at the mouth of Little Narragannsett Bay, Saltwater Farms is a truly unique venue. Originally an airplane hangar back in 1930, Saltwater Farms Vineyard was masterfully (and lovingly) transformed into a sleek, modern structure that you see today. But it still maintains it’s iconic hangar-like facade. A symbol that lives on to this day on the label of each bottle of wine that Saltwater Farms produces. A wedding at Saltwater Farms is truly something special.

So, if you are looking to say I Do with a water view, then look no further than the venues listed above. Check in next time when I feature some wedding venues than defy categorization because they are truly unique.

As always, if you know someone who could use a little inspiration when it comes to planning their wedding, then please click SHARE ON FACEBOOK below to, you know, share on facebook!



My Favorite Barn Wedding Venues in CT

My Favorite Barn Wedding Venues in CT

Photo of a bride and grom outside on the ground of the Golden Lamb Buttery wedding venue in Brooklyn, CTMy Favorite Barn Wedding Venues in CT. This post will help all you barn lovin’ brides and grooms find the barn wedding venue that’s perfect for your wedding.

Barn Weddings

In my last post, I featured a few rustic wedding venues in both Connecticut and New York. Taking the rustic theme up a notch, I am focusing this post on three of my favorite barn wedding venues in Connecticut. Barns are a great choice for your wedding. They are wide-open, blank canvases that you can custom tailor to your liking making for a one of a kind experience. I think barns are incredibly romantic too. So much so, I proposed to my wife in a barn!

I love barns for their social significance. They remind me of a time when entire communities would gather together to pitch in and help each other out. Not too dis-similar to loved ones gathering together for a wedding. I also love their simplicity and their utility. Barns are built for a purpose. They are built strong because they are meant to last. Barns remind me of a good relationship – strong, purposeful, and permanent. They also look really good all lit up with garden lights!

If you are looking for a truly unique place to have your wedding, and you fancy a rustic, country style, then consider these Connecticut barn wedding venues. I think ya’ll are gonna like ’em!


The Webb Barn

Photo of the Webb Barn wedding venue in Wethersfield, CT

The Webb Barn is a wonderfully intimate barn wedding venue in Wethersfield, CT. Built in 1821, the barn was actually burned to the ground – thought to be the work of some rather unsavory locals. Thankfully, it was rebuilt by its owner, Martin Wells, in 1840 and retains much of its original historic ambiance and rustic charm. The grounds of the Webb Barn feature a large tree-lined lawn and an immaculately maintained garden. It’s the perfect setting for an outdoor ceremony. The barn accommodates up to 130 guests and makes for a cozy reception dinner. The barn can also accommodate an indoor or outdoor dance party. So, if its rustic charm and versatility you are looking for, Webb Barn just may be your perfect barn wedding venue.

 The Barns at Wesleyan Hills

Photo of the Barns at Wesleyan Hills barn wedding venue in Middletown, CT

The Barns at Wesleyan Hills is an innovation in the Connecticut wedding venue landscape. Run by The CT Wedding Group, The Barns (as its often referred to) is a renovated barn that features modern amenities, like heat and air conditioning 🙂 As such, it’s a facility that can hold weddings year round. While set in a suburban area, once you step inside the main barn reception area you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to the country. It’s THAT authentic. The grounds of The Barns are great for photos with its’ gorgeous lawns, ponds, trees, and bridges. It’s a photographer’s paradise. Couples can also put their own stamp on their reception with one of the available lighting and decor packages making The Barns a custom country dream!

 Golden Lamb Buttery

Photo of the Golden Lamb Buttery barn wedding venue in Brooklyn, CT

Most people probably know The Golden Lamb for its food. Every year, The Golden Lamb is recognized by food critics and publications as one of the best restaurants in the state. So, if you decide to have your wedding at The Golden Lamb, you will be guaranteed an amazing meal! You will also get a one of a kind experience. Their property is HUGE! The Golden Lamb is quietly secluded off the main road in Brooklyn, CT and surrounded by acres and acres of open pastures. You won’t have to worry about waking the neighbors! Complete with stonewalls and grazing farm animals, It’s an idyllic country setting that will charm the pants off any bride and groom looking for a rustic barn venue.










My Favorite Rustic Wedding Venues in CT and NY

My Favorite Rustic Wedding Venues in CT and NY

 Photos of a rustic wedding ceremony at Maplestone Inn in New Paltz, NY by Jeff Lundstrom Photography

My favorite rustic wedding venues in CT & NY will help you select the perfect venue for your wedding.

It’s that time of year! Engagement rings were dropping like Eli Manning passes over the holiday season. And all those Yes’s can mean only one thing – It’s wedding planning season! Every year at this time, couples begin the exciting challenge of planning their wedding. I’ll admit, planning a wedding is not for the faint of heart. It’s a lot to do! So, I wanted to offer my advice on THE single most important wedding planning decision you have to make – the venue! There are a myriad of wedding venues to have your nuptials, but what venue is the ideal venue for you?

This post is the first in a series of posts about my favorite venues in Connecticut and New York. I will be highlighted venues I’ve actually had the pleasure of photographing so you will get my bonafide, real world opinion. And you’ll notice, right off the bat, that I focus my ten plus years in the wedding photography world on venues that appeal to adventurous couples, couples that want something a little different for their wedding. Whether it’s the country or the coast or a barn or even something completely unique, the venues that I will feature are not your traditional wedding halls. No, they are what I consider to be ‘hidden gems’ that can only be found ‘off the beaten path’.

Why? Because I am passionate about being true to your personality and interests. No excuses! That’s just the type of couple that I love to work with. My ideal clients want an experience for their quests (and themselves) that’s truly unique and that just doesn’t fit into a traditional little box.

Sooo, here goes!

Candlelight Farms Inn | New Milford, CT

Photo of a rustic outdoor wedding at Candlelight Farms Inn in New Milford, CT by Jeff Lundstrom Photography

Arguably my favorite rustic wedding venue in the entire state of Connecticut, Candlelight Farms Inn is truly a country lover’s paradise. Set atop Candlewood Mountain Road, Candlelight Farms, has the most beautiful sweeping views of any venue I’ve photographed. The whole setting is as traditional New England country as you can get. The 640 property features a colonial era inn that houses 5 guest rooms, perfect for your bridal party preparations, immaculately maintained terraced lawns and gardens, working horse stables, and it’s own airport! If you want country for your wedding, Candlelight Farms just might be your venue.

Village at Boulder Ridge | Barkhamsted, CT

Photo of a rustic outdoor wedding at The Village at Boulder Ridge Barkhamsted, CT by Jeff Lundstrom Photography

Perhaps the best kept secret in rustic venues in the state of Connecticut is The Village at Boulder Ridge. Tucked away in the northwest corner of the state, The Village at Boulder Ridge is as charming and country as it gets. The grounds are spacious and everywhere you turn there is a gorgeous view of the Litchfield Hills. Outdoor wedding ceremonies are held down on the edge of a pond with the rolling hills in the background. You can’t help but feel wrapped in nature at Boulder Ridge. I love Boulder Ridge for it’s rustic simplicity. It’s truly a breathtaking experience.

Maplestone Inn | New Paltz, NY

Photo of a rustic outdoor wedding at Maplestone Inn in New Paltz, NY by Jeff Lundstrom Photography

If you’ve ever lived in New York City, then you know that weekends are for getting out of the city. And there is no better destination for a Manhattan escape than the Maplestone Inn in New Paltz, NY. Maplestone Inn is that inn you dream about when you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of life. The inn is a lovingly restored 1700’s farm house. The restoration was undertaken by Sean and Patty Roche to breathe life back into one of the area’s most historic icons. They did a remarkable job staying true to its warm and cozy farmhouse roots. It may just be the perfect setting for a rustic wedding.

Highlands Country Club | Garrison, NY

Photo of a rustic outdoor wedding at Highlands Country Club in Garrison, NY by Jeff Lundstrom Photography

A country club on a list of rustic wedding venues? Yep. Not a typo. Highlands Country Club is unique in that it is a working country club but has the setting of a country destination resort. Located in Garrison, NY, Highlands offers everything you could want in a rustic wedding venue. The Grand Ballroom is truly grand with it’s soaring ceilings and it’s massive windows overlooking the property’s garden. You’ll sip your cocktails outside in the garden with views of the nearby Highlands Hills. And, depending on the time of year, a cozy, outdoor fire pit is the perfect end to an amazing wedding day in the country.

If you, or anyone you know, are planning a rustic wedding, then please spread the love by clicking ‘SHARE ON FACEBOOK’ below.