Venue Guide: The Inn at Longshore

Venue Guide: The Inn at Longshore

The Inn at Longshore Wedding

Overview: 

The Inn at Longshore is one of the best Westport, CT wedding venues you can find and one of the few CT shoreline wedding venues in the state. Its setting on the shores of the Long Island Sound make it one of the most sought after wedding venues for couples planning a summer wedding with a coastal vibe. If you are looking for wedding venues in CT on the water, look no further than The Inn at Longshore. 

Category: Banquet Hall / Historic Inn

Features: Outdoor ceremony; outdoor cocktail; shorefront; water views; large capacity

Website and Address: The Inn at Longshore 260 Compo Rd S, Westport, CT 06880

Getting Ready Accommodations at The Inn at Longshore

The Inn at Longshore features a bridal suite upstairs in the Inn so you can have your hair and makeup done onsite as well as store away any of your personal items during the day. Having an on-site getting ready option is really nice convenience for brides and their bridal party making your logistics of the day much simpler and less stressful. 

Ceremony at The Inn at Longshore

Outdoor wedding ceremony on the lawn of The Inn at Longshore in Westport, CT

If you have your heart set on an outdoor wedding ceremony in Connecticut with ocean breezes, The Inn at Longhshore is the perfect place for your nuptials. The Inn features a large lawn that stretches right up to the inlet of the Saugatuck River on the Long Island Sound – an ideal spot for an outdoor wedding ceremony. 

Cocktails and Reception at The Inn at Longshore

Wedding receptions are always elegant and fun at The Inn at Longshore in Westport, CT

The Inn features indoor/outdoor options for your after-ceremony celebration. The outdoor patio is perfect for an al fresco cocktail hour. Receptions are held inside the Inn’s ballroom which can accommodate up to 300 guests. But don’t let the large size fool you, The Inn at Longshore maintains a warm and intimate ambiance no matter the size of your wedding.

The Inn is managed by OntheMarc Events, one of the top event management and catering companies in Connecticut. Rest assured that you and your guests will be well taken care of throughout your experience at The Inn at Longshore – and their food is always outstanding!

Locations for Inn at Longshore Wedding Photos

The Inn at Longshore has plenty of options for stunning bridal photos on your wedding day

The Inn at Longshore offers quite a bit of options for your bridal photos. You can have your pick of Long Island Sound views, beach front access, tree lined grounds, or even ‘tee it up’ on the nearby golf course. 

Inn at Longshore Wedding Cost

The starting rate for peak season rentals is $500. Please inquire with The Inn at Longshore for more detailed pricing information.  

My Take

Nothing says Westport, CT Wedding quite like The Inn at Longshore. It’s a staple in the local Westport/Fairfield, CT area. And for good reason. You can’t beat the setting – the perfect mix of elegant New England charm and relaxed beachfront vibes.

Personally, I love the intimate feel that the Inn embodies. It’s one of the few venues of its size in the state that feels like a warm, cozy living room … and with waterfront views to boot! 

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Outdoor photograph of a bride and groom walking along the water at the American Yacht Club in Rye, NY by Jeff Lundstrom Photography

Venue Guide: Madison Beach Hotel Wedding

Venue Guide: Madison Beach Hotel Wedding

Madison Beach Hotel Wedding

Overview: Madison Beach Hotel is in a class all its own as one of the only luxury hotel wedding venues Connecticut shoreline has to offer. It’s like a destination wedding but without the plane tickets and passports!

The hotel offers couples a perfect mix of a relaxed beach wedding vibe and a premier luxury hotel and resort experience. Perfect for a beach wedding in Connecticut! 

Part of Hilton’s signature Curio Collection, the four diamond Hotel takes the utmost pride in offering unparalleled service to its guests. The event staff puts the same amount of care into your wedding day ensuring that you (and your guests) will be well taken care of.

Venue: Madison Beach Hotel

Category: Hotel

Address: 94 W Wharf Rd, Madison, CT 06443

 

Getting Ready Accommodations at Madison Beach Hotel

A suite is included in your Madison Beach Hotel wedding package so you can have your (and your bridesmaids) hair and makeup done on site at the hotel and won’t have to worry about traveling off the property to a salon. In keeping with the luxury brand of the hotel, the bridal suites are very spacious, meticulously appointed, and, well, luxurious! You’ll feel like you are on vacation.

 

The groom and his groomsmen typically get ready in one of the hospitality rooms the hotel has available for their getting ready preparations. The hospitality rooms are like little conference rooms/ballrooms and make for a comfortable setting for putting on your suit and tie … and maybe enjoying a beverage or two before you walk down the aisle.

 

Ceremony Location(s) at Madison Beach Hotel

The hotel has its own private beach area for ceremonies so you can get married right on the beach! One of the few wedding venues in Connecticut that offers a true beachfront wedding ceremony. Should it rain, ceremonies are moved inside and held in the Grand Ballroom.

 

Reception Location at Madison Beach Hotel

Wedding receptions are held in the hotel’s Grand Ballroom which features 180 degree views of the Long Island Sound. It is truly a stunning location! You can also take in the ocean front views from the balcony off the ballroom. 

 

Locations for Madison Beach Hotel Wedding Photos

The photo opportunities at Madison Beach Hotel are simply stunning! You can choose from the manicured lawn right near the beach, the sandy beachfront itself, or, if you are feeling really adventurous, you can even venture onto the enormous rocks jutting out into the sound.

And since you are on the beach, the sunsets are gorgeous! And make for some seriously romantic mood lighting for portraits.

A bride and groom post for a stunning wedding portrait a top a massive rock at the Madison Beach Hotel.

 

Madison Beach Hotel Wedding Cost

Madison Beach Hotel works on a food and beverage minimum. The minimum spend is $26,000 for weddings May through October with two packages available – $225/guest (116 guests to reach minimum) or $255/guest (102 guests to reach minimum). Each package includes valet parking and a hotel suite for the couple. Obviously, you will want to discuss the package options in more detail with the hotel wedding sales staff. 

There is also a $2500 site fee to reserve the hotel for the evening and $2500 ceremony fee should you choose to have your ceremony on site. Off-season rates are available November through April and are listed as $15,000 Food and Beverage Minimum; $1000 site fee; $1000 ceremony fee.

*Prices listed are per the Madison Beach Hotel pricing information available on the venue’s Knot Listing and are for weddings in 2023 and 2024.

 

My Take

I mean what’s not to like! Weddings at Madison Beach Hotel are really unique because it’s one of the few wedding venues in Connecticut where you can truly have a wedding on the beach. Add in the fact that Madison Beach Hotel is a premier luxury hotel and you’ve got yourself one of the most amazing wedding experiences you can have in the state! I highly recommend Madison Beach Hotel for couples planning a midsize wedding on the beach. You can’t go wrong!

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Amanda and Mike // Jacky Durrell Pavilion Wedding

Amanda and Mike // Jacky Durrell Pavilion Wedding

Amanda and Mike’s Jacky Durrell Pavilion Wedding was a beachfront soiree like no other! 

Every aspect of their day was a quintessential Connecticut beach wedding  – their intimate ceremony on the pavilion deck overlooking the Long Island Sound, their open-air cocktail hour, their bride/groom portraits on the beach, the free-flowing, inside/outside reception party, even the after-party at Fairfield Beach’s own Seagrape Bar .

The beach vibe wasn’t just limited to their ceremony and reception. Amanda and Mike both got ready at The Inn at Fairfield Beach just steps down the street from Jacky Durrell and adjacent to the Seagrape which made it the ideal location for walking to and from their wedding to their hotel to the after-party. It was like a summer getaway weekend in The Hamptons!

 

JACKY DURRELL PAVILION WEDDING

 

Jacky Durrell Pavilion is one of my favorite beachfront wedding venues in Connecticut. It is the only venue, that I know of, that feels like an old, family summer beach rental house, but with a large enough space to accommodate all your friends and family. It is truly unique in the beach club/waterfront wedding venue category and a must visit if you are envisioning an intimate beach wedding in Connecticut. 

If you’re interested in securing a Jacky Durrell Pavilion wedding photographer for your wedding date, I’d love to chat with you as it’s one of my favorite venues to work with! There’s no obligation to book me, and if I think someone else might be a better fit, I’ll gladly refer you! Or, if you’re just interested in finding out if Jacky Durrell Pavilion is the right choice for your wedding day, I’d be happy to chat.

Just click here to set up a free consultation!

BOOK A CALL WITH JACKY DURRELL PAVILION PHOTOGRAPHER JEFF LUNDSTROM

Loving what you see? Don’t forget. If you like to set up a free consultation, just click below!

BOOK A CALL WITH JACKY DURRELL PAVILION PHOTOGRAPHER JEFF LUNDSTROM

I hope you enjoyed my Jacky Durrell Pavilion wedding photos of Kate & Bob’s wedding!

If you love my work and would like to have photographs like these, please remember…

…I’d love to chat with you as it’s one of my favorite venues to work with! There’s no obligation to book me and if I think someone else might be a better fit, I’ll gladly refer you!

Or, if you’re just interested in finding out if the Jacky Durrell Pavilion is the right choice for your wedding, I’d also be happy to chat with you – just click the link below to schedule a call!

BOOK A CALL WITH JACKY DURRELL PAVILION PHOTOGRAPHER JEFF LUNDSTROM

Venue Guide: Branford House Wedding

Venue Guide: Branford House Wedding

Branford House Wedding

Overview: Branford House is a historic mansion located on the University of Connecticut’s Avery Point Campus in Groton, CT. Built in 1902 for Morton Freeman Plant, a local financier and philanthropist, as his summer home, Branford House is one of the premier mansion wedding venues in CT.

Category: Mansion

Address: 1084 Shennecossett Road Groton, Connecticut 06340

Branford House weddings are special because the house has so much to offer couples who are looking for wedding venues in CT.

 

Ceremony and Reception Locations at Branford House

Branford House offers a few options for your on-site ceremony. You can have your ceremony inside in the East Room, the center Grand Ballroom, or outside on the patio off of the West Room. Inside ceremonies tend to be more intimate with smaller guest counts. If you are planning a larger wedding (100+ guests) then you may want to consider having your ceremony outside on Branford House’s sprawling lawn. What better place to say “I Do” than on the rocky shores of the Long Island Sound!

For an indoor reception, the Grand Ballroom and the East and West Wing rooms comfortably accommodate up to 200 guests for a full-course dinner or buffet. For events hosting more than 200 guests, Branford House staff suggests a tent on the lawn. Tented receptions on the lawn of the Branford House are simply breathtaking.

 

Getting Ready Accommodations at Branford House

Branford House features a bridal suite so you can have your hair and makeup done onsite as well as store away any of your personal items during the day. Having an on-site getting ready option is really nice convenience for brides and their bridal party making your logistics of the day much simpler and less stressful.

 

Locations for Branford House Wedding Photos

Branford House has SO many options for your photos. Inside the house, you can take advantage of the intimate decore and design with its grand staircases, fireplaces, and ballrooms. Outside, Branford House features patios, terraces, gardens, and a massive lawn with sweeping views of the Long Island Sound. And, if you are feeling adventurous, you can even have an epic photo session on the rocks along the edge of the sound.

 

Branford House Wedding Cost

The peak season rental rate (May 1 to Oct 31) for Branford House for Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, is $5600.

 

My Take

As a CT Wedding Photographer for over 10 years, I’ve had the pleasure of photographing numerous CT wedding venues and, for a mansion wedding, Branford House is my top recommendation. You simply can’t beat its shoreline location and its grand aesthetic. It’s the only mansion of its kind that sits right on the shores of the Long Island sound. A Branford House mansion wedding is truly in a class by itself.

So, if you are planning a Connecticut mansion wedding and you want water views and a shoreline vibe, I highly recommend the Branford House. It’s not only one of the best wedding venues in Groton, CT, but one of the best wedding venues in Connecticut.

 

Looking for a wedding photographer?

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5 Tips for Choosing Your Wedding Photographer

5 Tips for Choosing Your Wedding Photographer

5 Tips for Choosing Your Wedding Photographer

I’m going to sound a little like Captain Obvious with this, but when you are looking for a photographer for your wedding day, you want to be sure that you choose the right person for the job. 

I know what you are thinking –  “Duh!”

There is obviously more that goes into choosing a wedding photographer (and we’ll get into that shortly), but photography is unlike any other service you’ll be hiring for your wedding day. 

Professional photographs are an investment in your memories and give you something tangible to look back on in the years to come. That’s why it’s so important to hire a photographer who can not only capture the images you want, but, more importantly, make your whole photographic experience completely effortless – because, let’s be honest, you have better things to do on wedding day than to be preoccupied with your photos.

Okay, enough chit chat, let’s get to the tips ….

Determine your budget and what type of package you want

Before you start your search, determine your budget range. Prices for wedding photographers can range anywhere from $2,000 to over $20,000 depending on what market you are in, what type of wedding you are planning to have (large, small, destination, etc.), and what type of package you book. Having been in the local Connecticut market for over a decade, I can tell you that most experienced, skilled wedding photographers start in the $3,000 range for wedding day coverage and digital files. Most will have larger packages available as well with more hours, multiple photographers, an engagement session, a wedding album, etc. So, your final costs will largely depend on what you’re looking for. 

Know what style of images you want

Every photographer has a different style. Are you looking for more candid, photojournalistic photos? Do you want more posed portraits? What type of aesthetic are you looking for in your photographs? The popular light and airy? The trendy dark and moody? Maybe you love the look of film? Or maybe you are more traditional and want more of a classic look to your photographs. Whatever you want, it’s important to know what style and type of images you’re looking for, so you can choose a photographer who can meet your specific needs. 

*We tend to fall into that classic, traditional style with a mix of candid and posed photos. We like to think of our style as warm, candid, and elegant.

Can you see yourselves in the photos? 

Looking at website after website, gallery after gallery, and Insta after Insta can cause some serious brain fatigue and make you feel drained, exhausted, and overwhelmed which can cloud  your judgment when it comes to choosing a photographer. There’s a better way. As you are looking through a photographer’s photos, ask yourself “Can I see myself (and my fiance) in these photos?” “If I were in these photos would I look like myself?” Example – if you come across a photographer that has a lot of styled, posed, fashion-y type photographs and that’s not your style then you’ll know the answer to these questions really quickly. 

Make sure you’re a good fit

Sometimes personalities mesh perfectly and you become instant friends. Sometimes you and another person are just too different to work comfortably together. If you and your photographer don’t mesh, your wedding day may be awkward or just no fun and that’s the last thing you want. You can tell a lot about a photographer in how they write. Be sure to visit their About page and read through it carefully. Visit their Instagram and browse through their posts paying special attention to their captions. Photographers share certain photographs and write about those photographs for a reason. Personally, I share a lot of ‘moment driven’ photographs of people having fun and celebrating as well as moments that tug at your heart a little. I do that because that’s what I love to shoot. Weddings are emotional and I love to capture all those rich, palpable feelings. I also love to photograph all the pretty details like the dress, the cake, etc. but moments are my jam. So pay attention to the photos a photographer posts. They will give you important insight into their personality and help you understand if they are the type of person you’d like to work with.

*I can’t emphasize enough how important fit is. Remember, you will be with your photographer ALL DAY on your wedding day and before you wedding day if you are doing an engagement session and even after your wedding day if you have an album in your package. Bottom line – you will be spending a lot of time with your photographer so make sure they are someone you have a good rapport with.

Meet with your photographer before you hire him/her

Hi, Captain Obvious again 🙂 I think this goes without saying, but I’m gonna say it anyway – make sure you meet with your photographer in person before you hire him/her. Obviously, nowadays meeting over Zoom or over the phone are acceptable options if an in-person meeting isn’t feasible, but, whatever the medium, make sure you talk to your photographer live before you hire him/her. There is no substitute for a live conversation when you want to get to know someone. The added bonus of an in-person meeting is having the opportunity to touch and feel the physical products that they offer that you may want in your package (items like wedding albums, engagement albums, prints, frames, wall art, etc.) 

Our next article in this series will be “Questions to ask your photographer in your consultations”. Included in that, will be a tip on what NOT to say when sending your initial inquiry email to your photographer. That alone will make your photographer hiring process a lot smoother. We’ll be posting that tomorrow so check back for those so you can have a meaningful interview with your photographer. 

Until tomorrow, Happy Planning 🙂

You’re Engaged! Now What?

You’re Engaged! Now What?

You’re engaged! Now what? 

It’s that time again! The start of a new year – Hello 2022! – and the beginning of a new wedding planning season. Did you know that 7 out of the 10 most popular days to propose take place in the month of December accounting for over 19% of all proposals!? That’s A LOT of bending knees! 

Since a significant amount of proposals take place during the holiday season, it stands to reason that those same couples are just now coming out of the starting gates for their planning – whether a 2022 wedding OR a 2023 wedding.

So, to all the couples reading this …. Congratulations on your engagement! You’re likely feeling all kinds of emotions and maybe a little overwhelmed by the wedding planning ahead of you, as well as the huge, exciting change about to take place in your life. There’s nothing wrong with being a little nervous—in fact, it’s totally normal! It can be daunting to know where to begin once you’ve said yes (or popped the question yourself), so we put together this little guide to help you take things step by step.

1. Celebrate!

Take advantage of all that excitement and start calling your peeps! Notice I said “call”. This is a monumental moment in your life and shouldn’t be relegated to a few lines of text. Call your parents, call your siblings, call your friends. Let those closest to you revel in this moment with you. You’ll likely be asked about a date or even where you are thinking of having your wedding day. To minimize the stress levels at this early juncture, we recommend responding with … “You know – we really aren’t sure yet. We’re just enjoying this moment right now. We’ll start our planning really soon and make sure you have all the details (obvi)!” This helps to ward off any potentially tense conversations about planning and any potential ‘opinions’ about the planning process as well … you know what I mean 😉

2. Take a deep breath

Before you start putting lists together or asking your friends for ideas, take a breath and enjoy this time. You will have PLENTY of time to plan, but only a short time to be engaged. Take advantage of it. Take a weekend get-away somewhere, make a reservation at your fave restaurant, or maybe just stay in with a nice dinner for two and a bottle of wine. Whatever you do, be present and enjoy this time.

3. Have your engagement ring insured

Maybe not the first ‘to do’ on people’s list, but make sure you get your engagement ring insured. It’s always a good idea to get your engagement ring insured, just in case it gets lost or stolen at any point in the future. Insurance is the only way to replace your ring without having to pay for an entirely new one, so you should definitely take the time to make sure your precious new piece of jewelry is covered. The peace of mind you will have is priceless.

4. Your wedding day vision and selecting your date

Naturally, the first question people will ask you after your engagement is When’s the big day? Since selecting your wedding date will dictate every planning decision thereafter, there’s a lot riding on it. To make choosing a wedding date a little easier, we suggest you determine what kind of wedding you want first. We call this your wedding day vision. Do you want a bright, colorful, outdoor summer wedding? A cozy, indoor fall wedding? Big guest list? Small guest list? Somewhere in between? Are you thinking of something more formal? Or maybe a little less formal? Once you have your vision set, your date will be easier to choose because you’ve narrowed it down to a setting and a season/time of year. 

6. Securing your wedding venue

Okay. You have a couple of dates in mind – now comes the fun part, choosing your wedding venue! You know the saying “Location, location, location”, right? Well, it’s true for weddings as well. Your wedding venue is the cornerstone of your wedding day vision and will likely be the first decision you make in your planning process. It’s also the one vendor with the least amount of flexibility – there are only so many wedding venues available and most venues can only accommodate one wedding per day. So, choose your venue wisely, early, and quickly! Even if you decide to have a private home wedding, rental companies are in high demand (e.g. tents, tables, chairs, linens, etc.) so you’ll want to reach out to them as quickly as possible. 

Once you have your wedding venue and your date reserved, THEN you can start to move down the rest of your wedding vendor list.

7. Selecting your wedding vendors

This is where the proverbial “rubber meets the road”. You could be looking a hiring over 10 different vendors for your day – Venue, Getting Ready Hotel, Planner, Day of Coordinator, Cake, Photographer, Videographer, Caterer, Florist, DJ/Band, Formal Rental, Church, Officiant, Transportation, Hair Stylist, Make-Up Artist, and any other vendor that you might be interested in hiring like dance lessons or a cigar rolling station at your reception or maybe a Food Truck or Pizza Delivery for late-night munchies for your guests. The point is that there are quite a few vendors that you’ll be considering for your big day. 

So, what is the most efficient way to search for, interview, and ultimately hire your vendors? 

There are a few ways to go about this …

  1. Google
  2. Knot/Wedding Wire
  3. Referrals from other vendors
  4. Referrals from your friends/family

Google

I like to call this the ‘at your fingertips’ option. Why? Well, Google is readily available to you right at your fingertips. So, in that respect, it’s a good option because you’ll get a list of vendors right away to start reaching out to. The downside to Google is that your results will largely depend on how up to date each vendor is with their SEO and, if I’m being honest, not all wedding vendor professionals are well-versed in search engine optimization nor do they have the time, as mostly sole proprietors, to keep up with the volume of content required to rank well on Google. So, bottom line, you’ll get a lot of options, but those options may not represent the whole market.

Knot/Wedding Wire

The Knot/Wedding Wire have been the market leader in online wedding vendor advertising for over a decade. The plus side of using the Knot/Wedding Wire is that you’ll have no shortage of listings to research. It’s also nice that you can tailor your search by vendor category and by your geographical location (similar to Google) and read real reviews by real customers. The downside is that there are a TON of vendors listed on Knot/Wedding Wire and sifting through the volume can be overwhelming. Plus, while the reviews can be helpful, should really rely on the opinions of someone you’ve never met?

Referrals

My personal favorite … and what I recommend to all engaged couples. Why take a stranger’s word over a trusted friend’s? Or a trusted vendor that you’re already hired? Referrals (i.e. word of mouth) are hands-down the best and most efficient way to secure your wedding vendors. You don’t have to wade through a bunch of google pages or Knot listings. Instead, you get a targeted, short-list of vendors to contact that have already been vetted by someone that shares similar style and interests as you do. 

Which one is better, you ask? A referral from a friend or from another wedding vendor? I like both for different reasons. A referral from a trusted friend is great b/c you get their unadulterated opinion of their first hand experience being a client of that vendor. That’s priceless. A referral from another wedding vendor that you’re already hired (your venue’s preferred vendor list or a referral from your bridal gown shop or from your planner) is also gold because as industry-insiders we have worked with a lot of different vendors across all different categories and can provide our personal recommendations based on experience.

8. The importance of priority setting

As the Rolling Stones so eloquently said “You can’t always get what you want, but, if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.” As you begin your planning, it’s very important to determine what your priority areas/vendors are. Is having an amazing band at your reception a ‘must have’? Do you want the top of the line wedding gown? Do you want only the best wedding photographer to capture your wedding day? Knowing (and reminding yourselves) what is most important to you and where you want to prioritize your budget will help when it comes time to choose between competing wants or wishes in the planning process.

9. Pace yourselves and stick to your vision

Wedding planning is a marathon and not a sprint. Decision making can be stressful. If things get too much, then take a step back and do something fun to take your minds off of planning. It’s also important to stick to your vision for your wedding day. Remember, this is your wedding day. I can tell your from experience, the quickest way to wedding planning purgatory, is to try and please everybody around you and their opinions/ideas. Yes, of course, you want your friends and your family and your guests to have a good time at your wedding, but don’t let someone else push you to do something you don’t want. Stick to your guns!

10. Photography last forever

And lastly, a little shameless plug. The flowers wilt, the food gets eaten … so does the cake …, the music ends, and the dress goes into storage. All you have left of your one momentous day is your photographs. With the right photographer, you will have the power to relive your wedding day again and again. So, make sure you hire the very best photographer you can! We like to think we are pretty easy to work with and that our work isn’t half bad either. If you’d like to have a chat with us about photographing your wedding, send us an email at info@jefflundstromphotography.com or fill out our Contact form.

Happy Planning 🙂