Before I even read her story, I was so taken by this lovely bride’s smile. She was stunningly beautiful, and we could feel the love radiating off of her through Maggie Conley Photography‘s account of the day. And then I read she was one of the Jennie Fresa Beauty Library, and I knew she was genuinely a sweetheart. The whole Jennie Fresa team is. When my attention finally was brought to the phenomenal wedding, designed by Ryan Design, I was in awe. It was a gorgeous Connecticut beach affair with the most amazing florals courtesy of Hana Floral Design. I knew I couldn’t do this wedding justice, as hard as I tried, so I made sure to fill up a gallery for your viewing pleasure. That way you can get the whole effect and fall in love like we all did.

Paul and I were college sweethearts — we met at the University of Connecticut, and we both felt (although didn’t admit it to each other until years later) that it was love at first site. Fast-forward six and a half years, Paul proposed during a Christmastime trip to Newport, Rhode Island. We were about to head out to our favorite restaurant for dinner when Paul dropped to one knee, and asked me to marry him. I think you can guess what my response was!

We had always wanted a summer beach wedding. We wanted to say our vows to each other surrounded by our closest friends and family with waves crashing behind us and our toes buried in the sand. So, we decided on my hometown– a sleepy seaside town on the Connecticut shoreline.

As a makeup artist in the bridal industry, I am constantly inspired by beautiful weddings, and so I relied on the help of my magical team of wedding professionals to help me create my day. Kelly Sharkey and Emily Denny, my teammates from Jennie Fresa Beauty Library, provided hair and makeup for my bridesmaids.  The girls all raved about their makeup for days, and it was so special for me to have my team with me on my wedding.  I chose to do my own hair and makeup, to have a few moments to myself to reflect on the day.

As far as flowers went, I gave my florist, Yumiko, from Hana Floral Designs, full creative license, and essentially told her to “surprise me.” My Mom and I collected vintage vases, milk bottles, and pitchers from flea markets and antique stores for the table arrangements, which Yumiko and her team filled with succulents, gloriosa lillies, ranunculus, parrot tulips, and various other blooms in bright reds and oranges.  My bridal bouquet was stunning, and wrapped with vintage fabric, called ‘barkcloth’ which my Mom and I also found in our flea market adventures.

My photographer, Maggie, of Maggie Conley Photography, caught candid moments that I treasure. Every picture reflects personality and character, and working with her was a dream. Maggie is easy-going, understanding, and full of love. Her quiet presence allowed for personal moments to be captured without being interrupted, and at the same time, she managed to wrangle a wedding party of fifteen all together for photos after the ceremony! Quite a feat!

Our ceremony was personal and heartfelt– my Dad walked me down the aisle to “Somewhere over the Rainbow”, a song we have sung together over the years, and our officiant was one of his golf buddies. Paul’s mom, through ‘happy tears’, performed our ‘Blessing of the Rings’ ceremony.  One many favorite memories from the day was pausing, just at the start of the aisle with my Dad.  The music had started as our cue, but we stood still for a few beats just to take it all in.  It was a special moment for me and my Dad.

After the ceremony, guests only had to walk a few feet over the sand to our tented reception, which was a lightfilled, magical space created by Erik and Christen from Ryan Designs. Grapevine globes lit up with twinkle lights were suspended from the ceiling, candles flickered on every tabletop, a lounge area next to the dance floor provided respite for guests who still wanted ‘in’ on the action, and a deck with cocktail tables and tiki lanterns provided a quiet escape next to the water for my husband and I to steal a few kisses away from the crowd.  It was perfect.

Our DJ, Rich Gumpert from Powerstation Events, kept the dance floor packed! During dinner, we had an eclectic mix ranging from reggae, to bluesy standards, and in between courses, people couldn’t be kept from the dance floor! I still have guests telling me that certain songs they hear on the radio remind them of my wedding! Rich lent a microphone to a friend of ours who serenaded Paul and I after dinner, and then again at the end of the night when my college a cappella friends and I sang to close out the evening.  Not only did he keep the party going, (really! we couldn’t get people to leave!) he was amazing to work with.  From the moment we first met with him, not only did it feel like he was like a great friend, he was reliable, accommodating, and knows his music inside and out!

Dinner was much anticipated, provided by Francois Kwaku-Dongo and his team. I think I may be the only bride I know who had specifically set aside time to enjoy my entire plate of dinner!  After our initial tasting, Paul and I were raving to friends about dinner months before the wedding.  We loved everything he had prepared, and aside from a couple favorites that we chose, we also told Francois to “surprise us”, and we couldn’t have been happier.

Our beautiful cake, a divine vanilla mousseline, served with raspberry sorbet, was made by Wendy Laurent.  Yum!  Guests who still had extra room for their sweet tooth, were treated to 46 different choices from an old fashioned ice cream truck, driven by “Papa Joe”, the ice cream man my childhood friends and I all grew up with. Paul and I managed to sneak to the front of the line for toasted almond and strawberry shortcake bars! From the flowers, ambiance, music and food, to being surrounded by all the people who mean most to us, Paul and I couldn’t have asked for a more memorable, and fun evening to celebrate our new life together.

Bride’s Dress: Blue by Enzoani / Bridesmaid Dresses: Bill Levkoff / Groom’s and Groomsmen Attire: Jos A. Bank / Hair and Makeup: Jennie Fresa Beauty Library / Event Design: Ryan Designs / Flowers: Hana Floral Design / Photography: Maggie Conley Photography / Cuisine: Francois Kwaku-Dongo / Cake: Wendy Laurent / Ice Cream Truck: “Papa Joe”

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