My giddy meter is registering some off the charts statistics this morning thanks to Beyond the Lens Photography and this seriously fun seaside soirée. With the most adorable little kiddos in attendance and a couple that you can tell is just head over heels for each other, it’s hard not to adore every bit of this party. All the personal details were covered by this hands-on couple – making for a gallery of images you’ll want to spend some serious time gushing over!

Click here to see the entire gallery of images!

From the Bride…Brendan and I have known each other for almost ten years. We were introduced by our best friends from our separate high schools, who are now married. After dating on and off for a while, dating other people, living in different cities.. him in Charlotte, me in New York, we were finally in the right place at the right time. The friends who introduced us threw a barbeque right before the birth of their daughter and we were both in town. We had our first “official” date the next week, where Brendan wooed me with his homemade Chicken Marsala & Arrested Development on DVD. That night, I even brought Brendan, a member of Red Sox Nation, a bottle of “Big Papi” Celebrity Wine. As a die hard Yankee fan, I knew that this was a gesture not to be taken lightly. We were long distance for two years when we took a trip down to Brendan’s family’s beach house in Southport, North Carolina and he surprised me by proposing on a dock in Wilmington. (Yes, it was very Dawson’s Creek).

When we started planning our wedding last August, we knew we wanted it to reflect who we are together and who we are as individuals. We wanted to have a day that was “shabby chic” with a carefree, fun vibe. The venue for us was the most important thing and when Lighthouse Point Park came up on my google search for “Unique Connecticut Beach Wedding”, I immediately fell in love. With a beach for the ceremony, a covered historic building with a (working!) carousel for the reception and an outdoor area for cocktails, I couldn’t have dreamt up a more perfect location. Starting with the invitations and save the dates, we worked with Shadowboxer Ink and Wicked Bride to create the perfect prelude in stationery form.

Brendan, who studied art in college, created all of the signage using one of the fonts from the invitations- from sawing the wood to painting the letters- and the wedding canopy, which was so enormous, I burst out laughing in surprise the first time I saw it. Attempting to do our part for the enviornment and contribute to the style of the venue, I drew everything on chalkboards- the ceremony program, the menu and the table numbers. Each bridesmaid had a different flower that composed their bouquet and all three were in mine, along with the white roses to match Brendan’s boutoniere. I also tied my late grandmother’s wedding ring and family birthstone ring to my bouquet. The flower arrangements were casual and displayed in mason jars of different sizes and wine bottles that we had collected since our engagement. Even the champagne that we drank the night of our engagement was made into a floral arrangement on our table. Our cake topper was a symbol of our “mixed marriage”, as my father refers to it- and a perfect example of how we respect our differences.. just not in October.

Brendan loves to cook, and we both love to eat, so food was very important to us as well. We selected all of the food with the amazing Gina at A Thyme to Cook and could not have been more in heaven. Soft pretzels displayed on hot rocks? Really? We also wanted to give our guests something that they could cherish forever, so we created an e-mail account for our guests to send recipes to and we created a cookbook out of all of the recipes we received, along with some of our families’ favorites. Even our caterer chipped in and added the soup recipe from the first course!

As much fun as planning the reception was, we knew that the most important thing was the ceremony and we added lots of special touches to personalize it. I walked down the aisle to “I Will” by the Beatles- the same song that my mom and dad danced to on their wedding day. Our two ridiculously adorable flower girls were daughters of two couples who are very good friends- one of them being the couple who introduced us. We always say that she is “our age” since we reconnected a few weeks before she was born. We wrote our own vows to each other and had a “sand ceremony” to symbolize the joining of our individual lives.

I’ve never been the kind of girl who has dreamt about my wedding since I was young, but I did start dreaming about it the day I met Brendan. Our day could not have been more special- we were surrounded by wonderful friends, family, food and wine and an enormous amount of love.

Wedding Photography: Beyond the Lens Photography / Floral Design: A Victorian Garden / Event Design + Decor: The Bride / Ceremony + Reception Location: Lighthouse Point Park & Carousel House / Invitations + Dessert Signs: Wicked Bride Stationery / Save the Date Postcards: Shadowboxer Ink / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Wedding Dress: Pronovias / Make-up: Makeup by Marisa / Hair: JoBella Downtown Salon & Spa / Catering: A Thyme to Cook, Inc / DJ: DJ Alias of Scratch Weddings / Guitarist: Scott Samuels / Wedding Cake + Cupcakes: Sugarbelle / Cake Topper: CreativeButterflyXOX / Hotel/Getting Ready: The Study at Yale / Bridesmaid Jewelry: Kendra Scott / Bridesmaid Dresses: Dessy / Groomsmen Suits + Ties: JoS. A. Bank + Michael Kors / Signs: The Groom / Cookbook Favors: Morris Press Cookbooks / Guest Transportation: Premier Limousine

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