Anna Sawin has a way with the camera. That we know. She also seems to attract some of the most gorgeous, timeless brides who just happen to plan gorgeous, timeless weddings. It’s a fabulous combination, and when you add the pretty blooms of Hana Floral Design it just takes it to another level. A level I am quite fond of actually, and that ultimately leads to a gallery of images that are just beyond!

From the Bride… Rob and I met my senior year at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. Like many young couples, we survived our ups and downs over our almost 10 years together. We evolved as individuals and learned as much about each other from being apart as we did together. Rob proposed last August, using our tw0-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback, Brooks, as the ring carrier. I wouldn’t be writing this blog unless, of course, I said “Yes!”

Rob and I both have very busy spring and summers. Rob works in minor league baseball, and I coach youth and high school lacrosse in Connecticut in the spring and summer. In August, following the proposal, we decided to brave it and plan a winter wedding. As Rob can attest to, I have always been a pretty impatient person, and I knew a long engagement would be too much to handle! My Florida resident parents were not thrilled about the late February date we picked out. Before our February 25th wedding, Mystic didn’t have any connection to our lives. I grew up going to Block Island each summer and passing the Mystic exit on I-95. Mystic will forever be a part of both of us. We look forward to many sentimental visits in the future.

Although the River Room at Mystic Seaport ended up being the ideal venue, we did look at many many other locations. A winter wedding made it very tough to find a location that spoke to us. We knew we didn’t want a wedding factory, and we tried as hard as we could to stay away from the formal ballroom feel. We knew an outdoor more rustic wedding would be more “us,” but we couldn’t go that route in late February. After our first visit to the River Room, we knew it was the place. It had the laid-back feel we were looking for, and we loved the seaside and coastal vibes. We both felt totally at home. There was nothing pretentious or stuffy about it. Much to the thrill of my parents, there was no snow on the wedding day. It was clear but very windy. Our photographer, Anna Sawin, did an amazing job capturing the great moments of the day and doing her best to work around the gusting winds and chilly temperature. We were very cold in some of those photos, but they turned out beautifully. Every part of the day went smoothly. The ceremony at the Mystic Congregational Church was perfect. It was an absolute dream come true. My niece sang “When You Say Nothing at All,” while my nephew played the guitar. My two other nieces served as adorable flower girls.

I am sure most brides will say one of their favorite and most memorable part of their day was walking down the aisle with their fathers. I will remember that moment for many other reasons than that fact he “gave me away.” The past year was a rough one for my dad. He endured eight lower back surgeries, many nights in a hospital and rehab facility and was unable to walk for almost three months. In the months leading up to my wedding, he worked very hard to get himself to a point where he was able to fullfill his duties. Finally after almost a year of pain and immobility, he was back on his feet. Those first few steps as I headed towards Rob were spent embracing the gift I was given to have my dad walking beside me. Our wedding was exactly what we had envisioned. We truly believe that everyone we worked with and the amazing vendors made the day! We couldn’t even begin to thank everyone for the great day they provided for us, from the amazing band to the many great friends and the amazing food! It was a day we will never forget.

Wedding Photography: Anna Sawin Photography / Ceremony: Mystic Congregational Church in Mystic, Connecticut / Reception: Mystic Seaport in Mystic, Connecticut / Event Design + Planning: Allyson Devaney of Coastal Gourmet / Floral Design: Hana Floral Design / Catering: Coastal Gourmet / Wedding Cake: Erica of Coastal Gourmet / Wedding Dress: Jim Hjelm Blush Collection / Hair: Rob Rivers Salon & Spa

Hayley Paige and Jim Hjelm Occasions are members of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here. Hana Floral Design and JLM Couture, Inc are members of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
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