Elegant Aquarium Military Wedding

If an industrial aquarium drenched in elegance sounds like something out of a fairytale, it probably is, and this dashing Groom and his beautiful Amsale wearing Bride will live happily ever after. Robert And Kathleen Photography captured every detail, including a dedicated cookie bar and those blooms by Braachs House Of Florals that’ll leave you wanting to dip in the full gallery.


From The Bride…Mike’s and my story sounds like a romantic comedy. We met in Italy and fell in love within a week. Mike was (and still is) stationed there with the US Air Force and I was studying in the town where he lived (where we live together now) for a couple weeks one summer. We met at a bar the night of the opening ceremony of the London Olympics. His friend wanted to meet my friend, but we ended up making the connection that night. We were engaged 5 months later and a year from when we met, I left my job and moved to Italy to be with him.

I think our proposal story reflects our personalities. We like to laugh and have fun together. For the first year we were together, we spent a lot of money flying back and forth to visit one another. That Christmas, we decided not to exchange gifts, but to, instead, start a tradition of exchanging ugly Christmas socks. Mike made me a pair of the ugliest men’s white tube socks that I have ever seen. They were covered in purple glitter and fake flowers. He hid the ring inside one and forced me to try them on, against my will. I was so surprised that I hardly remember what he said to me while he was down on his knee. All I know is that I said yes.

Our wedding theme came together when I found our invitation on Minted.com. I originally wanted an invitation that featured lily of the valley, a flower that reminds me of my Nonna who is no longer with us. However, the invitations I found were all very old fashioned and did not match our personalities. As soon as I saw the “better together” invitation, the wedding all came together for me. The milk and cookies theme matched the fun we wanted people to have at our wedding (as well as mike’s obsession with chocolate chip cookies), and the font matched our clean, simple aesthetic. Because of the invitation, we quickly dropped the idea of a cake in exchange for a cookie bar, and we then adopted the invitations’s white and green as our colors. The colors then matched the lily of the valley I wanted incorporated into my bouquet, and also informed other choices like the white parrot tulips we used for our center pieces, and the “for like ever” print we used during the ceremony.

Our ceremony was non traditional in many senses. I had my three very best friends standing up with me: one as my officiant, and two as my co matrons of honor. Our processional was designed not on tradition, but on featuring our friends and family. Mike walked in with both of his parents, and the matrons of honor walked in with the best men. I also had both my mother and father walk me down the aisle. It was a perfect way to celebrate the people in our lives.

In addition to altering the processional, we adjusted the “readings” to match us. If I can live the rest of my life without attending a wedding and hearing “love is patient, love is kind…” I will be a happy camper. So instead, our officiant/my best friend asked two of our best people to tell a story about mike and I based on the theme she created for the ceremony: moments of friendship, love and laughter. My friend Lisa brought down the house with a story of the first email I sent her after meeting Mike. Mike and I then rounded out the ceremony with personal vows. I wrote mine in a card that had milk and cookies on the front and gave the card to him after the ceremony to keep.

I wanted an industrial space for our wedding, but I quickly found the venues I liked in NYC to be far outside our price range. A friend suggested the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk because it was once an old factory. The ceremony space satisfied my obsession for exposed brick, and the aquarium itself seemed a perfect match for the fact that Mike and I don’t like to take ourselves too seriously. The venue did a great job on the day of. If anything went wrong, I didn’t see it.

This may sound like unwise planning strategy, but I chose my vendors based heavily on their personalities. I did not want to work with anyone whom I did not like. That being said, all our vendors did a great job professionally, but Robert and Kathleen Photography was also “personally” exceptional. I also credit Paul Lacano from James Daniel Entertainment for being an amazing DJ and a fun person to work with, as well as Linda Vinci from Braach’s House of flowers for always making me laugh.

I feel like the most vivid memories should be of traditional things like dancing with my dad, but they’re of silly things that make me laugh. For example, I remember impatiently (and excitedly) waiting to be able to put on my dress. I was jumping up and down in my living room singing “I wanna put on my dress, I wanna put on my dress”. I think my matrons of honor thought I was losing it. I also remember being so hot after dancing all night that I had to lift up my skirt and air out. I didn’t care how I looked, that feeling of relief was amazing. Maybe the most vivid memories are of my dress bc that was one of the most important elements to me…other than Mike and having a fun day, of course ;) The one traditional thing I remember vividly is my lips trembling in an almost cry as I walked down the aisle. I remember it so well because my Dad told me to slow down bc I was walking too fast and there was no hurry, which made me laugh and stopped me from crying.

Cocktail hour is my favorite part of any wedding and I certainly didn’t want to miss my own. So I knew that taking pictures before the ceremony was essential to me having fun on my day. A first look was a great way to keep special the moment of first seeing each other while also getting the formal photos out of the way.

Wedding favors? Playing on our milk and cookies theme, we bought mini creamers from crate and barrel and filled them with milk chocolate chips and tied a green bow to them. Those required the most work during the whole wedding planning process but I loved them.

Wedding Gown Designer was Amsale – I knew from the first time I watched the movie 27 Dresses that I would wear Amsale on my wedding day. She is a designer who perfectly melds fashion forward and classic designs in her dresses. Just so I can wear my dress again, I seriously want to start a non profit where each year we have a gala where people wear their old wedding dresses. As for bridesmaids, I hate bridesmaids dresses. I have been made to wear too many ill fitting, bad colored satin to last me the rest of my life. I told my girls to wear a black dress and call it a day. I was right. No regrets on that one.

Photography: Robert & Kathleen Photographers | Floral Design: Braachs House Of Florals | Wedding Dress: Amsale | Invitations: Minted | Jewelry: J.Crew | Entertainment: James Daniel Entertainment | Venue: Maritime Aquarium