Today we are featuring another beautiful wedding from earlier this season….Nicole + Chris’s wedding! Nicole + Chris are the kind of people that treat you like friends from the moment they meet you. They were so warm and welcoming (and so very happy to be marrying each other!). It was such a joy to witness their joy, and we have so many favorite images of their day.
Nicole shares with us:
“First and foremost, looking back now on the whole wedding process, we have no regrets. We did everything we wanted to do, because this day meant so much to the both of us, and we had no intention of holding back. For instance, we may not have needed a cigar bar or a photo booth, but it was something we always wanted, and had always imagined. It is one of the most important days of our lives, and we wanted to make it as close to perfect as possible. We found it much easier to approach our wedding with the attitude of, ” we will find a way”, rather than to approach it as, “do we really need that”. Because at the end of the day, there shouldn’t be a line between what you need and what you want on your wedding day, you should make it happen and get what you want. After all, this is one day to celebrate the rest of your lives together. So, that would be our advice to future brides and grooms, try and make your wishes a reality and have no regrets. You don’t want to look back on your day and say “I wish we had/did this”.
In regards to theme or setting, we knew right away what we wanted. The groom growing up in Madison, and the bride growing up in the town next door of Guilford, we knew we wanted to keep it local. Our hometowns are very important to the both of us, for many reasons including local churches, family, and making sure everyone could easily attend our celebration. We used Nicole’s local church in Guilford, St. George, and we complemented that by asking Chris’ priest growing up, Monsignor Schmitz, to conduct our ceremony. Keeping with our local theme, we selected Pine Orchards because of its proximity to the church, but also for its beautiful surroundings and water views. We both grew up close to the water, and couldn’t imagine our big day anywhere else but close to the ocean. That said, Pine Orchards served as the perfect setting. Moreover, that is why we had a consistent beach theme for everything relating to our wedding. From save the dates, to attire, to decorations, we always had a beach theme in mind ( shells,starfish in windows,sand dollar place cards, turquoise and white colors).
Given our criteria we had the church and venue decided within one week along with our theme. And although there were so many details to be worked out we kept in mind the entire time we wanted our wedding to resemble a party ensuring all guests had the most fun as possible. For us that was one of the most important aspects of the wedding. In the end we couldn’t be happier with our results because to us it truly did turn out perfect. We’re not going to lie, in the planning phase, we did run into a fewer minor glitches which gave us a new appreciation for the term “everything happens for a reason”; because if it weren’t for those glitches early on (ie. hawk photography/scandalous videographer) we wouldn’t have had the most amazing vendors that all created our perfect day!!
- Trolley with the entire wedding party after having a champagne toast to the new bride and groom. One of our first and most exciting ideas that was great to see come to fruition. Went great with the overall theme of the wedding and gave everybody in the wedding party the chance to let loose and have a great time in between venues. Simply amazing.
- Nicole coming up the aisle – a beautiful sight to Chris, but also hysterical looking back on it now. Typically very composed in those situations, she just could not pull it together, and we are able to laugh about it now. Chris on the other hand was as calm as could be and didn’t know what to think as Nicole was a hot mess. Just an intimate yet amusing moment looking back that we shared. We turned out ok….
- Musician/ DJ – Travis Winkley was everything we had in mind when we thought of a wedding that resembled a party, and he simply brought it. He was tremendous during the cocktail hour, and we were able to enjoy the music as well while taking pictures. He played all the songs while dj’ ing that would bring our family and friends together out on the dance floor. I honestly think everyone was dancing at one point. We closed the night to his acoustic rendition of, ” somewhere over the rainbow” , and it couldn’t have sounded better. The crowd chanted, ” one more song” in unison, to which he played three more acoustic songs, ending the night to an all time favorite of ours, Elton John’ s, “tiny dancer”. Everyone formed a circle on the floor arm in arm and belted it out. Classic moment.
- In addition to having the best ending to the night with everyone arm in arm we noticed that our pre-paid transportation never left the reception to “make trips” to the hotel. Everyone stayed to the end truly enjoying themselves. The buses were packed on the ride home everyone laughing and eating their Swedish fish!!
- The weather – major thunderstorms the night before that seemed to keep both of us up, it got no better as we woke up to what was a dismal day from a weather standpoint. Both families and multiple friends had rosary beads outside and there was no shortage of prayers to deceased family members for good weather. Prayers were answered, as the weather seemed to be in perfect harmony with our wedding ceremony, sun beaming through the clouds as we got to the church. Couldn’t have asked for better weather……but then again we did.
- Monsignor Schmitz – Simply put, he conducted a heartfelt, beautiful ceremony, and guided us along as both of us stood at the altar with nerves (especially Nicole). Whispering what we were suppose to reply after each exchange of vows, he kept us calm and on track. Just a great ceremony overall.
- The cake – we weren’t exactly sure what to do for the cake cutting ceremony, but I guesss we figured it out (thank you Paul). The surprising part was, we had never actually tasted our cake, and found it to be absolutely delicious. I guess we had everything going for us that day. We still keep commenting on how much we liked the cake.
- Introductions/entrances – we put a lot of thought into the introductions, picking the songs and encouraging everyone to come up with some sort of unique intro. Although we couldn’t see everyones introduction, it seemed like everyone came through. For our’s, we have an image forever in our memories of everyone circled around, clapping to the song as we had hoped. We added the sunglasses as a last minute addition and those came out great we thought. We were surprised at how long he let the song run, but it was perfect looking back, as we got even more time in the limelight so to speak. Just a great memory.
- Getting ready- for Chris it was great to be able to have one last go around with his close family and friends and have the opportunity to thank them. They were making jokes all the way up to the church and it helped to keep Chris calm. For me, it was more of a really special moment to share with just my mother. We have always been close and my wedding day was something we aways imagined. Having her there meant the world to me and I will never forget the memories it created for us. We also both had a butterfly in our bouquet which symbolizes her mother in the family. I know it meant a lot for her to have her mother’s prescense in some way as it did for me as well.
- We had some time between the church and reception and close family friends of Nicole’s were kind enough to open their home to us to take a breather. It ended up being great to recap on some ceremony highlights, make a sandwich, and just relax before the reception. The guys were outside drinking beers catching up while the girls sat inside for a while telling stories before Nicole had her hair re- done. Not everyone in the wedding party knew each other especially since at this point we invited significant others/ husbands/wife’s so it was a great way for everyone to get to know each other and bond a little more.
- Lastly, as we look back, we realize how much we enjoyed taking pictures of just Nicole and I. It was one of the few moments during the day that it was really just the two of us. We were able to step back and realize what a beautiful day we had created, and felt fulfilled with all the planning we had done to create this grand event. Not to mention, we can’t wait to see how the pictures turn out after capturing such great images in such great settings!!”
The Planner : DIY by Nicole Hart & Chris Walby / Sal Esposito (P.S. Fine Stationers)
The Dress : Casa Blanca from Harold’s,
The Shoes : Ivanka Trump, Macys / Platinum, Nordstrom’s
The Hair Stylist : Laurie from Madison Avenue
The Makeup Artist : Dawn from Madison Avenue
The Jewelry : Earrings – ‘Diamond & Sapphire Drops’, Gift from Mother / Bracelet – ‘Diamond & Sapphire, Mallove’s Jeweler’s (Waterford, CT)
The Rings : Mallove’s Jewelers
The Groom’s Attire : Tuxedo from Harold’s
The Ceremony Site : St. George Church
The Stationary : P.S. Fine Stationers, Branford, CT – Sal Esposito
The Officiant : Monsignor Gerard Schmitz
The Reception Venue : Pine Orchard Yacht & Country Club
The Floral Design : Bonnie McCabe (Works out of home in Glastonbury, family friend)
The Food : Pine Orchard Yacht & Country Club
The Cake : Pine Orchard Yacht & Country Club
The Music : Travis Winkley – Playing live acoustic guitar for cocktail hour / also providing DJ services for reception
The Cinematographer : T. Fairfax Films, Jeremy White
The First Dance Song : “Runnin’ on Faith” – Eric Clapton
Something Old : Old handkerchief
Something New : Wedding dress / diamond & sapphire bracelet
Something Borrowed : Heirloom cameo wrapped around bouquet