It’s one thing to see photos of swoon-worthy weddings, but it’s another thing entirely when you not only get to attend said swoony wedding, but are also good friends with the bride and groom (hi guys!). Karen & Kam had a beautiful outdoor wedding on a farm in eastern Connecticut complete with delicious food, awesome guests and a rockin’ DJ. Oh and did I mention that instead of cutting a cake, they decide to pop the biggest bottle of champagne you’ve ever seen?!?
All photos by Ian Christmann of Catalyst Photography.
When was your wedding and where did it take place?
We got married on August 16, 2014 at White Gate Farm in East Lyme, CT. Although August in New England is typically known to be hot and muggy, the day was absolutely gorgeous–70 degrees and partly sunny with a nice breeze!
How long did it take you to plan your wedding?
We got engaged in March 2013 but decided to wait a few months before delving into wedding planning–we just wanted to enjoy being engaged! We started making wedding decisions in the summer of 2013, which still gave us a full year before our wedding to plan.
When did you know that your wedding gown was “the one”?
I had been struggling to make a decision between two dresses I had tried on–problem was I was on my own so didn’t want to make a decision until I had the opinions of the ladies who mattered most to me. In a stroke of luck, both my mother and future mother-in-law were both visiting Connecticut one weekend, so along with my future sister-in-law, they all came to the dress shop with me. They liked the first dress I tried on, but when I saw the expression on their faces when I came out of the fitting room in the second dress, I knew it was “the one”! It was a Justin Alexander gown and I got it at Bliss Bridal in Cheshire, CT.
Rank your top 10 favorite moments from your wedding day!
10. Getting ready in the morning. Few things are better than sleeping in and having a latte delivered to your door first thing in the morning. The morning of the wedding was this and so much more! Sipping lattes and getting pampered with my sisters and sisters-to-be is my version of fun. And having the most important women in my life help me button my wedding dress was beautifully symbolic of the wedding day.
9. Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. I hadn’t remembered it was tradition to wear something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, until my sister-in-law gifted me a beautiful blue monogram embroidery to sew into my wedding dress. ‘Something blue’ – check! ‘Something new’ (dress) – check! My ‘something borrowed’ was especially meaningful. I wore a strand of pearls from my husband’s grandmother, which had been worn by the women in his family on their wedding day. My ‘something old’ was a handkerchief from my grandfather’s mother, which came in handy during the exchange of vows.
8. Popping champagne. I am never one to say ‘no’ to dessert – but cake lands at the bottom of the list of my favorite sweets. And with a husband who would rather have a second entrée than a sugary treat, we figured we would invest our money into something we love – champagne! Not only was it epic to pop a 9L bottle of Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc (vintage from the year we met!), but the champagne was delicious and the photos were even better!
7. The food!
Anyone who knows my husband knows he is serious about food. Which is why hiring A Thyme to Cook was an easy decision. They source all of their ingredients locally and were able to use our own honey for the chicken course. Oh – and they took notes from our floral design and incorporated lavender into the lemonade and chicken.
6. The first look with my father. These days it seems that more and more couples are opting for the photography trend of first looks before the ceremony. But it was important to me to be old-school and see each other for the first time as I walked down the aisle. I was torn between wanting to capture the emotion of a ‘first look’ on camera but also waiting to see each other as I walked down the aisle. Instead, I did a ‘first look’ photo with my father and they are my favorite photos of the two of us!
5. The last slow dance of the night. The final slow dance of the night was “Better Together” (Jack Johnson) – a song that fundamentally defines our relationship. Already loving slow dancing with my hubby to one of our favorite songs, tears filled my eyes when our family and friends encircled us with their arms around each other.
4. Our wedding officiant. It was important for us to have a meaningful relationship with the person who would marry us on our wedding day. We wanted someone who knew and loved us both as individuals, but also as a couple. So the decision was obvious. Our officiant was our dear friend who introduced us the first night we met and who has watched us grow in our relationship. His ceremony was the perfect mix of hilarious and heartfelt – and his sincerity, evident.
3. The toasts. It’s always flattering to have someone stand up at an event to tell stories about how wonderful you and your spouse are together and as individuals. We had asked my husband’s brother (best man) and my sister (maid of honor) to each make a toast at the reception. They both exceeded expectations in flattery and story-telling – what more could you ask for?! I had also been nudging my stage-shy father in the weeks leading up to the wedding to make a toast. After some cajoling, he agreed to make a short toast, briefly thanking people for coming. So it was very unexpected when he took the mic and began imparting marriage advice and his wishes for a long and happy marriage! I can barely remember the details of what he said since I was in shock – but from the photos, it appears he was melting my heart!
2. Celebrating with family and friends. Guests traveled across the country and around the world to participate in our wedding. Seeing people from all the parts of our life together under one tent was awesome. But more than that, our guests knew how to party. The dance floor was never empty – and isn’t that the hallmark of a good celebration?
1. Marrying my husband. Our wedding day was filled with happy tears and laughter for me – but never more so than during our wedding ceremony. Even with a faulty microphone and wind that kept tussling my veil, there is nothing I would change. While the details of the reception, flowers, music, etc were fun to plan (but stressful at times) the significance of those moments ultimately hinged on the reason for this wedding celebration – the beginning of our marriage.
Photographer: Ian Christmann of Catalyst Photography
Location: White Gate Farm
Caterer: A Thyme to Cook
Planner: Josh Chalmers of Earth2Events
DJ: DJ Renzo Hernandez
Hair/Makeup: Simply Gorgeous by Erin
Groom + Groomsmen Suits: Enson’s
Bridesmaids Dresses: Weddington Way