Nell and Josh–CT Farm Wedding–Part III: The Details

I saved the best for last! It really is, as they say, ALL in the details, and any bride or event planner will be inspired by these creative ideas. The bride described the setting best as “elegant, artsy, simple, and natural.” This Connecticut farm wedding was a DIY labor of love that created a rustic chic elegance that a celebrity wedding planner would envy. From bride and groom to parents, siblings, and friends, everyone pitched in their collective creativity and talent to make this wedding magazine-worthy. The bride and groom noted that “having people help was a great way to celebrate them and to help them feel involved in the day.” I blogged earlier this month about Part I: the gorgeous farm setting and Part II: the big day, but it was truly the details that set this wedding apart.

The bride, Nell, is one of my oldest friends and has always had a wonderful sense of style. I knew the details would be thoughtful, beautiful, and creative. Using a color palette of turquoise and coral, Nell incorporated rustic, earthy elements inspired by the surrounding fields and barns. Burlap tablecloths were paired with splashy patterned napkins while farm flowers in tall glass jugs sat next to wrought iron lanterns and tall hurricanes with candles. I literally couldn’t put my camera down! Without further ado, here are the deets on the deets (that is, details on the details)…


Gorgeous doesn’t begin to describe it! The stunning bouquets and boutonnieres were the artistic work of Flore, while the rest of the reception tent was decorated with blooms straight from the surrounding farm under the careful hand and artistic eye of a close family friend, Sadelle. Tall glass bottles filled with fresh cut lilacs were placed on top of stacked wooden fruit crates, while antique pots filled with tumbling green vines and peachy yellow blooms graced the reception tables.

The bride shared her inspiration behind the flowers:
“We have so many talented people in our lives, so when they offered to help, we said yes! We wanted to use a few cut flowers from around the farm since so many beautiful spring flowers were in bloom. Andromeda and lilacs were perfect, and Sadelle planted all of the pots that decorated the tables for us. We wanted to use plants that guests could take home and enjoy throughout the summer, rather than tons of cuttings that would just be discarded. The begonias that came home with us bloomed in our garden for five months!



Now this was a labor of love! The couple  chose a Sperry Tent (I had one at my wedding too!) which is elegant and natural looking on its own–regal white with natural bamboo poles. To personalize it, the bride used an old (and very creative) idea that she had, but knew the execution of her vision would be difficult.

From the bride–
“The hickory branches that hung from the tent were an idea that I had years ago, but I wasn’t sure how to take it from the idea phase to the completed phase, especially since it was a big DIY project. But everyone was so helpful in making the magic of what I envisioned actually come to be–I went out walking with my dad in the early spring before the trees budded. We scouted the property for the types of trees that would work well–strong enough to support themselves horizontally and full enough to look good with all the lights. It turns out hickory was perfect–and we had a few trees that needed pruning anyway!” 

Once the branches were chosen and cut, the hard part began! The groom and his brother-in-law joined their engineering and handyman skills to hang the branches perfectly flat. The branches had to be covered in lights, then safely lifted and suspended 20 feet above the dance floor–not an easy task! It took a lot of trial and error–and most of an entire day–to hang them securely. But the bride was so happy to see her vision realized. They “went up to the tent on Wednesday night to have a first look of them aglow at night, and knew that they were perfect!



The bride used an old barn door to make a simple display of each guest’s table assignment. Using rough edged paper, a gold pen, and her own lovely handwriting (a nice personal touch), she then hung each piece with an exposed nail. The papers were perfectly spaced out along the door without seeming overly designed. Guests then found their table numbers on a water jug at each table–paired with the same torn paper, gold writing, and a small burlap wrapping. So often I see complicated set-ups with multiple table names and individual place cards for each wedding guest–this was refreshing use of  a found object, paper, nails, and actual table numbers. It fit perfectly with the artsy but simple theme. Click here for more inspiration on creative seating charts.


Nell’s initial vision for her wedding design was “to celebrate all the natural beauty that the farm offered.” Farm/rustic barn weddings are popular and many people attempt to create rustic chic décor by renting farm accents, antiques, etc. and staging the scene. But this bride had full access to found objects all over their family farm–no faux rentals necessary!

The bride reveals that she “explored the family barns and dusted off old crates, barn doors, wagons, and even the cover to an old gas pump. Each one offered my dad the opportunity to fill us in on farm history and added interest to our wedding tent.From a hand-drawn welcome sign nailed to a sawhorse, to the barn door nailed with table assignments, and the antique truck parked just outside of the tent, real farm details were infused everywhere. There was even a little green John Deere tractor on the dance floor for the tiniest guests to ride on! With the focus on these small farm objects, the tent was gorgeous and organic without feeling too contrived.


Everyone loves dessert. So you can’t go wrong with serving several treats at your wedding, rather than the usual (and often expensive but tasteless) wedding cake. I’ve heard of brides and grooms choosing alternatives to wedding cake–cupcakes, warm donuts, cookies and milk, or an ice cream sundae bar, but I’ve never seen a dessert table entirely created by the guests. It was pretty awesome. Nell shared that “the wedding was all about celebrating our family and friends and the love and support they’ve given us over the years.” As it turns out, the bride and groom have lots of talented bakers in their lives who offered to help. Taking them up on their offer, Nell bestowed the honor of baking their beautiful wedding cake to her uncle, and asked a group of friends to create their favorite desserts, which included profiteroles, cookies, brownies, and carrot cake. The homemade desserts were perfectly placed on the table with labels handwritten by the bride to add another personal touch. The dessert variety for guests was unique and delicious!


The wedding weather was less than ideal, but the rain stopped soon after the sun went down, and guests emerged from the tent for a fun and gorgeous group activity–lighting and sending up paper sky lanterns. It was visually stunning as guests stood in the open field and sent glowing lanterns up into the sky. Each lantern took two or three people to light and send up, so it was also an exercise in teamwork! In lieu of fireworks, the groom’s brother purchased these the week of the wedding, and they ended up being a memorable (and much quieter) highlight!



Lily Bulbs for each guest to take home and plant.

Left: Burlap ring pillow, tied with natural string. Right: Burlap wrapped bridal bouquet.

Left: Coral and turquoise infusions throughout the tent, along with elegant stemware. Right: bright, casual floral groupings.

The food presentation was also natural, elegant, and full of bright color.

Designed by his friend’s company, Collared Greens, it fit perfectly with the color scheme and the groom’s love of fishing.

BRIDE’S SASH/BARN ARCHITECTURE-Both simple but stunning.


What to say about all of these amazing wedding details? Well done! The bride shared that “throughout the weekend, we were surrounded by overwhelming love, magic and beauty,” and part of that magic was the result of creating this gorgeous atmosphere to celebrate in with family and friends. I hope it provides inspiration to brides and grooms everywhere!



Wedding Dress–Monique Lhullier from The Plumed Serpent//Bridal Boots–Old Gringo//Bridal Hair–Erin at B-Hive Salon, Washington Depot, CT//Men’s+Ringbearer’s Ties–Collared Greens//Rehearsal Dinner Caterer–Pizza to the People by Cassandra Purdy//Wedding Caterer–Beth Blackletter, Executive Cuisine//Flowers:Bouquets and Boutonierres–Flore, Woodbury, CT//Flowers: Tables and Tent–Sidelle Nazzaro//Tent: Sperry//Rehearsal Dinner Band–Roosevelt Dime//Wedding Band: Joe D’Elia and the All Star Band//All Things Farm–Steve Solley//Hickory Branch Engineers–Andrew Stevenson and Joshua Feil


Riverside Park in Bloom–New York, NY

We’re lucky to live equidistant between Central and Riverside Parks. Each has its own merits, but when we head out for a walk, I usually get to the bottom of our stoop and make a last minute decision to turn left (to Riverside) or right (to Central). As far as watching the change of seasons, I prefer Central Park in the fall (meandering walkways and huge granite boulders surrounded by blazing autumn colors) and Riverside Park in the spring (sweeping cherry blossoms, boats on the Hudson river, rainbows of tulips, daffodils, and hyacinth). Last night, my daughter and I ventured left toward the Hudson River as the light turned golden, and I snapped a few photos of spring in its beginning glory. It won’t be long before these blooms are gone, so check them out soon. For ideas of great spots to visit, check out the 10 Best Places to see NYC in Full Bloom. And smile, I think the snow is FINALLY gone. Enjoy the weekend!

Nell and Josh–CT Farm Wedding–Part II–The Big Day

Last week I gushed about the setting for Nell and Josh’s gorgeous Connecticut farm wedding, and today I’m happy to share Part II- all about the wedding day. Next week I’ll share even more about their amazing details–from flowers to color palette and decor. So, onto the big day…

I adore a bride and groom who kick off their wedding day with an early morning group hike near their wedding venue. Young and old traversed beautiful wooden paths through spring flower-filled fields and hiked up to an exhilarating overlook in Washington, CT before everyone dispersed to get ready for the wedding. That afternoon, I photographed the bridal preparations in a gorgeous red barn with double height windows and amazing natural light. And what’s not to love about a bride who pairs her stunning Monique Lhullier dress with a favorite pair of Old Gringo cowboy boots? Nell and Josh did a quick “first look” in the barn (I loved witnessing their smiles and first hug) before heading out for group photos prior to the ceremony. They had planned for a casual outdoor ceremony, complete with a carefully crafted aisle that had been painstakingly mowed into a field by the bride’s father. But as we know, you can’t always plan for everything…and a torrential rainstorm forced the vows under the reception tent. The bride and groom took it all in stride, and you’d never know from the beaming bride that weather had hampered their original plan.

Their ceremony–officiated by the bride’s sister–was beautifully personalized with a group reading from their closest friends (each read a line), an adorable entrance from their dapperly dressed nephew/ring bearer, and an engaging song performed by three close friends. Friends and family huddled close together under the gorgeous Sperry tent as Mother Nature’s symphony provided background music to the vows, which created an intimate, memorable atmosphere. Following the ceremony, guests were treated to drinks and camera-worthy passed appetizers, before sitting for dinner at elegant burlap-covered tables decorated with candles, coral and turquoise napkins, and potted spring flowers. Following dinner, the evening heated up with some major dancing to Joe D’Elia and the All Star Band, complete with a wild trombone player who cavorted and played among the guests!

Two unique twists rounded out the perfect evening–a homemade dessert table, and a paper lantern launch. The bride shared that “we have lots of talented bakers in our lives, so we asked my Uncle to bake our beautiful wedding cake and a group of friends to create their favorite dessert treats. We found that having people help was a great way to celebrate them and to make people feel involved in the day.” The result was a drool-worthy spread of carrot cake, profiteroles, and brownies, each displayed with a handmade label of which friend had created it. In addition to this sweet finish to the night, the rain finally cleared, which allowed the party to spill out of the tent and light beautiful paper lanterns. As each guest set them off into the sky, the visual display of many colorful lanterns floating up above the dark fields was truly striking. What a unique way to send up well wishes to the newly minted couple! Congrats to Nell and Josh on pulling off the most beautiful rainy wedding day ever, and thanks for letting me record part of it.

For those of you that were a part of this special day, what is your favorite memory? Let us know in the comments! 

Stay tuned for more about the creative and stunning details next week!


Nell and Josh–CT Farm Wedding–Part I:The Setting

I think we can all use a dose of spring color right now, and Nell and Josh’s spring wedding on a gorgeous Connecticut farm is the perfect antidote to this never-ending winter! I could gush on and on about this wedding, but I’ll pare it down into three blog posts: the setting, the big day, and the details.

Part I: The Setting
The bride grew up on a hay farm, Holliecroft, in Northwest Connecticut. It’s everything you imagine when you close your eyes and picture a beautiful New England farm: a winding country road surrounded by verdant fields, undulating stone walls, vibrant red barns, a gorgeous 19th century octagonal farmhouse, and various outbuildings surrounded by antique farm equipment. In short, the perfect place to draw inspiration from for a meaningful and gorgeous wedding design. The wedding was held in early May and took advantage of the beauty of spring in New England. As a girl can dream, the bride always imagined marrying on the farm…right down to mowing an aisle into one of the fields for an outdoor ceremony, and incorporating seasonal farm blooms (in this case, lilac and andromeda) into the decor.

The bride, Nell, shared that she “wanted to celebrate all the natural beauty that the farm offered-found objects that we dusted off from our barns like the old crates, barn doors, wagons, and even the cover to an old gas pump. Each one offered my dad the opportunity to fill us in on farm history and added interest to our wedding tent.” (More on these amazing, to-die-for details in Part III, coming soon!)

The weekend kicked off with a Friday night welcome dinner of casual perfection, complete with a visit from a green wood-fired pizza truck, which served amazing vegetarian delights with intricate combinations of local ingredients including heirloom tomatoes, fresh rosemary and basil, wild mushrooms, gorgonzola, fresh mozzarella, arugula, garlic, pesto, zucchini, feta, and more. There were also kegs of craft beer, the sweet tunes of Brooklyn-based band Roosevelt Dime, hilarious toasts, and a roaring bonfire with s’mores. It was all a fabulous preview to the wedding day, which will be featured next week on the blog. Stay tuned! In the meantime, here are some photographs of the spectacular farm setting.


Three–New York, NY

For the last few months, my daughter has woken up and asked “Do I’m three?” a.k.a “Am I three?” Each morning, I respond with the latest countdown to her birthday and she looks disappointed. Finally, yesterday was the day. When she opened her eyes, I said “Happy Birthday!” and she smiled and said “I’m SO glad I’m three!”  As with last year’s birthday, I feel a mix of excitement and sadness–proud as I watch her become more and more independent, yet sad that three years have zipped past at lightning speed. I feel guilty that another year passed by in which I meant to write down her funny phrases, to keep better track of her milestones, and yet I never did–it’s all a blur never to be separated out into details. Though I’ve certainly taken lots of photos that can help piece together the quilt of these milestones and moments, I’ll try to do a better job this year; but here are a a few notes and memories of the year…


Your third year of life was a big one. It was a whirlwind of growth in all aspects–physically (you are the tallest of tall), emotionally, and socially. It was the year of passport stamps and a zillion airports. You were challenged with moving abroad and spending hours on planes to destinations unknown to you. You may have missed New York and your cousins–and told us this quite often–but between new planes, rental cars, hotels, and apartments, you proved yourself to be adaptable and adventurous. “Where we goin’ today?” became a daily phrase of yours. I vividly remember one late evening when we raced through the Denpasar airport in Indonesia on our way to catch a redeye back to Sydney. As I held your hand and your little feet tried to keep up with our pace, you (wearing your purple whale pajamas in preparation for sleeping on the plane) looked up at me, giggled, and said “this is fun!” My heart swelled with the possibility that you have inherited my love of travel and adventure, that you didn’t care that it was way past your bedtime, or that you were being dragged around yet another strange place. On every flight, you regaled each passenger with the Little Einsteins theme song and countdown as we raced down the runway, including the eventual shout of “BLASTOFF” every time we took off (sorry fellow travelers), and you rocked 15-hour flights like a champion. You spent more time on a beach and in the ocean than ever before–thanks to having spring, summer, and spring #2 in 2014. In many ways, you grew up so much during our travels that I felt like we left for Australia with a young toddler and returned to NYC with a teenager. I exaggerate, but the change in five months was huge.

It was a year of more firsts–first day of school, first haircut, first night in a big girl bed, first movie in the theater, first chipped tooth, and your first actual birthday party. You learned to ride a scooter at breakneck speed, to dribble a soccer ball with both feet, to speak in complete sentences with a wordy vocabulary, and to scamper up the stairs of our fourth floor walk-up by yourself (thank god). You discovered a love of croissants and muffins, a hatred of milk,  and an obsession with vanilla ice cream with Oreo topping. You devoured peas and French fries with equally wild abandon, and made a New Zealand hotel run out of peas during your four day stay. Your love of hopping at ballet and dancing at music class is only surpassed by your intense enjoyment of tea parties and cooking in your play kitchen. Mickey, Little Einsteins, Peppa, Sofia, and Doc McStuffins are on the top of your favorite list these days. You give endless checkups with your doctor’s kit and then run around the house shouting, “I have a diagnosis!” You are as gregarious as can be, loving to chat with strangers and friends alike (we will have to discourage the stranger chatter soon, I know!). You love the riding the bus, the subway (C train is your fave) and hailing taxis. You love to laugh. You remember absolutely everything. You say funny things–”Mommy, I’ll listen to you next year” and “I’m not ready for potty training. Maybe when I’m four, or twenty.” You remain fearless, independent, wild, opinionated, stubborn, loving, loyal, and sweet.

As you turn three, you love to do things by yourself yet still reach for my hand on the stairs and the street. I know you won’t need my hand as much this year, but still hope you reach for it. Thanks for another great year filled with pride, for both me and your dad. You make us laugh, smile, and sometimes frown as you keep us on our toes. We can’t wait to see what the next year brings. Happy 3rd birthday. XO

Da - March 25, 2014 - 7:56 am


Priceless photos and commentary. You captured the joys of parenthood perfectly.


JORJ - March 25, 2014 - 10:56 am

I love what you wrote and that banner photo is amazing.

Linda - March 25, 2014 - 1:21 pm


This totally brought tears to my eyes. I caught myself completely identifying with everything you said. Happy birthday to the little adventurer and good job mama!

Margaret O'Keefe - March 25, 2014 - 2:48 pm

I love the way you write about parenting Callahan. Your photos are beautiful.