It is November already and this blog post is way overdue! Things have been super busy over here at AJSE and my blog posts were put on hold while I got caught up. I’m so excited to be working with my 2019 couples on choosing venues, their dream vendor teams and design inspiration! As most of you know – I was also busy wrapping up studying for my personal trainer certification (which I now have!) I am so happy to have put my passion for health & fitness to good use. I recently started a new part time job as a Fitness Coach and I couldn’t be happier. I love helping people recognize the importance of exercise and proper nutrition and working with them to change their lives! It’s so rewarding to make a living doing things that I genuinely enjoy!
Now before I get too off topic – let’s dive in to today’s post which is all about Emily and Mike’s backyard wedding in Marlborough, Connecticut!
I first spoke with Emily and Mike in early June. They had done a lot of their pre-planning but were starting to realize that they wanted to be able to enjoy their wedding day with friends and family and it may be a good idea to bring a planner on board. Their wedding was to take place under a tent in Mike’s parents’ backyard so they also knew that unless they wanted to spend their wedding day coordinating vendors and worrying about logistics, they would need someone else there. That was where I came in.
I’d be lying if I said I remembered everything we talked about on our first call, but I do remember thinking that I loved their energy and the vibe they were going for. I always feel like you can gauge whether you click with someone within the first few minutes of conversation and we absolutely did. When we ended the call, I really hoped I would hear back from them and lucky for me, I did!
Fast forward to 6 weeks before the big day - I came on board to start finalizing the details to ensure their day was seamless. We had our first in-person meeting at Mike’s parents’ home so I could see the space and really start discussing the layout and flow of the day. When having a backyard wedding, there is always more to think about than if you were at a more traditional venue. Things like – power grids, adequate restroom trailers, where the catering team would set up a dish rinse station, water access points, parking/transportation for guests, lighting around the yard, trash disposal, and reviewing all set-up and equipment needs are so important to ensure you set your vendors up for success and that your guests are comfortable. We also talked about things like a schedule for hair & makeup services, the wedding décor they had, song choices for introductions and dances and an overall timeline for the day.
We had a lot of communication over the next few weeks, and before we knew it – it was rehearsal time! They had warned me in advance about the dynamic personalities of their bridal party so I wasn’t sure what to expect. When I arrived, I saw a group of friends who reminded me of my group of friends – loud, funny and just a bit outrageous. Had I not been working, I totally would have taken them up on their (many) offers to join them for a glass of Prosecco! We went through an overview of the ceremony processional and expectations for the wedding day before everyone was off to enjoy a game of virtual golf before the rehearsal dinner (I later found out this is where Mike proposed to Emily!)
Less than 24 hours later, it was show time! The day began with hair and makeup at the house for the girls, and a round of golf for the guys. Things were coming together under the tent as linens were set, florals were placed and lighting installed. These two opted for a First Look earlier in the day so they would be able to enjoy their cocktail hour with their guests as well as savor a few minutes of alone time before everyone arrived. They also had their four-legged furry friends join in the wedding fun which I absolutely loved!
As guests started arriving for the ceremony, they were greeted with flutes of Prosecco with their name and table assignment sitting atop the glass. The ceremony was to take place further down the lawn where the couple would stand under a beautiful custom-built arbor. They choose to do a lock ceremony in which they affixed a lock to the highest point of their arbor. Guests all clapped and cheered as they said their I Do’s and receded down the aisle to start cocktail hour and nibble on an array of hors d’oeuvres by Mercado (a food truck specializing in Spanish cuisine!)
Before dinner was served, we had a few traditional formalities. I knew bridal party introductions with this crew were going to be hilarious – and they did not disappoint! Emily and Mike made their way in as the new Mr. & Mrs. Huelsman and flowed right in to share their First Dance. This was a very special first dance as two of their best friends played instruments and sang a song for them!
Dinner was prepared in the Mercado food truck but was served buffet-style. Aromas of paella and grilled steak and chicken wafted throughout the yard (and probably the entire neighborhood!). To say everything was incredible would be an understatement. I don’t think anyone left this wedding hungry!
Shortly after dinner, the music picked up and guests danced the night away under the tent. But the bride and groom had a few more surprises in store! Around 8:30pm, an ice cream truck pulled down the driveway carrying sundaes, soft serve and all sorts of frozen novelties! If you guys know me at all, you know I have no self-control around ice cream so this was basically my version of heaven on earth. The evening ended with the BEST finale to date – the bride and groom planned a very signature sparkler send-off. Unassuming guests were instructed to pick up a sparkler and surround the pool so the couple could exit off the deck, little did they know, Emily and Mike had plans to run out of the house and dive into the pool, wedding dress and all! You know you have the best clients ever when your bride doesn’t even worry about ruining her dress and is in this purely for the fun of it!
To say I had a blast working with them and their family would be putting things lightly. They had the best attitudes surrounding their wedding and truly wanted this day to be a celebration, not a performance. I am so happy they chose me and I got the chance to meet them and be a part of their special day. Emily and Mike, if you are reading this, I wish you both nothing but the best in this next chapter of your lives!
For more images from their wedding, head on over to my Portfolio to see the full gallery!
Venue: Private Residence
Photography: Sam Chinigo
Catering: Mercado Food Truck
Entertainment: Sound Shock DJ Service
Officiant: Carla Marciano
Tent & Rentals: Edgewood Party Rentals
Florals: Family Friend
Hair: Tara's Beauty Salon
Makeup: Naomi's Bridal Salon