After an intimate rehearsal dinner the night before, Dani & Nate married on a warm July day at the Saltwater Farm Vineyard in Stonington, Connecticut. I go way back with Dani & Nate to our days at Skidmore College.
“The venue really inspired our vision. Saltwater Farm is stunningly beautiful and the minute we stepped on the property we knew that was the right venue. Beyond that, we really just wanted to throw a more formal version of our backyard grilling nights that we host as often as possible at home. Once we knew we were working with the outstandingly beautiful canvas and the rest sort of fell into place–festoon lighting, pops of color, and smores over open flames to round out the evening.” – Dani
You might recognize these two from their Kayaking & Beers in Burlington, Vermont Engagement Session and their Elegant Clambake Rehearsal Dinner in Stonington, Connecticut.
Let’s talk about these heirloom details. In this image we have one that’s been an heirloom for generations. The pocket watch was given to Nate as a wedding gift – it’s over a hundred years old and was Nate’s father’s grand father’s that he used for much of his life. The cufflinks are a gift from Dani and have an image of Saratoga Springs and Philly – places they have lived and loved – and marked a moment of clarity in their relationship.
The necklace originally belonged to Dani’s paternal grandmother. It was a 25th anniversary gift from her husband and she wore it all the time. When she passed away, she left the necklace to Dani.
Nate worked with Grant A Peacock to design the wedding rings. Nate’s family has been working with this jeweler for 3 generations, so he knew exactly where to go to create the rings. The engagement ring center stone is from Nate’s mom’s mother’s engagement ring and the side stones are from his father’s grandmother’s engagement ring! I love all the family history that was incorporated into this day.
“Our morning in the bridal suite was so much more relaxed than I ever could have anticipated. It was so nice to have time to just sit and spend time with my beautiful ladies and my mom, laughing and reminiscing. My bridesmaids and I don’t see each other often so that time in the morning was the perfect way to start the day and really kept our weekend of love & laughter going.” – Dani
There were also multiple breakout dancing moments that happened throughout the morning – these ladies know how to have fun.
After the gents made sure Nate was looking fantastic, it was time for the first look in the vineyard.
We did all the wedding party and group photos at this time to ensure they would have more time to enjoy cocktail hour. Afterwards, they had a few minutes of down time to watch the crowds gather for the ceremony, and they both drank a bottle of water in perfect synchronicity.
“Our officiant Vincent was a close friend of ours, and we left him largely on his own to write the ceremony. Earlier in the weekend, we had read the beginning of what he had written, and we chose the readings, so we knew most of what would be said. However, he was still fine-tuning the ceremony up until the morning of, so there were parts we hadn’t seen a word of. At one point in the ceremony, after the vows and readings and rings, he asked us to turn and face the gathered guests. We reached for each others’ hands and turned forwards, and it was honestly overwhelming to really look at all the faces of the people who had shown up to celebrate with us. That, plus the blessing Vincent spoke to close the ceremony, were probably the most emotional point of our day.” – Dani
“Right after the ceremony, after high-fives and hugs with the bridal party and immediate family, my shoes were killing me so I took them off and sent a groomsman to get my backup shoes. Right about that same time, our bridal attendant from the catering team brought us over a plate of our passed appetizers. We were starving and had been told by numerous couples before us that the most important thing on your wedding day is to make sure you eat! So, there I am, in my backup shoes before the first dance, shoving mini pork belly tacos in my mouth in my wedding dress, trying to avoid eye contact with guests trying to talk to me. Those moments still make me laugh!” – Dani
It was a very warm July day, so the beautifully displayed and air conditioned reception space was welcome for all the guests.
“We knew we wanted to have photographs that reflected the whole day–not just the posed, “perfect” moments. That’s a huge part of why we wanted to work with you. When we snuck away for sunset/moonrise photos, our friend Sam asked us if we needed anything. We asked him for water, and then promptly forgot we had done so. A few minutes later, here comes Sam, two glasses of water in hand. He passed the water through the row of vines to us, in a hilarious yet on-brand move. We were thrilled two months later when we realized that you had captured that moment! That picture is one of our favorites because it highlighted the atmosphere we were trying to create throughout our wedding weekend–relaxed, celebratory, goofy, and authentic. You are so good at capturing the essence of a person or a moment–there are photographs in our gallery that we never could have asked for and will cherish forever.” – Dani
I asked Dani & Nate what advice they have for other couples planning a wedding. “If you know you don’t want a certain “expected” tradition in your day, or if you are sure you want a certain food, or game, or color–go for it and don’t let anyone change your mind. But also, don’t worry if that vision changes. Wedding planning is a long, drawn-out process and you are likely to find that your idea of what you want will mold and flex as you go. Be open to change, be open to creativity. Most of all, don’t compare your wedding to others. Your day is about you and you alone. One of the biggest compliments we received from our guests was that our wedding was “such a YOU party”! The people who come to your wedding love you for you–so if your celebration reflects that, they’re guaranteed to enjoy themselves.” – Dani
“ I love the memory of the moment we snuck away from everything and walked back to the platform in the vines where we had stood hours before during our ceremony. We sat on the platform and just watched the crowd inside–the lights changing colors, the people dancing, the fire pit embers burning down–I’m grateful that we took the time to sit and really soak it all up before the night was over, because it does go by in a flash. Someone came outside and as they opened the door, we heard the DJ announce the last dance–so we went sprinting back inside to catch that last song with our people. It was the perfect end to the night.” – Dani
Venue: Saltwater Farm Vineyard // Florals: Flower Belle // Catering: Coastal Gourmet Catering // Transportation: First Student // Videographer: Michael Rodino // DJ: Dawson Entertainment // Wedding Invitations: Minted // Officiant: Vincent Morello // Make-Up Artist: Makeup by Mercedes // Dress: BHLDN // Wedding Party Outfits: Azazie // Shoes: Cole Haan // Rings: Grant A Peacock // Pocketwatch: Charles Frodsham // #daniandnatemakeitgreat