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As a wedding and event photographer, Steve wasn't new to the world of weddings but had yet to enjoy his own big day. But then, one weekend he found himself on a trip to Newport Beach with his girlfriend, Lauren Ann, a buyer for a children's boutique whom he had met through a mutual friend. She was there to help him with a wedding he was shooting, but little did she know that she was about to become a bride herself. "I had been sitting on the ring for close to a month looking for the right time," says Steve. And so, on the day before the wedding gig, Steve asked Lauren Ann to marry him right outside their hotel.
The duo wed on April 9, 2016, at Bishop's Orchards in Steve's hometown of Guilford, Connecticut. It was the first wedding to be held at both the orchard and at their reception venue, The Marketplace At Guilford Food Center, a grocery store and delicatessen. "It was the most local event we could create," says the groom of the two locations where "the staff is like our family." Inspired by the locales, the Guilford-based couple created a farm-to-table feel in a palette of light pink, green, and brown for their 70 guests. And finally on that spring day in New England, the tables had turned and Steve was on the other side of the camera, with his wife there with him.
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Photos in the Orchard
Before the ceremony, the pair took portraits among the rows of apple trees. "I remember thinking this was the best decision I have ever made," says Lauren Ann of choosing to do a first look.
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The Bridal Bouquet
Hana Floral Design created Lauren Ann's stunning bouquet of king ice protea, pink peonies, wax flower, hellebores, astilbe, ranunculus, tulips, dianthus, peach hypericum berries, and several types of eucalyptus greens. In a nod to the ceremony's orchard locale and the bride's father who is a gardener, the flowers were tied off with a seed packet.
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The Ceremony Setting
Hana Floral Design constructed a cherry blossom tree at Bishop's Orchards for the nuptials. Using several bundles of Kwanzan cherry branches, the tree looked to be in full bloom even though it was April in Connecticut. Guests sat on wooden benches handmade by the groom.
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The Ceremony Tears
The bride's father walked her down the aisle to the sounds of her brother playing John Mayer's "XO" on the guitar. During the emotional ceremony, the couple's friend and wedding planner, Candice Dowling Coppola of Jubilee Events, read one of the couple's favorite poems, "Empty Spaces" by Ernest Hemingway.
"My favorite moment of the wedding was coming down the aisle surrounded by all these people who have embraced me as their own," Lauren Ann says. "To see Steve's face as I walked down the aisle of benches he handmade, seating all of our family and friends, was a moment I will never forget."
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Steve describes his favorite moment of the day as being right after the ceremony. "It was just seeing the faces of the people that have been in my life all these years all in one place," he says. "It was such a beautiful moment."
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The Cocktail Hour and Reception
Following the ceremony, everyone moved to The Marketplace At Guilford Food Center where the festivities continued. DJ Eko from HeartBeatsEverywhere entertained guests all night with 80's tunes. The menu featured what the bride and groom described as "dressed up bar food," including truffle fries, sliders, grilled cheese with tomato soup, and fish tacos.
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Parts of the cherry blossom ceremony tree were repurposed and displayed in the front windows of The Marketplace At Guilford Food Center.
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In a nod to the reception's marketplace venue, Hana Floral Design used vintage food tins, milk bottles, and food crates to house arrangements of peonies, astilbe, protea, hot pink boronia, blue thistle, Queen Anne's lace, hypericum berries, wine scabiosa, eucalyptus greens, and wax flower.
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The First Dance
The newlyweds danced to Ben Folds's "The Luckiest," the same song they had danced to on their first date. Later in the night, the pace picked up and a few guests even did some break dancing. "I was a college gymnast so there were some talented gymnasts doing their thing on the dance floor!" Lauren Ann remembers.
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The Mother and Son Dance
The groom and his mom danced to "You Are My Sunshine" by Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell.
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"The desserts were a big part of the wedding," says Steve of the spread from The Marketplace At Guilford Food Center. "We wanted people to have as many as they could possibly eat."
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Forgoing a traditional cake, the reception showcased fare such as donuts, cookies, strudels, and hot chocolates instead. Many guests were even sent home with full pies at the end of the night.
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The Sweet Shots
The Marketplace At Guilford Food Center mixed up vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry milkshake shots for those who preferred to drink their dessert.
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Guests received mugs filled with items from some of the pair's favorite stores in Guilford.
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Photography, Justin + Mary Marantz
Ceremony location, Bishop's Orchards
Reception location and catering, The Marketplace At Guilford Food Center
Event planning, Jubilee Events
Flowers and ceremony tree, Hana Floral Design
Officiant, Robert Norman
Music, DJ Eko from HeartBeatsEverywhere
Hair and Makeup, Deanna Nickel
Bridesmaids' dresses, ASOS
Flower Girl dresses, Etsy
Groom's suit, Suitsupply
Lighting, Steve DePino
Bridal styling, Beth Chapman
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