"Aaron asked me out in the most romantic way possible," Christina pretends to brag, then deadpans, "via text message." Yet despite a less-than-script-worthy start, the Connecticut couple took off and two years later, Aaron proposed.
Surrounded by friends and family at a surprise birthday party for the soon-to-be bride, Aaron dropped to one knee and presented Christina with a square-cut diamond ring. "Aaron and I had the tightest embrace ever," Christina recalls, until an excited Aaron attempted to slip the ring on her finger and instead accidentally tossed the diamond onto an outdoor patio, complete with cracks. "After a few seconds of panic, one of my girlfriends found the ring and I was finally able to wear it as an officially engaged woman," Christina laughs.
Working with wedding planner Ambiance Luxe Wedding Designs, Christina and Aaron crafted a quirky September affair held in rustic Deep River. With vibrant turquoise accents offsetting an otherwise neutral palette, the couple's wedding took on an atmosphere that Christina describes as "light, fun and lively."
Christina spotted her Melissa Sweet gown online—and was crushed when she discovered the dress had been discontinued. "It had caught my eye online, and I was dying to try it on. Unfortunately, the designer had stopped production of the dress and a single sample was the last of it's kind at The White Dress by the Shore. By some stroke of luck or fate, someone had actually purchased the gown but changed their mind and brought it back.. Once I put it on, it was love. We purchased it on the spot," Christina says. "It's so true when they say that it's just a feeling. When you know, you know."
Christina adored the gown's silk organza overlay, accented with delicate polka dots and tied with a matching sash. "I loved how it was so simple, yet had these amazing and fun details that made it so romantic," she says. Plus, "it hugged my curves in all the right places, but was comfortable at the same time. Comfort is key."
A champagne-colored faux floral hairpiece by Mignonne Handmade softened Christina's half-up-half-down hairstyle.
Kendra Scott's chunky turquoise necklace accentuated Christina's collarbone. "I tend to gravitate towards a statement piece here and there, so decided to go with a couple of accessories to make my overall look pop," Christina explains.
Aaron and his groomsmen donned slim-fit ties by Forage Haberdashery, which crafted the neckpieces from limited-edition blue and orange fabric.
Bridesmaids selected from two knee-length Ivy & Aster dresses in hues of rosemary and grey. "I loved the fun and flirty feel of these dresses," the bride says.
Florists wrapped bright orange ranunculus, white anemones, succulents and a few sprigs of leafy green filler with white lace to create Christina's bouquet. "Just For You Floral Design Studio translated our vision into exactly what we were looking for," the bride gushes.
Dusty miller, wide green leaves and Billy Bobs were mixed with berries and small bright flowers for the groom and groomsmen's boutonnieres. "We loved how non-traditional these were and how each one was different from the next," Christina says.
Boutonnieres were pinned to the lapels of light gray suits, which the men picked out at : Macy's.
Christina and Aaron exchanged vows on the grounds of Mount Saint John, a high school for at-risk boys set on 80 acres of rustic Connecticut real estate. "It had a wonderful vintage feeling," Christina says of the space, "with the actual school serving as a backdrop during the ceremony."
Photo: Michelle Gardella
"Short, sweet and non-traditional," the bride says, Christina and Aaron's wedding ceremony included a reading from I Corinthians and humorous dialogue from their officiant—a cousin whom the couple convinced to become a justice of the peace especially for the occasion.
While the couple purposefully kept the ceremony space sparse, "the one thing we did splurge on were two large, beautiful arrangements that stood on each side of the front of the aisle," Christina says.
Trolleys transported guests from the school grounds and to The Lace Factory, where the couple would host their indoor dinner reception. "We were looking for something non-traditional, something that was an arms length away from the typical hotel ballroom," Christina says. Constructed in 1875, the former shipbuilding-yard-turned-event-center combined the historical character and modern amenities the couple craved. "We loved its exposed brick walls and beams, the large bright windows that extended across every wall, the vintage bar," Christina explains.
Christina and Aaron "loved the raw space of our reception venue," so they "tried to use details that would accentuate the space rather than cover what was already there," the bride says. The couple's color palette shown through in bright blue Chiavari chairs and vibrant orange flower arrangements—a nice "pop here and there," Christina describes.
Sheer white swag hung from the building's exposed beams, flanked by sparkling twinkle lights, "adding a touch of softness and elegance to the space," the bride says.
"My absolute favorite?" Christina says. "Two funky, ocean blue chandeliers were hung overhead just below the swags on each side of the room. Love, love, loved these."
A mixture of orange, coral and yellow blooms filled pedestal and bowl-shaped pots, creating a mish-mash of tablescapes across the entire dining room. "We loved how no two tables were alike," Christina says.
Lace overlays laid across champagne linens paid homage to The Lace Factory's name, Christina said. Blue and mercury glass candle holders were scattered across each tabletop.
Neutral-toned tented cards bore table names and numbers.
The couple left a heartfelt thank you to guests at each place setting. The blue-striped Chevron patterned cards were designed by Patti Murphy Designs.
Personalized pint glasses from online retailer Grandstand served as the couple's favors.
Dubbing him their "flower boy," the couple asked a young man to carry a turquoise wood sign that read Here Comes The Bride down the aisle. "As we exited, it turned around to say, 'Hooray!'" Christina says.
Because she wanted to "cut a rug," Christina slipped into a short-and-sassy Ivy & Aster dress during the reception. "I'm still waiting for an occasion where I can recycle this dress," Christina says. "I absolutely love it."
Christina's advice to other couples? "Forget the stress," she says. "Enjoy every second, and be kind along the way. And to remember to stop, take a breath and smell the roses. I found that everything went by much too quickly."
Wedding Planner: Ambiance Luxe Wedding Designs || Ceremony Venue: Mount Saint John || Reception Venue: The Lace Factory || Bride's Wedding Dress: Melissa Sweet from The White Dress By The Shore || Bride's Shoes: Steve Madden and Ashley Brooks Designs || Bride's Accessories: Kendra Scott and Mignonne Handmade || Bride's Wedding Ring: M.K. Winston Jewelers || Groom's Tux: Macy's || Groom's Wedding Ring: M.K. Winston Jewelers || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Ivy & Aster from The White Dress By The Shore || Groomsmen Attire: Macy's || Mother of the Bride's Dress: Macy's || Florist: Just For You Floral Design Studio || Caterer: Cloud Nine Catering || Stationery: Patti Murphy Designs || Cake Baker: Cloud Nine Catering || Favors: Grandstand || Rentals: Ryan Designs and Rentals Unlimited || Entertainment: Power Station Events || Photography: Michelle Gardella