Jenni Levine and Eric Driscoll were both living in Hoboken in 2011 when an evening out at a bar (which just so happened to be right between their two apartments) first brought them together. "Eric appeared out of nowhere with a funny comment and the banter continued back and forth between us all night," Jenni remembers. From then on, the pair knew they had something special, but it wasn't until three years later, on March 20, 2014, that Eric popped the question. The groom-to-be waited until the first official day of spring to surprise Jenni with a romantic proposal in their apartment. "When I got home, the lights were off but I noticed candles and flowers," she remembers. "There was a line of them, each with a note attached to it. The notes told the story of us, from the first day we met until that day. He started crying, because he's a crier, and got down on one knee and proposed." Naturally, Jenni said yes.
When it came to planning their wedding, Jenni and Eric only had two must-haves: they wanted to get married outside and they had to say their vows underneath a tree. The Barns at Wesleyan Hills in Middletown, Connecticut delivered on those two points and so much more. "The Barns had everything," Jenni says. "A pond, tons of weeping willows, and, of course, the beautiful old barn." They set the date for June 6, 2015 and invited 141 guests to watch them say "I do" in what the couple describes as an antique garden party. Keep reading to see Michelle Gardella Photography's photos from their late spring day!
"I never thought about or knew what style wedding dress I would like or want," Jenni admits. "So I wanted to try on every type of dress before I made a decision." Although she had plans to give every silhouette a shot, the bride ultimate fell in love with one of the very first dresses she tried on, a strapless art deco-inspired gown from Lazaro. She tried on several other styles but kept coming back to the embroidered and ruffled gown, so when she tried it on one last time at Kleinfeld's, she didn't want to take it off. "They were having a Lazaro trunk show so I ended up meeting the designer," she says. "He drew a sketch of me in the dress and signed it. I have it framed and hanging in my bedroom."
Since her embellished wedding dress had plenty of detail, Jenni wanted to keep her accessories simple. She chose simple diamond studs, a headpiece that mirrored the design of her gown, and light bronze Jimmy Choo flats.
Jenni worked with her florist to create a loose, natural bouquet. "I'm not a fan of tight bouquets, but I didn't want it to be cascading either," she says. With instruction to include peonies, dahlias, and plenty of greenery, florist Leah O'Hearn created a romantic, garden-inspired arrangement in shades of white and blush. She included lockets with photos of Jenni's loved ones that couldn't be part of the day.
Her six bridesmaids wore blue Jenny Yoo gowns, and customized the convertible straps to suit their own style.
Eric and his groomsmen all visited New York City's Beau to have custom suits crafted in their favorite shade of blue. The groom gifted each attendant different pocket squares, ties, and socks from The Tie Bar, which they wore down the aisle.
Just two months before the wedding, Jenni and Eric called to inquire about getting their marriage license in Connecticut and learned that their officiant wasn't able to legally marry them in the state. "In Connecticut, only a justice of the peace or a minister can legally marry you, so Eric made us an appointment the day before our wedding to get married by the town mayor," she says. "Technically, we got married on June 5, but I love that this happened because we got to have an intimate marriage in the mayor's office."
On the day of, guests arrived at the Barns at Wesleyan Hills and were treated to pre-ceremony champagne and flavored water. Jenni and Eric chose to keep their ceremony décor simple and let the natural beauty of their outdoor venue shine. They decorated their aisle with galvanized buckets of baby's breath and exchanged vows between two larger displays of mixed blooms.
As Jenni walked down the aisle with her father, Eric couldn't contain his excitement. "Seeing Eric cry like a baby while I was talking down the aisle was something I won't forget," the bride says. "Once I saw him crying, I lost it!" The couple wrote their own vows, which included readings from The History of Love and the Blessing of the Hands. After the duo was pronounced husband and wife (for the second time in as many days!) they left the ceremony to Bob Dylan's "The Man in Me."
In keeping with their antique theme, the couple chose to use vintage spools as escort cards. They decorated their barn reception space with café lights and topped each table with a stack of old books, a wooden table number, and mixed arrangements of hydrangeas, peonies, dahlias, and greenery in mismatched mercury glass vases. "We loved the bare bones of the barn so we just dressed it up with garden lights," the bride says.
Following their seated dinner, the couple cut into their two-tiered red velvet wedding cake. "We painted our own topper," Jenni says of the whimsical wooden figurines. "We were initially intimidated by the project, but I think we did a pretty good job!" Since neither Jenni nor Eric love wedding cake, the two wanted a dessert that reflected their taste. They brought in a full sundae bar, complete with a Ben & Jerry's staffer passing out scoops.
After dancing to Ingrid Michaelson's "You and I," Jenni and Eric invited their guests to join them on the dance floor. "We danced like crazy all night," the bride remembers. "We took dance lessons before the wedding, which was fun to do in general, but we ended up dancing like our usual selves on the day of which I was happy about." Their DJ took a break from playing hits so the groom's father, a professional bass player, could perform with his band mates. As a special treat, one of Eric's friends joined the band and sang "Lazy Mary" by Lou Monte.
"The best part of the wedding should be planning it," the newlyweds, who honeymooned in Corsica, say. "The wedding day will be perfect but it flies by. Don't miss the opportunity to enjoy the things you 'get' to do together because that's what it's really all about and what you'll remember most."
Venue & Catering: The Barns at Wesleyan Hills || Day-of Coordinator: Melinda Pratt and Traci Pessina of Connecticut Wedding Group || Officiant: Sara Levine || Bride's Wedding Dress: Lazaro, purchased at Kleinfeld Bridal || Veil, Jewelry, & Accessories: Kleinfeld Bridal || Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Hair: Emily Gonzalez || Makeup: Mary Wallis || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jenny Yoo, purchased at BHLDN || Groom's & Groomsmen's Attire: BEAU || Florist: It's So Ranunculus || Guest Book: Our Wedding Invites || DJ: Todd Armstrong of Powerstation Events || Jazz Band: The Rave Tesar Trio || Cake: J Cakes || Favors: Donation to Tomorrows Children's Foundation || Accommodations: The Inn at Middletown || Videographer: Tree of Life Films || Photographer: Michelle Gardella Photography
Did you love this antique-inspired wedding? Then check out another couple's bash, complete with their own vintage details, in the video below!