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Featured Wedding: Tom and Natalie, July 3, 2015

One year ago today, Tom and Natalie exchanged their vows in front of loved ones from near and far on a picture-perfect late afternoon on the vista.  Their infectious euphoria at becoming husband & wife rippled through each guest’s face, resonating in the notes played by the string quartet and wafting in the gentle breeze.  Invitees marveled at the elegantly blithe flourishes, accented by delicate yellows, brilliant blues, and stately golds.  The classic yet distinctive dressing highlighted the Mansion’s beauty, while also creating a tailor-made backdrop to the couple’s design.   From lawn games and photo booth fun to an exquisitely delicious cake, it seemed these two thought of everything to surprise and delight their friends and family.  With their first dance saved until after dinner, they momentarily broke away only to pull everyone out onto the terrace to join them, where the DJ held the dance floor in hypnotic jurisdiction for the rest of the evening.  If we didn’t know better, we’d swear they’re out there dancing still…  Happy First Anniversary to Natalie and Tom!

 

Photography:  Alicia Ann Photography
Catering:  David Alan Catering
Flowers:  Ruth L Flowers
Videography:  StopGoLove
DJ:  Scratch Weddings / Thomas Burns
Cake:  The Great American Cake by Julie Deffense
Photo Booth:  Marx Entertainment
Transportation:  Jolly Red Trolley
Accommodations:  Sheraton Hartford South

 

FullSizeRender_8   FullSizeRender_7    FullSizeRender_3    FullSizeRender_4    FullSizeRender_2    FullSizeRender_5    FullSizeRender_1    FullSizeRender_6    Natalie and Tom terrace view downsized    FullSizeRender

 

 

Natalie Newman Locke, the Event Supervisor and a Wadsworth Mansion bride herself, is a seasoned wedding & production professional.  When not creatively writing, photographing weddings, or acting as social media guru, she enjoys sampling wedding cake.

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Mailbag #1 (Chuppahs and JPs and Tastings, Oh My!)

IMG_3066 We field many questions here at the Wadsworth Mansion — some big, some small (although when they’re about weddings, small is a relative term).  Here are a few of our recent, real queries:

 

Marry Me
Hi again —
We’re having a friend officiate the ceremony; I’ve looked in CT laws, and looks like we’re fine as long as they are credited through [American Marriage Ministries]– but just wanted to see if you had any additional information on this?  No biggie at all if not, but worth asking!

Hey [Bride]!
My understanding is that for a wedding to be legal in CT, a CT Justice of the Peace or Judge or active clergy member must be present to do the paperwork and legally witness your marriage.  I’ve seen couples have their friends do the ceremony with a JP present to do the legal paperwork parts; I’ve also known a JP or judge to do the legal marriage part first (tucked away somewhere) just before the friend does the big ceremony in front of guests and loved ones.  I can recommend several JPs who will happily help your friend marry you.  For a little further reading on legally marrying in CT, read here starting halfway down at “Connecticut General Statutes.”

 

To Taste
Hi Natalie,
We just had our tasting with our caterers and we’re a bit concerned. [My fiance] didn’t think his steak was cooked properly, and as you know having amazing food is a big part of what we want for our wedding.  I’m a vegetarian so I couldn’t taste it to give my opinion, but it was red in the middle…  Since they’re on your list, I thought we wouldn’t have any issues and that they would know what they’re doing, but now I’m worried that we’ve made the wrong decision about caterers.   We did like a lot of what they served (my entree was excellent) but [his] filet wasn’t well done.  Can you tell us how their food has been previously and if any other couples have issues with them?

Hi [Bride],
I’m sorry your tasting wasn’t quite what you hoped for!  I have to say I’m surprised.  I’ve actually never heard any negative feedback about [this catering company], nor had anything resembling a poor experience with them myself.  Have you let them know the exact things that didn’t meet your expectations?  You should — and don’t be bashful about it — because they can’t fix what they don’t know!  And remember that they are caterers; their job is to cater to your needs…which they can do well if you communicate those needs with them.  Tastings usually do go pretty smoothly, generally speaking.  But the reason they exist is to facilitate discussion about the menu and it’s appearance.  Let me also say that unless you’ve specified a particular desire ahead of time (like cooking filet mignon well done, which is atypical for that cut) the chefs will prepare the food to their professional standards.  So, give them a call and share your specific feedback, and continue to keep the lines of communication open with them.  I stand by their abilities to give you precisely the smooth (and delicious) wedding that you want, you just have to tell them exactly what you told me.  They’ll be more than happy to make any adjustments you need, I promise.  Keep me updated!

 

Got It Covered
Hi Natalie,
I was so excited to drop off our deposit and contract that I forgot to ask you about chuppahs when I was there!  Can you tell me where to get one? 

Hi [Bride],
Lovely seeing you today — and congratulations again on becoming our newest official Wadsworth bride!  In regards to finding a chuppah, florists tend to be the way to go.  Quite a few on our “Fabulous Finds for Wedding Planning” have done some really stunning ones here at the Mansion, so be sure to inquire with them.  But regardless of the florist you select, they’re the vendors to talk to about chuppahs (even if you want a very simple, traditional, non-floral one).  Happy planning 🙂
If you have a question you’d like answered about weddings or events, post it in the comments section below.  Maybe we’ll feature it in a future Mailbag Blog!
Happy Planning!
Natalie
Natalie Newman Locke, the Event Supervisor and a Wadsworth Mansion bride herself, is a seasoned wedding & production professional.  When not creatively writing, photographing weddings, or acting as social media guru, she enjoys sampling wedding cake.
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On Uniqueness

MichelleGirardPhotography189-(ZF-7163-86976-1-001) Here at the Wadsworth Mansion, uniqueness is our delight.  Each event is it’s own celebration, standing solo on our calendar for that day and befitting the design of the host’s individual vision.  Our mansion and grounds are merely a (beautiful) blank slate, leaving any and all details  — food, decor, flowers, floor plan, and more — up to the thrower of said party.

When my husband and I were married here almost one year ago, we loved that we weren’t forced into hiring a specific DJ or caterer or florist; the absolute last thing we wanted was a “wedding factory,” where we would just be shoehorned into a pre-set model like afterthoughts and hurried through our wedding to make way for the next one.  The a la carte manner in which the Mansion goes about it’s events allowed our big day to actually reflected us as a couple.  We had the wedding we intended from top to bottom (which, incidentally, you can get a taste of here, just scroll down a bit).

And since then, now that I am employed by the Mansion, I have seen many more weddings and parties here and none are alike.  Even among weddings with similar teams of vendors, the celebrations are unique representations of the hosts.

And all that freedom of choice isn’t for everyone.  I certainly give tours where our historic mansion and it’s one-of-a-kind, symmetrical footprint throws people off.  It does take some creativity to think outside of the same old, single ballroom box.  And that’s okay — coloring outside the lines is great for some and uncomfortable for others.  Plenty of people like to stick to safe, tried-and-true ways of doing things because the enormity of hosting a big event can be stressful enough.

But I can promise that if you’re willing to be intrepid in your party throwing you will reap so much more than if you copy the majority just to stick to the norm.  I recently overheard a comment by a guest at an event (who was late, and purposefully hanging back): “…if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all.”  Yikes.  To be honest, the host didn’t deserve such an assessment at all. However, if that’s the general perspective you’re up against, wouldn’t you want to blow that thought out of the water?

Don’t worry so much about how everyone else did it, or does it, or will do it.  What makes these things so special and noteworthy is how personal they are.

Be uniquely you and your wedding will be extraordinary.

Happy Planning!
Natalie

Natalie Newman Locke, the Event Supervisor and a Wadsworth Mansion bride herself, is a seasoned wedding & production professional.  When not creatively writing, photographing weddings, or acting as social media guru, she enjoys sampling wedding cake.

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How to Make Your Wedding Yours

Oftentimes when giving tours of the Mansion to potential brides and grooms I am asked, “what do most people do?”  While I’m happy to relay typical arrangements of tables and chairs or layouts that harmonize fire code with aesthetics, it seems to me that the question is actually much more loaded.

MMwed-353 The pressure put on couples (by themselves or others) to conform to certain ideas, ideals, traditions, and desires is real.  I see it every day.  I experienced it myself.  It varies in shades and degrees from wedding to wedding, but it is always there.  And it is perfectly natural and to be expected — two people in love from two different families [we hope, but that’s a different blog] and backgrounds are uniting in a singular celebration in a finite period of time.

Amid all the excitement it can be weirdly easy to confuse your opinions with those of your loved ones, or feel pressured into conforming to suggestions you don’t love.  Your best friend continuously tells you what colors she thinks you should use, your favorite uncle has written a song he insists on singing during your ceremony, and your parents feel they should get to cast the final vote on every last detail because that’s how their wedding was planned.  And yes, you want to be inclusive, and maybe someone will have a stroke of brilliance that you never would’ve come up with…

But.  Each couple deserves a wedding that reflects them as a couple.  The two of you should dream up a vision together that becomes the foundation for the event.  You have the right to decide if a particular tradition is or isn’t meaningful to you.  It’s okay if you & your fiancee don’t really care about flowers even though everyone else seems to.  Don’t worry so much about keeping up with the Joneses or being Pinterest perfect or agreeing to things just to appease certain people.  Your wedding will be happiest and most meaningful to all of your guests if it echoes you.

So the question is really, “how do you keep the wheels on the wagon?”wadsworth00496

Step 1:  Breathe.  In and out.  Slow is good.

Step 2:  Remember, everyone involved cares deeply about you.  If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be so passionate.  (This is an important marriage lesson in general.)

Step 3:  Tell yourself that this is all completely normal.  Because it is.  It really, really is.

Step 4:  Listen to the idea.  It just might be a good one, or half a good one.

Step 5:  Thank your loved one for the suggestion.  Whether it’s “yeah, that’s similar to something we’ve discussed,” or “I hadn’t thought of that before, but we’ll take it into consideration,” be kind and acknowledge it’s coming from a good place.  Sometimes recognition of a suggestion is all that’s needed.

(optional)
Step 6: Gently remind your loved one that it’s your day.  Be firm if you have to, but the key word is ‘gently’.  Emotions are already high and there’s no need to be nasty.  The point will be made.  Slow your roll, ‘Zilla.

Repeat all (especially Steps 1-3) as needed.

 

Trust the foundation that you set as a couple — and I mean that in life and in wedding planning. The rest will fall (okay, sometimes hurtle) into place.9 Dancing 1
Happy Planning!
Natalie

Natalie Newman Locke, the Event Supervisor and a Wadsworth Mansion bride herself, is a seasoned wedding & production professional.  When not creatively writing, photographing weddings, or acting as social media guru, she enjoys sampling wedding cake.

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