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Explore Nature While Social Distancing at the Wadsworth Mansion!

I’ve always known the Wadsworth Mansion as a gorgeous venue for weddings and events. However, when I started working at the mansion I soon found out that it had so much more to offer. I was delighted to learn that the mansion had walking and hiking trails that lead through gorgeous deciduous forest replete with red-tailed hawks, blue jays, cardinals, sparrows, and more.

As we practice social distancing, I thought now would be the perfect time to highlight some of my favorite places on our trails and encourage our local community to take advantage of this amazing resource to get out into nature with their children and family.

The Wooden Bridge and Vernal Pool

This is the Vernal Pool. You can see the wooden bridge far on the opposite side, which is a great place for photos!

Off to the side of the mansion and down one trail, you can find a wooden bridge that goes over the Vernal Pool. This pool of water is only filled during the wet season in early spring. During a warmer day, you can hear all of the “peepers,” which is our nickname for all of the frogs singing to one another in the pool. If you peer into the water, you can usually see a frog or three hiding at the bottom, or taking a moment to catch some air before diving back down again.

The Old Carriage Drive

I adore the old carriage drive, which was once the original drive up to the house. When you

The old carriage drive with its mossy, stone walls!

walk from the mansion parking lot down our current driveway, you can find it on the righthand side. It’s hard to miss with the old, mossy stone walls and giant oaks that line the large path. If you look along the wall as you walk, you may see a stone jutting from it. In the past, this functioned as a small step for farmers and groundskeepers to easily get over the wall from one side of the grounds to the other, without needing to go around the wall. I personally love to take my dog walking here, and he seems to love it too!

The Fallen Arch

My dog, Watson, loves walking the trails with me!

The paths all have signs that detail a bit more about the history of the mansion and the grounds. However, my favorite location is the fallen arch that once stood along one of the paths. This arch once stood over a road, but fell by the wayside as the road turned into a hiking trail. Whenever I see it, I realize how much history can be found in this place, which makes me love it even more. I also really enjoy reading all of the placards that lead up to this point, since it allows me to remember a bit more about the history of the mansion.

 

If you have a chance to explore the trails at the Wadsworth Mansion, I highly recommend them. They’re

Jessica’s kids enjoy a beautiful day outdoors on the trail!

full of pretty views, and there is a ton of wildlife. Whenever I drive in early to work, I’m sure to see our local herd of deer, or some kind of bird of prey. It’s an easy hike for kids and adults of all ages. In fact, my co-worker, Jess, loves to bring her kids here! It’s also a great way to spend the afternoon outdoors, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

You can find more information about the trails and nature located at the Wadsworth Mansion  here!

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Your First Look at the Wadsworth Mansion

I get this question all of the time from both brides and grooms: Where should we have our first look? Are any spots better than others at the mansion?

The truth of the matter is that there’s no wrong answer. The mansion and its grounds are gorgeous all year round. However, I do think it’s important that our couples take a moment to decide what location on the grounds or inside the mansion that they love the most. Do they want to take advantage of the elegant stairway inside, or take to the outdoors where they can find blooming flowers? With that in mind, I wanted to share some of my favorite pictures of our couples during their first looks. Hopefully, this will help inspire some of our future couples and help them decide where they want to share some of their very special moments together!

The Carriage Drive

Photo: Derek Halkett Photography

I absolutely love the old carriage drive, which was the original path up to the mansion. These days, it’s lined with gorgeous trees and framed by a mossy, stone wall. During the autumn, this area is awash in fall foliage. During spring and summer, it’s abundantly green. It’s the perfect place for any couple that wants to feature nature as part of their first look. Here, Stephanie and Jimmy share a moment together right after their first look during their June wedding.

Photo by: Elizabeth Grant Photography

The Front of the Mansion

What better way to celebrate a mansion wedding than to have it as the backdrop for your first look? The front of the mansion is timeless, and can make for truly elegant pictures. Our couples love doing “the dip” shot in front, and I love how many of our couples use our cedars and drive to help frame the perfect picture. Here, Kendall and James share a kiss immediately after their first look in front of the mansion. The moment was truly magical.

The Cedar Trees

Photo by: Mobile Video and Photography

An elegant line of cedar trees can be found adjacent to our sweeping vista, providing shade and natural beauty for our couples. These trees are green all year round, which makes them perfect for a first look during the winter or early spring for couples. They help frame couples during their first look, and the trees can give couples a sense of seclusion and intimacy. Here, Cassandra is just moments away from surprising her husband-to-be, Joseph, during their May wedding.

The Vista

Where do I even start with the Vista? There are so many amazing places here! In the summer, the hydrangeas make for a gorgeous backdrop for any photos. The sweeping lawn itself is also an

Photo by: Spagnolo Wedding Photography

amazing space for photos, whether couples decide to use the back of the mansion as their backdrop or the opposite end of the vista. Rennie and Jonathan decided to use the back of their mansion as their backdrop for their first look this past June.

The Tennis Pavilion

My favorite season for the tennis pavilion is during late June and through the summer, since that’s when the roses are in bloom. These winding vines, filled with color, are perfect for couples who are looking for a floral backdrop during their first look.

The Stairway

Within the mansion is a royal blue carpeted stairway that leads upward toward the bridal suite. Since it turns slightly, this stairway can create some

Photo by: Jennifer Lynn Photography

absolutely gorgeous shots for your first look. It’s the perfect spot if you’re worried about rain, or want to take advantage of having the mansion for the day! Here, Emily stands at the top of the stairs as Jesse waits below. I absolutely loved working with this couple, and everyone pulled together to help make their special day happen!

No matter where you decide to have your first look, it’s sure to be spectacular. This is a moment for you and your future spouse to take a moment together and see one another before your ceremony without the rest of your guests. I hope this helps our future couples decide where they would like their first look to be, and which location best fits their personalities!

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Inspiration for Your Wedding Day – Styled Shoots

This past year, I saw some absolutely amazing weddings at the mansion. There were elegant, outdoor garden parties, Gatsby galas, and so much more. While I’ve seen a lot of weddings at the mansion, though, I’ve also seen some amazing styled shoots, which show exactly what can be done at the Wadsworth. While looking through some of the photos the other day, I couldn’t help but think that these would make for some fabulous inspiration for our couples for the upcoming wedding season. That’s why I’ve included some pictures below of some of our amazing styled shoots at the mansion to give our couples some ideas of exactly what’s possible at this gorgeous venue. I hope this helps them get some inspiration for their special days!

James Bond-Inspired Wedding

If you want more of an elegant feel to your wedding, then this James Bond-inspired wedding shoot is just for you! Lisa from Creative Concepts by Lisa designed this gorgeous wedding concept this past autumn, which was featured in The Connecticut Bride. During the shoot, I fell in love with the outdoor ceremony location among the cedar trees. The gorgeous chandeliers and flowers transformed the area into something truly special. Add that on top of the sleek car, stunning table arrangement, and gorgeous cake, and I was immediately transported into a James Bond film.

Vendor participants:

The Connecticut Bride, Creative Concepts By Lisa, Wadsworth Mansion, Tiny Human Photography, The Wedding Embassy, KOKO Floral Design, CT Wedding Group, Vivid Events, PEAK Event Services, Jessica’s Beauty Bar, Lovely Cakes LLC, Bespoke Designs LLC, Carrie Whelan Designs, @wnddmge, Whitney Ceramicoli and Yavuz Usluca

Boho Wedding

If you’re looking for a wedding that’s more earthy and chic, then a Boho wedding may be right up your alley! We had a Boho-inspired wedding shoot at the mansion in 2019. With a cigar bar, stunning florals, and an outdoor lounge, it was the perfect way to showcase what can be done with a few extra accessories and decorations. Personally, I loved the cigar bar and the fact that they included their dog in the photoshoot. That giant puppy was so sweet!

Vendor Participants: Michelle Wade Photography, Aced Events, Wilder Road Studio, Together LLC, Earth Blossoms Flowers, Phillips Designs, Coastal Gourmet, But a Dream Cakes, Everthine Bridal, JT Ghamo, Painted by Jenny, Renared Beauty, Bourbon Time, Correlation Productions, @jmaule646, @jennykbee

Celestial Wedding

Photo By: Rob Skinner Photography

Photo By: Rob Skinner Photography

Why not lean into a celestial-themed wedding when you can dance beneath the stars on the mansion’s terrace? This November shoot was stunning, and imagined a wedding where stars, moons, and crystals played an integral part in the décor. I loved how this shoot use different shades of blue and gold to create a dreamy atmosphere.

Vendor Participants: 

Whimsy & Lace, Sage Hill Florals, Hilary Harrison, Joanna Adler, Whitney Palmer, Simply Chic Jewelry, The Crushed Crystal, Melissa Garcia, Pope’s Pastries, Devon Allard, Cari Bowerstock, Harli Rasid, Carl DiFederico

Wildflower Wedding

With the natural splendor of the Wadsworth Mansion, it’s no wonder that Wildflower Events decided to welcome the outdoors inside. They used stunning florals in their photoshoot to create an experience where, indoor or out, the guests could experience nature. I especially loved the lounge area they set up; couches in the mansion always look amazing!

Vendor Participants: 

Wildflower Events + Design, Hudson Botanica, Keli Photography, Upstyle, Lina Gavrilyuk

 

Spring Garden Wedding

Photo by: Kelly Pomeroy

If you’re looking for a wedding that embraces the beauty of spring, then look no further than this styled shoot by Brehant Creations. Using purple and yellow as their colors, they created a truly magical experience. As I watched them set up their tables, flower arch, and more, I couldn’t but help be reminded of such classics as The Secret Garden and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. This particular shoot welcomed the outdoors inside, and created a feeling of whimsy with their floral design.

Photo by: Kelly Pomeroy

Vendor Participants:

Brehant Creations, The Gardenist, Resurge Beauty Bar, Transcendent Makeup, Snassy Crafter, Whole Weddings, Refined Rentals, Custom Cakes by Sarah, Petals & Plates, Quiet Corner Cookies, Katie Bartel’s Jewelry, Julie Allen Bridals, Kimberly George Art, Soul Crafted Letter, Over The Moon Bridal, Generation Tux, Melinda Sundberg, @cadddydaddy, @jhsundberg, @the_nixie_pixie

These photoshoots were absolutely amazing to watch, and the pictures were stunning! In my personal opinion, they’re the perfect way to show how a concept can work at the mansion. If you’re planning on getting married at the mansion and see something you love from one of these shoots, don’t hesitate to tell us and we can put you in contact with the people behind them!

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Using Space at the Wadsworth Mansion

The Wadsworth Mansion isn’t your typical wedding venue. It’s a Beaux Arts style mansion that transports you back to an era of elegance and high society, with sprawling gardens and gorgeous views. While working here during the past season, I’ve seen all sorts of ways that the mansion can be used during a wedding—from creating a lounge in one of the ballrooms, to dining al fresco on the terrace to having a cocktail hour by the tennis pavilion outside.

When I tour couples at the mansion, I’ve noticed it’s often hard for them to decide how exactly they want the flow of their wedding to go. With this in mind, I’ve decided to write about all of the different ways the mansion can be set up during your big day. It may seem like a lot, but the team here is great at suggesting different options for the flow of your big day.

Without further ado, here are some different ways that I’ve seen the mansion used for the ceremony, cocktail hour, dining, and dancing.

Ceremony

Photography: Ammarhea Photo

When deciding where your ceremony is going to be at the mansion, I recommend that you look at the season, foliage, and weather. After all, we have some stunning grounds and indoor spaces; you might as well make good use of them!

Photography: Vicky and Erik Photography

When flowers bloom and when foliage begins to turn varies year to year. However, this past year, I got a great sense of when to expect flowers to bloom on the grounds. In May, the dogwoods, cherry blossoms and magnolias begin to flower. In late May and early June, our pink rhododendrons being to bloom and in mid June, the roses by the tennis pavilion begin to flower (it’s honestly stunning—and were some of my favorite flowers to see). In August, the hydrangeas begin to bloom with full, white blossoms. In September and October, the hydrangeas turn a dusky rose color that then changes to full pink in later autumn. It’s hard to say when the autumn foliage really begins to pop each year, but late September and early October is usually a safe bet. That’s when you’ll get some spectacular background color behind the tennis pavilion and on the drive on the way up to the mansion.

Photography: Kris Rae Photo

Of course, there’s also winter to consider; in that case, you may want to consider a heated tent on the terrace for your ceremony, or using the east or west ballroom. If you have a small guest list, you can also conduct your ceremony in the Loggia against the gorgeous windows!

It’s ultimately up to you when it comes to where your ceremony will be. You can have it on the vista, next to the tennis pavilion, on the terrace, in one of the ballrooms, amidst our cedar trees, or even in the Loggia!

Cocktail Hour

Photographer: Alicia Ann Photography

Cocktail hour is a great time to mix and mingle with your guests while enjoying libations and hors d’oeuvres after your ceremony. At the mansion, I’ve seen that having the cocktail hour near the ceremony location allows guests to easily transition from one space to another to enjoy that part of the event. As an example, if you choose to have your ceremony on the vista, you may then choose to have your cocktail hour by the tennis pavilion amidst the roses. A more popular choice is on the terrace or in the mansion, or both!

There are a lot of options for cocktail hour at the mansion. You can also use the Loggia, terrace, one of the ballrooms, or the rose garden near the tennis pavilion.

Dining

Photography: Melanie Ruth Photography

Photography: Melanie Ruth Photography

There are a few different options for dining at the mansion. Both of the ballrooms are gorgeous and you can choose to do a sweetheart table in either of them. You may also choose to have a long, elegant head table in the Loggia! If you want to do something very special, you may instead choose to have your guests dine outside on the terrace. If you’re planning this set-up, I recommend getting a tent (just in case!).

Dancing

Most couples decide to have dancing on the terrace, and I don’t blame them. It’s absolutely amazing to dance under the night sky in the evening. This past year, some couples added bistro lights for a more romantic feel, or uplighting that switched colors during songs to create more of a fun vibe.

Photography: Brooke Brady Photography

Photography: Derek Halkett Photography

There are also a few other locations for dancing inside the mansion. Some couples opt to use the dance floor in the Loggia when it’s either too hot or too cold inside (yes, the mansion has both AC and heating), and some even rent a dance floor and decide to use one of the ballrooms.

 

There are a lot of ways the Wadsworth Mansion can be used during your wedding. Just this past year, I’ve seen couples include a photobooth, a memory room, and more! I’ve seen dinner take place outside, in the ballrooms, and in the Loggia. I’ve seen dancing happen both inside and outside. There are so many ways that you can personalize the mansion during your big day. I’m sure that as I continue to oversee weddings in this amazing, historic space, I’ll learn of even more creative ways that couples decide to use it for their weddings.

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