Natalie + Joe’s summer wedding at the Branford House

24 April 2015

From the minute John and I met Joe, we knew he would be the perfect addition to the Thomas family. In fact, I don’t know about anyone else, but I took it as a foregone conclusion that he was going to be a permanent addition from that first meeting! (Which was actually at Marget’s wedding, and the way he charmed, chauffeured, and danced with random family members he had never met before told me all I needed to know!) He and Natalie, my sister-in-law, fit together beautifully. I am SO lucky to have these two in my life, and lucky to be sharing their wedding with you today. (Natalie graciously agreed to share a few thoughts, too!)

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Marget drew the most beautiful illustration of the Branford House for Natalie and Joe’s save the date, and I contributed the graphic design!

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Hana Floral did a beautiful job with the flowers, just like she did for Marget’s wedding! Natalie’s bouquet included garden roses, lavender, tweedia, freesia, a cafe au lair dahlia, and mini phaleonopsis orchids.

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Bridesmaid dresses were a little bit of a conundrum, because as you can see, Marget was the most beautiful 39-week pregnant matron of honor I can imagine! She chose to wear a Two Birds dress while Kate and I wore J.Crew dresses in rich peacock. I love that color SO much! Jennie Fresa made everyone look good!

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Joe chose the same tuxedo John wore for our wedding, and has worn many times since – I can’t recommend it enough!

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From Natalie: Joe and I were married in July before a group of close family and friends at the Branford House at Avery Point in Connecticut. Being the third and last of my siblings to wed, led to some benefits and challenges! Among the challenges was finding a location we loved that would be unique to us (in other words, we didn’t want to revisit a venue that had already hosted a sibling’s wedding, which was hard because Marget/Seth and Emily/John got married in such amazing spots). However, the Branford House ended up working out really well for us—we were still on the shoreline and it was fun to choose a spot where my family had previously enjoyed picnics and where I had taken a physics class over the summer while home from college. It’s fun to think that I have pictures of me from elementary school enjoying a grinder on the steps of the lighthouse on the property and I now also have our first look photos from almost the same spot.

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Among the benefits was that Joe and I were able to put all of the wisdom and experience that my siblings had gained from their shoreline weddings to good use! We knew right away that we would use the same wonderful caterer and we also used the same amazing florist that Marget and Seth worked with (as well as the same musician for the ceremony!). Another benefit—our splendid photographer, Meredith Perdue, was recommended to us by Emily and John as both a great photographer and great person and, as promised, she made two camera-shy people feel comfortable and relaxed!

Marget and I were thrilled that Natalie chose to wear the custom horsehair veil we each wore at our weddings. Fingers crossed my younger sister will choose to wear it, too! :)

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I am grateful that we managed to bring personal touches into the ceremony. Joe and I met while serving as law clerks and we were so honored to be able to have the judge that we clerked for officiate. It was also particularly meaningful to us to have close friends contribute readings and offer blessings.

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Look at those happy faces!!

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Natalie, Marget, and I joke that we should start some sort of southeastern Connecticut shoreline wedding blog, because between the three of us, we have quite a bit of experience in the area! I personally couldn’t have been happier that N+J chose the Branford House, because when John and I were back in high school, we would (pretend) argue about whether we should get married at Branford House or Harkness some day. We didn’t end up getting married at either, but instead got to live vicariously through our siblings!

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John’s amazing parents grew lavender specifically to use in the centerpieces and floral arrangements. It looked beautiful! Another fun detail: one of Joe’s culinary specialties is sriracha deviled eggs, so A Thyme to Cook included a riff on them at cocktail hour.

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Eagle-eyed readers might recognize those cloth-wrapped frames. They were built for our wedding (see them here!), and have since made appearances at two other celebrations!

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Natalie and Joe chose to have a delicious desserts table as well as a small cake for cutting. They baked the cake themselves using Joe’s grandmother’s recipe, and we three girls used rosemary and lavender to accent the tiers.

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One of the favorite memories that Natalie wrote to me about was Joe calling the Virginia Reel at the reception, and I’d imagine that pretty much every guest would echo that! I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun on a dance floor!!

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Dj JD (with whom Natalie and Marget went to high school!) kept the dance floor packed all night. Even Marget was tearing it up, which had me convinced our nephew was going to be born at midnight. He ended up waiting about one more week for his debut :)

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Natalie and Joe, I love you. Thank you for letting me be a part of your magical day. I am already a bit in denial that I only have one sibling wedding to look forward to… but it’s hard to be sad when each was more wonderful than the last!

12 Responses to “Natalie + Joe’s summer wedding at the Branford House”

  1. These two! I loved every bit of this wedding day, thanks so much for allowing us to relive this beautiful celebration all over again, Em.

  2. Elizabeth

    Beautiful! I *love* her dress and the florals are to die for.

  3. Sue

    Emily, Thank you for capturing so many happy memories of J&N’s special day. We are blessed to have such a beautiful daughter-in-law and to have felt so welcomed by all of her wonderful family.

  4. Love this post! Love this couple! So fun to take a walk down memory lane, and I loved all the tidbits you and Natalie provided. Cheers!

  5. Natalie

    Oh Emily, thank you so much! We love you too and appreciate everything you did for us on the wedding day and beyond. It really brightened my day to see this.

  6. Megan

    Love this, thank you for sharing! Absolutely stunning. This is giving me even more inspiration for my summer wedding which is just 100 days away today (eek!), which leads me to a question for you… I really appreciated the link to John’s tuxedo choice. My handsome groom will be wearing one, and we too think it makes sense for him to purchase one. However, we’re not sure what to do about his six groomsmen. We want to keep the costs low, but would of course like to have a cohesive look. What did John’s groomsmen do, if you would be so kind to share?

  7. Em

    @Megan So fun!! We gave our groomsmen the option of purchasing a tuxedo or renting one. I think two opted to rent, and one opted to purchase the same one as John. We gave a few aesthetic guidelines to the renters (I think they rented from Men’s Wearhouse). I hope that helps – they ended up looking great together!

  8. louise

    what a beautiful wedding! i absolutely love her dress! any chance you’d share where it’s from?

  9. Rob

    A lot of fun to bring back such happy memories! A wonderful day and event!

  10. Jackie

    Natalie is stunning! What a beautiful wedding with so many special touches. I love to see the family veil. So happy you shared this!

  11. Megan

    @EM, super helpful, thank you! I showed my fiance John’s tux and your post, and I think he might purchase nearly the same one. And per your suggestion, I think we’ll also give the groomsmen the option with a few aesthetic guidelines. Thanks again for your (always) spot on advice!

  12. Em

    @Louise Isn’t it beautiful? It is the “Nila” by Modern Trousseau!