Kevin & Jen
Allen Hill Farm in Brooklyn, Connecticut (Ceremony and Reception)
September 23rd, 2017
As a wedding photographer, you never want to say you have a "favorite" venue to shoot a couple's big day at but it's hard to deny we all have places that make us a little more excited than most. Whether it's the way a sun sets at the location or the little spots you can shoot formal photos at, every photographer has places they love to work at that give you just a bit more creativity.
Allen Hill Farm in Brooklyn, Connecticut is definitely one of those for me.
From the massive two-level barn where couples have their reception to the beautiful hilltop vista where you can see what looks like an endless forest of trees, Allen Hill Farm is one of the most beautiful spots I've worked at for a rustic wedding and Kevin and Jen's September wedding at the location showed exactly why.
Kevin and Jen were married on a blistering warm early fall afternoon and were, without question, one of my most casual couples ever.
I loved watching the way these two interacted, whether it was during their super sweet engagement shoot at Gillette Castle State Park in East Haddam, Connecticut back in May or during their touching first dance where Jen couldn't stop smiling.
I expected their wedding day would be a fun one where the laughter never stopped and I wasn't disappointed. It was everything this bride and groom could have asked for and much, much more. I'm just glad I was there to document it all.
And document I did ...
Kevin and Jen's wedding day began with a marathon session of preparation. It's not often that I get to shoot BOTH bride and groom prep but that was the plan on this day as I started with Jen's hair and makeup appointments, booked it over to a nearby hotel to catch Kevin getting in his suit and came back in time to see the bride hopping into her dress.
It was a lot of work to keep track of where everyone was and what they were up to but it was a lot of fun as both the bride and the groom radiated excitement about their wedding day and I could tell we were in for a great time.
I don't know if I can say I had more fun with the bride or groom during preparation. While Jen was determined to savor every moment and never let the stress of the day get to her, even to the point of drinking a Bud Light as her bridesmaids tried to figure out how to maneuver her dress shut, Kevin and his two groomsmen were a barrel of laughs as well ... especially as they tried to figure out how to fold a pocket square by watching videos on Youtube.
What I did love about the start of this day was how go-with-the-flow Jen and Kevin were. Neither seemed too stressed about the timeline or about sticking to any sort of rigid schedule. They both had a list of things they wanted to do and knew they'd get done eventually.
I appreciated this the most as we led up to their ceremony as Kevin and Jen's attitude took any and all stress away from the most important part of their day. I could tell they were both thrilled to finally reach this milestone moment in their lives but not overwhelmed by it.
It just felt right and any stress you'd normally see from a groom waiting for his bride or a bride trying to remember her vows was wiped away and replaced by never-ending grins on both of their faces and a sense that this would be a moment neither would ever forget.
Kevin and Jen's ceremony was short and sweet and thank goodness it was as the weather on their wedding day was an abnormally hot and humid 87 degrees ... well more than 15 degrees warmer than average temperatures for the area in late September.
And though I'm sure no one really minded, I could tell we were starting to lose some of their friends and family members during the formal photo portion of the day as the bride and groom wanted to take their photos in front of the farm's giant barn doors ... right into the sun.
Thankfully though, the heat cooled rather quickly and by the time it was time for us to take photos of just the bride and groom, things weren't nearly as bad in the shade-covered tree patch a little ways away from the main barn area.
I really loved shooting formal photos with Kevin and Jen ... so much so that I pulled them back outside for some sunset photos later on.
But if there's one part of their wedding I was looking forward to the most, it would be their reception as I simply had no idea what to expect from their guests but knew it would be a lot of dancing and laughter as most couples tend to attract people to their wedding who match their own personalities. This was definitely true on this day.
Jennifer and Kevin started their reception with a beautiful first dance where Jen literally did not stop smiling.
To me, it was the perfect way to begin a night where that would be true as the newlyweds had three great toasts from their closest friends, all wildly different from each other in tone and content, had a pair of touching parent dances and a blink-and-you'd-miss-it cake cutting that was low key and without much fanfare.
In other words, for a couple who didn't want to get too bogged down in the minute details of a traditional wedding, Kevin and Jen's reception was the perfect fit. They nailed all the important moments but never at the expense of spending as much time as possible with each other and with their loved ones.
After Kevin and Jen cut their cake, it was time for the dance floor to open and boy did it ever.
I'm not sure who had more fun on Kevin and Jen's dance floor ... the older relatives who had no problem getting down to songs spanning multiple decades of pop hits or the children who seemed to have limitless energy from the first to final song.
Either way, it combined for a rocking dance floor with and without the bride and groom as the pair spent most of their reception rotating between dancing together and spending time with loved ones.
All told, Kevin and Jen had a wedding that fit their personalities to a tee.
While it felt like a rocking and rolling summer night at a barn in Connecticut, it still managed to have all the little touches of fall in New England for a blend of both worlds that was just fun to witness.
By the end of the night, both the bride and groom looked like they could celebrate for 10 more hours and that's not an easy accomplishment as wedding days can be incredibly draining.
But Kevin and Jen planned their wedding day and perfectly and executed it even better and, at the end of the day, who could ask for more?
So congratulations Kevin and Jen! I hope your wedding day was everything you ever dreamed it would be.
I know it sure was for me. :)
Tags: Allen Hill Farm, Connecticut Weddings, Outdoor Weddings, Rustic Weddings, Farm Weddings, Brooklyn, Paul J. Spetrini Photography
The Vendor List
Photographer: Paul J. Spetrini Paul J. Spetrini Photography; Hair/Make-up: Sara and Ashlyn of Larissa Lake and Co.; Jennifer's Dress: The Wedding Embassy; Dress Designer: Pronovias; Jennifer's Shoes: Justin Boots; Kevin's Suit: Men’s Wearhouse; Ceremony/ Reception Location: Allen Hill Farm, Brooklyn, Connecticut; Officiant: Tara Lenaghan; DJ: Chris Maccagnano of Anthem Entertainment; Cake and Catering: On the Spot Catering, LLC.
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