The Pond House Cafe Wedding Photos
Ryan & Stephanie
The Pond House Cafe, West Hartford, Connecticut
June 2nd, 2022
There are some places to get married in New England that are so beautiful it doesn't matter how crappy the weather is or what kind of crazy hectic day you're having as a bride and groom ... you just HAVE to stop and take a few minutes to walk to grounds and admire the beauty of nature.
I think that's one of the reason I enjoyed photographing Ryan and Stephanie's June wedding at the Pond House Cafe in West Hartford, Connecticut so much. Despite intermittent showers right in the middle of their first look, and the chaos of moving a planned outdoor ceremony indoors at the last moment, Ryan and Stephanie never let Mother Nature interfere with the wedding of their dreams and made sure we hit all the spots they always envisioned for their bride and groom portraits.
And their reward for that steadfast determination was a day full of laughs, love and lots of little moments I know they'll remember for a lifetime.
My time with Ryan and Stephanie started with a mix of bride and groom prep at the Simsbury Inn and I'm glad it did. While I photographed Ryan's sister's wedding a few years ago, I didn't really know this bride and groom much before their big day and it was nice to see how comfortable they both felt in the waning hours before their ceremony began.
In fact, the only real stressors on this part of the day was making sure we had time to grab photos of the bride and groom with their vintage cars at some point before we wrapped up for the evening and there was no way I'd miss out on that.
I'll admit. If anyone was feeling any bit of stress as we made our way out of Ryan and Stephanie's hotel, it was me. The forecast did NOT look good for their wedding day and I was worried it might mess with our plans.
And while it certainly affected part of Ryan and Stephanie's wedding — namely the wedding ceremony itself which was moved indoors — you wouldn't have noticed it from the way this bride and groom handled their first look.
Rain or no rain, this was quite the moment.
I loved Ryan's reaction to seeing Stephanie for the first time. It was such an unexpected, sweet and genuine moment and it set the tone perfectly for the rest of the day.
And I'm so thankful the weather held off long enough for us to explore parts of the Elizabeth Park Conservancy where the Pond House Cafe is. It was truly beautiful.
Speaking of beautiful, while it might not have been what they were picturing, Ryan and Stephanie's indoor ceremony was full of little beautiful moments itself.
I'm not a big fan of indoor ceremonies but I could tell it didn't matter to this bride and groom if they got married, indoors, outdoors or at home. They were lost in this moment together and so focused on saying "I do" that the location was secondary to the fact that they were standing there with the person they loved most in this world.
With Ryan and Stephanie's ceremony in the books and the weather letting up just a little bit, it was only natural that the three of us took care of those antique car photos the newlyweds wanted and that we explored the park a little bit more.
I could have walked the Elizabeth Park Conservancy grounds for hours and hope I get the chance to again. And, thankfully, Ryan and Stephanie were all too game to do the same for a little bit before heading into their cocktail hour.
Ryan and Stephanie's reception was inside of the Pond House Cafe and I knew the minute I walked in it was going to be unlike any other I've ever photographed. I especially loved the simplicity of their decorations, which blended really well with the vibe of their reception venue.
Ryan and Stephanie chose to have their first dance set to "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Simon & Garfunkel and that classic song really fit perfectly for a night that felt like a throwback to a simple, more elegant time.
This first dance, in particular, really made me smile for the way the bride and groom looked at each other throughout.
Ryan and Stephanie's wedding reception was one of the most casual and relaxed I've ever photographed but it wasn't without great moments. I especially loved the best man's toast, which was a huge hit, and the way the newlyweds danced with their mom and dad.
My one worry during Ryan and Stephanie's wedding reception was whether or not I would have enough time to capture some dancing before my 9:15 departure and while that didn't happen, I simply couldn't leave without getting at least a little taste of the party. So, naturally, I stuck around for a little while longer to see how much fun Ryan and Stephanie got into.
Needless to say, I'm glad I did as I could tell they were having a great time and their friends and family members were all too happy to join in.
By the time I packed up my gear and headed out from Ryan and Stephanie's wedding reception, I couldn't help but be grateful that I live in an area with so many cool people and even cooler wedding venues to photograph at.
Ryan and Stephanie's day was a beautiful one full of little moments I know they will cherish for a lifetime and the same can be said for me. I can't wait to return the Pond House Cafe and the Elizabeth Park Conservatory and, when I do, I'll smile remembering the day these two became husband and wife.
So congratulations Ryan and Stephanie on a truly fun wedding day and I wish you luck as you begin this next chapter in your lives together.
-Paul J. Spetrini
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The Vendor List:
Photographer: Paul J. Spetrini, Paul J. Spetrini Photography; Florist: Eden's Florist; Groom's Suit: Carl Anthony Tuxedo; Ceremony & Reception: The Pond House Cafe, West Hartford, Connecticut; DJ: B_entertained.