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Connecticut Weddings Offer Something New

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Like many brides to be, when my fiancé and I got engaged last August, I immediately shifted into planning mode. I scoured every wedding-related magazine and website I could find in search of unique and creative ideas that would reflect our personal taste.What quickly became apparent to me during my research was that today’s couples seem to be extremely focused on differentiation—in other words, how they can set their big day apart from the traditional chapel and sit-down dinner combo.

Nowadays, couples want to showcase their personalities with as much originality as possible. And with the advent of wedding-focused websites like The Knot, inspirational websites like Pinterest and websites like Etsy that allow individual craft vendors to sell their wares online, you can find almost anything you’re looking for, no matter how unusual.

In 2012 some nontraditional wedding trends started gaining popularity. Colored wedding gowns, honeymoon registries, choreographed wedding party dances, edible centerpieces, and themed weddings started popping up everywhere. Even A-list stars like Anne Hathaway and Jessica Biel bucked tradition, opting for pink wedding gowns in lieu of classic white or ivory.

But what are some of the trends that are rising in popularity here in the Nutmeg state? I asked a few of Connecticut’s top wedding planners about some of the more unusual weddings they had planned that weren’t restricted by client confidentiality. They were kind enough to share memorable details from a few recent affairs that highlighted offbeat themes, made use of unusual locations, or honored the bride or groom’s cultural heritage.

“We had a recent winter wedding for avid skiers,” recalls Libby Rutty, wedding and special events manager at The Riverhouse at Goodspeed Station. “They had an antique pair of wooden skis and poles for guests to sign that were going to be put on their wall at home.” The pair kept the outdoor theme going using place cards that were inserted into birch logs and a birch cake stand. Their honeymoon? The Swiss Alps. Rutty also worked with a couple of passionate Yankees fans. They carried out the baseball theme in their “guest book”, a signed home plate, as well as the table centerpieces, cake and décor.

But the most unique wedding Rutty recalls was that of Mike and Jessica of Old Lyme. The bride’s love of buttons was carried out in even the smallest details of the wedding. The menu inserted into the napkins at the reception had silver cloth buttons attached to the top. The place cards were antiqued hang tags adorned with buttons. In place of a traditional guest book was a hand-painted family tree with antiqued buttons next to each guest’s name.

Many buttons were donated by family members and there was a story behind each one: silver buttons from a cousin’s baby sweater, satin buttons from the bride’s grandmother’s wedding dress, some from her grandfather’s shirts. She carried a bouquet as well as her uncle’s white handkerchief, which had buttons sewn on each corner—two white hearts representing the bride and groom, two red ones for their two daughters. The bride even carried the theme into her wedding day attire—the earrings and necklace given to her by her mother resembled antique pearl buttons.

Jackie Maculaitis, lead wedding planner at Ambiance Luxe Wedding Designs, says that she’s recently noticed a spike in the demand for unique wedding locations, sharing the details of a spectacular wedding she planned for Britton and Stokes of Norwalk. The couple chose picturesque Sheffield Island, located off the coast of Norwalk, for their wedding site. Owned by the Norwalk Seaport Association, the small island has no running water or electricity, and a lighthouse as its only landmark.

Since Sheffield Island is essentially a bare canvas, every single item had to be brought over from the mainland. Maculaitis and her team transported tents, tables, chairs, tableware, food and bar items, a generator, the band, the cake, pre-prepped flowers, all décor, even a dance floor via boat. Adding to an already logistically challenging event, they had to set up during the popular annual Norwalk Oyster Festival when boats were particularly hard to come by.

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