Sarah & Chris
Sarah and Chris, who both work in Norwalk with The Maritime Aquarium’s volunteer dive team, met in 2015 when Chris was a volunteer diver and Sarah was the diver coordinator or “his boss.” “He had the reputation for being the ‘hot diver guy,’ but I had not met him yet, so I just happened to schedule myself on a day Chris would be diving too,” says Sarah. “When he showed up, I felt like it was something out of a movie. I looked up and there’s Chris with a dive bag slung over his shoulder, a weight belt and dry suit bag in the other. He had a cup of coffee and was wearing bright red sunglasses. He had me from the first day.”
Since they both love the ocean and maritime history, they are frequent visitors of lighthouses. On Oct. 27, 2017, they packed a picnic dinner and their two dachshunds and headed to the Tarrytown Lighthouse for sunset, where Chris dropped to one knee and proposed.
When they started planning their nuptials, the couple knew they wanted a fall wedding. “We started dating in October, got engaged in October, so we wanted to have our wedding in October,” says Sarah. “The colors this time of year in the Hudson Valley can be so beautiful, and we wanted to have our wedding and reception outdoors to really soak in all of the fall foliage.”
“Sarah loves the movie The Secret Garden, so we tried to have our guests feel like they were in a magical, beautiful place — which they were!” says Chris. “Also, there was an overall theme of going ‘back to our roots,’ hence the rustic farm and natural décor.”
After looking at dozens of venues online and touring several in person, they chose Blooming Hill Farm. “It is a hidden gem in the Hudson Valley,” says the couple. “It has a wonderfully laid-back atmosphere, which is personified by the venue coordinator, Kevin. He was able to put us at ease as he showed us the venue and explained what they offered. We left feeling like we had found our spot.”
The bride tried on several dresses before landing on one from BHLDN. “When I saw my dress, it was love at first sight,” says Sarah.
Chris wore a tweed suit with wood buttons and brown shoes that were stylish and practical: “[They] would help hide the mud,” he says.
He wore a set of cufflinks made to look like oysters, a wedding gift from Sarah, and a pocket watch, which he borrowed from his bride to be. “It was my ‘something borrowed,’” says Chris. “I’m hoping it becomes a look that will hold up over time as we look back in 10 or 20 years.”
The bridal party comprised close family and friends, with a mix of men and women on both sides, including a man of honor standing with Sarah.
Sarah and Chris chose a palette of gray and blue and asked their bridal party to wear whatever they felt most comfortable in within that palette.
The couple was happy to be married under the old oak tree, and the florist added small touches to the altar, including eucalyptus leaves, which were used throughout the wedding. Leading to the altar were two vintage doors that had been found at the venue and propped up against an arbor. “The doors were [the idea of] Sarah’s mother Christine, and she was right!” says Chris. Some flowers, lanterns, and candles were added, creating a perfect archway for the bridal party to walk through. “One of the best parts of the venue being a working farm is they had a lot of that kind of décor,” says Chris. “Old rustic doors, the barn filled with drying garlic, rustic wooden benches, things like that tend to accumulate on a farm.”
For their flowers, Sarah and Chris used a lot of greenery, including eucalyptus leaves, while color was added with blue and silver thistle. “We think that Blooming Hill Farm is so beautiful on its own that we didn’t need to add much in the way of colors and flowers,” says the couple. “Plus, the eucalyptus gave a lovely herbal scent to the whole reception.”
For the seating chart, guests’ names were written on paper that looked like barn wood. Personalized signs were made from reclaimed wood and carved table numbers were recycled from other weddings.
The food was all farm to table from Blooming Hill Farm. For dessert, they served apple cider donuts, ice cream from Ferris Acres Creamery in Newtown, CT, where Sarah grew up, and a cake by Flour Power with s’mores filling. And because the couple likes wine, Chris pulled out a special Madeira that he had bought a case of at the age of 26 from Wine Geeks in Armonk. He wanted a wine that he could save for up to a 100 years and that would become an heirloom, perfect for a special occasion. All the details came together beautifully to create the rustic fall fête of the couple’s dreams.