This was a Connecticut wedding. As in, Ivy League graduates who are now lawyers living in Manhattan coming out to Connecticut to get married. I really thought I had this one pegged – classy, stylish but conservatively dressed successful people having polite conversation while sipping gin and tonics, sharing memories of the past but reveling in their new grownup life.
When the groom and groomsmen showed up to the rehearsal dinner wearing matching dinner jackets with some kind of fraternity seal emblazoned on the breast pocket, they only confirmed my guess. Then I found out the jackets were for their “fake fraternity” called Tri Lamb, which they’ve had going for 10 years. And then I see that one of the groomsmen had painted his toenails green – which were visible because he was wearing flip flops with his madras pants and fake fraternity coat. And to top things off, this sophisticated Connecticut wedding ended with… you guessed it… people jumping in the pool with their clothes on (or, in some cases, no clothes on).
OK Julia and John, you totally got me. And I’m so glad. This gorgeous wedding, at the luxury Mayflower Inn and Spa boutique hotel, was full of surprises of the best kind, and still ended up being glamorous and sophisticated after all.
Julia knew of us from being a guest at Elizabeth and Ethan’s Bermuda wedding a few years ago (this was before I started shooting with Ben). And Elizabeth and Ethan ended up being guests at Julia and John’s wedding. Besides the groomsmen’s fake frat jackets and green toenails, and the jumping in the pool, I also was delightfully surprised by Julia accidentally stepping out of her Manolo Blahniks at the top of the aisle, and simply kicking the other one off and leaving them in the grass for the ceremony, unintentionally becoming a barefoot bride. I love the fact that her mom accidentally stood on her veil, without a clue, moments before Julia walked down the aisle. I love that John’s friends spontaneously initiated a raucous, competitive folk dance (A Dartmouth tradition called the Salty Dog Rag) in the middle of the reception. And I love that there was an impromptu hora dance – not to the Hava Nagila but to Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer.”
We never really know what we’re going to get with each wedding, as much as I might try to guess. But one thing is for sure – we are super lucky that smart, successful Ivy League graduates like our photos enough to bring us to their wild throwdowns – disguised, of course, as fancy grownup parties.