A Back Yard, Shabby Chic, Rustic, Lake Front, Freakin’ Awesome Wedding… It’s as “simple” as that.

2014-09-15_0039“With the passing of Toby’s grandmother unexpectedly that week it was hard to balance the emotions of happy and sad.” It’s so extremely difficult when we lose someone close to us. And just a week before a wedding, a day that should be filled with all the love we have had in our lives from day one, it’s like a power struggle inside for the feelings we “think” we should or shouldn’t have. Here’s the thing though, I firmly believe Toby’s grandmother was at their wedding, in each smile on that day, in each tear and in the beautiful breezes and magnificent day that was…. Their day.. For that, this post goes out to Toby’s Grandmother and all those smiles…..

Now, let’s rewind a bit… Let’s start where these two met… How they met. As Toby recalls, it was almost a “set up”, but I don’t think he minded at all. “Fran and I met at the Bidwell Tavern in Coventry.  I knew who she was but we never really had been introduced before.  I was there with a group of my friends that night.  My friend, Jon Overton, came with is girlfriend (now his wife) and her cousin, Fran.  I didn’t know it, but Jon was playing matchmaker that night.  Fran just so happened to sit across from me and before I knew it we were chatting it up all night.  We had many of the same interests; camping, biking, hiking and other outdoorsy stuff.  And at the end of the night I walked her to her car and she gave me her number.  It really may have been love at first sight!”

2014-09-15_0003And at first sight translated into the relationship that became Toby and Fran’s… From what I gathered, this relationship went on for sometime. Maybe even a long time??? I may be wrong, but I don’t think so… Anyway… They found each other and sooner or later the moment had to come. When he would ask the woman in front of him to be his wife, his partner in crime. And the moment did come. When asked about the proposal, Toby had quite the story to share. I mean, it’s so great that the excitement caused someone in the restaurant to collapse!?!? “I wasn’t nervous about proposing until the day that I picked up her ring.  I picked up the ring on Friday morning and then the panic started to set in.  I thought that I had to propose real soon.  She would definitely find it if I waited too long.  I just got a new job also that week and was going to start it on Monday.  I knew that I wanted to surprise Fran with the proposal, so this seemed like a great cover for going out and celebrating!  We like hanging out in North Hampton and I knew that she always had wanted to stay at the North Hampton Hotel, so I made a reservation for the hotel for the weekend.  I called Fran just moment later and told her to pack a bag and that we were going to North Hampton.  I drove over to her place and picked her up.  On the way, she asked where we were staying.  Not to ruin my surprise, I told her that we were staying at a Marriott up there.  After a bit of traffic, we finally found ourselves in the city.  She was very excited about getting away for the weekend and started to freak out a little when we pulled into the driveway of the North Hampton Hotel instead of a Marriott.  I told her that we would celebrate in style over my new job.We then poked around town for a little while.  We checked out some shopping that she wanted to do, stopped in for beers at The North Hampton Brewery, and discussed some options for dinner.  This entire time, I was freaking out inside.  I had a ring in my pocket and had no idea how I would propose to her.  I was being a little paranoid about it too.  2014-09-15_0005I thought that I would for sure lose it if I didn’t give it to her soon.  I would drop it, or pull it out with my change and she’d see it or something crazy like that.Finally, we decided to stop for dinner in the tavern that is downstairs from the North Hampton Hotel.  We had had drinks there before and heard that the food was excellent.  It has a great cozy atmosphere in there and I instantly knew that this would be the place that I would propose.We got some drinks and ordered dinner.  I was winging this whole thing.  I had no real plan for how I would propose.  I decided to take her by complete surprise by tricking her a little.  During our dinner, I reached for my wallet and told Fran, “Oh no!  I’m missing my wallet!”  She couldn’t believe it.  I told her that I must have left it at the North Hampton Brewery.  She didn’t know what we should do.  Should we go back and look for it?  Should we call them?  2014-09-15_0007 Did it just fall out, onto the seat next to me?  I told her that we should look under the table.  Maybe it just fell out of my pocket and onto the floor.  As she was looking under the table, I took the ring out of my pocket and went around to her side of the booth.  I knelt down and held out the ring.  When she finally picked up her head from looking under the table and saw me, I took her hand and said, “Fran, will you marry me?”

She freaked out a little and finally said yes!  I put the ring on her hand and I sat back down, still freaking out myself a little bit.  Fran had a “perma-smile” going on and couldn’t stop starring at her new diamond.  So I had to joke around a little bit and told her that her salad would get cold if she didn’t finish it soon.
Just a few moment later, the entire fire department came running in!  Someone in the back of the restaurant must have been having a heart attack or something.  We never found out what had happened, but they took a person out on a stretcher.  It kind of changed the mood in the restaurant but not the excitement that we were feeling.
It was a great night all in all and wouldn’t be the last time that we’d have a fire department involved in our marriage process!  (The Vernon Fire Department was called to my parents house when we had “yard clean up day” a week before the wedding.  We were burning some brush and the smoke bothered one of the neighbors I guess.  The fire department showed up after we had already put out the fire.  So we seized the opportunity to get a few photos of the bride-to-be with all the volunteers in front of the fire truck!)”


2014-09-15_0023Yea, I didn’t “have” to share the whole story, but I sort of felt like I had to. 😉 But then, then came the rest of their lives together. So we come to current day, when their wedding was coming. It was another wedding for 2014 that had such spectacular weather! I mean, a beautiful day, passing clouds, on a lake. Walking up to the house and seeing just how great they made this “back yard wedding”… OMG. As you can see from the pictures they had such a great look, all the details, nothing missed out on. The chandeliers hanging from the trees, the colour palette that flowed seamlessly with the surroundings. The sail cloth tent that not only looked great during the day, but glowed with such a soft look in the evening. Really, if you’re thinking about a backyard wedding, take note of this one for sure. And for a large part of that, a HUGE THANKS goes out to Kathi Lin Taft… “Kathy helped decorate and coordinate the day of the wedding . Kathy is my hairdresser, she has amazing vision and attention to detail. I could not have asked for a more incredibly stunning day with every detail so perfectly thought of. She is not a professional decorator or wedding planner. She did all of this out of the kindness of her heart. Kathy took days off of work, spent many hours of her own time, and enlisted help from her family to make our day PERFECT!”

2014-09-15_0020Much like the theme was set as the perfect backyard wedding, it also led to all the perfect back yard wedding moments… For Fran, it was coming down the aisle. I recall seeing her myself, up on the deck, grabbing shots as she was so radiant, Toby’s eyes, completely fixed on her. And that moment, as farm recalls… ” I think the excitement I felt right before  the wedding as my little brother walked me out of the house – I just wanted to squeal and jump around (and I did). I was so excited to get down the aisle and stand next to Toby and become his partner in life, his wife. Staring up at him and looking into his eyes was incredibly special.” 

For Toby: “I remember the first look.  It was in a neighbors garden.  The place was gorgeous and the moment felt kind of magical.  Knowing that Fran was just feet behind me and I couldn’t look at her yet was driving me a little crazy.  I could hear her voice and wanted to steal a peak at her.  Finally, I was told that I could turn around and see my bride.  It was amazing!  She looked so beautiful.  Her hair, her dress and most of all her smile!  That moment really stands out in my mind.”

2014-09-15_0025It would be so easy to continue on about their wedding. To tell more stories of dance floor shenanigans or when guests began jumping into the lake naked… (okay, the jumping into lake thing didn’t happen. haha…) Instead I will close out with a few tips from Fran and Toby to other couples. And of course a handful of photos below where you can see some of the moments that they’re talking about… Most of all, ENJOY!

And if you’re getting married or no someone that is, reach out and you can Click here to get in touch

Tips for future couples:

From Fran, the bride:

  • Don’t wait till the last minute. Make lists and do much as you can far in advance, it will give you less to think about the closer the big day comes.
  • Take time for just the two of you the day of and the days before even if its just a few minutes.
  • The day of, be in the moment, put all your worries to the side and take it all in, all the love and support by your new partner, family and friends! It truly is an amazing day- let it be perfect.

2014-09-15_0029From Toby, the Groom:

  • Don’t wait to the last minute to get the planning done.  We waited a bit longer than we should have on a few things.  It makes it more stressful than it should be.
  • Take it all in.  Once the wedding starts, it all goes by so fast.  Its like a big blur.  Take time to enjoy what is going on.  All the friends and family there are there for you.
  • Let loose a little.  Don’t stress out about the day of the wedding.  No one will care if you mess up your words a little, or if your “not good at dancing.”  Just let loose and have a blast.  Enjoy yourself!
Photography: TAB Photographic (ME!)
Hair & Make up:  Larissa Lake Makeup Artist
Venue: Toby’s (Jonathan Tobin Schnetzer’s) parents’ house on Bolton Lake
DJ: Jim Hogan’s Music Mix.
Ceremony Music: Suite Occasions- Windsor CT
Florist: Willow floral Design, Cindy Limberger Floral Designer, Ellington CT
Caterer’s: Villa Louisa
Dress: Cassablanca Bridal from the Wedding Embassy, Oakville CT
Shoes: Nina shoes
Rings: Dunbar Jewelers, Vernon CT
Other Jewelry: Vail, Hair piece, and Earrings. Wedding Embassy, Oakville CT
Anklet was Nonny’s (Toby’s Grandmother) my something borrowed from Toby’s sister Amy
Cake: Cakes by Donna
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