Kayla and Eric had the most beautiful fall weather and fall colors for their Hawk’s Landing Wedding last Saturday in Southington, Connecticut. I don’t think they expected such perfect weather and for all of the colorful leaves to still be on the trees in late October in Connecticut, but what a perfect backdrop for their special day. A week prior to the wedding, the forecast was cold and raining, so you can imagine my excitement when I landed in Boston the day before and saw that it was going to be 60 and sunny.
I first met Kayla and Eric in Florida for their engagement session. Although they are both from Connecticut, they now live in Southwest Florida where they love to go boating and fishing. Kayla responded to a model call while I was traveling to Fort Myers with my daughter, and I’m so glad she did. I even got to meet Kayla’s parents at the session, as they were down visiting at the time of the session. We had such a great time at Lover’s Key State Park capturing their photos, until we got eaten alive by tiny monsters (aka no-see-ums) on our way out of the park. I was thrilled when they decided to book me for their wedding back home in Connecticut. (You may not know that I have this crazy dream of photographing a wedding in all 50 states, so I was extra excited because I hadn’t photographed there yet.)
On their wedding day, I met up with Kayla and the girls at her parents’ home. The girls were finishing up with hair and makeup, and they all looked amazing! I’m always fascinated watching talented hair and makeup artists. What a gift! Once they were all ready, we took a few photos of the girls in their flannels and then Kayla got into her dress. Watching Kayla’s mom as she helped her into her dress was so precious. I know they were both trying to fight back tears.
We decided to head to a nearby location for bride and bridesmaids photos before meeting up with the guys at Hawk’s Landing for the first look. We had quite a few laughs as we walked around Camp Sloper looking for a spot with great fall colors and gorgeous light, but we found it! Kayla’s bridesmaids were such a great group of ladies. Having such a supportive group of girls in your wedding party makes the wedding day so much more fun and stress free.
Kayla and Eric decided they wanted to share a first look and do portraits prior to the ceremony. With their wedding party peeking out of the windows of the venue, Kayla walked down the golf cart path to meet Eric. As Eric turned around to see her walking toward him, there was such joy and love and maybe even a tear. This time of day is always so sweet and intimate, so I just stay back and snap away as the couple soaks in all of the emotion of the day.
After the first look, we took some portraits of Kayla & Eric before heading farther down the path to the most gorgeous light and fallen leaves for bridal party and family photos. Hawk’s Landing had a table set out with snacks and drinks, along with a long line of golf carts ready to transport everyone to the location. While doing immediate family photos, I ask Kayla and her dad to stand together for one. Everything was going great until I said, “Dad, she’s getting MARRIED!” He immediately lost it and the two of them started crying. I felt bad for making them cry, but it really was so sweet that I got teary-eyed myself. You can tell that Kayla’s dad is so proud of her and loves her dearly. Wedding days are hard on dads, I think. 🙂
When you have gorgeous fall colors and an amazing view, you have to set up the ceremony outside to take advantage of all of that beauty. The ceremony space was set up on the first tee with a gorgeous view of the golf course and the most beautiful trees. Kayla and Eric’s ceremony was full of laughter and tears as the couple said their vows. There were quite a few laughs as the adorable ring bearer insisted on pulling a suitcase of toys down the aisle, and there were tears as Kayla was walked down the aisle with her mom and dad. There were laughs as their friend who was officiating threw in a few jokes and tears when the couple said their vows. One of my favorite photos to take during the ceremony is right after the couple is pronounced husband and wife. Kayla and Eric turned to the crowd of guests and threw their hands up in celebration as everyone cheered and clapped along with them. It was such a sweet moment of the day.
Following the ceremony, we did a few family photos before heading out to a nearby reservoir for some more bride and groom photos. I’m so glad we took the time to do this, because these are my favorite photos of the newlyweds from the day. The water, the trees, the light, the new Mr and Mrs . . . it was all just perfect. Kayla’s sister, Nicole, came along with us to help with her dress and flowers during that time. During that time, Nicole got a photo from Eric’s sister, Kara, in California. Kara wasn’t able to make the ceremony because she had just given birth to baby Tatum. They were very sad to miss the wedding, but someone was streaming it live so their little family at home could join in the day. During our portrait time, Nicole received a picture of Kara, her husband, and baby Tatum all DRESSED UP for the wedding at their home across the country! Kara had on a bridesmaids dress, her husband had on a suit and baby girl had on the sweetest little dress. You can see Kayla and Eric’s reaction below, but I can tell you it meant so much to them!
The reception at Hawk’s Landing was the perfect ending to the day. The food was truly amazing, the toasts were sweet and sentimental, and the band, Jimmy and the Hat Tricks, kept everyone out on the dance floor through the end. I ran into Eric’s dad in the hotel lobby the next morning as I was checking out to head back to Illinois and we reminisced about what a wonderful day it was. He said, “I just didn’t want it to end.”
Venue: Hawk’s Landing Country Club
Florist: Scott’s Flowers
HMUA: Simply Gorgeous by Erin
Cupcakes: Sassy Mama Sweets
Band: Jimmy and the Hat Tricks
Bridal Gown Boutique: Laura Jacobs Bridal
Bridal Gown Designer: Stella York
Bridesmaids Dresses: Dessy
Photographer: Karen Shoufler Photography
To see more of my amazing couples and their weddings, head here.
If you would like to learn more about being a #karenshouflerbride, read all about the wedding experience here.