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Eyes up, heart open

Carla Ten Eyck

The 3 Best Intimate Wedding Venues in Connecticut

As a wedding photographer and event photographer in Connecticut, I have the opportunity to see a lot of different wedding spots, from intimate wedding venues to massive ballrooms.  I witness them in pre-action and in full action. After sixteen years photographing every type of wedding and event over the years in all of the places you can imagine, as far away as Scotland and Costa Rica, I have seen some events!

Despite all of the amazing travel (which, trust me, I love love love) one of the best parts of traveling is coming home. I hail from Hartford, Connecticut and am thrilled when given the opportunity to work close to my house and my two kids. And my cats (shout out to Ron Swanson, Baby, Nightwing and The Mixx!)—Can’t forget about those little sweeties!

Being so Connecticut proud, I thought I would compile a list of the three best venues for intimate weddings in Connecticut.  These small wedding venues make for private, intimate events that are really unique.

Best Intimate Wedding Venues in Connecticut (A Photographer’s List!)

The Bee and Thistle Inn

Old Lyme, CT

Up first; The Bee and Thistle Inn 100 Lyme St. Old Lyme, CT, an easy 45 minute ride from the Hartford, CT area.

I have worked at the Bee (as I affectionately call it) many times and for a variety of different size weddings; from as intimate as 10 people to as large as 100 guests, and when it gets that large they use the side area with a tent.

I just adore the intimate and personal touches that an Inn the size of the Bee does. Their event planner, Tosh, is one of my favorite humans. She is thoughtful, professional and really really funny. Every time I book an event at The Bee and Thistle Inn, it makes my heart sing!

If you are hosting a wedding, the ceremony portion is held on the vast lawn by the Lieutenant River, weather permitting. The river weaves its path along the edge of The Bee’s property so gracefully and provides the most gorgeous setting for your wedding ceremony.

The entire staff at the Bee are helpful, courteous and professional, and if I were getting married there I would definitely feel like I was in the best hands!

Wedding ceremony by the Lieutenant River at the Bee and Thistle Inn, Old Lyme CT Bride and groom at their wedding ceremony at the Bee and Thistle Inn, Old Lyme CT

There is even a swing hung from the massive branch of this tree, providing a super romantic space for wedding photographs!

The late afternoon light can’t be beat!

 

To see more weddings I have photographed at The Bee and Thistle Inn, check the links below:

 

The Copper Beech Inn

Ivoryton, CT

Up next: The Copper Beech Inn at 46 Main St. Ivoryton Connecticut, another easy 45 minute drive from the Hartford Connecticut area, is a quaint and sweet Inn nestled in from a busy-ish (for this part of the state) road. The wedding and styled shoot that I have photographed there both were hosted by Kristy Nash Weddings, who is FABULOUS to work with. She is now located in New York, but worth the hire.  She has impeccable taste and a calm and professional demeanor that gets what you need done, done.

Ironically enough, it was Tosh’s wedding (she is the event planner for The Bee and Thistle Inn!) that I photographed at The Copper Beech Inn! It was an intimate event—about 25 guests enjoyed cocktails and passed appetizers for a cocktail hour in the sunken garden, and then enjoyed a seated dinner in the larger, wood room.

The food was so delicious, I can still taste the lobster and scallop risotto I had- and the fact that I remember what I ate for dinner almost a year ago today should tell you something! The service was impeccable, and attention to detail appreciated.

I do think that the inside could use some updating to its decor. There are a lot of non sequitur’s that I notice as a photographer, and I was told that this was on the owner’s radar. I hope they take it seriously and invest the time and money because The Copper Beech Inn is a hidden gem that is known for its food, but should also be known for its intimate events.

Below, Tosh and her brand new husband Keith enjoy their first dance in the sunken garden on the property, while basking in the glow of the late afternoon light.

Copper Beech Inn - an intimate wedding venue in Connecticut Small wedding reception dinner at Copper Beech Inn

All said and done, The Copper Beech Inn was a wonderful place to host an intimate party with everyone sitting at the long table in a private room together! Can’t beat that!

 

Inn at Woodstock Hill

Woodstock, CT

Rounding out the trio of the best intimate wedding venues in Connecticut is the quaint Inn at Woodstock Hill, in Woodstock Connecticut, a beautiful one hour drive from the Hartford, CT area.

One of my favorite things about the Inn is how far removed you feel from everything; you are way out there but then you end up feeling so connected to everyone at your event, so it’s the perfect balance.

The bride or groom can get ready in one of the houses on property, and there is plenty of room for an intimate group. In the house I was in, I wouldn’t recommend having 15 bridesmaids all hustling and bustling about getting ready, but for our group of 3 ladies plus my bride Hope, it was perfect.

Normally I am absolutely not a fan of a gazebo, but Jane from Just for You Floral based in Middlefield CT did an amazing job of prettying it up enough that I actually enjoyed photographing Hope and Owen under it! The stone patio is also a great spot so that your guests with any kind of heel won’t worry about getting stuck in the grass, which is always a bonus.

There is a little side garden area that was lush with zinnias and sunflowers and made a perfect backdrop for portraits with the wedding party. There are also some fields in the back that I would have wandered into with my couple if time had allowed. Overall I love the various options available for photos all over the property.

I also loved the opportunity to get up high and get a bird’s eye view of the ceremony from one of the rooms in the Inn!

Wedding ceremony at the Inn at Woodstock Hill

Their gardens provided a nice backdrop for photos with my bride and groom!

Bride and groom in sunflower field at Inn at Woodstock Hill

Hope and Owen’s wedding wasn’t as intimate as Annie or Tosh’s and so they had a tent where all of the festivities were held. Cocktails were on the side area, and then dancing and reception under the tent!

Tented wedding reception at Inn at Woodstock Hill

All said and done, I am super happy that I have had the opportunity to photograph at these intimate wedding venues in Connecticut and am already excited to go back and photograph more! Happy planning, everyone!

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