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Eyes up, heart open

Carla Ten Eyck

Chatfield Hollow Inn Shoot with Everthine

The Chatfield Hollow Inn is FABULOUS! It is one of the dreamiest venues that I have ever seen: Yes folks it’s The Chatfield Hollow Inn, located in the windy roads of Killingworth CT. Not to be confused with Chatfield Hollow State Park, which is about 10 minutes away, this little gem of a spot is its own jam. From the very second you pull up the long, tree lined driveway complete with stone walls, groves of ferns and clusters of delicate birch trees you know exactly why!

I discovered that the Chatfield Hollow Inn was a bed and breakfast and that they only host an exclusive number of weddings and events a year, which just makes me want to come here for a long weekend and relax and enjoy the well kept property and extensive grounds even more.

Riverhouse Catering partnered with The Chatfield Hollow Inn to host a super lovely event showcasing the property and all that they can offer potential clients. When I was approached by my long time colleague and close friend, Diana of Jubilee Events to photograph the event, I happily said yes. Any opportunity to get out and photograph fellow industry people while also attending the event is a great balance for me. But then, our little brains went into overdrive and Diana and I decided to tack on a styled shoot in the beginning of the day, since everything was already happening that day, why not add some more fun and excitement to an already full plate?

Diana knows exactly how I roll and that I work fast and furious and can collaborate like it’s my ….. wait, it totally is my job! It’s one of my favorite parts of my job, just playing with new gowns that I haven’t photographed yet, or working with new creatives who I may only know via social media but have never created anything with yet.

So we all partnered up with fashion and beauty and floral and all of the things and just had so much fun doing all of it together, despite the torrential rain all morning! Chelsea from Everthine Bridal in Madison, which is right down the road from the Inn was so much fun to collaborate with. She was really interested in what I wanted to do and showcase on the shoot, and was eager to get as many looks in as I was! Our models for the day, Hailey, Janelle, my cousin Sophia and my little Georgie girl were so wonderful to work with and didn’t complain once about the clear chill in the air.

Creative Partners for the Day:

Venue: The Chatfield Hollow Inn, Killingworth, CT

Planning + Design: Diana from Jubilee Events

Fashion + Styling: Chelsea from Everthine Bridal, Madison CT

Hair + Makeup: Catie Bane, Guilford CT

Floral: Jakkelyn Iris Flowers, Killingworth CT

Furniture: Gather and Lounge, Bridgeport CT

Rentals: Peak Event Services

Draping + Lighting: Drape Art Designs

Paper: Karri Lee Designs

Catering: Riverhouse Catering

Models: Maggie Inc.

Photography: by yours truly, Connecticut Wedding Photographer Carla Ten Eyck

This little house below is a gym. The prettiest darn gym I ever did see!
Full skirt wedding gown from Everthine Bridal at Chatfield Hollow, Killingworth CT

Janelle perches on a stone wall at The Chatfield Hollow Inn right by this crazy gorgeous peony and allium garden, it was spectacular and is gonna explode with full blooms in about a week!

This grove of trees is spectacular. Connecticut is truly a beautiful state!

Bohemian wedding gown from Everthine Bridal at the Chatfield Hollow Inn, Killingworth CT Everthine bridal wedding gown in the forest at Chatfield Hollow Inn, Killingworth CT

Even if she wasn’t my daughter I would be amazed at the depth she has when she is photographed. But she IS my daughter, my 13 year old daughter who is only an 8th grader and I am so happy that I get this opportunity to create with her.

Georgie and Sophia are cousins and have been so close their entire life. This day was a long time coming, where they could be together to create something really beautiful and have fun while doing it! Especially since Sophia is graduating and will be attending American University in the fall, it was a really great way for these cousins to spend the day, during Pride Month even! We didn’t have a groom for the shoot at The Chatfield Hollow Inn, which is not necessary and so we had a few shots to showcase a couple and let it be led by the ladies! LGBTQ+ Pride all the way, baby!

This is not even a showcase garden or spot, it’s next to where the excavator is parked! I saw these bad boys and squealed my way over and had Danielle follow with her super gorgeous chair on her head, literally, and we just plunked that BS down here like it was where it was supposed to go! Hailey had fun trying not to smile during my grunting and yelling.

This is my height. I am as tall as this 4′ chair. I could legit GET LOST in this fern forest! Who would come look for me? WHO?

Idyllic. Picturesque. Amazing. baaaaaahhhhh! Unless you see a scary face in the window watching you, when you thought you were alone on the property, then this is scary. SOMEONE GO CALL THE POLICE

This chair started turning into the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and there were all of the places that I wanted to just chuck it into, and if there wasn’t a party starting in literally 40 minutes, we would have! Danielle from Gather and Lounge and Chelsea from Everthine Bridal know how to roll with my nutty, we were quite the trio!

Macrame, alllllll day!

This boardwalk empire in the woods of The Chatfield Hollow Inn is the stuff my dreams are made of, people. Like, it’s the BS I look up on Pinterest and just zone out to to feel good in my heart, and there I was, ACTUALLY ON IT. And my heart felt pretty freaking good!

Rue De Seine Benny Bodhin gown in the woods at the Chatfield Hollow Inn, Killingworth CT Rue De Seine Wedding gown, on wooden boardwalk at Chatfield Hollow Inn, Killingworth CT

I’m gonna just leave you with this, right here. The last solo shot of the day, as we were rushing to get back because the party started in 20 minutes and I still had to shoot the table and the tent and one more group shot by the pond. But I HAD to. Danielle ever so quietly watched me turn my head longingly at the vines as we were walking by and said  something to the effect of ‘Wouldn’t her sleeves look so cool on the swing with all those vines?’ and I was like YES QUEEN! and did a dramatic stop and we floofed and fluffed and faffed about Georgie and we got the shot. THE. SHOT. The one where her one eye is covered by the swoop of her hair, and the vine intersects her face  and almost touches her lip. Her chin is jutted out just so, as if she can see what I am seeing exactly and just knows this is what will make my heart sing.

So while this yes, is a post about a party and a styled shoot, I walked away from all of it a happier, more fulfilled Mammy. I got to create gorgeous imagery with my daughter, my muse. And doesn’t everything kind of start out that way? It’s ‘just’ (enter your word here) a party. A portrait session. A picnic. An 8th grade dance. Whatever it is, whether you’re a photographer or not, you have the opportunity to make it be more for yourself and for everyone involved. You can be the creative, making the images, being the vision. Or you can be the helper, the seer. Connecting with everyone there, helping with a smile, being positive and cheerful and supportive of the people you choose to collaborate with. Or you can be the sulky self righteous person who thinks it’s not their job to do certain things and just make life sour for everyone around you. I choose to participate happily, to be open to what life is giving me and make the best of it all, even when I am feeling salty or moody or annoyed. I cuddle and shank myself and keep it moving. Everyone there that day will appreciate the images and like them, maybe even love them, but what they will remember most is how you made them feel while they were being created.

And hey, look at what we all created together, and we were so happy doing it!

Rue De Seine Benny Bodhin wedding gown at Chatfield Hollow Inn, Killingworth CT

Big thanks to Ken (who I wished I got to meet!) Keith who hustled and made stuff happen with never a complaint (wood chips anyone?) Mitch (You kept me laughing every time I saw you) and Teme, who I just want to curl up and chat with all day about flowers and photography. I can’t wait to return to this gentlemen’s farm and see you all again! XOXO

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