On the other side of a minor waterway that runs behind Courtney Waskiewicz’s childhood home in Canterbury, Connecticut, is the house where Justin Picard grew up, in the adjacent town of Plainfield.
The distance separating the two was small, but it may as well have been the Atlantic Ocean, not the Quinebaug River. Courtney and Justin didn’t meet until they were in college, she at UConn and he at Eastern Connecticut State College, introduced by their respective best friends, who were dating at the time.
Three years after they met, on Courtney’s birthday, they both took the day off from work and had lunch at the S&P Oyster Co. in Mystic. Justin had chosen that moment to propose, figuring his girlfriend wouldn’t find it odd to dine out for her birthday. But, when he suggested she open her present, Courtney demurred. “I didn’t want other people to start singing ‘Happy Birthday,’ ” she says.
So off they went to a very windy beach in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, where, to Courtney’s surprise, Justin got down on one knee and proposed, giving her a ring tucked inside a big box on which he’d written, “Will you marry me?”
The couple had two years to plan their wedding and used those months to do it all themselves. At the same time, all on their own, they completely renovated her late grandparents’ home, which included a new floor plan, siding, windows and kitchen. “Even with working full time and renovating our house, wedding planning was still such a fun experience,” says Courtney. “At times it was stressful, but we agree that if we could make it through all of that, we can make it through anything!”
On their wedding day, under a clear blue sky at castle-like Aldrich Mansion in Warwick, Rhode Island, the bride and groom were the picture of elegance and composure. A pink and champagne color scheme bathed the room in an ethereal light befitting the fairytale location, leaving few to wonder why the two Disney-obsessed flower girls, Justin’s nieces, were giddy with joy. While Courtney created artful signs and other props herself, she engaged Polly Hutchison of Robin Hollow Farm for the florals. “I loved working with Polly,” says the bride.
With its 19th-century French château features, oceanfront Aldrich Mansion filled Courtney’s requirement that her wedding venue “wow the guests.” She says, “It took our breath away the minute we walked in.” Also, with the wedding chapel on site, the convenience factor was undeniable. The bride in her classic, Guipure lace and tulle gown and her bridal attendants swathed in one-shoulder champagne chiffon dresses looked at home in the regal setting.
While she “loved seeing family and friends,” Courtney says the most memorable moment was when she and Justin were by themselves with just the photographer, Faith Dugan, and her husband, Jefferson. “They were so great,” says the bride. “They even had us laughing.”