Shari & Michael Verschell

 Shari Verschell had spent months searching for the perfect wedding venue when her groom-to-be, Mike, discovered Saltwater Farm Vineyard in Stonington, Connecticut.  Rustic yet elegant, a renovated vintage airplane hangar on the grounds serves as a spectacular event space that overlooks the fields. “We loved that it was a natural setting but still polished,” says Shari. The Manhattan couple also loved that picturesque Stonington was a “mini destination” where guests could stay for the weekend. “We wanted to be able to spend as much time as possible with our guests,” says Shari. “Stonington is right near Mystic, so it’s beautiful and could accommodate everyone.”

The planning process took an unexpected turn when Shari’s law office sent her on a six month assignment to Abu Dhabi. The couple enlisted Ann Gardner and Margaret Murphy of Fancy Pants Event Planning to help create the wedding they envisioned, holding regular “Skype dates” to discuss the details.

“Ann and Margaret were complete lifesavers, particularly since Stonington was a destination we didn’t know well,” says Shari.

On the morning of the November wedding, a surprise 70-degree day prompted Ann and Margaret to move the wedding outdoors, much to the delight of the couple. “When you plan well, you can handle last-minute changes,” says Margaret.

The summery winter wedding was filled with other distinct personal touches. The simple ceremony was performed by a Rabbi friend.  The bride carried a bouquet accented with feathers while the bridesmaids wore navy dresses accented with black lace. A memorable moment occurred when the groom called “It’s not that bad” to the teary bride as she walked in. “Nobody cried as much as I did at my wedding,” says Shari with a laugh.

For the reception, the couple put a homemade spin on the popular candy bar by adding Jewish mandel bread and gourmet chocolates and cookies by friends and family. The weekend also included a welcome reception and Sunday brunch for all of the guests. “Everyone there was so meaningful to us,” says Shari. “We wanted them to be a part of the whole weekend.”

“They were an amazing couple,” adds photographer Erica Mancini of Adeline & Grace Photography. “The farm was the perfect setting for their classic, romantic style.”

PHOTOGRAPHY: Adeline & Grace Photography
CEREMONY LOCATON & RECEPTION VENUE: Saltwater Farm Vineyard
WEDDING PLANNER & FAVORS:Fancy Pants Event Planning
BRIDAL GOWN: White Xchange
CATERING & CAKE: Coastal Gourmet
FLOWERS: Hana Floral Design
LINEN RENTALS: Rentals Unlimited

**This real wedding was seen in the 2011-2012 Southern New England Weddings Destination edition.

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