A Classic, Rustic Wedding at Bill Miller's Castle in Branford, Connecticut


                    Despite running into a few obstacles during the planning process—their venue was sold and their booking was canceled 10 weeks be

Despite running into a few obstacles during the planning process—their venue was sold and their booking was canceled 10 weeks before their wedding date—Aubrey Zimmerman (24 and a report writer) and Robert Zimmerman’s (27 and a landscaping crew leader) wedding went off without a hitch. The couple planned a laid-back affair at Bill Miller’s Castle in Branford, Connecticut, with plenty of rustic flair. “It was even better than our first venue,” Aubrey says. “It had room for an outdoor ceremony under a partial gazebo, a large dance floor and all the rustic touches we were looking for.” A palette of navy and white was used to add a classic feel to the decor, while details like mason jars, tree slices, burlap, lace and twine infused the day with undeniable country charm. Flowers by Danielle brought the stately stone castle to life with arrangements of eye-catching, seasonal blue and white blooms like roses, hydrangeas and delphiniums, and Disney-inspired touches ensured there was no shortage of personality. Robert popped the question at Disney World after the pair graduated college, so a themed cake topper and music for the ceremony processional were a must. Other playful touches that spoke to the couple’s personalities included a bucket list guest book, where guests shared ideas and places the couple should experience and visit together during their lifetime. Making their guests felt welcome was important to the couple, and they visited every table during the reception and had a receiving line to greet their guests and thank them for sharing their special day. A tip from Aubrey: “Everyone kept telling us to stop and make sure to take everything in. Well, we tried as hard as we could, but always got interrupted with being needed for the next event and we didn't always have time to see the results of all our hard work. We didn't see the details or notice every decision we had made. So my advice is to make sure you have a photographer and videographer, so you can go back to take in those details you may have missed, because you'll want to.”

Aubrey and Robert ran into some bad luck when it came to their venue. Ten weeks before the couple were scheduled to say their “I dos,” their venue was sold and their wedding canceled. In the mad dash to find a new place to host their family members and friends, the couple came across Bill Miller’s Castle in Branford, Connecticut. The couple were instantly smitten by the castle’s stone fireplaces, exposed wooden beams, beautiful grounds and architectural details, so they booked immediately, changing their wedding date from Saturday to Friday. “It was even better than our first venue,” Aubrey says. “It had room for an outdoor ceremony under a partial gazebo, a large dance floor and all the rustic touches we were looking for.”
After graduating college, Aubrey and Robert treated themselves to a trip to Disney World to celebrate. That's where Robert popped the question, getting down on one knee in their hotel  room hours after the pair arrived. The couple’s luggage was delayed in being delivered to their room, sending Robert, who had stashed the engagement ring in his suitcase, into a panic. “He worried so much that he kept calling to check on it and I couldn’t figure out why it was so important to him,” Aubrey says. “Once we got our luggage, he couldn’t wait any longer and surprised me with a proposal in our room down on one knee. We spent the rest of the week wearing just engaged pins at all the parks.”
While Aubrey and Robert stuck to tradition by having a classic guest book for their guests to sign, they also invited guests to contribute to their bucket list. The couple asked their friends and family members to share an idea or place the couple should experience or visit together during their lifetime.
Keeping with the wedding’s rustic theme, Aubrey and Robert gave each guest a customized mason jar for them to use during cocktail hour, a striped paper straw and a personalized koozie with the wedding’s wedding date, the couple’s names and sayings like “To have and to hold and to keep your drink cold.”
Blue Hydrangea and White Rose Bouquet
Wanting the decor to impart a relaxed, inviting feel to the day, Aubrey and Robert opted for accents and details with rustic flair. The couple chose a navy and white palette and looked to burlap, twine and wooden accents to infuse the day with a hint of laid-back country charm. For the centerpieces, each table was topped with a wooden round, on which a lace-wrapped mason jar filled with fluffy white hydrangeas, twine-wrapped candles and flower petals were arranged.
'Something Old' Family Heirloom
To match the wedding’s navy and white palette, the florists at Flowers by Danielle created full bouquets of white and bright blue blooms for the bridesmaids to carry down the aisle. The arrangements were filled with roses, hydrangeas and delphiniums, which popped against the backdrop of the bridesmaid navy dresses.
Blue Floral Mother of the Bride Dress
Short Navy Chiffon Bridesmaid Dresses
It didn’t take Aubrey long to find the perfect dress for her wedding. In fact, she headed to Lucille’s Bridal in Orange, Connecticut, only a few months after Robert popped the question. It was there that she spotted her Private Label by G gown, a classic A-line number with a sweetheart neckline, delicate lace straps, which Aubrey had added to the gown, an embellished lace overlay and a corset back. “I tried a few other dresses on after it, but all I could think about was that dress and how I had to put it back on,” Aubrey says.
Modern Heart Motif Ceremony Programs
Instead of the traditional bride and groom cake topper, the couple decorated their cake with a playful accent that was representative of their relationship and story. Aubrey and Robert placed two Disney character figurines on top of their cake, a minion from “Despicable Me” and Ariel from “The Little Mermaid,” a nod to their Disney World proposal.
Aubrey and Robert got creative with their cakes, opting for a wedding cake and groom’s cake with playful, corresponding designs. The wedding cake was a three-tier confection with textured buttercream frosting, burlap roses and spattered chocolate on one side, which was meant to look like mud, a nod to the groom’s cake, a tire stuck in mud. “The tire was perfect and looked like it had spun in the chocolate mud to spatter onto the wedding cake,” Aubrey says.
While the wedding’s theme was rustic and laid-back, the couple made sure to include elements that spoke to their Disney World engagement. In addition to Ariel and Minion figurines, Aubrey walked down the aisle to an acoustic guitar softly playing classic Disney tunes.
Ceremony at Bill Miller's Castle