A Festive, Rustic Wedding at the Barns at Wesleyan Hills in Middletown, Connecticut

Tara Fouste (31 and a teacher) and Graeme Fouste (33 and works in advertising sales) planned a festive, rustic affair for their Memorial Day weekend w

Tara Fouste (31 and a teacher) and Graeme Fouste (33 and works in advertising sales) planned a festive, rustic affair for their Memorial Day weekend wedding at the Barns at Wesleyan Hills in Middletown, Connecticut. The day was rich in playful, personal touches, from the vibrant palette of red, white, blue, yellow and pink hues to the year-themed table numbers boasting childhood photos and a menu packed with Southern comfort food favorites. The day kicked off with a cocktail hour on the Barns at Wesleyan Hills's expansive lawn, an element that made guests instantly feel welcome and at home, followed by an outdoor ceremony where Tara and Graeme exchanged vows under a beautiful birch chuppah draped in eucalyptus, ferns and garden roses. The reception took place in the barn and perfectly captured the elegant, rustic vibe the couple were after. Stylish Blooms brought the space to life with arrangements of white seasonal blooms, while the venue’s planning staff seriously delivered on decor, with tablescapes of vintage books, candlesticks, wine barrels, clocks and more. The band Peat Moss brought down the house with a mix of classic and contemporary hits, including a medley of songs from Tara’s favorite boy bands ('NSync and the Backstreet Boys). At the end of the night the couple whisked guests off to the Griswold Inn in Essex, Connecticut, where they kept the party going late into the night. 

Wanting a wedding with plenty of rustic flair, Tara and Graeme knew a barn would be perfect for their early-summer affair. As a former functioning farm, the Barns at Wesleyan Hills in Middletown, Connecticut, had an authentic feel the pair loved, plus acres of lush rolling hills, a quaint pond and an old willow tree. The barn itself was rich in history and character with its post and beam structure, beautiful wood paneling and distressed wooden floors. Classic white linens and bunches of fresh, white summer blooms introduced a layer of classic elegance, while strings of brightly lit bistro lights provided plenty of warmth and ambiance.
Tara and Graeme looked to their pasts to personalize their tablescapes. Instead of traditional table numbers, the couple marked each table with a year of their life, spanning the '80s, '90s and 2000s. The numbers were paired with photos from the corresponding year, which gave guests a laugh as they arrived to their seats. “There were some cute old photos and some awkward middle school and high school photos too,” Tara says.
Graeme played it cool and casual the morning of his proposal to Tara, suggesting the pair go for a morning run. He led them to the place where they met, pausing in front of a Starbucks to tie his shoe. At 5 a.m. that morning he had gone to the same spot to hang a sign on the scaffolding in front of Starbucks that read, “Attention, Tara: Look down, my shoe is not really tied.” Once Tara spotted the sign, she looked down in disbelief to find Graeme on one knee. Adding to the element of surprise, Graeme had hired a professional photographer to document the whole proposal.
For their Memorial Day weekend wedding, Tara and Graeme captured the holiday’s spirit in the form of a red, white and blue palette. To keep the look from feeling over-the-top, the pair mixed in shades of sunny yellow and playful pink to break up the patriotic palette, balancing out the vibrant color with white flowers and linens. But for her bouquet, Tara went bold and bright. Stylish Blooms put together a modern mix of peonies, garden roses, gerbera daisies, billy balls, pincushion flowers, hypericum and succulents for her to carry down the aisle in vibrant, eye-catching colors like pink, red, yellow, green and peach.
The Barns at Wesleyan Hills in Middletown, Connecticut
At the end of the evening, Tara and Graeme’s family and friends sent them off in style, forming a tunnel of brightly lit sparklers. Wanting to keep the party going, the couple invited their guests to join them for an after-party at the Griswold Inn in Essex, Connecticut, where a live band was performing. “They sang ‘Going to the Chapel’ when we walked in,” Tara says.
As a nod to Memorial Day weekend, when their wedding took place, Tara and Graeme chose a red, white and blue theme for their wedding party’s attire. Tara had her bridesmaids choose their own dresses in any shade of red, giving them Kate Spade earrings to pair with them. The groomsmen wore classic white button-down shirts and gray-blue trousers from Banana Republic, which they paired with playful bow ties and suspenders.
Graeme fused classic and modern styles to fit the Barns at Wesleyan Hills's laid-back vibe and the Memorial Day theme. He chose a traditional navy suit from Suit Supply in New York City and paired it with a navy bow tie, suspenders and an oversized floral boutonniere.
After cocktail hour, the ceremony took place outdoors on the barn’s expansive lawn. Tara and Graeme exchanged vows under a chuppah designed by Stylish Blooms, a beautiful birch structure draped in garlands of eucalyptus, ferns and romantic blush roses.
The couple mixed up the day’s schedule a bit, holding the cocktail hour before the ceremony. The Barns served up a mouthwatering spread of lobster macaroni and cheese, a harvest table with cheese and crackers, pigs in a blanket and more. Dinner was a laid-back affair where guests filled up on Southern comfort food favorites, like fried chicken, mac and cheese, corn chowder and corn bread, a nod to Graeme’s roots.