A Romantic Fall Wedding at the Riverhouse in Haddam, Connecticut


                    MacKenzie Smith (25 and a registered nurse) and James McConville’s (26 and works in life insurance sales) wedding was all about

MacKenzie Smith (25 and a registered nurse) and James McConville’s (26 and works in life insurance sales) wedding was all about classic elegance with a bohemian chic flair. Ensuring guests enjoyed the evening without having to worry about logistics was high on the couple’s priority list. The Riverhouse in Haddam, Connecticut, offered the perfect combination of aesthetics and convenience, boasting striking river views, beautifully appointed rooms and proximity to both St. Sebastian’s Church and the Inn at Middletown. When it came to the decor, the couple wanted to keep things timeless and elegant with a touch of French-inspired laissez-faire style. They chose a sophisticated color palette of neutral tones like white, gray and blue, sprinkled with splashes of raspberry to bring the room to life. Flowers were a key element in the wedding’s design and the couple worked with Stems Floral Design to create lush garden-inspired arrangements of hydrangeas, roses, dahlias and red amaranthus for both the ceremony and reception. Warm candlelight and whimsical calligraphed stationery added a layer of romance and whimsy to the affair, while details like a heritage table played up the evening's sentimental nature. To highlight their love of music and dancing, MacKenzie and James took extra care when it came to the day’s musical selections. They asked James’s sister and brother-in-law, both Broadway performers, to sing during the ceremony and they blew away the couple and all their guests with renditions of John Lennon’s “Grow Old With Me,” Celine Dion and Anthony Bocelli’s “The Prayer” and Eva Cassidy’s “Fields of Gold.” After a delectable dinner and delicious desserts like strawberry shortcake, the couple and their guests hit the dance floor, where Powerstation Events kept the party going all night. A tip for the taking from MacKenzie: “I tried to involve my mother, mother-in-law and bridesmaids in so many aspects of the planning. The moms would come to my dress fittings and the food tastings and to pick out materials at Micheals. It was a way we could all be together and a great way for both the moms to have fun together. I even had a “dress rehearsal” with all my bridesmaids one night. They all brought their dresses over to my place to try them on, play with the different styles and try on their jewelry. I had champagne and finger foods, and then afterward we went out for sushi together.”

Silver Badgley Mischka Peep-Toe Heels
Garden Rose and Amaranth Bridal Bouquet
“I wanted our wedding to have a sort of vintage, clean, classic feel with a little bit of my bohemian spirit coming through,” MacKenzie says. On a trip to Mariella’s Creations in Rocky Hill, Connecticut, to gather dress inspiration, she found a gown that perfectly captured her vision. The Enzoani design had timeless appeal with a classic A-line silhouette, V-neckline and subtle draping, while a silk cape and beaded details along the back gave the gown undeniable vintage flair.
When looking for bridesmaid dresses, MacKenzie wanted to find a style that all the girls would love, and that would go with the wedding’s sophisticated yet subtly bohemian theme. Jenny Yoo’s Anabelle dress offered just that. After choosing a steel gray hue, MacKenzie had each bridesmaid choose a style that fit her personality and body type. To complete the look, she gave each a statement diamond bracelet and asked her to pair it with diamond stud earrings.
When it came to his wedding day style, James headed to Stackpole Moore Tyron in Hartford, Connecticut, where MacKenzie’s father used to buy all his suits. “He was excited to pick his suit and he wanted to do it on his own,” MacKenie says. “I think he nailed it.” James was immediately drawn to a dark blue number, which despite MacKenzie’s initial reservations, tied in seamlessly with the steel gray Jenny Yoo bridesmaid dresses.
MacKenzie enlisted the help of her sister, along with a few talented Etsy vendors, to create all the wedding’s paper details, from the menus to the table numbers and ceremony programs. After having a calligrapher create a template for the programs and menus with garden-inspired lettering, she had her sister personalize the design before taking them to Vistaprint to be printed.
Hydrangea and Eucalyptus Aisle Arrangements
St. Sebastian Church Processional
Making the day as easy as possible for their guests was essential for MacKenzie and James, so venues that were easily accessible and close together were a must. “St. Sebastian’s was right down the street from our hotel, the Inn at Middletown and also on the way to the reception venue,” MacKenzie says. “It had beautiful stone steps and a stone infrastructure. I looked at pictures of it and thought ‘Holy cow, this is a church from a movie or out of Europe.’ I felt I’d be lucky to be married there.”
Exchanging Rings at St. Sebastian Church
After the ceremony, the newlyweds and their guests enjoyed a cocktail hour out on the Riverhouse’s wraparound porch. They sipped on signature cocktails, like a “Shady Palmer” (vodka, lemonade and iced tea) and “The Kenzie” (a chardonnay spritzer) and nibbled on an inspired array of passed appetizers and freshly made pasta, while taking in the striking river views. They then moved inside for a sit-down dinner of scallops, surf and turf and chicken francaise. “We went straight into dinner, but with music so that if people wanted to get up and dance, so be it,” MacKenzie says. “We love music and dancing and wanted everyone to have fun.”
Clean and chic with a hint of bohemian flair were the guiding design principles for MacKenzie and James’s overall wedding style. They looked to a palette of soft neutral hues, like white, gray and blue with bright pops of raspberry, and lush garden-inspired blooms to bring the Riverhouse to life.
The couple worked with Stems Floral Design to create two centerpiece styles to infuse the Riverhouse’s ballroom with texture and a romantic, laissez-faire flair. Alternating tables boasted lush bunches of ivory and blush hydrangeas surrounded by a halo of red amaranthus arranged high on silver stands and bright, low bundles of dahlias, hydrangeas and roses. Textured votive candles illuminated with soft, warm light introduced an air of inviting ambiance to each tabletop, while silver-framed table numbers offered a subtle note of old-world elegance.
Silver-Framed Table Numbers
Mini Champagne Bottle Favors
Both MacKenzie and James love music and dancing, so they made them a big part of the day. The couple asked James’s sister and brother-in-law, both Broadway performers, to sing during the ceremony and were completely blown away by the emotion the performances brought to the occasion. “They sang ‘The Prayer’ by Celine Dion and Anthony Bocelli. The whole place was moved to tears,” MacKenzie says. They also sang “Grow Old With Me” by John Lennon during the lighting of the unity candle and Eva Cassidy’s version of “Fields of Gold” as MacKenzie walked down the aisle.
When it came to cutting the wedding cake, MacKenzie and James did things a little differently. “He has this stupid, crazy talent where he can catch anything in his mouth from anywhere,” MacKenzie says. “So in true James and MacKenzie style, I threw the wedding cake into his mouth instead of feeding it to him by hand. It was funny and was fun for guests to watch—and of course he caught it.”