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


                    For their wedding, Jessica Koziel (30 and a school administrator) and Joe Apicella (31 and an elementary school principal) plann

For their wedding, Jessica Koziel (30 and a school administrator) and Joe Apicella (31 and an elementary school principal) planned a rustic affair that perfectly reflected their personalities and relationship. From arriving to the ceremony in a school bus to school-lunch-inspired late-night snacks—brown bags filled with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and bags of chips—and embarrassing family photos, every detail served as a celebration of the couple’s relationship in a highly personalized and special way. Wanting a venue that was a little nontraditional, the couple turned to the Barns at Wesleyan Hills in Middletown, Connecticut, for all the day’s festivities. “As soon as we visited the site, we knew instantly that this was the ideal place for us,” Jessica says. “The Barns had a rustic and low-key vibe that suited us perfectly.” The day started with an outdoor ceremony set against a backdrop of perfectly manicured lawns, lush willow trees and a quaint pond, followed by a lively barn reception. A vibrant yellow and gray palette and fresh bunches of seasonal blooms by Fleur de Lys brought the rustic space to life, while DIY elements, brightly lit bistro lights and classic country-inspired elements like mason jars, burlap and chalkboards infused the Barns at Wesleyan Hills with romantic ambiance and personality. “Our favorite touch was the table numbers, which were framed quotes from famous poets and authors about love,” Jessica says. Dinner was served buffet style to maintain a relaxed vibe, each dish prepared with seasonal ingredients, much to guests’ delight. Jessica’s uncle pitched in delectable Funfetti-inspired cupcakes for dessert and Music in Motion kept guests out on the dance floor all night. “Our wedding day was filled with laughter and love, just like our life together,” Jessica says.  

Jessica’s bridal bouquet captured the event's cheerfulness and the summer season's essence. The sunny yellow arrangement was designed by the talented team of florists at Fleur de Lys and was filled with a fresh mix of garden roses, calla lilies, sunflowers and stock.
Jessica wanted her bridesmaids to radiate confidence on the wedding day and that meant allowing them to wear something that was comfortable and fit their personal styles. “I gave them the color palette and let them choose their own dresses with my only request being to wear cowboy boots,” Jessica says. “As usual, my friends didn’t let me down and picked gorgeous, but simple dresses in various shades of gray, beige and pink.”
In celebration of summer, Joe opted for a classic suit in a light gray seersucker fabric, adding a pop of bright color in the form of a sunny yellow tie. He selected a similar style for his groomsmen, having them don traditional, three-piece, charcoal gray ensembles with eye-catching yellow accents like cheerful argyle socks.
Wanting a venue that was a little nontraditional, the couple turned to the Barns at Wesleyan Hills in Middletown, Connecticut.
The day started with an outdoor ceremony set against a backdrop of perfectly manicured lawns, lush willow trees and a quaint pond, followed by a lively barn reception. During the ceremony, the couple performed a wine-box and love-letter tradition, where they sealed a time capsule with heartfelt letters and a bottle of wine to open on their 10th anniversary.
From the laid-back vibe of the Barns at Wesleyan Hills to the brown-bag-lunch-inspired late-night snacks (complete with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches) and even arriving in a school bus, Jessica and Joe’s wedding perfectly captured their fun-loving personalities. “We were able to celebrate in a way that was so personalized and special to us,” Jessica says.
Jessica and Joe’s wedding day was filled with laughter and love, just like their life together. There was humor in the toasts given by their best friends and in the embarrassing photographs of their parents they put on the restroom doors. Every song was handpicked by the couple to ensure their guests would spend the night dancing, while the custom-designed table numbers displaying quotes about love from their favorite poets and authors highlighted the sweetness of the occasion.
The food at the reception was served buffet style to maintain a relaxed, laid-back vibe and included seasonally inspired dishes featuring the freshest of ingredients. “A crowd favorite was the barbecue beef brisket and our signature cocktail, a summery sangria,” Jessica says. “As for our wedding ‘cake,’ my uncle specially made a beautiful arrangement of Funfetti-inspired cupcakes with gray and yellow frosting.”
A vibrant yellow and gray color palette and fresh bunches of seasonal blooms by Fleur de Lys brought the rustic barn space at the Barns at Wesleyan to life, while DIY elements, brightly lit bistro lights and classic country-inspired elements like mason jars, burlap and chalkboards infused the room with romantic ambiance and personality.