A Rustic Vineyard Wedding at Hopkins Vineyard in Warren, Connecticut

Karen Milewski (33, a medical laboratory scientist) and Peter C. Viola (36, a business owner) met in their college microbiology class at the beginning

Karen Milewski (33, a medical laboratory scientist) and Peter C. Viola (36, a business owner) met in their college microbiology class at the beginning of 2002 and started dating late 2003. “We dated for ten years before we got engaged, which was in February of 2014,” Karen says. “Peter proposed at Kent Falls -- I knew he had my ring, because we designed it together, but he still managed to surprise me that day! It was a sweet and emotional moment, even after all our years together. The ring is a white gold, bezel-set round diamond, accented by channel set sapphires on each side. It's gorgeous and so unique and was made for us by Quality Gem in Bethel, Connecticut.”And when they started planning their wedding, it was actually their caterer who helped them find their venue.“Initially, we had set our sights on a location in Kent, but that didn't work out,” Karen says. “At that point, our caterer, James Neunzig from Giffords Catering, put us in touch with Eileen Smith of Eileen Smith Events. Knowing we wanted a relaxed outdoor venue, Eileen suggested we take a look at Hopkins Vineyard. The vineyard overlooks Lake Waramaug and the outdoor space next to the vintage red barn was perfect -- mature trees, a small pond, a large stone wall to one side and sweeping views of the hills and vines on the other side. We wanted our wedding to feel like an intimate garden dinner party, and we definitely achieved that! The style of our wedding was very natural and informal, while still retaining a clean and classic feel. Dinner was served family style and included grilled flank steak, salmon filet, grilled asparagus, roasted potatoes and beets. I think the overall feel of our wedding is what best reflected us as a couple. It was relaxed and intimate -- the focus was on our love for each other and the love we have for our family and friends. Even our Justice of the Peace was a very close friend, and it meant the world to have him preside over our wedding.”

"My wedding dress was a Galina Signature from David's Bridal," Karen says. "It was the first dress I tried on! The dress is a champagne-colored fit and flare, with a sweetheart neckline and beautiful embroidery and beading covering the entire dress, which gives it a vintage feel. My jewelry was simple, just a pair of moonstone and labodorite drop earrings, set in yellow gold."
"The flowers were a mix of magenta, light pink, cream and pops of bright pink, in loose, slightly wild arrangements, like they had just been picked from the garden," Karen says.
"We wanted the food for our cocktail hour and reception to be a reflection of the gorgeous outdoor setting, so we stuck to a very fresh, clean farm-to-table menu," Karen says.
"I made the place setting cards using corks from the vineyard, and the favors were Earl Grey tea in hand-stamped pillow boxes," Karen says. "The table assignments were hand-written cards displayed in an old window, along with photos of both of our parents on their wedding days, and a photo of our cat, who everyone knows we are obsessed with!"
"Under the tent, farmhouse tables with celadon green runners, white china on rattan chargers, cross-back chairs,  candlelight and lots of small flower arrangements in vintage glass bottle and mason jars," Karen says.
"Our signature drink was a bramble, which is a gin-based cocktail with fresh blackberries," Karen says. "We chose a selection of Italian wines in a nod to Peter's family heritage, toasting with a prosecco instead of the usual champagne."
"For the cocktail hour, a selection of local cheeses and fresh grilled vegetables were served, and passed hors d'oeuvres included tuna tartare, Thai style sliders, smoked trout pate and Indian spiced chicken skewers," Karen says.
"One of my favorite things was our cake, which was from Erica O'Brien Cake Design in Hamden, Connecticut," Karen says. "They took my ideas and turned them into a stunning and delicious cake! The bottom tier was a soft gold, while the top two tiers were off-white with a band of gold around the base. Between the bottom and middle tier was an arrangement of sugar flowers in magenta and white -- very natural and realistic. There was also of other desserts: a flourless chocolate torte, almond bars and a lemon tart, served with coffee and a selection of Harney & Sons tea."
Two sweet blue lovebirds wearing crowns topped Karen and Peter's wedding cake. "The cake itself was almond with a chocolate cream cheese filling -- amazing!" the bride says.