When there’s a New England lobster bake involved, you know it’s going to be a good time, and Erin and Zachary’s Mystic, CT wedding certainly did not disappoint. With their immediate families in attendance, the couple exchanged their vows aboard the Argia schooner as it sailed the Mystic River, before joining the rest of their guests for a family-style dinner of lobster, chowder, and sea-salted potatoes. They finished the night – as any good night should be finished – with donuts and dancing.

A huge thanks to Daphne & Dean for allowing us to share all fun times and photos with you guys today!

Mystic Connecticut boat wedding

Erin, 32 & Zachary, 33

Mystic, CT

Wedding Date: August 1, 2014

Number of Guests: 68

Wedding Cost: $15,000

Wedding Ceremony Location: Argia sailboat

Wedding Reception Location: Mystic Seaport Boat Shed

wedding invitation

custom wedding beer label

billy button boutonniere

bridal party with photo booth props

bride hugging groom from behind

wedding flag

bride and groom portrait with lobster traps

Why did you have an intimate wedding?

It was important to us that the day reflected our everyday lives. We are laid back and have a small group of friends and family that we regularly connect with. We wanted a personal experience and that’s a lot more difficult to achieve with a larger wedding. Our vision for the day was to have fun, in a beautiful location, eating good food, with the people who understand us the most.

bride getting her make-up done

bride getting ready

bride doing up her dress

bride putting on bracelet

What are some of the challenges that you faced planning an intimate wedding?

Hitting our food and beverage minimum was a challenge at first. To have our reception at the Boatshed, the minimum guest list we needed was approximately 50 people. Fortunately, our top choice for dinner (lobstah!) helped us to reach that point. We also had difficulty in deciding on the ceremony location. We had our hearts set on the Argia (a beautiful, wooden sailboat that provides day cruises and sails along the Mystic River). However, their maximum capacity is 50. We tossed around the idea of having a guest list of only 45 to 50, but decided to have only immediate family and our wedding party join us on the boat for the ceremony. The remaining guests met us as we disembarked the boat as newlyweds and we all headed to the reception.

pocket watch

white wedding all-stars

groom getting ready

groom tying his tie

groom putting on his shoes

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?

Yes. There were other important people in our lives, such as our family’s boyfriends/girlfriends, young children, extended family, work colleagues, and friends, that we may have invited had we went with a larger wedding. In the end, we have no regrets and we were able to achieve a more intimate connection with each guest, and vice-versa.

bride portrait

bridal party portrait

groom portrait

groomsmen holding groom

wedding portrait on dock

bride and groom portrait on the dock

bride and groom portrait

bride and groom sitting on overturned boat

bride and groom portrait in Mystic

bride and groom jumping

Did you have any ‘issues’ with the small guest list from friends and family? If so, how did you address them?

For the most part, no. We did face some questions here and there, however, this is something we anticipated. We were honest from the beginning, and were willing to explain our vision to a family member or friend who did not understand.

bride and groom walking on dock

boat wedding venue

boat mast

boat life saver

groom kissing bride on forehead

bride and groom on boat

What were the highlights of the ceremony?

We were on a sailboat!!!!! Is there a bigger highlight than that?!? A specific moment was when we read our vows. We both wrote our own vows that included how we met, our history, and some inside jokes. As it was only close friends and family beside us, everyone knew us well enough to find meaning in every word.

schooner wedding ceremoy

groom smiling at bride during ceremony

bride putting ring on groom's finger

boat wedding ceremony

bride and groom first kiss

brideand groom being announced as husband and wife

What were the highlights of the reception?

Dancing! Our band, Happy & the Moonshine was AMAZING! Their set list was exactly what we wanted, and they definitely set the mood for the entire party; slowing it down with ‘Peace, Peace’ during dinner, and ending with ‘You Get What You Give’ bringing everyone on the dance floor to close the night. Dinner was also equally amazing. We enjoyed a lobster bake dinner, complete with clam chowder and sea-salted red potatoes at a family style table. We felt like we were sitting with each guest, because we were! Our desserts weren’t too shabby either; cupcakes and donuts. ‘Nuff said.

wooden wedding sign

adirondack chair guest book

photo booth table

wedding photo booth props

table setting

wedding plant centerpiece

chalkboard wedding menu

wedding dips

sweet table bunting

wedding cipcakes

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

Knowing every guest’s name and being able to have a real conversation with them. It sounds silly, but we have heard many stories of weddings, during which the bride & groom don’t know the names of many of their guests. “Oh that’s so-and-so’s significant other” or “Is that your mom’s work friend?”. It felt so refreshing to be able to relax and enjoy every moment, rather than worrying about introducing ourselves. We have said many times that we wish we could live our wedding day again, for the simple fact that it was the most fun we have ever had. That is a testament to the intimacy of the day.

bride and groom pizza

groom hugging guest on dance floor

wedding guests dancing

What advice do you have for couples who are considering an intimate wedding?

Do it. Don’t succumb to the pressure of others. We realize that your family and friends’ opinions matter, but it is your day. The memory of your wedding should be shared with the most important people in your lives. Also, have fun! After all, it is one big party, celebrating you and your best friend.

bride and groom dancing


Ceremony Site: Argia Cruises

Reception Site: Mystic Seaport

Wedding Coordinator: Jenna Landon of Coastal Gourmet

Catering: Coastal Gourmet

Desserts: donuts by Allie’s Donuts

Photography: Daphne & Dean

Band: Happy & the Moonshine

Flowers: Allyson Hart

Bride’s Dress: J. Crew

Bridesmaids: J. Crew

Groom’s attire: J. Crew

Groomsmen’s attire: J. Crew

Hair: Kate Woodworth of Home Wellness Salon & Spa

Makeup: Shelly Dolan of Jennie Fresa Brow & Beauty Bar