Fairy tale couples usually wind up in a castle at the end of their story. Victoria Miller suggests starting off in one.

Event venue Bill Miller’s Castle (203-488-4583) is at once an architectural anomaly and landmark located on East Main Street in Branford, near the Guilford line. And head event coordinator/manager Victoria is founder Bill’s granddaughter. “My grandfather bought the farm property in 1963; he then converted the horse barn into a dance and gymnastics studio,” Victoria recounts. “It remained that way until the ’90s, when it became a wedding and party space exclusively, serving clients from all over New England, even Florida and California. People choose us over more commonplace venues because we’re a unique family-run business, and extremely hands-on.”

More Nordic chalet than castle, the cavernous building, complete with chapel, fieldstone fireplaces, private suites, crystal chandeliers, magnificent grounds and a Disney-inspired windowed “tower,” was the ideal stage for this Connecticut Bride wedding re-enactment. 

CT Bride Styled Shoot

“Bill was a collector, as you can see by the hand-carved antiques throughout, tables, sofas,” Victoria says. “The barn wood infused the interiors with a real rustic yet elegant look. The space is versatile; by no means is it restricted to just medieval-themed ceremonies. And we can accommodate up to 300.”

Fairy tales also require a magical godmother who gets things done. Carisa Lockery and her team at Cheshire’s Pink Olive Events (203-710-0245) deserve the credit for bringing enchantment to our Bill Miller’s Castle photo shoot. 

“Swords on the walls, bearskin rugs, there was a lot to work with,” Lockery laughs. “The furniture really worked well in showcasing the bride’s gown. Long tables allowed the caterer to display the food beautifully. The cheeseboard included pomegranates, and the chef lent us this fantastic ornate knife. Everyone brought it as far as fulfilling the concept. The models were my buddies: the bridesmaid was an intern; the couple, real-life clients who were married a few weeks prior. I did a Lord of the Rings wedding at Bill Miller’s five years ago, so I was familiar with the space.”

What’s new and what are the trends? “September and October were our busiest in 13 years,” Lockery says. “Now until Valentine’s Day is our biggest booking time, lots of couples getting engaged and looking for planners, venues, photographers. Themes aren’t such a “thing” anymore, more of a party with a vibe instead of a beach or garden motif.” And the new catchphrase is “micro-weddings,” comprising a guest list of 25 and under and put together in only a few months’ time.

Created by: Alyson Moschcovich | The Connecticut Bride

Written by: Robert DiGioia | The Connecticut Bride

Vendors & models: 

Stylist: Carisa Lockery, Pink Olive Events, Cheshire

Venue: Bill Miller’s Castle, Branford

Photographer: Cait Fletcher Photography, Guilford

Crowns/Headpieces: DA Couture Jewelry Bouquets and Accessories, Preston

Jewelry: Achiq Designs, Cheshire

Dresses: L. Ariel - Women’s Custom Couture & Bridal, Meriden

Tuxedos: Modern Formals, Southington

Florist: Elise Floral, Cheshire

Hair/Makeup: LA Page Makeup, Meriden

Menus and Place Cards Cedar & Ink, Northford

Invitations: Pushing the Envelope, North Haven

Table Decor and Accessories: Perfectly Posh Candy Buffets & Tablescapes, East Haven

Table Florals and Accessories: Petals & Plates, Southington

Musicians: Ariana Strings, Southington

Cake: Madame Gâteaux Custom Cake & Pastry Studio, New Britain

Custom Chocolates: Noteworthy Chocolates, Bethel

Charcuterie Boards: Spice Catering Group, Derby

Cocktails: CT Cocktail Car, New Haven

Gin: Hardshore Distilling Co., Portland, Maine; 

Tea: Simpson & Vail, Brookfield; 

Wine: Domaines Barons de Rothschild - Blason de L’Évangile 2014 

Performers: Kevin and Jessica Gregory as the bride and groom, Dave Lyons and Victoria Body 

Robert DiGioia is the creative director for Hearst Connecticut Media Group, and an arts/society writer for its varied titles. A former Manhattanite and magazine publisher, he’s thrilled to be back in his birthplace, New Haven.