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.
“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