Amanda Blanchard & Michael Bedson

Haley Mansion at the Inn at Mystic  | August 5, 2017

Dani Fine Photography & Image Studio

Amanda Blanchard and Michael Bedson were high school sweethearts. They met their junior year at Ellington High School, both graduated from the University of Hartford and by the time their Aug. 5, 2017, wedding at the Haley Mansion at the Inn at Mystic rolled around, had been together just shy of 10 years.

“Mike is the type of person that can make anyone feel comfortable,” describes Amanda. Not to mention, “One of the funniest guys I’ve ever met.” And after loving him for almost a decade, there was something special his bride-to-be wanted to do for him.

“You’d never guess it by looking at this ‘big, tough [former] football player,’” says Amanda, but Mike, whose grandmother Linda (aka “Grammie”) has been taking him birding since he was a baby, is better known as “The Bird Man.”

“I feel like you don’t get to see the groom reflected in a wedding theme often enough,” says Amanda, and since “birding is something Mike loves,” that became the theme she built their day around — beginning with the wedding hashtag #bedsonsofafeather.

Striking invitations from DCo Lovenotes on etsy.com featured delicate watercolor feathers. Wedding rings were carried in a bird’s nest Amanda found while at her family’s home in Cape Cod (where Mike had proposed), and, yes, there were feathers in the bride’s bouquet as well as in the groom’s boutonniere, each designed by Wildflowers of Tolland. Tables named for feathered friends big and small, whether cardinal or great horned owl, featured framed bird illustrations next to centerpiece birdcages filled with fresh blooms. Still more white bird cages, these dripping with crystals and pearls, were hung around the dance floor at the tented reception, where members of the bridal party were introduced via songs from 2007, the year Amanda and Mike began dating. There was, however, no cake at this reception. “If there’s one thing in our relationship that defines us, it’s ice cream,” Amanda says. “We’re fanatics.” And so in lieu of cake, they had an ice cream-sundae bar that served their favorite sweet stuff from Gifford’s Famous Ice Cream.

For Amanda, however, the most memorable moment of the day came during the outdoor ceremony when the sun decided to make an appearance after a day that had dawned “pouring and miserable.” Opinions differ as to whether it actually broke through the clouds as the bridal party came down the aisle to an instrumental version of “Here Comes the Sun,” (a prearranged coincidence), when the bride herself appeared or as vows were being exchanged — but it doesn’t really matter. The fact is, “that sun came beaming out, and it was the most beautiful sun I’d ever seen,” Amanda remembers. “Everyone felt the love, and knew we were being smiled upon from above.”

Dress designer/boutique Vows Bridal Outlet, Watertown, Massachusetts

Bridesmaid Dresses Hayley Paige

Bridesmaid Dress Boutique Mariella Creations, Rocky Hill 

Videographer Robyn and Lou Photography and Cinema, Glastonbury

DJ Cape Tunes, Massachusetts

Caterer Inn at Mystic

Florist Wildflowers of Tolland

Hair/makeup Naomi’s Studio and Salon, Plainville

Invitations DCo Lovenotes via etsy.com