Hannah Collins & Jake Martin

June 10, 2018 

Mystic Yachting Center, Groton

Photos by Heather Hudson Photography


officiant  Scott MacGregor, Ledyard

dress designer  Stella York

dress boutique  Voilà Bridal & Formal, South Carolina

veil  Dress Boutique of Mystic

bridesmaids’ dresses  David’s Bridal

tuxedos  Men’s Wearhouse 

videographer  Jess Cremins Photo & Video, Niantic

dj/lighting  Neil Roma, Spin Enterprise, Mystic

caterer  Ocean Blue Catering, Mystic

cake  The Cake Lady Café, New London

makeup  Chelsea Ellis Beauty, Georgia

bride’s hair  Kerry Muntimuri, Ledyard 

bridesmaids’ hair  Tina Jenkins, Luna Hair Salon, Gales Ferry

invitations  minted.com

The sponsor family program at the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London pairs cadets with families from the area who are willing to provide support, friendship, mentoring and a sort of “home away from home” to young cadets who are often far from their own. When Hannah Collins was a junior at Ledyard High School, her family sponsored a handsome cadet fourth class by the name of Jake Martin, whose home was way out west in Las Vegas.

“Jake felt like a part of our family right from the beginning,” Hannah says, but nonetheless it took almost three years and a gentle nudge from mom for the two to begin dating — though they quickly took it from there. Hannah and Jake were engaged within the year (Jake proposed at Red Rock Canyon in Nevada’s Mojave Desert, where they’d had their first date), celebrated the pomp and circumstance of Jake’s graduation from the academy, waited out a four-month deployment and on June 10, 2018, officially became family via a military-themed ceremony and reception on the water (of course) at the Mystic Yachting Center.

“A military theme was important to us not only because of how we met, but because it has been a constant in our lives,” Hannah says. (The father of the bride is a retired Navy master chief, and the father of the groom a retired Army major.) “We also really wanted to celebrate Jake’s accomplishments at the academy as part of our day,” the proud new bride adds.

The color scheme for the classic June wedding was Navy blue with accents of gold and bright white to play off the beaming Hannah’s snow-white Stella York and Jake decked out (as were several of his groomsmen) in crisp dress whites. An outdoor ceremony on the Mystic River was “everything Connecticut: bright, nautical and beautiful,” Hannah says, and ended with the bride and groom processing through an arch of sabers held high by Jake’s fellow Coast Guard officers.

A reception in the yachting center’s second-floor ballroom provided bluesy views of the comings and goings of the vessels in Mystic Shipyard (where everything from schooners to iron-clad ships to pleasure yachts have been built over the years). With cathedral ceilings, towering beams and acres of wood, the handsome room itself “looks like the inside of a ship,” Hannah says. As they climbed “aboard,” guests found their place cards set against a nautical chart of the Thames River.

After an intimate first dance to Haley Reinhart’s gentle take on Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” the rest of the reception was what Hannah describes as “one huge party,” during which the pair “didn’t stop dancing” save for a brief intermission to cut their cake in dramatic fashion using Jake’s ceremonial officer’s sword.

“The whole day was such a happy celebration of our love,” Hannah says, with the best part being that “everyone we love was there to share it with us.”

LTJG Jake Martin and Mrs. Martin are currently stationed at U.S. Coast Guard Base Portsmouth in Suffolk, Virginia, but will soon be relocating to Florida, where Jake will attend flight school at Naval Air Station Pensacola. We wish you blue skies ahead, lieutenant. Thank you for your service.