Jennifer Miller and David Tiedemann

Eolia Mansion at Harkness State Park

July 22, 2016

HK Photography

Though it’s hard to believe when looking at her wedding photos, Jennifer Miller admits to being “a bit of a tomboy.” A six-year stint in the Army, during which the Milford native specialized in military intelligence, further solidified Jenny’s tendency toward no muss, no fuss. Her wedding to East Haven’s David Tiedemann, however, was destined to be different. “I wanted it to be like a fairytale,” says Jenny — and it was.

It started with the dress. “Glam me up,” was Jenny’s request, and when she slid into a shimmering lace Lazaro with “a train that went on forever, I fell in love,” says Jenny. “I didn’t want to ever take it off.”

The fact that the timeless gown also had gold undertones was ideal. “As a veteran, I’ve always been drawn to Navy and gold,” says Jenny of the colors of the Naval Academy and that of most dress uniforms. They have a look that’s regal, but, at the same time, romantic — just the thing for the sort of Navy- and gold-themed “royal” wedding Jenny had in mind for Eolia, the glorious Italianate mansion in Harkness State Park in Waterford.

For Jenny and Dave’s ceremony in Eolia’s open-air seaside amphitheater (“You could see, feel and hear the water from there,” sighs Jenny), pomp and circumstance mixed with va-va-voom via the bridesmaids’ gold-sequined Sorella Vita dresses, while the dashing Dave and his groomsmen wore sharp Navy tuxes with black lapels from Formals by Antonio in Rocky Hill. The 1940s Rolls Royce that Dave arranged for his Jenny further added to the grandeur.

For her part, Jenny, who trained classically as a singer and plays guitar and sings in a country band known as “Jenny Leigh Miller,” surprised Dave by singing “From This Moment On” by Shania Twain for him at their reception just after they cut their scrumptious cake from JCakes in North Branford.

“I’ve been all over the world with the military, including a deployment in Baghdad,” says Jenny, and “it’s a very different lifestyle over in the ‘sandbox.’” To instead be here in the midst of such beauty on her wedding day, is what Jenny calls truly “surreal.” Thus, a key component of the reception décor was a table set up with photos of Jenny and Dave’s four grandfathers who have all served, including Jenny’s paternal grandfather, who was awarded a Purple Heart for his service in Korea. “I am grateful for my freedom, and I wanted to honor the people who made the day possible,” sums up Jenny. Well done, Sergeant Miller.

wedding dress designer: Lazaro

wedding dress boutique: Mariella Creations, Rocky Hill

bridesmaid dresses: Sorella Vita

bridesmaid boutique: Majesty Bridal, Danbury

tuxedos: Formals by Antonio, Rocky Hill

videographer/dj: Powerstation Events, Cheshire

caterer: A Thyme to Cook, North Stonington

cake: JCakes, North Branford

hair/makeup: Naomi Martinez Studio, Newington

lighting/rentals: Powerstation Events, Cheshire

This article originally appeared in the Spring/Summer 2017 edition of The Connecticut Bride.