December 7, 2019

Venue The Branford House, Groton

Photos Carla Ten Eyck

Liane Boyko has been modeling wedding gowns since she was 16. Along the way, “I’ve worn thousands of gowns, but they were always other people’s, never my own” says the full-time model. And so, when it was Liane’s turn to shine she was worried that she might have become a bit “jaded” by the process. As it turns out, when Liane slid on what would become her wedding dress at The White Dress by the Shore in Clinton, the silk crepe Hayley Paige stunner “made me feel like a true bride for the first time,” says Liane. “I knew immediately it was my dream dress, not someone else’s,” and, as Liane’s then-fiancé Alex Winter would attest, “I just attached to it like it was our first child.” Ah, true love. 

Liane and Alex (who has been known to model a time or two beside his bride-to-be) decided on the circa-1903 Branford House on Avery Point in Groton for their Dec. 7, 2019, ceremony and reception after falling for the opulent venue and it’s spectacular waterfront while “on set” for a bridal shoot. “We wanted a rich and sophisticated “Old World-luxury” feel and the Branford House is it,” says Liane. A black-tie “winter” wedding was decided on as the theme (rather appropriate, wouldn’t you say?) and “we went crazy with our themed colors of black, evergreen, silver and stark white by decorating [the first floor of the Newport-style mansion] with icy trees, evergreen branches atop the fireplaces and candles everywhere,” says Liane.

The vision? Not “winter” in the “holiday” sense (although bride-and-groom nutcrackers and stockings for the mantles proved hard to resist), but “to capture the stillness and beauty of the forest in winter,” says Liane — “the more sparkles, the better.” Think “those first flakes of white, fluffy snow that glitter like diamonds,” describes the new bride. Even the cake, striking in sophisticated black fondant, shimmered with silver and white snowflakes.

The groom’s godfather, Paul, was the officiant for a ceremony that included a traditional Celtic “tying of the knot,” during which both mothers wound a green and a white cord around their children’s wrists as an Irish poem was read. “Instead of the typical sit-down dinner, we chose a passed hors d’oeuvres-style menu, so that it was more like a party,” says Liane. “That’s more who we are.” In the midst of the festivities, the groom’s father, David-Alexandre Winter, an award-winning recording artist in France in the late ’60s and ’70s, performed a song he had written just for Alex and Liane. 

In the end, “our guests danced, drank [signature Winter Bourbon Smashes for everyone!] and ate to their hearts’ content that evening — and that’s exactly what we wanted,” says Liane. “It was a true celebration of our love” — and a dress a wistful 16-year-old model once dreamed of.

officiant Paul Johnson 

day-of coordinator Eugene Guye 

dress designer Hayley Paige “Sloane” 

dress boutique The White Dress by the Shore, Clinton 

bridal styling Beth Chapman Styling, Clinton 

groom’s custom tuxedo: Valentino Tailors, Hamden 

dj/photo booth Bello Entertainment, Danbury

caterer Tom’s Market Catering, Rhode Island 

florist Hana Floral Design, Mystic 

cake/desserts Patricia Kierpaul, Waterford 

invitations Zazzle  

lighting Shoreline Audio Visual, Suffield 

Nails Hyacinth Nail and Spa, Meriden