Lindsay Coyne and Tara Michalowski
The Society Room of Hartford
Oct. 24, 2015
Halfway up Stratton Mountain in Vermont is an ice wall where those exiting the lift known as “American Express” traditionally stop to take a photo. Avid snowboarders and happy couple Tara Michalowski and Lindsay Coyne make it a point to snap a shot here every year, so Lindsay was not expecting their Jan. 23, 2015, photo opp to be anything out of the ordinary — until Tara pulled out a ring.
“I lost it,” says Lindsay. “My sister snapped a photo at the exact moment Tara opened the box and I screamed.” Sure, the self-proclaimed “girly-girl” had on her less-than-glamorous helmet and bulky snowboarding gear, but “it didn’t matter,” says Lindsay. The proposal “was perfect.”
Lindsay, who grew up in Trumbull, and Tara, who is from Middlefield, first met in college, when Lindsay (who was then at Newport’s Salve Regina University) was visiting a friend at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, where Tara was enrolled. Their meeting was brief, but “I clearly remember being taken with her back in the day,” recalls Lindsay. So much so, that when Lindsay ran into Tara at a function in New Haven 15 years later, “there was an instant connection,” says Lindsay. “I knew right then that this was it.”
“We both love New Year’s,” explains Lindsay, so the Oct. 24, 2015, ceremony and reception they planned for the Society Room of Hartford was designed to be reminiscent of a New Year’s party with a black, gold and white theme. “We wanted it to be the ultimate bash, a true celebration,” says Lindsay — and that they got. In fact, every person the brides-to-be invited (more than 160 in all) responded with a resounding, “yes.” “Their support,” says Lindsay, is what “made our day incredible.”
The brides took turns descending the grand staircase for their ceremony in the gilded opulence of the Society Room ballroom, Lindsay in Lea-Ann Belter and Tara in Paloma Blanca, a snowflake charm Lindsay’s mom had bought in Stratton Village the night they got engaged pinned to the back of each gown as their “something blue.”
Lindsay, as always, was luminous; Tara, however, was the true surprise. In “real life” Tara’s style is “as simple and laid back as it gets,” says Lindsay. On this day, however, she was simply “breathtaking,” says Lindsay, who adds, “I had no idea she could look this glamorous.” And Tara was — right down to the Badgley Mischkas on her feet (which, in a stay-true-to-you move, she later replaced with her signature red Vans for dancing).
“We were dancing fools,” admits Lindsay. In fact, West End Blend, the 10-piece funk/soul band that kept everyone movin’, was the very same that had been playing at Grizzly’s Lodge at the base of Stratton the day the ladies got engaged. (As fate would have it, the band is from the west end of Hartford.) “I adore Tara beyond words,” says Lindsay. Remembering, “As I watched her dance, I could envision her in my life forever. When you get it right, you get it right — and you know it.”
Lindsay’s dress: Lea-Ann Belter
Tara’s dress: Paloma Blanca
dress boutique: The Plumed Serpent, Westport
shoes: Badgley Mischka
bridesmaid dresses: Jim Hjelm
bridesmaid dress boutique: Mariella Creations, Rocky Hill
band: West End Blend, Hartford
florist: Wallingford Flower Shoppe, Wallingford
cake: Kim’s Cottage Confections, Durham
hair/makeup: Hair Chateau, Hamden
This article originally appeared in the Spring/Summer 2017 edition of The Connecticut Bride.