October 13, 2019

Venue Allen Hill Farm, Brooklyn

Photos jesslancephoto

When Matthew Hochdorfer asked Thais De Oliveira to be his wife in front of the Christmas tree shining bright in their East Hartford home on Dec. 14, 2017, little did they know that Christmas trees, of all things, would play a pivotal role in their October 2019 wedding.

“It just kind of happened,” says Thais. Allen Hill Farm, a 350-acre, circa-1891 family farm in Brooklyn, was the first place the couple visited when looking for a ceremony/reception site — and the last. Its primary crop? You guessed it: Christmas trees, 100 acres of them in fact. “We just fell in love with Allen Hill,” remembers Thais. “I think it was meant to be.”

The couple was looking for something “rustic, but pretty,” and, most of all, a place where they could “have fun!” Allen Hill’s classic New England post-and-beam red barn and the outdoor green space surrounding it proved to be just the thing. A massive granite boulder dating back to the ice ages served as both a regal backdrop and a natural “altar” for Thais and Matt’s ceremony overlooking fields of Christmas trees and the rolling hills of the Quinebaug River Valley. The bride’s brother, Thiago, traveled from Brazil to walk her down the aisle, while the groom’s parents said a blessing over their hands as part of the emotional and deeply personal ceremony.

Cocktails and games of cornhole were both shared next to the barn, after which Thais and Matt brought down the house as they performed a choreographed first dance to “Nothing Can Change This Love” by Sam Cooke. Matt’s parents, who are themselves accomplished ballroom dancers, were their inspiration. “Part of what drew me to Matt is how much he loves his family,” says Thais. “He always puts others first. He’s kind and dedicated, but also sarcastic and hilarious — and it doesn’t hurt that he’s an awesome cook.” But can he dance? As it turns out, “People were blown away by us,” says Thais. “It was amazing.”

The bride, who was born in Rio de Janeiro, and moved to Connecticut permanently when she was 14, brought a little piece of Brazil to the barn via homemade Bem Casados for everyone to enjoy. Each traditional Brazilian sponge cake filled with dulce de leche is said to represent the couple’s union and commitment, as well as the promise of a lifetime of happiness. According to tradition, each guest is offered a Bem Casado so that they may be blessed with the same.

Well, then: Long may you love, Thais and Matt. (Incidentally, can you guess where the newlyweds went to cut down a tree for their first Christmas as husband and wife?) 

officiant The Rev. Victoria Burdick/Authentic Ceremony, Groton 

bride’s dress The Wedding Dress, Portland 

tuxedos Men’s Wearhouse 

videographer First and Last Productions, West Hartford 

dj Quantum Sound Productions, East Hartford 

caterer/cake On The Spot Catering, Plainfield 

florist Terri Krisavage Weddings & Events, Rocky Hill 

makeup/hair: Upstyle, Manchester 

transportation Constitution Coach, Bolton