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New England tea party wedding: Kendra + Matt

March 14, 2012

When Kendra + Matt, photography duo, aka Summer Street Photography shared their wedding with us, we knew it was going to be striking. Kendra swears she was French in another life and Matt secretly wishes he lived in 1750, so deciding upon an experience that was akin to an old Jane Austen Novel or a rustic daydream was the easy part. Executing two events for their intimate guest list of 60 without breaking the bank – now that was the challenge. Thankfully, Kendra’s going to dish all her secrets on how she made it work (and there’s a lot of them so take note!). The good news: it’s all stuff you can start trying now.


I purchased my gown on ebay for over 75% off the retail price from a bride who had worn it to her wedding (no, it wasn’t a knock off!) which I ended up loving because it had a particular smell of someones home on it, which I shared with her and will always associate that smell with my dress and wedding. I ended up finding my veil at a local antique store for only $25.00 and it matched my gown exactly.


Because I had been following dozens of wedding blogs,  I entered as many contests and giveaways as I could, and we received the enormous blessing of free photography and videography from Chennergy and free bridesmaid dresses from Swoon, among smaller giveaway prizes like my garter and jewelry. We also planned to avoid the peek (read: most expensive) times of the week (hello weekday morning ceremony, goodbye Saturday afternoon time slot) and still had a June wedding for under 20K.

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We used a local peony farm in Massachusetts for all 300 stems and planned our wedding date around peony season to both save money and support local farmers.


My husband and I practiced for a full year and made french macarons for our gurest’s tea cups and my Mother in Law helped fill them with buttercream the day before the wedding.

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I collected and curated all of the vases, tea cups, decor and furniture from antique shops in both my husband and my hometowns in the midwest, as well as took advantage of local antique shows like Brimfield where we live now. To save on rentals, we hauled all our furniture from inside of our home.

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Since the guest list was small and everyone would be traveling, we planned a friday morning garden ceremony at our favorite historic estate, followed by an afternoon tea party in the meadow nearby filled with lawn games, a harpist, a silhouette artist (in lieu of a traditional guestbook) and lots of laughter. We also wanted the opportunity to spend more time with our guests who had traveled far for our wedding so we decided to host a barn party on the evening of our wedding day at a neighboring community farm complete with homemade beer, an English country band, a photo booth and barbeque.


When the wedding day came, it was truly one of the happiest days of our lives and we’ll cherish the memory of it forever. Since I am lucky enough to photograph weddings for a living, I get the privilege of supporting other brides through their process and documenting it in a way that reflects their relationship. Three pieces of advice I will always give future brides are: 1. Hire a photographer that you love. You’ll have two things after your wedding: your husband and the photos. Everything else is a one time use only.  2. On the day of your wedding you can be NOTHING but the bride, so plan accordingly. If you do this you will be so much more present to enjoying every last inch of it. So many people say it goes by in a second but ours felt like a prolonged daydream that went on forever. It was heaven. 3. Enjoy life after the wedding (and if you can afford it, go on an amazing honeymoon to get you off to the right start!) They say love only gets sweeter with time and my hope is that when our generation is celebrating our 50th Wedding anniversaries that we are hosting gorgeous dinners with our nearest and dearest to celebrate love and family.

Congratulations Kendra + Matt!

Photography and Videography: Chennergy / Venues: The Codman Estate & Codman Community Farms / Catering: Tables of Content Catering & Blue Ribbon Barbecue / Day of coordination: Making Me Planning and Event Firm / Florist: Prairie Fair / Peonies: Bliss Farm Antiques / Styling: Prairie Fair / Music: Shelley Otis, Harp & Seven Times Salt / Bride’s Hair: Updos by Ann / Bridesmaid’s hair: Christine Gibson / Bride’s Makeup: Makeovers by Ligia / Bride’s dress: Scarlet by Monique Lhuillier / Bridesmaid dresses: Swoon / Parasols: Lace-Parasols / Shoes: J.Crew & vintage Boots (from my Mother-In-Law) / Hair accessories: Anthropologie / Grooms vest and tie: Kevin and Howlin / Calligraphy: The Left Handed Calligrapher / Officiant: Eric Holst / Silhouette artist: Victoria Belisle