What a wedding! Margot and Avery traveled from their Washington, DC, home to the shores of Mason’s Island in Mystic, CT, home to Avery’s family for generations–and home to a number of special family weddings over the years. This year’s event included the just-in-time completed new home of Avery’s aunt and uncle, adjacent to the rock they had married on years before. The sun shone appropriately upon this special outdoor event, the cousins and aunts and uncles and friends rolled in from across the country and the ceremony began. But before we get to the rest of the wedding, it might make sense to celebrate the origins of their relationship and engagement.
Margot, a contractor at the Department of State, manages countering violent extremism programs in Africa, while Avery manages Autonomous Mobility for a transportation technology company. The two met in Washington, DC, and as their relationship developed, they spent time visiting Margot’s grandmother, Joan Shorey, who also lived in Washington. Mrs. Shorey, though her health and memory were beginning to fade, was strongly in favor of her granddaughter’s relationship. On occasion, Avery would visit alone. On one such visit, the subject of his intentions was raised, and Avery asked Mrs. Shorey for her thoughts and recommendations on a fitting proposal. She recounted the story of her meeting her late husband at the Jasper Park Lodge in Alberta, Canada in the 1940s, including a specific bridge where they fell in love. Even as her memory of people and places steadily faded, this was a memory she held onto and cherished. Avery and Mrs. Shorey agreed that this would be a fitting spot for a proposal.
When Margot’s grandmother died in February of 2018, Avery was still committed to the plan. He needed to convince his intended fiancée to make a trip to Jasper, without raising her suspicion, despite Jasper not being a priority destination. The successful ruse involved “winning” a condominium vacation outside Calgary, an alleged broken pipe, and a last minute substitute weekend in Jasper Park. He proposed in the park, near the lodge, on the bridge, just as her grandmother had specified. Margot, surprised and delighted, wrote to her sister and cousins, “Grandma is still telling us what to do!”
Eliza Cava, the bride’s sister-in-law was the officiant of the seaside ceremony, followed by beautiful passed hors d’oeuvres and cheese station (mini loaded hot dogs! mini lobster rolls ON POTATO CHIPS!) and delicious mix of stations (grilled halibut! a French salad station! and tiny braised beef and Vermont cheddar pot pies!)by A Thyme to Cook. Aside from the general merriment of the day and evening, and the groovy tunes by my own favorite local band, Sugar—the highlight of the evening was a family tradition: a spirited and original musical performance by the cousins on Avery’s side.
The weekend was tremendous, and now has a place in the memories of all who attended, nestled among the family recollections of other special weddings and events held at this glorious corner of Connecticut over the years. I was so delighted to return for my second family wedding here on Mason’s Island at this address, ten years nearly to the date, and so grateful for the special connections created by Sally, Andy and Sara Halsey that brought me into the fold of this lovely family.
Happy love, Margot and Avery!
Venue: Private home, Mason’s Island, CT
Boat Wrangling: Andy Halsey
Photography: Anna Sawin and Sarah McCoy for Anna Sawin Photography
Coordination: Bekah Kepple for Blue Lane Events
Catering: A Thyme to Cook
Floral: Darby Farm, Arlington, MA
Anna Sawin is a Connecticut-based portrait, wedding, and editorial photographer. She lives in the shoreline town of Stonington with her family and has discovered the perfect cupcake. Just ask, she is willing to share her secret.