For these two, their love story is completely intertwined with family, and that’s just how they like it.
Chris, our groom, had a friend named Seth from the gym. It was the summer of 2008, and Seth invited him over dinner on a night he was grilling his famous cayenne burgers. Chris met members of Seth’s family, including a brief greeting with Seth’s beautiful sister, Renee, as she flew out the door. Seeing her engaging smile was a moment that changed everything for Chris.
Over the next few years, Renee and Chris got to know each other during different family events and at the gym, and developed what Chris called an “effortless” friendship. By the summer of 2011, Renee’s cousin Sara, also a member of the same gym, figured out just how much they enjoyed seeing each other, and was encouraging as Chris asked Renee on a date. “The next day we went to lunch, and we’ve never looked back!” he laughs. (Sara and Seth were among their loved ones in the wedding party this fall, of course.)
The two of them have already experienced many of life’s difficult moments in their four years together, including the loss of Chris’ dad and grandmother and Renee’s grandmother. “Through the hard times we drew closer and learned how to be the support each other needed,” says Renee. But on a brighter note, she says, “we are blessed to have such wonderful families, and they play a huge role in our lives. We are madly in love with each other and have been looking forward to this day for longer than we’ve been engaged.”
The two were married at Mystic Seaport, overlooking the shores of the Mystic River under a perfectly blue October sky. Renee’s Grandpa Julius performed the ceremony—he also married Renee’s parents many years ago, and both Chris and Renee have a special close relationship with Grandpa Julius, so his dear and personal marriage ceremony was a natural fit to their emotional and joyous day.
What happens when your group photo spot has several very heavy casks in the way? Your very strong cross-fitter groom and his very strong cross-fitter groomsmen move them, while the very strong cross-fitter bride and her very strong cross-fitter attendants laugh! (I think any one of them could have moved these!)
Happy love, you two. It’s going to be an amazing life together, I just know it.
Photography: Anna Sawin for Anna Sawin Photography, Stonington, CT
Ceremony/Reception: Latitude 41 at Mystic Seaport, Mystic, CT (Coastal Gourmet)
Coordinator: Jenna Landon of Coastal Gourmet
Caterer/Cake: Coastal Gourmet
Video: Liz Caron and Mike Pace of East Coast Image
Ceremony Music: Legacy String Trio- Christina Stavrakas
DJ/Lighting: Jerry Brown of Power Posse
Décor/Florist: Katey & Leigh Waddington of K.L.W. Design Co., Waterford, CT
Dress: VOWS Bridal Outlet, Watertown, MA
Hair: Kevin Hall of Kevin and Co. Salon, Mystic, CT
Makeup: Sabrina Cordiko from Upstyle Traveling Hair and Makeup, Hartford, CT
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.