Renee + Chris: An October wedding at Mystic Seaport

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.


Jenna Landon of Coastal Gourmet at Mystic Seaport was busy making sure the day ran smoothly from beginning to end.MysticSeaportWedding_ConnecticutCoastal_WeddingPhotographer_AnnaSawinPhotography_Stonington_003

Getting ready was emotional for Renee and her cousin Sara, her Matron of Honor, as they shared a moment missing their grandmother and honoring her with a handkerchief pinned to Renee’s gown.MysticSeaportWedding_ConnecticutCoastal_WeddingPhotographer_AnnaSawinPhotography_Stonington_004

I love this photo of Renee, surrounded by so many of the important women in her life, including her new mother-in-law, Louise.MysticSeaportWedding_ConnecticutCoastal_WeddingPhotographer_AnnaSawinPhotography_Stonington_005 MysticSeaportWedding_ConnecticutCoastal_WeddingPhotographer_AnnaSawinPhotography_Stonington_006

Natural bridal beauty enhanced by Upstyle Traveling Hair and Makeup from Hartford, CT and Kevin & Co in Mystic, CT.MysticSeaportWedding_ConnecticutCoastal_WeddingPhotographer_AnnaSawinPhotography_Stonington_007

Renee and her father shared an emotional greeting as he first saw his daughter as a bride.MysticSeaportWedding_ConnecticutCoastal_WeddingPhotographer_AnnaSawinPhotography_Stonington_008 MysticSeaportWedding_ConnecticutCoastal_WeddingPhotographer_AnnaSawinPhotography_Stonington_009

Meanwhile, the men enjoyed a few moments in the pub at Latitude 41 so they didn’t accidentally see the bride before the ceremony.MysticSeaportWedding_ConnecticutCoastal_WeddingPhotographer_AnnaSawinPhotography_Stonington_010 MysticSeaportWedding_ConnecticutCoastal_WeddingPhotographer_AnnaSawinPhotography_Stonington_011 MysticSeaportWedding_ConnecticutCoastal_WeddingPhotographer_AnnaSawinPhotography_Stonington_012 MysticSeaportWedding_ConnecticutCoastal_WeddingPhotographer_AnnaSawinPhotography_Stonington_013 MysticSeaportWedding_ConnecticutCoastal_WeddingPhotographer_AnnaSawinPhotography_Stonington_014

Grandpa Julius officiated a heartfelt and personal ceremony for our couple, and some close family members created beautiful music.MysticSeaportWedding_ConnecticutCoastal_WeddingPhotographer_AnnaSawinPhotography_Stonington_015 MysticSeaportWedding_ConnecticutCoastal_WeddingPhotographer_AnnaSawinPhotography_Stonington_016

Married!MysticSeaportWedding_ConnecticutCoastal_WeddingPhotographer_AnnaSawinPhotography_Stonington_017 MysticSeaportWedding_ConnecticutCoastal_WeddingPhotographer_AnnaSawinPhotography_Stonington_018

Lots of photos of friends and family, including brother Seth and his girlfriend Amy, Renee’s dear friend.MysticSeaportWedding_ConnecticutCoastal_WeddingPhotographer_AnnaSawinPhotography_Stonington_019

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!) MysticSeaportWedding_ConnecticutCoastal_WeddingPhotographer_AnnaSawinPhotography_Stonington_020 MysticSeaportWedding_ConnecticutCoastal_WeddingPhotographer_AnnaSawinPhotography_Stonington_021 MysticSeaportWedding_ConnecticutCoastal_WeddingPhotographer_AnnaSawinPhotography_Stonington_022MysticSeaportWedding_ConnecticutCoastal_WeddingPhotographer_AnnaSawinPhotography_Stonington_023 MysticSeaportWedding_ConnecticutCoastal_WeddingPhotographer_AnnaSawinPhotography_Stonington_024   MysticSeaportWedding_ConnecticutCoastal_WeddingPhotographer_AnnaSawinPhotography_Stonington_027

We soaked up the sunlight and fall colors as long as we could for photos of this lovely pair, then headed inside for the party in the River Room!MysticSeaportWedding_ConnecticutCoastal_WeddingPhotographer_AnnaSawinPhotography_Stonington_029 MysticSeaportWedding_ConnecticutCoastal_WeddingPhotographer_AnnaSawinPhotography_Stonington_030 MysticSeaportWedding_ConnecticutCoastal_WeddingPhotographer_AnnaSawinPhotography_Stonington_031 MysticSeaportWedding_ConnecticutCoastal_WeddingPhotographer_AnnaSawinPhotography_Stonington_032MysticSeaportWedding_ConnecticutCoastal_WeddingPhotographer_AnnaSawinPhotography_Stonington_033 MysticSeaportWedding_ConnecticutCoastal_WeddingPhotographer_AnnaSawinPhotography_Stonington_034 MysticSeaportWedding_ConnecticutCoastal_WeddingPhotographer_AnnaSawinPhotography_Stonington_035 MysticSeaportWedding_ConnecticutCoastal_WeddingPhotographer_AnnaSawinPhotography_Stonington_036 MysticSeaportWedding_ConnecticutCoastal_WeddingPhotographer_AnnaSawinPhotography_Stonington_037

Happy love, you two. It’s going to be an amazing life together, I just know it.

xo, Anna

The Skinny:

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

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.


  1. amy on November 17, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    Anna!!!! These are soooo gorgeous!! Renee and Chris were so lucky to be able to get you for their photographer! Amazing. Just amazing.

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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.