When I say that Courtney and Ben’s coastal wedding was a dream, I mean it! Courtney comes from an event planning background, so she had a natural eye for detail as she planned the day.
The Vision for this Coastal Wedding:
Courtney and Ben knew that they wanted a coastal wedding, but everywhere they visited didn’t leave that “wow” feeling . . . that is, until they drove up the New Hampshire coastline to see Abenaqui Country Club (731 Central Rd, Rye Beach, NH 03871). By the time they arrived to the wedding venue, they had already fallen in love with the oceanfront of Rye. So when they pulled up to Abenaqui, they already had a good feeling. It wasn’t long into their tour before they knew this was the place they’d celebrate their wedding!
Abenaqui Country Club is a private club, located just off of the NH seacoast. The grounds are well maintained and provide backdrops for photos that don’t feel so obviously “golf club”; the rooms are light and airy (perfect for my natural, light-filled photos style!); and the layout of the venue perfectly mixes an indoor and outdoor environment. It was a bonus that Abenaqui isn’t a “wedding factory” — they do a limited number of weddings each year, making theirs feel that much more special.
The couple planned to do their ceremony at St. Andrews by the Sea (30 Church Rd, Rye, NH 03870), which also provided the perfect opportunity to include the NH coastline in their wedding images.
Coastal Wedding Design:
When it came time for designing this coastal NH wedding, Courtney and Ben decided on a light grey, white/off-white, and dusty blue color scheme — the coast, naturally being a major point of inspiration. Overall, they wanted a coastal, chic, airy, and romantic feeling to their day. They incorporated sea glass into some of the cocktail hour decor, with pops of antique gold as an accent. They worked with F..As in Flowers to create a “perfectly imperfect” floral design — something that felt beautiful and naturally effortless.
3 Big Considerations for this NH Wedding:
As Courtney and I worked through the plan for her wedding day photos, there were a few very intentional decisions made in order to fully document the day she and Ben envisioned:
Lighting was a major consideration throughout the wedding day, and many decisions were made with this in mind. Photography was a top priority and Courtney wanted to help plan a day that would photograph as beautifully as possible.
The first lighting decision we had to make was in regard to the getting ready space. Ben’s group would get ready at a hotel in Portsmouth; Courtney’s group would either do the same or could use a spare room at the country club. After reviewing the options, the spare room at Abenaqui was perfect — with 180° of the room covered in windows, we knew that it would provide far more natural light than most hotel room suites could. Deciding to do her getting ready photos there was a no-brainer.
The second critical lighting decision we made was in regard to portrait locations. Since some of our primary portrait locations would be very exposed to the sun, it would be important for us to plan for a very sunny wedding day. Imagine having your heart set on a particular backdrop only to find out on your wedding day that you’d actually be squinting in all of your photos if your photographer did all of your group photos there . . . yes, you’d get the backdrop, but everyone would look pretty uncomfortable and the photos wouldn’t be flattering. If by chance we got a cloudy wedding day, we’d have the flexibility to do photos anywhere . . . but knowing that harsh light was a good possibility, it was essential to plan with that in mind. I used a few tools to check the sun’s positioning for our date/time/location so that we could most accurately plan our portrait locations around where the properties would provide the move flattering light. And it’s a good thing we did! What started as a rainy wedding morning, turned into a very bright sunny day! This level of planning ultimately saved us so much time on the wedding day — with a plan already in place, we were able to jump right in!
A Versatile Portrait Location
With a trolley already on deck to transport the group between the ceremony and reception, Courtney and I decided to think outside the box when we talked through potential portrait locations. Abenaqui’s grounds provided a nice garden wedding feel, outside of the main golf course area; and the church grounds could help to set the scene for their ceremony. Nothing would be wrong with any of this, but we knew we could go one step further! Fuller Gardens happens to be located just down the street and became our main point of interest when considering other portrait locations.
“Fuller Gardens is a public botanical garden that was once part of the summer estate of Alvan T. Fuller on the Seacoast of New Hampshire. It’s a delightful oasis situated a stone’s throw from the ocean. The gardens feature horticulture at the highest level, with thousands of rose bushes and hundreds of varieties that bloom all season long. Formal English perennial borders, a Japanese Garden and a tropical conservatory are all framed by sculpted hedges.”
Sounds pretty perfect, right?!
After a visit to confirm the layout and potential lighting situations, we decided Fuller Gardens would make for a STUNNING portrait location. Their first look would happen at Abenaqui so that the group could all enjoy the trolley together before continuing on to Fuller Gardens. Between the carriage house, greenhouse, and surrounding gardens, we’d use the space for our family and wedding party portraits, before doing more photos of Courtney and Ben.
The Perfect Rocky Coast
Lastly, identifying the perfect rocky area along the ocean was essential for this coastal wedding. This was the ONE set of photos Courtney knew they absolutely had to have. After all, the Rye, NH coastline played a big part in deciding on the venue!
Courtney and I each spent some time (pre-wedding) driving along the coastline to find the perfect pull off for the dramatic rocky coastal look they were after. We adjusted the wedding day timeline so that we would only need about five minutes to do these photos just after the ceremony. The trolley would drop us off and then loop around to pick us back up to go to cocktail hour! In the photos below, you’ll that’s exactly what we got!
A few words from C+B about their By Halie experience:
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ “WOW is truly the first word that comes to mind when thinking about the service and photos we received from Halie. I am an event planner by trade and communication is key for me . . . Halie communicated EVERY.LAST.DETAIL you will ever think of, and some you would never have even thought of. Throughout the entire planning process, she was always available if we had any questions, offered suggestions/ideas for locations for both our engagement session and wedding day photography, and created a day-of timeline that allowed us to capture all the photos we wanted and kept everyone on track. We received our sneak peek photos from our wedding a few weeks ago and they are more amazing than I ever could have imagined. I cannot speak more highly of Halie and would highly recommend using her for your photography needs!”
The vendor team that helped to pull off this coastal wedding:
- Venue & Catering: Abenaqui Country Club
- Photography: By Halie
- Florals: F..as in Flowers
- DJ: Sky Music Entertainment
- Videography: Juharo Weddings
- Hair: Blank Canvas Salon
- Makeup: Rebekah McLean
- Jeweler: Barmakian Jewelers
- Bridal Boutique: Madeleine’s Daughter Bridal
- Dress Designer: Badgley Mischka Bride
- Bridesmaids Dresses: Bill Levkoff from Cristina’s Bridal & Formal Wear
- Groom and Groomsmen Attire: Jos. A. Bank