Love at first shout is the way Benedict Goggins explains his first time meeting Stephanie Johnson. When walking into a dorm room one evening, Benedict didn’t anticipate that the woman he was about to scare would later be his best friend and true love. “‘Who are you?’ were the first words I ever heard from Stephanie,” laughs Benedict. “To this day, I can still hear those words ringing in my ear, not realizing at that moment that while I wasn’t looking for love, it was most certainly looking for me.” 

As time did its part and their relationship met new heights, Benedict knew he wanted to spend the rest of his life with Stephanie. With the help of Stephanie’s youngest sister Madeleine, Benedict popped the big question on New Year’s Eve, and the wedding planning soon began. With the help of their family and trusted planner, Amy Champagne, Benedict and Stephanie were excited to bring their vision to life in just seven months. 

Wanting to stay true to the couple’s personalities, their planner helped design the day to achieve a romantic and intimate evening around the bride and groom’s “Father of the Bride” theme. “The week that we got engaged, we ended up watching Father of the Bride with our family, and as soon as we saw the scene with all of the twinkly lights, we all had a twinkle in our eye thinking this should be the inspiration for our wedding,” shares Stephanie. 

Knowing how important their decision would be in choosing a wedding venue, the couple elected GrayBarns as their quintessential Connecticut escape for their wedding weekend. Despite the bride’s initial dismissal of a barn wedding, Stephanie was overjoyed with their choice as they were able to not only have both the ceremony and reception on the same grounds but also host both their families for the weekend with breakfast, drinks, and lots of love. 

“The week that we got engaged, we ended up watching 'Father of the Bride' with our family, and as soon as we saw the scene with all of the twinkly lights, we all had a twinkle in our eye thinking this should be the inspiration.”

Just over 50 friends and family members took their seats for the October evening ceremony. Stephanie appeared in an exquisite long-sleeved lace gown while holding a bouquet of soft white flowers displaying an embellished gold-and-pearl pin that showcased a portrait of the bride’s late grandmother

Beautifully complementing the rustic feel of the space, the ceremony was adorned with white and blue florals and draped with crisp white linens as the couple said their “I dos.” To make the ceremony even more special, the couple insisted on having their family incorporated as much as possible. As Benedict’s father officiated the wedding, he also made it a point to include a special poem in honor of Benedict’s grandparents. 

Following the ceremony and a lively cocktail hour, guests were directed back indoors for a fun-filled night of revelry and delicious eats and treats. The design scheme from the ceremony was carried over into the reception. Lush white and blue florals graced the barn as guests sat beneath the intricate lights displayed under a grand chandelier that lit up the dance floor just as they envisioned. “When guests walked into the reception, they would look up and see twinkly lights decorating the entire ceiling,” describes Stephanie. “It truly took your breath away and set the mood of the entire reception”. 

Attendees were wowed with beautifully decorated reception tables cloaked in ornate linens and white blooms that allowed the gold dinnerware to pop as they savored their sit-down dinner that was bountiful in its options. As the night transitioned back into the barn, loved ones danced the night away to music selected by Benedict that never left a dull moment on the dance floor. 

When looking back, Stephanie fully credits their planner for the ease of preparing for the big day: “I cannot stress how important and vital our wedding planner was for every single aspect. We would not have enjoyed our wedding day if we did not have her and her team running behind the scenes.”

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