mid-winter beach wedding in westport, ct

jocie + dylan

This mid-winter beach wedding in Westport, CT was super special, for so many reasons.

Dylan and Jocie had been together a long time when they decided to get married. Their families had recently experienced a great loss, so Dylan and Jocie decided that this was the perfect time to bring everyone together for something good.

The something good?

A super secret plan to surprise their family and friends by gettin’ hitched, on the beach, on Christmas Eve. Mmmmhmmm.

A surprise mid-winter beach wedding on Christmas Eve? Yes, please!

It’s not often that I am given the opportunity to be a secret keeper for clients (Let’s be honest, it’s not too often that clients surprise their whole families with a wedding like Dylan and Jocie did!) and it’s such a special thing to be invited into that intimate space in that way. To make this magic happen, they told their families and friends that they wanted everyone to get together for a big family holiday photo and they, of course, swore me to secrecy for their super-stealthy-get-married plan.

I met Jocie at a family home in Westport and captured her getting ready—with a village of sisters and nieces and nephews and friends and a beautiful, simple, holiday vibe all around.

Then we followed our bride—caravan style—down to the beach where we tried to park where no one would see her in her gorgeous dress. That was challenging!

We were so lucky though! The weather had been grey and chilly all day, but it warmed up and the sun peeked out just as the clock counted down to go time. Jocie snuck into the beach house, while Dylan traded laughs and beers and stories by the water (in a suit!) with his closest friends.

Even though we kept it a secret for as long as we could, the candles on the beach, the officiant, the guitar player (who appeared randomly and began playing), and Dylan walking to the front of the “aisle” gave it away long before Jocie arrived with her dad to walk down the beach and into the aisle!

Their ceremony was short and sweet and lovely and, when it was all over, we adventured down the beach to the jetty (one of Jocie’s fave spots for many years) for some simple, candid portraits.

The icing on the cake was the fireworks—at 4pm in the afternoon—set off by their dear friend and officiant as we left the jetty.

A totally magical christmas eve gift.

This was such a special afternoon to witness. There’s something so emotional and brilliant about small weddings where the couple have a deep relationship and love for their guests. Dylan and Jocie wanted to be fully immersed in their time together while also including the people who mean the most to them, in a unique and memorable way and the surprise they put together for their loved ones filled my happiness cup to overflowing. As a photographer, being asked to capture all of that gorgeous truth as it happened was a highlight and a beautiful, heartfelt reminder why I love what I do.


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Hair and Make Up: Angelina
IG: BeautyMarked Studio
Website: beautymarkedstudio.com

If this post didn’t give you enough of the feels, here is another lovely and laughter-filled  mid-winter wedding!