Where we’re at: I’m recapping my brief travels in the fall of 2018.
Hear that sound? It’s wedding bells, my friends. I think at this point I legitimately have six weddings I need to blog about. I’ve debated whether or not to make a blog post out of each of them, but in this case I decided I just had to — because while I’ve been to New Hampshire a billion times, this is the first time I’ve blogged it!
And you know me, I just can’t resist adding a new link to my destinations page.
Growing up, I traveled to New Hampshire with my family at least once a year to visit family friends in Dunbarton. I have endless happy childhood memories of our annual bonfire weekend where all the families in the friend group burned their Christmas trees, skating on the ice pond that formed on their property, and trampling through the woods to tap the trees for maple syrup.
That group of family friends, known to me as “The Gang,” originally formed before my generation was even a twinkle in our parents eyes, formed back when many of them were connected to street ministries in Brooklyn and Troy, New York. Eventually most scattered to various points around the East Coast, but we had many deeply cherished annual traditions that brought us together — that bonfire weekend in New Hampshire, the Christmas party in Brooklyn, summer weekends on the Jersey shore and long weekends at my childhood home in Albany — all of which at some point involved pushing the furniture against the wall, rolling up the rugs, and dancing to the YMCA.
Rosie was the first of The Gang “kids” to tie the knot — and she picked a winner in Peter. So while we were somewhat intimidated by our first trip to a new destination since my mom was completely wheelchair bound and in intensive cancer treatment, we knew we could not miss it for the world. We moved around radiation appointments, researched the most accessible hotels, carefully planned our trip around her limitations, and went for it.
We arrived the evening before the festivities kicked off so that my mom would be well-rested the day of the wedding, and had a quiet dinner at a cute spot called The Common Man with a few friends. It had been a beautiful drive from Albany to Concord, and I found myself making a mental note to come back, explore this area further, and blog about it all, someday in the future.
For now, the focus was on family. The morning of the wedding, we decided to make a small excursion to downtown Concord, where we walked by the capital, window shopped some cute boutiques, and had a laid-back lunch at Puppy Love Hot Dogs. It’s a super cute little state capital that I’d love to come back and explore further someday — I saw some yoga studios I’d be into taking a class at, and a fun barber shop themed speakeasy I’d be down for a drink at.
What can I say? Born and raised in Albany, New York, I clearly have a thing for state capitals.
And then, it was time to get ourselves to the main event!
I am never totally sure what to expect from a backyard wedding but I can tell you that this night, walking into a backyard that I’ve known very, very well, for many, many years, I was spellbound at seeing it transformed into a wedding venue fit for these cuties, as shot by their incredibly talented photographer AshLaureen Photography.
We attended as a true modern family — my mom and her fiancé and my dad and my sister and I. It has always meant the world to me that they all get along, and even more so now.
There were so many beautiful details to squee over as we waited for the ceremony to begin (and thank goodness my computer has stopped auto-correcting my use of squee as a verb.) For example, seed packet place cards, a swoon-worthy cheese board, and beautifully printed programs.
When we were asked to be seated, I really did marvel at the significance of this moment. The next generation of this incredible group of friends, as close as family, were starting families of their own. I wonder if our parents ever imagined days like these, back when their friendships began.
I smiled, unsurprised, when I saw Rosie was walking down the aisle barefoot.
The ceremony was one of the most heartfelt I’ve ever witnessed, and I loved the sincerity of the vows between this crazy in love couple! Their personalities are so perfectly captured in the below photos from their photographer.
above five photos credit to AshLaureen Photography
And then, it was time to celebrate! Looking back, the venue truly couldn’t have been more perfect. Would you even consider anything else, if this gorgeous garden was right outside your window?
The reception was equally stunning — big communal tables set under a big white tent, garden flowers on the table, drinks in a big yellow canoe. It was as if Pinterest spring straight to life in a New Hampshire suburb.
We giggled when we saw the delicious dinner was catered by none other than The Common Man, the restaurant where we’d eaten the evening before. We had this town on lock!
And after dinner, it was time to hit the dance floor. And anyone who worked up an appetite again had the perfect snack to look forward to — an after dark s’mores station around that infamous roaring bonfire of yore.
The highlight of the night for me? Needless to say — a heartfelt rendition of the YMCA.
above two photos credit to AshLaureen Photography
The next morning, we stopped back at the house for a post-wedding brunch, where bagels and mimosas were the order of the day. I always love post-wedding events — it’s so much fun to recap the big day all together. And who wouldn’t want one more giggle with this crew.
Rosie and Peter, thanks for being part of our lives and for loving each other in such a pure and beautiful way. You inspire us.
As for the rest of The Gang, I can say that I have been truly, truly humbled by the love and friendship we have been shown in this challenging time. And none of it stronger than the rays radiating from this group. Almost every day I find another thing to be thankful to my parents for — on this day, it was building a life with these people in it.
From New Hampshire, with love…