By Gillian Burdett

Your wedding photo album is more than a memento of The Big Day; it is a historical artifact to be passed down to children and grandchildren. The backdrop a bride and groom choose for the requisite formal group photos and the fun candid shots is an expression of the new couple’s individual natures. It will give future generations a glimpse at the human side of their family tree.

Connecticut, with its natural beauty and long history, has landscapes and architecture to express a multitude of personalities. Our list has sites from the Litchfield Hills down to the shore and along the banks of the Connecticut River with a range of themes spanning rugged nature to classic elegance.

Gillette Castle State Park
67 River Road
East Haddam, CT 06423

Rolling lawns, formal gardens, a terrace overlooking the Connecticut River with a sweeping mountain panorama all with the backdrop of a medieval castle, this site offers many beautiful wedding photo opportunities. Built in the early 20th Century by Connecticut actor William Gillette, the castle’s architecture harkens back to a time when chivalry was the code of honor. Knights and their fair maidens, along with attendants, can pose under field stone arches and along cascading stone stairways. The grounds are open year-round, 8 a.m. to sunset. The castle is open Memorial Day through Labor Day 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Saybrook Point
155 College St.
Old Saybrook, CT 06475

Where the Connecticut River meets Long Island Sound you’ll find wild salt marshes of waving reeds laced with bayberry and thistle. The landscaped gardens around the town’s public pavilion offer a more formal photo shoot setting. The entire area overlooks the ocean for a dramatic seascape backdrop. Don’t be surprised if a family of swans photobombs your pictures if you choose Saybrook point for your shoot.

Harkness Memorial Park
275 Great Neck Road
Waterford, CT 06385

The grounds at Harkness offer the bride and groom a stunning backdrop of classic Roman Revival architecture and meticulously maintained gardens. A stone pergola overlooking the West Garden feature stately columns and a sweeping ocean view. Throughout the property, flowering shrubs bloom in a profusion of color. The grounds of Harkness Memorial park are open year-round. There is a small fee for parking.

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Kent Falls State Park
462 Kent Cornwall Road
Kent, CT 06757

Kent Falls are easily accessible from Route 7 in Kent. The park is a series of several waterfalls that cascade through a deciduous forest. The grounds feature a quaint covered bridge that can serve as a staging area for wedding photos. The waterfalls are most dramatic in the spring as the stream swells with melting snow, but in every season the water, woods and distant hills provide spectator photo backdrops. For brides and grooms (and photographers) that don’t mind a short hike, paved pathways follow the stream uphill and have overlooks with breathtaking views of the falls as they thunder through the ravine. Autumn brides can expect to find brilliant foliage for their shoot at Kent Falls.

Great River Park
301 E. River Drive
East Hartford, CT 06108

Part of the Riverfront Recapture organization’s effort to reconnect Hartford with the Connecticut River, the Great River Park spans the river’s bank between Routes 90 and 84 with a pedestrian promenade on Founders Bridge that allows people to walk over the river from East Hartford to Hartford. This is the perfect photo spot for the urban bride and groom. Riverside photos can be shot with a cityscape backdrop. The historic Travelers Tower is a prominent feature of the view from Great River Park and photos taken at dusk will capture the city lights blinking on.

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