Women Who Work: Emma Thurgood

Photo Credit: Emma Thurgood

The pandemic has changed the way a lot of things are looked at — including weddings. With the price of weddings growing increasingly expensive, the option to elope becomes the most budget friendly. Emma Thurgood, owner of Emma Thurgood Weddings, challenges the idea of elopements and micro weddings to personalize it to the couple themselves. I met Emma when I was beginning to plan my own wedding, and I knew I wanted to bring her to the Nutmeg Millennial. So, read on to learn all about the many hats Emma wears.

1. Tell Me about yourself. What made you want to be a photographer?

I have been an artist since a time before I can remember, so I always knew that visual art was going to be my profession. I achieved my BFA in painting and my MFA in studio art before becoming a curator for arts non-profit organizations. It was while I was in grad school that I got into photography, though it wasn’t my main artistic medium. I continued it for years as a hobby and photographed a few weddings for friends and worked a bit for a friend of mine who was a wedding photographer. When I was ready to leave gallery life, becoming a professional photographer was the natural choice. 

2. Tell me about Emma Thurgood Weddings? What exactly is your role, and what services do you provide?

I’m an elopement and intimate wedding photographer + planner. I primarily work with clients who want to have a wedding day with less than 20 people, though I will take on weddings with guest counts up to 100 people. My main service is as a documentary photographer, but I also provide a lot of hands-on assistance in the planning process. Each one of my clients get access to my vendor guide, full of recommendations of top notch vendors for the day. I’m always available to provide insight and answer questions for my couples when they want my opinion on something they’re considering for the day. All of my clients get detailed timelines and, where necessary, portrait lists created for their day so that I can be super organized and efficient on the day. For elopement clients, I provide customized and detailed location lists, timeline options and activities ideas. 

3. What, in your opinion, makes micro weddings and elopements so special?

Hands down, it’s the intimacy, experience and personalization that these kinds of weddings offer. When you have a smaller guest count, your options of what you can do for the day just open up. As you add more people the locations, activities, and budget options all become more limited and more homogenous. Smaller weddings allow couples to really experience their day instead of being rushed through it. The average reception is 5 hours long. If you have 150 guests that’s only two minutes to talk with each guest and that doesn’t even account for time to eat, formalities, or to hit the dance floor. Smaller weddings also allow couples to spend their budget on things that they value instead of on the venue, food and drinks for 100+ people. The average wedding in New England is about $40,000. You can spend $20,000 on venue, food and drinks for 100 people and still not be done spending… or you could spend $15,000 on an epic adventure getaway with 20 people and still be spending less than a large wedding after all your other wedding expenses. 

4. How long does it take to plan a micro wedding or an elopement?

A very simple wedding can be planned in less than a month. You can even plan an epic adventure elopement for just the two of you and a few guests in three months. A micro-wedding with more than 10 guests is a tall order for anything less than 6 months. Some couples who really want a luxury experience start planning a year out in order to budget for all the things that they want. 

5. Where do you draw inspiration for the weddings for your clientele?

I love being in nature, and my clients do, too! So together my clients and I talk about why they love being in nature, what their favorite kinds of outdoor activities and adventures are and we start brainstorming from there. For me, it’s really important that I’m facilitating the vision of my clients, not imposing my own vision onto them. I try really hard not to photograph the same wedding twice, and following my clients lead helps prevent that. 

6. What is YOUR dream wedding, if you have one?

I would love to be part of a backpacking elopement weekend. Hiking up to a location, having the ceremony with fabulous views at sunset, camping under the stars and then hiking back down and perhaps celebrating with family during the afternoon of the second day. 

7. What is your advice for those who are considering an elopement or micro wedding, but are nervous based on reception?

Life is too short to plan the wedding of someone else’s dreams. You should feel completely comfortable and true to yourself on your wedding day. You are under no obligation to invite anyone (not even your mom) and anyone who makes you feel bad about that is having an issue with their own insecurities. I’ve talked to too many people who have wedding regrets from listening to other people’s ideas of what to do for a wedding. Don’t let yourself feel that way about yours. 

8. Where can people find you?

Instagram, Facebook & Pinterest: @emmathurgoodweddings

BONUS INSIGHT:

A lot of people decide that they want to go with a micro-wedding or elopement to save money. However, I think a lot of people’s expectations are misled or uninformed. Yes, an elopement or micro-wedding can cost less than the average 100 guest wedding. However, you will be hard pressed to be able to spend less than $10,000 on a bespoke experience that isn’t just heading to your local park. There’s your attire, lodging, photographer, flowers and decor, dining expenses, etc. A lot of the expenses you have for an elopement or micro-wedding are the same amount as if you hired them for a 100+ person wedding because they are not based on the guest count. Elopement photographers in particular tend to be more expensive because we are more involved in the planning process than when you have a venue that comes with a coordinator to lean on. I have a whole blog post about elopement budgets with real breakdowns, which is where you can really see the way that an elopement can vary wildly in how much of the budget gets spent where even when the total costs are about the same.

Friday Faves: July 8, 2022

TGIF everyone! Today is especially special because I am starting my vacation, which is super exciting. I am really looking forward to some time off. In the mean time though, here are this week’s favorites:

T Jazelle Zodiac Bracelet: I am a Cancer, so I am so excited that T Jazelle finally released this in my sign. I have been waiting for this for over six months to release and I am so happy that it is finally here. Many of my bracelets are silver, but I find that it blends in with my other stacks from T Jazelle.

She Gets The Girl by Rachel Lippencott and Alyson Derrick: I am a huge fan of Rachel Lippencott, and I am enjoying this book so much. It is told in dual perspectives. Alex is the girl who can’t say the words I Love you, while Molly is so shy that she can’t talk to her crush. It’s such a cute read, and I am loving it.

Mejuri Balance Coin Necklace: I need more balance in my life. I love this necklace to layer, because it’s longer than some of my other pieces. Furthermore, I love the little reminder of the importance of balance.

Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score: I am finally picking up a BookTok recommendation. I haven’t gotten too far into the story, but I started it yesterday and I am engrossed into the story. If you like Colleen Hoover, I will say to definitely check it out.

Newtown’s Aquila’s Nest Is Your Next Girls Night Location

From live music to events, Aquila’s Nest Vineyard in Newtown, Conn. offers an experience that is more than just unwinding with a glass of wine. With a vibe that is relaxed, Aquila’s Nest is the best place to do just that. Located just off of Route 34, the vineyard offers a gorgeous view to enjoy with that glass of wine.

First, let’s talk about the wine. While the vibe is relaxing, the wine is definitely worth the trip. Their wine list offers the usuals — red, white, and rose (you can view the complete wine list here). However, they also offer some great seasonal picks as well. For example, when I visited this past weekend, they had red, white and blue wine slushies. And, they were perfect for the hot temperatures.

Now, let’s talk about their event calendar, because it is jam packed. They have live music and food trucks on a regular basis. But, there is so much more. Some of the upcoming events that are listed include: yoga, karaoke, and paint and sip. Be sure to check their Facebook for the events. And, of course, you can host a private event there as well.

With all that it has to offer, I think Aquila’s Nest is great for a girl’s night, or even just a fun and relaxed night out with your significant other (if they like wine that is). I definitely recommend taking the trip if you’re looking for something to do all while taking advantage of the Connecticut summer weather.

Friday Faves: July 1, 2022

Happy Friday, and happy start to my birthday month! I am so excited for the long weekend, and hope to get some R and R in. But, before we enter the weekend, let’s talk about some of my favorites of the week:

Mejuri Dome Ring and Croissant Ring: I have been seeing these rings on my Instagram feed for years, and influencers have been raving up and down about these pieces. I purchased them in silver, and I can see why. They are amazing and I have been wearing them on repeat for the last few days. I am definitely becoming a Mejuri Stan, and I am perfectly okay with that.

Amazon Earrings: Moriah Robinson influenced me to buy these hoops and I am obsessed. They are amazing quality, and they are so lightweight. Oh, and they don’t turn your ears green. I have seen these on more expensive brands and these are amazing for the price. I can already also see myself getting these for gifts as well.

The Summer I Turned Pretty (both book and movie): I finished the series on Sunday and read the books over the last week. These books were very nostalgic, and I enjoyed reading them. It tells the story about the main character, Belly, who goes to her Mom’s best friend’s house. Her mom’s best friend has two sons. Needless to say, there is a love triangle that spreads the course of the three books. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book, and watching the series. And, of course, I am dying for the next season.

June Amazon Faves

June is coming to an end. As we reach the end of the month, I want to share some of my recent purchases on Amazon. Amazon has been my go-to lately, and I’ve been enjoying looking for some new finds. So, without further a due, here are this month’s Amazon’s Faves:

Pavoi Initial Earrings: I love all things initial, and these earrings are so adorable. The price was incredible, and they do not irritate my sensitive ears! These make a great gift, or a little treat for yourself.

Cup Sleeves: I drink a lot of iced coffees, and so these have been handy to prevent the condensation from leaking all over my desk. I love this little set because it came in three different sizes so I’m covered no matter what size drink I get.

Lounge shorts: I got the black ones a few years ago, and recently, I added the gray because they are so comfy! These are amazing to work out in, or even to lounge around in. And, they are not too short either, which I really like.

Claw Clips: I love these, because they hold my hair in place even while I am working out. I got the neutral set, which go with pretty much everything. These are honestly some of the better clips that I’ve purchased, and I highly recommend them.

Fourth of July Accessories You Need This Year

With tons of cookouts, fireworks, and celebrations, America’s birthday is fast approaching. I actually don’t own much red, white, and blue I always rely on accessories to amp up the outfit.

That said, I wanted to share some of my favorites that I will be wearing on repeat this Fourth of July weekend. Most of these are jewelry, but I have thrown some other great ideas as well. What is unique about all of these is that you can wear these all year around. I love celestial jewelry so stars are a must.

T Jazelle Red White and Blue Stack: The T Jazelle cape bracelets are a great piece to have to either layer or on its own. For Memorial Day, I stacked the red, white, and blue opal ones, and they looked amazing. However, I do wear them separately or in other stacks that I create.

T Jazelle Stacker Set: This stacker set is amazing. It’s perfect for the Fourth of July, because of it’s red, white and blue beads. However, it’s something that you can wear throughout the year in other stacks as well.

Kendra Scott Jai Earrings and Necklace: I have the sterling silver versions of these, and I am obsessed. However, they come in a ton of colors, and are great accessories during this Fourth of July party season. What I love about the sterling silver is that it goes with any outfit, AND it works great in my first and second piercing.

JOJO Loves You Earrings: I personally don’t have these, but these earrings are an amazing addition to any outfit. I purchase mine at Tickled Pink, and these come in royal blue and cherry bling. You can stack them together for the Fourth of July, and then wear them seperately for the remainder of the year.

Lactose Intolerant Nutmeggers Can ReJoice: Dairy Free Soft-Serve Hits This Meriden’s Ice Cream Bar Menu

When I realized that I was lactose intolerant about seven years ago, one of the hardest things for me to give up was ice cream. Since then, dairy-free ice cream has popped up at many local ice cream shops and Ben and Jerry’s. Soft serve ice cream, on the other hand, is another story. I have been patiently waiting for the day when Dairy Queen releases a soft serve without dairy, but to this day, they have not.

However, Meriden’s Les’ Dairy Bar has answered my prayers with their new dairy free soft serve vanilla flavor. It is 100 percent dairy free, as it’s made out of pea protein.

This opens a ton of doors for those who can not have dairy. Currently, they only have one flavor of soft serve, but still, having the option of eating soft serve is enough for me.

That said, you can have the non dairy flavor with any of their other choices. However, they recently introduced a Vegan PBJ Parfait and it sounds so delicious. It is the vegan vanilla soft serve, with peanut butter, Nutter Butter cookies, and raspberry syrup.

Now, you may be wondering. How does it taste?

I made the trip to Meriden last week to taste it myself. I ordered a cone with rainbow sprinkles, which was a favorite that I couldn’t have in years. And, it was delicious. It tasted exactly the same as soft serve with dairy. Needless to say, I savored every last lick.

So, it’s safe to say I will be at Les’ Dairy Bar this summer a lot. However, if you have friends and family who can eat dairy, there are a lot of options for them as well. After all, who can resist going out to get ice cream on a hot summer night?

Exactly.

You can view updates for Les’ Dairy Bar by visiting their Facebook page here.

Friday Faves: June 17, 2022

TGIF! I have a three day weekend so I am excited to catch up with my reading at the pool. That said, before we enter into the weekend, I want to catch you up with my favorites of the week.

Part of Your World by Abby Jiminez: Abby Jimenez is one of my favorite discoveries of this year when it comes to reading. I was so obsessed with this novel. It tells the story of Alexis, who is a doctor who is recovering from an abusive relationship. She gets stuck on her way home from a funeral, and then meets Daniel. The two come from different worlds, but fall in love. But, can they make it work? I was obsessed with this novel to the point where I could not put it down. I gave it five stars.

Starbucks Iced Toasted Vanilla Oat Milk Latte: I have been getting into Starbucks a lot lately, and this is my new favorite drink. I am not an iced coffee gal by any means, so for me to like this is a miracle. It is very sweet and honestly so good.

Old Navy Linen Dress: This dress is so cute, comfortable and affordable. I ordered it in four colors, and I can see it being a staple for the summer. For years, Old Navy has been my go-to for sun dresses, and these are probably the best that I’ve ordered to date. I have the olive, the neutral, the black, and the pink, and I am wearing them on repeat.

Aurate Zodiac Necklace: I am obsessed with this bracelet that I mentioned last week, so I decided to snag this necklace. I am so happy that I did. It is simple and dainty, and it’s great to layer with my Tiffany bean. I am a Cancer, and this necklace means so much to me because my mom was a Cancer as well, so I love wearing stuff with my sign because it reminds me of her.

Farmer’s Market Season Arrives In Milford

Summertime is unofficially here, and so marks the beginning of the Downtown Milford Farmers’ Market. This past weekend kicked off the season, which will run through October 8, 2022. And, the 2022 season has a ton of great vendors, food trucks, and music.

The market runs every Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and is located on Wasson Field (108 Main Street), in Milford, Conn. Hint, it’s right next to Parsons Government Center.

Now, let’s talk about the vendors. There are a ton of farms that will be present, but there is so much more, such as flowers, jewelry and beauty and wellness. You can view the complete list here, but some notable ones are: Milford Rocks, Helping Hands for Tranquility, Osborne Books, and Livy Lou Flower Truck. Additionally, the CappuGinos food truck will also be present at every market.

In addition to the vendors, there is also live music with a new band every week. You can view the complete list here.

Personally, there is nothing better to kick off the weekend with a cup of delicious coffee in hand exploring a farmer’s market to pick out some fresh fruits and veggies, discover some delicious treats to fuel your workweek, and explore some local vendors.

Be sure to check out the Downtown Milford Farmer’s Market Facebook page for any updates!

New Haven’s Famous Sally’s Patio Is the Place to Be This Summer

When you think of New Haven pizza, two things come to mind. The first, of course, is its delicious taste. The second is the long lines it takes to get in.

Sally’s Pizza is no exception to that rule. But, they seem to have an answer to at least occupying your time while you wait.

That answer is a new bar area/patio area that allows outdoor dining. This area serves wine, beer, and Foxon Park sodas. However, it also offers a few appetizers, including a meat and cheese selection, and pizza sticks. Yum. Once your table is ready, you now have the option to eat your pizza outside, or inside the famous establishment.

With all of these changes, one thing that I would like to note is that the quality of the pizza still remains the same. However, the option to have a glass of wine with your pizza online enhances the experience. I also loved this experience, because I have no patience and crowds give me some anxiety, so this was a relaxing way to pass the time.

I had the opportunity to visit Sally’s this past weekend, and I already was impressed with the improvements. This is the perfect place to go with a couple of friends to relax and catch up, because as I said earlier, there is no better combination then pizza and wine.

However, this new patio isn’t the only change Sally’s is making. They have now optioned a new location in Stamford, so those in Fairfield county can still have a slice of New Haven pizza. And, according to an article in the Hartford Current entitled Sally’s Apizza coming to Wethersfield, New Haven pizza legend’s rep and town official confirm, that is only the beginning. Sally’s will be coming to Wethersfield and Norwalk as well. The date when those locations will be opened is unknown.

Photo credit: Leah Myers

Overall, Sally’s has made some changes over the last few years, and this patio environment is definitely one of the more delicious ones.