‘Every wedding we have is completely unique’

Curtis Farm Weddings ready for an outdoor ceremony. 

Curtis Farm Weddings ready for an outdoor ceremony.  COURTESY PHOTO BY CURTIS FARM WEDDINGS

An autumn wedding is set up  at Curtis Farm. 

An autumn wedding is set up at Curtis Farm.  Courtesy photo by Curtis Farm Weddings

A drone shot of Curtis Farm in Wilton, with western views toward the Wapack Range, left, and Grand Monadnock in the distance. 

A drone shot of Curtis Farm in Wilton, with western views toward the Wapack Range, left, and Grand Monadnock in the distance.  Courtesy photo by Curtis Farm Weddings

A happy wedding party at Curtis Farm Weddings. 

A happy wedding party at Curtis Farm Weddings.  Courtesy photo by Curtis Farm Weddings


Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 02-19-2024 11:23 AM

Modified: 02-19-2024 11:30 AM

In over two decades of years of running Curtis Farm Outdoor Weddings & Events, Matt Fish of Wilton has pretty much seen it all.

“After doing this for 23 years, we can handle just about any challenge on the fly,” Fish said. “You name it, we’ve had it happen. I’ve given away shoes. I’ve had seventeen kids in my house watching “Star Wars.” Every wedding we have is completely unique.”

The Curtis Farm, built in 1746, is the oldest house in Wilton. Fish’s great-grandparents, Grace and Albert Curtis, purchased the farm in the Wilton highlands in 1906. Grace Curtis ran a nursing home for critically ill wards of the state for forty years, from 1928 to 1968.

“Even back then, farmers had to supplement their income in other ways,” Curtis notes.

In 1970, Fish’s grandmother, Jenny Curtis, took over the farm and planted a grape vineyard, which sustained the property for decades. When Jenny Curtis died in 1996, Fish moved back to Wilton to take over the property at just 22 years of age. 

“I was raised knowing I would someday take over the farm, to try to keep it in the family,” Fish says.

Fish, who has a degree in finance,  started Curtis Farm Weddings in 2000 after leaving a “suit and tie” job.  Curtis Farm now hosts 15 to 17 weddings a year at a 6-acre hilltop venue with views of the Wapack Range. Fish, his wife, Nicole,  and their three sons, Eli, Sam and Leighton, all work full-time during wedding season, with the boys helping on weekends during the school year. Nicole serves as Bridal Attendant, while Matt is Event manager, and the boys and their friends work preparation and events. Curtis Farm is open for outdoor and tented weddings  from May to November.

“With the level of detail we go into, with every wedding we host being completely unique to the bride and groom, we can only do one wedding per week. I’ve been in wedding venues where there are three weddings going on at the same time,” Fish says. “At Curtis Farm, we completely focus on each bride and groom; there is nothing else going on.  Starting on Wednesday of their wedding week, this is their venue.” 

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Curtis Farm Weddings also provides wedding planning services, including recommending vendors. They source food,  flowers, and entertainment locally whenever possible. 

“We probably plan about half of the weddings we host,” Fish said. 

Curtis Farm Wedding’s signature event is the Sunset Cocktail Hour, where guests gather in an outdoor lounge space with antique furniture, against the backdrop of sunset behind North Pack and Temple Mountain. Fish takes a picture of every wedding group from an overhead ladder and mounts the photo on a mat signed by every guest. 

“We’re kind of a unique segment of the wedding industry; we encourage people to ‘bring whoever they are’ to their wedding.  Our signature is ‘rustic elegance”: it’s all about being on the farm and being outdoors. The people who come here don’t want their wedding pictures in front of drapes or a staircase — they don’t want your standard banquet room. We create their event based around who they are. People incorporate their own passions — we’ve had people bring their motorcycles, we’ve had people include their pets and their hobbies. It’s all about who they are as a couple,” Fish said.

Fish notes that Curtis Farm hosted one of the first same-sex weddings in New Hampshire, which included a signed letter of congratulations from Governor Lynch. 

Fish and and his family use their long experience in the industry to guide clients to the best possible wedding experience. 

“Time is more valuable than money at the actual event. We always suggest that people don’t do the formal reception line, as that takes a lot of time…we do things like encouraging them to make sure they connect with all the older guests before they have to leave. We steer people away from a highly choreographed formal departure as well; that’s another thing that takes a lot of time. We recommend the ‘sparkler send-off.’ The bride runs through the sparkles and she’s off, and the pictures are beautiful,” Fish says.  

The entire Curtis Farm wedding venue is accessible, and the venue provides full staff for the tent and the bar for every event.

“People often do not realize what a big deal it is to host a wedding. I always say, whatever you do, do not get married at your own house — the parking, the lighting, the staff, the plumbing, all the overhead — people have no idea how much is involved,” Fish says. “We’re moving furniture for days, we’re landscaping, were getting the tent up, we’re moving the bars around with forklifts. My wife cuts the grass every four days. After 23 years, we have it down pat.” 

Fish jokes that his biggest regret is getting married at Curtis Farm himself. 

“I was running around with a walkie-talkie all day,” he says. 

The Fish family’s future plans include putting the farmland around the venue in conservation easement so that the location can always be used as a wedding venue. 

“It is not easy to get a license for a wedding venue these days.  We are very fortunate that we have great relationships with our neighbors. They appreciate seeing the farm here, having the views when they drive by,  instead of seeing the land developed, ” Fish said. 

Revenue from the wedding venue enables the Fish family to maintain Curtis Farm as a working farm, with hay fields, peach and apple orchards, livestock, and a blueberry field, as well maintaining the antique farm buildings, including the classic red barn that features in many wedding photos. 

“Weddings are mission critical to the farm. My kids know, no weddings, no farm,” Fish jokes. 

Fish and his family often maintain close relationships with former clients, who sometimes return to Curtis Farm for anniversary picnics.

“We spend eighteen months working with people, so they become friends. I always say, we see people on their best and worst day. We all always stop and listen to all the speeches after the ceremony — after all the planning, we feel like we really know people, and it’s really meaningful.  Sometimes people bring their kids back and it’s like, this is where is all began,” Fish said. 

Nicole and Matt hope their own sons will take over the business and keep Curtis Farm running for years to come.

“I love knowing my grandparents are looking down on us with approval,” Fish said. “We’re just fortunate to have a wedding venue and to be able to do this. They would be so happy we saved the farm.” 

 For information about Curtis Farm Weddings visit curtisfarmweddings.com.