New Venue!

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Opening 12/31/24
Opening 12/31/24
Booking Begins 1/2/24
President and CEO

Tom McDowell

Tom McDowell is the founder, President & CEO of Pavilion Catering, Inc. and Connecticut Wedding Group, which are located in his hometown of Middletown, CT. Tom graduated Xavier High School in Middletown, CT and then went on to receive an Associates Degree in Culinary Arts and a B.S. in Food Service Management from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI. Tom founded Pavilion Catering in 1984 and later formed Connecticut Wedding Group in 2008, focusing the company’s efforts on planning and producing Connecticut’s best and most exciting wedding experiences.

Connecticut Wedding Group is the exclusive caterer at The Barns at Wesleyan Hills, The Pavilion on Crystal Lake, and Lyman Orchards, where his award-winning team focuses on farm-to-table cuisine, innovative design, and comprehensive wedding planning.

Tom is a member of the prestigious Leading Caterers of America, an organization comprised of the most successful catering companies in the country, as well as a Trustee of the International Caterers Association Education Foundation. Tom can usually be found flying under the radar in his “Head Groundskeeper” sweatshirt, overseeing the entire operation from behind the scenes. Tom is most enthusiastic about bringing together and mentoring his staff of talented professionals, each of which help with his passion for making wedding day dreams come true.

"Tom - I just wanted to send a big Thank you! to you and your team. Our Grand Re-Opening was absolutely perfect. The food was delicious, the presentation special and memorable, and your staff was top notch! A million thank you's!"

OWNER/CEO

Robert Frungillo

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Robert is honored to add Connecticut Wedding Group to his family company of Venues. CT Wedding Group and its amazing team leads all of Connecticut in hospitality and making beautiful Wedding experiences. Tom McDowell the founder of CT has created a wonderful company that is a model for all Wedding Venues around the Country to follow. We are thrilled to continue and carry out his vision. 

Robert Frungillo owns and directs Frungillo Hospitality Group, one of New Jersey’s premier catering and hospitality companies specializing in Weddings, Venues, Lodging and all Special Events.. Frungillo Hospitality Group operates several distinctive venues, an off-premise catering division with a food service division. Frungillo Hospitality Group also operates several bed and breakfasts and boutique hotels. 

Frungillo Hospitality Group and its dedicated staff members have won various catering, hospitality, and community service awards over the years. In 2009, Frungillo Caterers was featured on “Masters of Reception,” the national hit TV series on TLC produced by Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos. Frungillo Hospitality Group is always changing with the times; the company motto is crisp and clear, “We need to be even better today, than we were yesterday.”

Robert attended Glassboro College and Montclair University but attributes his professional wisdom to his two older brothers, Alfred and Jerry. Life lessons of hospitality and hard work were handed down from Robert’s mentors; his late parents Al Sr. and Antoinette. His parents Al and Antoinette’s love and dedication to their Family and Hospitality is what has molded Robert to the person he is today.
 
Robert’s love for (Robert Jr., Michelle, and Matthew) his three children is without precedent. Married for 32 years to Lisa and both have been blessed with our first Grandson Joseph Robert this past year.  His favorite family bonding moments include beach getaways and coaching his children’s sport teams when they were younger. Robert will tell you right away that he identifies himself as a family man, coach and then as a caterer. He was an all-state baseball and football athlete and continues to play on adult teams, runs daily, and participates in various marathons, races and triathlons each year. He takes special pride in finishing the NYC Marathon and involving his children in competitive sports as soon as they were able to. Robert is currently a Football coach in Verona.


Robert believes that sharing time with someone is the most precious gift you can give someone and his zest for celebrating life is both palpable and inspiring. It is no surprise that he is in the business of bringing families and friends together and to make dreams come true with memories that last a lifetime.

Executive Vice President / COO

Jonathan Jennings

Jonathan has served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer with CT Wedding Group since 1999. Jonathan believes that weddings today are about transforming raw, non-traditional spaces into magnificent wedding venues, bringing the rich diversity of Connecticut Farms to the (reclaimed) table and creating unexpected, fun and unique experiences for wedding guests.

Jonathan is very active in the hospitality community. He serves on the Board of Directors of the International Caterers Association and the CT Restaurant Association and is a member of the National Restaurant Association. He is a member of the elite, invitation only, Leading Caterers of America group and a member of the advisory board for the University of New Haven Hospitality and Tourism program. Jonathan also belongs to the Les Amis d’Escoffier Society of Connecticut. Jonathan is a Justice of the Peace and in his free time, Jonathan enjoys mentoring young caterers across the country.

"Did I mention that our property guide was Jonathan Jennings, the company’s COO? I don’t know about you, but I’ve never known another COO to jump in and help the team like Jonathan did for us on our wedding day – literally driving us around in golf carts. He pleasantly accommodated all of our location desires, even those more extreme photos that we were after. He even made suggestions to add to our list. He drove us up to the highest point in Middlefield at sundown to capitalize on the breathing taking view and gorgeous natural light. I cannot wait for our photos!"

Vice President of Operations

Steve Lisitano

Connecticut Wedding Group Executive Chef Stephen Lisitano is the 2013 Connecticut Restaurant Association Chef of the Year! We are honored by this award, and that Connecticut has recognized how delicious Steve’s menu is, and how inspired his presentation has become! Growing up within steps of The Pavilion on Crystal Lake, Chef Lisitano began working for Connecticut Wedding Group as a dishwasher, riding his bike to work everyday. He quickly developed a love for his kitchen, learning anything and everything he could. Through his culinary training, Steve continue working in that same kitchen. He has grown and succeeded with Connecticut Wedding Group, continually transforming our menus with his seasonally inspired, farm-to-table foods, and imaginative presentations. Executive Chef, Stephen Lisitano treats every single event individually, giving his full attention to the culinary details that make your wedding day dreams come to life. He is always willing to go the extra mile to make sure each and every guest is taken care of; regardless of allergies, special dietary needs, and restrictions. Steve is committed to creating delicious food on your wedding day, and can’t wait to be a part of the celebration!

"No matter what I say here, words will fall short of the praise that Steve Lisitano, Executive Chef and the rest of the team at Pavilion Catering deserve. Just hearing the way Steve talked about his menu offerings, my foodie husband and I instantly felt relief, trusting that the food would be amazing… We just didn’t realize HOW amazing!"

General Manager

Michelle Moody

Michelle joined the Connecticut Wedding Group Team at the start of the 2012 wedding season, and instantly felt right at home. Planning and celebrating weddings has always been her true passion. There is no greater satisfaction for Michelle than seeing a happy couple’s wedding day dream come true. Michelle began her career in event planning in 2003 while attending Johnson & Wales University, where she earned her B.S. in Hospitality. Since then, Michelle has gained lots of experience working many different types of events, both social and corporate, but always knew her heart was in weddings. Whether it’s helping choose linen colors, creatively setting up your wedding event, or just being there by your side before walking down the aisle, Michelle will bring her unique and innovative expertise to make sure that each and every Bride & Groom’s wedding day vision comes to life the way they envisioned it!

"Hi Michelle! When thinking of our wedding day, the word PERFECT comes to mind! The day ran smoothly and effortlessly, from getting ready at the homestead, to the ceremony, to the reception, and right down to the end of the night packing up the cars! You truly thought of everything, every last detail was taken care of. Your organization, attention to detail, and genuine thoughtfulness is so much appreciated. We have received so many lovely comments about how personal the ceremony felt, how beautiful the decorations were, how amazingly delicious the food was, and how the night was a total blast!! Thanks for all you did to make our wedding day the most special and spectacular day of our lives!"

Director of Wedding Planning

Mary-Beth McDowell

As The Director of Wedding Planning with Connecticut Wedding Group, Mary-Beth McDowell provides her wedding planning expertise for Connecticut Wedding Group’s couples, and leads her team of planners in guiding our couples throughout the planning process. Mary-Beth received her B.S. in Atmospheric Science from the University at Albany, but always knew planning and coordinating weddings was her passion. She has been with Connecticut Wedding Group since 2001, but continues to be Connecticut Wedding Group’s resident meteorologist, assisting to get each and every ceremony outside. Helping you plan your wedding with Connecticut Wedding Group, and knowing that your planning process is stress free, fun, and exciting, gives Mary-Beth the greatest sense of satisfaction. There is no better feeling than to know that she can help in creating a dream wedding for a beautiful couple. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Mary-Beth for questions, concerns, or even a forecast!

"We worked with Mary-Beth and she's a dream. Living in NY we were worried about planning a wedding in CT and communicating mainly through emails. But Mary-Beth could NOT have been friendlier, more responsive, more interested, organized or helpful. She gave us great ideas and really understood and followed our theme. She responded to emails so quickly she made me feel like I was the only bride she was working with!" - Linda & Robert "Mary-Beth is hands down the sweetest, most professional and talented wedding coordinator. She helped us to create a magical day down to the smallest detail - there was not a single thing we asked for that was refused."

Director of Sales

Jessica Hill

Jessica joined the Connecticut Wedding Group in 2015, and immediately felt right at home. She began her career in the hospitality industry in 2004, planning both corporate and social events, but finding a true passion and dedication to wedding coordination. As a Wedding Planner with Connecticut Wedding Group, Jessica finds the greatest satisfaction in creating the most memorable day for our couples! Be it guiding you through your menu design, or being by your side as you prepare to walk down the aisle, she believes that the perfect wedding day is all in the details that make it unique!

"You know how they say something always goes wrong on your wedding day? That is not true with a wedding with CT Wedding Group. Every detail of our wedding was executed perfectly, and every single guest raved about the wedding! I didn't think that my wide and I would be able to relax and lt go of the details, but our wedding planner, Jessica, did everything right to put our minds at ease and made sure every detail was even better than we dreamed."

Executive Chef

Mike Donovan

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Mike started his culinary journey in 2003 washing dishes at a bed and breakfast and quickly fell in love. He had his first sous chef role in 2006 at the age of 18, spent a summer working the salmon cages off of the coast of St Stephen Canada, and spent the next 7 years sponging up any and all kitchen experience he could find. He started with CT Wedding Group in 2014 as an event chef and moved to Executive Sous Chef at the end of that same year. As Executive Chef Mike’s passion for his craft only gets stronger, exploring different cuisines and diverse flavors he strives to provide menus that go outside of the “traditional wedding food norm” and into a fun and exciting culinary experience.

“Of all the culinary positions I’ve had in my career I have never found anything this rewarding. My 9-5 is literally one of the most important days of someone else’s life.”

Assistant Director of Wedding Planning

Samantha Nickerson

Samantha is thrilled to be a part of the award winning CT Wedding Group Team! As one of our dedicated wedding planners she helps our couples in creating the wedding day you deserve, bringing her experienced knowledge of our unique venues along with her personal knowledge of our ceremony & event coordination to every aspect of your planning process. Samantha graduated from Johnson & Wales University in 2014 with an A.S. Degree in Baking & Pastry Arts and with a B.S. in Food Service Management with concentrations in Sommelier Studies & Event Management. From there her passion of event planning flourished as she gained experiential education with the banquet operations team at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, where she was coordinating weddings & various corporate events. Samantha has been with the CT Wedding Group team since 2015, and is elated to help make the remarkable vision you have for your once in lifetime day become a lasting reality. She will be there from the moment you call, all the way through to putting the final touches on your momentous day. She looks forward to hearing from you!

"Samantha was our day of coordinator and she is the bees knees. Such a positive woman who will calm your nerves and remind you of the important things. My DJ messed up big time during the processional (putting the wrong music on) and she ran up and shut it down! She was there to pull me away from guests when I was starving and needed someone to excuse me. She helped put everything together before we left the venue and made sure I had plenty of extra cupcakes to eat. Always trust the person who is willing to be the "bad guy" for you. Sam, thank you for everything, you are so fantastic at your work and it is clear that you love doing it." - Julia & Steve, May 2017, The Knot "A very special thank you goes to Samantha Nickerson, wedding planner extraordinaire. She couldn't have been more responsive and thoughtful at our final details appointment, in the days leading up to the wedding, and on the day of the wedding. We are grateful for her dedication to making our wedding day perfect for us, taking care of the last minute hiccups that can arise, and communicating effectively with the rest of our vendors, all without causing us any stress or hassle. How she coordinated everything on our wedding day is beyond us, but she did it all with a smile on her face and checked in often to ensure we had everything we needed."

Senior Wedding Planner

Allie Dauzat

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Allie has been with the team since 2011, and she cannot wait to meet you and start planning the best day ever! She has a warm and reassuring nature, combined with a genuine interest in seeing our couples’ visions through. The weddings she plans are infused with thoughtful touches and memorable moments. They are cohesively and meticulously designed to reflect each couples’ unique tastes and story.
 
Aside from her passion for design, she’s also passionate about traveling, reading, crafting, gathering with her loved ones, and early 2000’s pop-punk. When she’s not planning weddings, you’ll likely find her planning adventures & dinners for her to enjoy with her husband, Dave & son, Finn. 
Operations Manager

Casey Gavin

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Casey was first introduced to Connecticut Wedding Group as a wedding guest in 2021. She was quickly inspired after watching our staff’s passion and dedication for what they do. Casey joined the team shortly after and immediately felt right at home!

She began her career in the hospitality and events industry in 2016 after completing her bachelor’s degree at Ithaca College. Casey found joy in planning and coordinating corporate and social events but quickly discovered her true passion in weddings. Casey finds great satisfaction in developing an individual connection with each couple and truly getting to know them in order to bring their wedding dreams to life!

Wedding Coordinator

Sean Sullivan

Sean Sullivan
Sean has always been fascinated with the enchanting feeling of a wedding day. Even as a young kid, he aspired to be apart of putting together an event as special as a wedding. It started with him planning themed middle school dances and high school proms, until he began his career in the event industry. While working, Sean earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Management from the University of Hartford. He had initially assumed he would decide to work for his family’s business after college, but he just couldn’t leave the world of hospitality. Sean’s experience working with a catering company gave him all of the exposure he needed to fully realize his passion for planning weddings. He spent seven years working in the catering industry until he stumbled across CT Wedding Group. Sean truly fit in with the team from the start and he immediately fell in love with the venues. His attention to detail, calm attitude, and constant smile will put you right at ease on your big day. As much as he enjoys the decorating, Sean’s favorite part of the job is hearing how happy the couples and families are at the end of the night. The most rewarding feeling for him is seeing how much joy we can create at our weddings.
Wedding Coordinator/Operations Manager

Cate Lucewicz

Cate has been working with Connecticut Wedding Group since 2015. Starting as a member of the waitstaff, Cate has been able to experience many aspects of the service that makes our company so special. She has a lot of experience making dreams come true from her time working in Walt Disney World, where she visits as often as possible. Cate has a bachelor’s degree from CCSU where she studied Political Science with a concentration in American and International Law, but knew from her first day at CT Wedding Group that working in the wedding industry is where her passion is.

When Cate isn’t helping to create our couples dream day, you can find her adventuring around a new city with her fiance, spending time at a local bookstore, or finding a new craft cider or bourbon to enjoy.

"We had the absolute pleasure and honor in having Cate as our wedding coordinator, and needless to say, my husband and I officially dubbed her "Cate the Great" before cocktail hour even started. The nickname is of course, deserving. She was FANTASTIC.

"We went into the wedding day with the old thought, "something will go wrong". That couldn't be further to the truth. The wedding was like a fairy tale. Cate was a perfect angel. She dealt with both of our difficult families with ease. My mother pulled me aside to let me know how graceful Cate handled a family lining up issue at the rehearsal. She even brought items from her own home to decorate because it tied together with our theme. These girls are amazing. After a picture perfect ceremony, during photos, food and drinks were ready to go for my bridal party & Cate was never more than a glance away, if I needed anything. The Barn itself looked straight out of a fairy tale."

Wedding Coordinator/Sales Assistant

Lexi Guitard

Lexi is so delighted to join us for another season as one of our Wedding Planners! Since her first season with us in 2018, Lexi has helped produce some of the most memorable and magical experiences for our couples. With a true and deep desire to make your day absolutely perfect, along with her naturally positive demeanor, we know you’ll instantly connect with her! Lexi graduated from The University of Hartford with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, but found her calling with weddings while interacting with our couples! Her main goal is to showcase who you are as a couple and tell your story!

Controller / Human Resources

Diane Lepard

Assistant Controller

Nicole Paternostro

Nicole has been with Connecticut Wedding Group since 2017. She discovered her love of weddings and events after having earned both a B.S. in Accounting and an MBA from Salve Regina University. With over a decade of service industry experience, she loves people and knows that weddings and helping our couples celebrate is her calling. Nicole loves seeing each couple’s excitement on their wedding day and believes attention to detail is key to making every wedding unique and memorable. She cannot wait to help you celebrate!
ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

Cortney Delisle

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Cortney is thrilled to be a part of the CT Wedding Group family as she is no stranger to the world of event planning! For the past 15 years, Cortney has been a big supporter of Team Suzy-Q, who rides in the Pan-Mass Challenge to raise money for The Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She is honored to be a part of something so special and loves helping organize each and every fundraiser they do to help the cause. Taking her expertise in organizing and running these fundraisers paired with her experience in planning weddings, she is excited to bring her passion to your big day! Whether it’s being the first point of contact on the phone or setting up the Bridal Suites, she takes great joy in being a part of making the couple’s day perfect! Having her own wedding binder at home, Cortney believes each couple deserves to have their story told. With a Diet Coke in hand, she is excited to take the journey with CT Wedding Group and help couples have the wedding day they always dreamed of!
Wedding Coordinator

Melinda Kester

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Melinda is a true dreamer and will pour her whole heart into bringing your vision to life. Her love for human connection and creating events that are intentional and a true reflection of you is what fills her up! She genuinely believes that bringing people together to celebrate and create memories is what life is all about.

Melinda began her career in the hospitality industry in 2010 at The Connecticut Wedding Group, building on her wealth of wedding and event planning knowledge she found herself exactly where she knew she was meant to be. Most recently, working as a Catering Sales Manager with Marcia Selden Catering, booking/planning/producing events ranging from 10 person dinner parties all the way up to 2,000+ person galas. With her experience in off premise events, she has truly seen it all and there is nothing she can’t conquer. Melinda is so excited for this full-circle moment as she returns to the CTWG family for yet another incredible wedding season!

Her commitment to you? Making sure every detail is handled – from tiny to crucial – so that you can be fully present with your family and friends, and your event can be as stress free as you’ve always envisioned. Her calm, cool and collected manner will give you the confidence you need to soak up every moment of your planning experience.

Outside of her professional world, you can catch Melinda enjoying craft beer at all the best breweries in New England, planning spontaneous adventures with her wife, getting lost in the woods or working in her garden where she’s absolutely the happiest!

Wedding Coordinator

Lindsay Shea

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Lindsay is very excited to be returning to CT Wedding Group this season after being a part of the CTWG family in various roles throughout the past decade. Lindsay’s love of weddings began when she started at CTWG as a server and immediately fell in love with the energy, creativity and magic that surrounds making wedding day dreams come true. She can not wait to bring that energy to your wedding day and truly curate the best day ever. When Lindsay is not celebrating your special day, she is spending time listening to crime podcasts, soaking up the sun beachside, or hiking with her pups!
Administrative Assistant

Amanda Venuti

Amanda is so excited to join the team at Connecticut Wedding Group. She currently holds a B.S. in Public Relations and Marketing from CCSU. She found her passion for weddings and events while planning her own nuptials and coordinating family parties throughout the years! Amanda can’t wait to greet you with a big smile and a cheery disposition!

Wedding Planner

Shannon Gayron

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During her high school years, when her peers were navigating the uncertainties of their future paths (because, let’s face it, who truly knows what they want at 18 years old!), Shannon was busy spearheading the details of her junior and senior proms. Little did she realize, this was the spark that ignited her passion for event planning as a lifelong pursuit.

After successfully completing her studies at Southern New Hampshire University and earning a B.S. in Hospitality Business in 2020, Shannon delved into the world of organizing and managing social events and weddings across New Hampshire and Massachusetts. It was the exclusive responsibility of planning & coordinating the most significant days in couples’ lives that revealed her true calling.


Shannon became an integral part of the Connecticut Wedding Group team in January 2024, perfectly aligning with every wedding planner’s cherished season – “engagement season”! From your initial call, to the wedding day and beyond, Shannon stands by your side, ready to offer unwavering support and turn your inspirations into reality. She revels in the heartwarming moments, like the joy of discovering the perfect venue or the minutes just before you take that momentous walk down the aisle.
 
Wedding Planner

Lindsay Corbitt

Lindsay Corbitt

Lindsay’s journey into the world of weddings began with her fascination for the intricate details and heartfelt moments that make each celebration unique. Entering the hospitality and events industry in 2020, she discovered her knack for planning and coordinating memorable experiences. However, it was her time in bridal sales that truly ignited her passion for weddings. Working closely with couples to find those unforgettable details, Lindsay found joy in developing personal connections and understanding their vision for their special day.

Now, as a valued member of our team, combining her diverse skills and experiences, Lindsay brings her expertise and enthusiasm to every wedding she coordinates. From intimate ceremonies to lavish affairs, she takes pride in crafting bespoke events, ensuring that each couple’s love story is brought to life in the most magical way possible.