Matt and I met at Parker House in Summer 2016. Matt is from West Milford and I am from Wayne. We realized soon that Matt and my brother actually played baseball against each other in high school. I was at all of my brother games and definitely had been at one of the games where they played each other, little did I know I would marry one of his opponents! At the time we met, Matt was living in Hoboken commuting to the city for work. I lived in Manhattan and my apartment was actually one block from his office—how convenient!
In 2018, we decided to move in together since my lease was ending. We totally skipped renting an apartment together to purchase our first home. I love to throw parties and entertain, so naturally I was planning a large house-warming party. We invited all our family and friends, about 50 of them. Matt decided we should give a speech at the party and told me to go first so I gave a little speech. Matt started to talk but it quickly turned into something I totally did not expect—he proposed! I ugly cried and said yes! I was in total shock. Every single person at the party knew he was going to propose. My mom had engagement decorations, desserts and a cake in her car, and quickly flipped our place into an engagement party, it was unbelievable! To this day, I joke with Matt that he was so smart to let me throw myself a proposal party.
The theme of our wedding was modern winter forest. I wanted something that was very clean and elegant. We had lots of sticks and branches for the ceremony. The color scheme was navy, white and silver. We utilized a column in the space to look like a tree in the forest. We stood under this when we said our vows and our sweetheart table was also next to this for the reception. At the entrance to the aisle was a large arch also made of branches, white roses, baby’s breath and twinkle lights. There were three different centerpieces: round lows made of greenery with baby’s breath and tall silver candelabras; round highs with large glass cylinders of branches, baby’s breath and white orchids; and rectangle garlands made of greenery with baby’s breath and floating candles.
On the large wall where the entrance to the room is, we had a six-foot long white neon sign that said “The Lovendusky’s est. 2019”. Under it was a navy bench with pillows for guests to take pictures. All guests had “wedding wands” ( stick with ribbon and bells) during the ceremony and reception, which was a really fun and interactive detail. I also had custom koozies made for every guest to take from the bar. It was a navy koozie that matched the neon sign. For the women, we set up a station they could change their shoes and put on black ballet flats, which they were also able to take home. When guests arrived, in order to find their seats we had put everyone’s name on a marble octagon coaster and on the back was the table number.
We chose Maritime Parc because it is a such a different venue than the rest of North Jersey. It is a very clean and simple venue, it has gourmet food, amazing views of NYC and Jersey City and was easy for all of our guests to get to. Matt and I loved that it was on the water since we both love going down the Shore and to the beach, yet we both love NYC. Maritime Parc was an easy choice for us since we had been there for one of our first dates, too.
I made our menus on Minted: white card stock with navy border and a simple silver line framing it. The ceremony programs also matched the menus. We didn’t want a traditional wedding cake since I think it’s a waste—sometimes people don’t eat the cake. Instead we opted to have a cupcake tower with a small six-inch cake on top. At the end of the wedding, we had a cupcake to-go station for guests to take leftover cupcakes in a clear plastic container. It was awesome!
I loved my gown! I always knew I wanted a Berta gown. When I went to their showroom in NYC, I tried on a dress that the designer made for their runway but decided not to use, therefore, never mass-produced it. It was the only dress they ever made. I knew it was the one! It fit fairly well and, to me, it looked like a couture gown you’d see at the Met Gala. It was the first and only place I went to and I was not expecting to find it this quickly. The dress needed a lot of work in order to fit perfectly. I took it to Madame Paulette’s and had them create a slip, and they added horsehair material at the bottom to give it a bit more volume. It took about eight appointments, and I went every four weeks. Since the dress was so intricate with beading and lace, it took much longer than expected, but ultimately I was thrilled with how it turned out!
I changed into a second dress during the reception, which was a short, white sequined Retrofette dress. I am so happy that I had a short option to change into later in the night. I felt like people were too scared to dance with me because they would have stepped on my dress. I was much more comfortable after changing, and it showed off my white lace Louboutin booties.
The first look. We weren’t far from the venue, so the bridal party could actually see us from the venue’s balcony—but it was far enough away where it only felt like the two of us in that moment. Our videographer took drone footage also, which came out amazing! My other favorite part was enjoying our 13-piece band! From the start of planning, we knew we wanted a large and lively band, this was a non-negotiable for us. We saw them play at a showcase and went to a friend’s wedding that they played at. They were awesome! Every single person was on the dance floor the whole night. I ended up on the mic by the end of the night (I am not a good singer). All of our guests raved about how great they were. We also had two people for the ceremony and three people for the cocktail hour.
My day-of wedding coordinator. Although the venue provided a bridal attendant, maitre ‘d and wedding coordinator, I knew I needed to hire someone else to be with me the entire day and oversee details to make sure everything would go accordingly without me having to handle issues. I hired a friend-of-a-friend who works in the hospitality industry and manages events and catering. I met with her a couple weeks prior to go over the schedule and details. I wrote out an extensive list of to dos the day of the wedding. Without her I would have been very stressed out the day of.
Of course! My florist was supposed to have created a floral wall with greenery by the entrance and the neon sign would go in front of it. However, she couldn’t figure it out the day of and ended up just putting greenery around the wiring holding up the sign. It still looked good but it was not what I had envisioned.
Definitely hire a day-of coordinator separate from the one the venue provides. Make lists for the day of, be detailed with your photographer, and make a list of all the different shots you want with your outfit, details, getting ready, bridesmaids, family members, first look, portraits and throughout the ceremony and reception. Send them examples, and make sure the coordinator you hired is aware of these shots, too. Make lists of songs you want played and don’t want played, and provide a schedule of events for your band/deejay. If you have a lot of décor and details for the venue, make sure to label and box everything up. I took photos of how I wanted things displayed to make sure they set it up how I wanted. Also, share this with the coordinator for her to check. Make sure everyone is on the same page—band/deejay, photographer, groomsmen, venue, wedding planner, florist and any other vendors you have. You can’t expect people to read your mind unless you are very specific with the details, make lists, over communicate and have visuals for everyone to refer to.
Matt and I are both great snowboarders. We frequent Vermont in the wintertime on the weekends. Matt always wanted to take a trip snowboarding and then fly immediately to an island after. So this was our once in a lifetime chance: We decided to go to France—Mont Blanc, Chamonix—then we flew to the Maldives and stayed at Hurawalhi resort for a week!