The couple tapped their friends— local band the Danksters—to bring the “laid-back beachy music” soundtrack for the cocktail hour (on acoustic guitars) and the after-party, which stretched until the wee hours at Bonnet Island Estate. The couple’s dog, Reef, was the ring bearer. One key detail was a sea-glass seating chart, inspired by Andrews’s mother’s sea glass collection.
Emily McHugh and Andrew Fiorella grew up spending summers in the same idyllic beach town—Harvey Cedars on Long Beach Island. They attended the same backyard barbecues, and 80th Street Beach was their mutual playground. They didn’t know each other well, as he was four years older, but fate, like waves, kept tossing them together. Emily, now 27, was friends with Andrew’s younger brother, and always had a crush on “older and cooler” Andrew, now 31. It wasn’t until the pair worked together as lifeguards that they both felt a spark. They started dating in May 2015. They finished college (she at Penn State, he at Rutgers) and started careers, but always returned to their favorite place.
An injury and knee surgery delayed Andrew’s question-popping plans in summer 2021. “I couldn’t properly drop down [on one knee],” he explains. “I proposed to my physical therapist probably 50 times. As soon as I could do it and get back up on my own, I knew it was time.” By then, it was a chilly October day, and Emily had to be coaxed to go out on his family’s boat. “I thought he was joking at first,” Emily laughs, not quite believing the proposal as it happened. Friends and family rang bells and cheered from nearby houses and docks.
The couple knew they wanted to wed at Bonnet Island Estate. “You see it when you’re going over the bridge to LBI,” says Emily. “We went to a wedding there in 2019 and fell in love.” The couple’s big day was June 17, 2023.
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The whole evening had the vibe of a big backyard Harvey Cedars bash. The couple tapped their friends— local band the Danksters—to bring the “laid-back beachy music” soundtrack for the cocktail hour (on acoustic guitars) and the after-party, which stretched until the wee hours at Bonnet Island. The couple’s dog, Reef, was the ring bearer. Emily’s Pinterest board was awash with white blooms and greenery, a scheme that complemented Bonnet Island’s dusty blues. One key detail was a sea-glass seating chart, inspired by Andrews’s mother’s sea glass collection. “I wanted something different from the shell ones I’d seen,” says Emily, and she found an artist who brought it to life.
Cocktail hour included a raw bar, pasta bar, tomahawk steak station, charcuterie boards, mini sliders and crabcakes. Dinner was a burrata salad and a choice of a vegetarian, halibut, filet mignon, or chicken entrée. Funfetti wedding cake finished the meal.
The bride wore a fitted Martina Liana gown. “It was lacy, it had so much detail, all the things I didn’t think I wanted,” she recalls. “But it was perfect.” Andrew and his groomsmen wore tan suits with Grundéns suspenders—made for holding up fishing bibs. Andrew, his mom, brother, and a groomsman altered them for a wedding-day fit.
The couple was supposed to join their guests at cocktail hour, but Emily’s bustle was too complicated to get done in time. “So, we hung out in the bridal suite,” says Andrew. “We had 45 minutes to talk and eat and just enjoy being married.”
“Know what you want, but also, trust that your vendors probably know best!” says Emily.
The day after the wedding was Father’s Day, so the pair had a beach day with their wedding party and parents. On Monday, the new Fiorellas left for Hotel Nantipa in Costa Rica.