To Brendan and Emily, June 24 just sounded like “the perfect summer day” for their wedding. Turns out, it truly was. One of Emily’s favorite parts of her Oyster Point Hotel wedding was her florals. “From the start, I was very inspired by the florals at Ellie Monahan’s wedding and having bright, colorful, summer flowers became the cornerstone of my vision,” she says. Another special detail? The “Sip and Solve” crossword puzzle that guests worked on throughout cocktail hour. The gorgeous views of the Navesink River in Red Bank and the Oyster Point’s amazing food sealed the deal.
Brendan and Emily met in early 2019 on the dating app, Hinge. During their first date, we found out we had worked in the same office building in Times Square for about eight months in 2017. “I worked on the fourth floor, he worked on the eighth, and we took the same elevators each day,” says Emily. “We never recall running into each other. To put some perspective behind this, it’s estimated that there are over 50,000 buildings in Manhattan. Within a span of a few months, I changed jobs and his company moved offices. Those offices were directly across the street from each other (I could look into his building) and we took the same subway lines every day. Pretty crazy!”
“After surviving the thick of the pandemic together in my 300-square-f0ot studio apartment, we knew we’d be in it for the long haul,” says Emily. “On March 18, 2022, after going to dinner in our neighborhood in NYC, Brendan suggested we go for a walk around the reservoir in Central Park. This wasn’t too far out of the ordinary as we lived nearby, so I didn’t suspect anything. It was a cold night and the skyline was crystal-clear which gave us the most beautiful backdrop. Before I knew it, Brendan was on one knee asking me to marry him! We celebrated the next night with dinner in the West Village and then again with all of our family and friends at our engagement party in August 2022.”
“Our wedding date, June 24, 2023 just sounded like ‘the perfect summer day,’ which guided the direction for the look and feel of the day,” says Emily. “From the start, I was very inspired by the florals at Ellie Monahan’s wedding and having bright, colorful, summer flowers became the cornerstone of my vision. Our primary colors were navy and ice blue and my bridesmaids wore ice blue dresses. While we didn’t have a formal theme, I wanted all elements of the day to feel custom and classic and to carry through with consistency from the moment you opened the invitation to the minute you left the venue at the end of the night.”
“Brendan’s cousin is an incredibly talented artist and graphic designer, and she hand-painted our monogram crest and custom wedding print which we used in our invitation suite, menus, drink stirrers, signage and our welcome bags. She helped us create a ‘sip and solve’ crossword puzzle that guests worked on throughout cocktail hour and custom favor tags, which we attached to our delicious chocolate-caramel and chocolate-caramel-peanut butter mini pretzels from the Red Bank Chocolate Shoppe.”
“Our signature drinks were a jalapeno margarita, my all-time favorite, and a Yellow Hammer, which was a nod to Brendan’s alma mater, the University of Alabama. We had fun fact napkins created with six different facts on them, which were used throughout cocktail hour and the reception. We wanted everyone to be up and dancing for as long as possible, and Almost Easy Entertainment absolutely brought the house down with their eight-piece band – the dance floor was packed all night long! So many people said they were the best wedding band they ever heard.”
“Getting married at St. James Church was very important to me as my parents were married there and I received all my sacraments there,” says Emily. “I also attended both St. James School and Red Bank Catholic High School, both of which are attached to the church. It is so special to see our wedding photos in the church as so many of the shots are exactly the same as my parents’ from 1992. We wanted somewhere that was close to the church and close to downtown Red Bank, so the Oyster Point was a no-brainer. The gorgeous views and amazing food definitely sealed the deal. We also had so many guests traveling in from out of town, so the venue being a hotel was a huge plus, and having a bar on-site made for a very convenient after party.”
“So many attendees said that our wedding food was some of the best they’ve ever had, and not just for ‘wedding food,'” says Emily. “From the contracting process, we were very impressed with the Oyster Point’s menu and it did not disappoint on the day-of! We had ten passed hors d’oeuvres during cocktail hour, including ancho chili crab cakes with cilantro cream, mini Reuben melts, grilled zucchini rolls with Boursin, Mediterranean vegetable tortillas, fig crisps with bacon and mini Coney Island franks. Our cocktail hour stations featured a massive Mediterranean charcuterie station with meats, cheeses and grilled vegetables, a mac and cheese station, a mashed potato station, a carving station and raw bar.”
“Our dinner menu featured a watermelon, tomato and burrata salad starter. Guests were given a choice of grilled filet mignon with frizzled onions, salmon with crab-stuffed shrimp in a buerre blanc, and roasted chicken with morel madeira sauce. Each dish was served with roasted seasonal vegetables and mashed potatoes.”
“Our wedding cake was lemon with fresh raspberries and vanilla buttercream, topped with flowers from our florist.”
“For as long as I can remember, I have been amazed by the story of Amsale Aberra and have dreamed of wearing an Amsale gown (highly recommend looking it up, it is fascinating),” says Emily.
“The first salon I visited in my wedding dress search was Amsale, and we were so impressed by how beautiful the salon was and how kind the consultants were. Going into my search I knew I wanted a classic gown that was more on the simple side. I was adamant about having straps as I knew I wanted to dance the night away. I didn’t really want a train, but wanted the option to have a long, dramatic veil.”
“After trying on the options that stood out to me online, my consultant pulled a dress she thought I would like based off of the elements of the other dresses I liked. I initially wasn’t crazy about it on the hanger because it was strapless, but decided to give it a shot. I immediately was obsessed with the beautiful bow in the back and loved the detailing on the bodice. It felt special on me from the start, but after adding the crystal and pearl belt and cathedral-length veil, I just knew it was the one and the reactions from my mom, sister, aunt and cousin confirmed it. I still went to two other salons to try other gowns, but I kept comparing every other dress to this one. A few weeks later, my mom and I went back and officially said yes to the dress!”
“It is SO hard to pick just one, but looking back, all the little moments mean the most,” says Emily. “A few of my favorites were my first look with Brendan at my parents’ house, seeing my parents and bridesmaids for the first time all dressed up and looking fabulous, getting pumped up in the limo with my bridesmaids to some middle school jams before going into the church, dancing with my grandfather at the reception, introducing all our guests to my family’s crazy wedding tradition of shimmying to ‘Shout!’ and closing out the night singing ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ with a room full of alumni. Another major highlight was our two-year-old nephew serving as our ring bearer. He wasn’t so sure about things during the rehearsal but absolutely nailed it at the wedding, walking perfectly down the aisle, pillow in hand, in the most adorable little tuxedo.”
“I was so obsessed with our flowers,” says Emily. “The day wouldn’t have been ‘the day’ without them. Plus, now that we have our photos, I couldn’t imagine going with anyone else other than Off BEET. Kate and her team captured the emotion of the day so perfectly and we will treasure these for the rest of our lives.”
“I was the first of my friends to get married, so I learned quite a bit along the way,” says Emily. “Lean on your people. So many loved ones will offer to help you with whatever they can because they genuinely want to. I am very much a type-A, do-it-all-myself person. Letting go of some things was a challenge for me at times but it saved my sanity in those final weeks. My aunt helped with putting the table numbers and photos into frames. I asked my sister/maid of honor to handle rounding up the photos for the memorial table. I asked a couple of bridesmaids to handle getting the drinks for the limo. Even my grandfather pitched in by helping us to stuff our welcome bags. It truly takes a village. There’s so much to do that you’ll drive yourself nuts if you try to do it all yourself.”
“Make sure you and your new spouse take a few minutes to step off to the side during your reception and just soak it all in. It’s so rare and amazing to have so many people you love from both sides of your family in the same room at the same time. The day really goes by way too fast, so just enjoy it and live in the moment.”
“Things WILL go wrong—just accept that fact now—but on the day of, they will feel so minor and won’t even faze you. The day of our wedding ended up being incredibly humid and we needed to switch our post-ceremony photo location at the last second. Some of the songs on our must-play list weren’t played. Some of our guests ended up switching around their seating arrangements during the reception despite the fact that we spent hours sorting out the tables. None of it really mattered in the moment. All the stress is so worth it!”
The couple spent two dreamy weeks exploring, eating, sipping rosé and swimming in the Mediterranean throughout the South of France, including stops in St. Tropez, Aix-en-Provence, Cannes, Nice and Eze.