Details of the Day: Being the first couple to have a wedding reception in the new space at Natirar, our planning options were limited. In the year between choosing Natirar and our wedding day, we watched Bob Wojtowicz and his team break ground and gradually build the new ballroom and complete the mansion renovations, just in time for our wedding. In short, we had to be flexible due to the fact that we were working off of blueprints and renderings for most of the planning period. Things we did know – We knew there was going to be a large bridal party, so I liked the idea of mix and match dresses on the blush/pink/gold color palate for the bridesmaids. As for the reception space, we liked the idea of brightly colored high and low floral arrangements in the dining room as it seemed to compliment the soft wood tones and green living wall we saw early on in the renderings. Our florist, Jardinaire was incredibly flexible and helped us narrow our focus up until the week before the wedding. To personalize the wedding, Alex and I named each guest table a place of significance to us in our relationship, spanning from old hangouts in NYC to our new favorite spots in Baltimore, and some of our favorite vacation destinations in between. Actually, coming up with the table names was one of my favorite moments in the wedding planning process! Lastly, we included a large table of family wedding portraits to remember and honor all our living and late family members that have exemplified the meaning of love and respect in marriage and family. The Venue: I grew up in Far Hills, New Jersey, just two miles from the venue. For me, the location of the wedding was one of the most important factors in the planning process. It was also important for the venue to be in close proximity to where we had our ceremony at Liberty Corner Church, a Church my family has been apart of since its creation in the 1800s. Natirar park has been a place my family has enjoyed since it become a public space. We frequently take walks along the river and through the woods, enjoying the freshness and peacefulness of the land. It was important for me to show our guests the beauty that truly is the “Garden State” of New Jersey! The Gown: I’m not much of a fashionista, so when it came to choosing a wedding gown, I knew I wanted to wear something to reflect my style: simple and classy. That being said, I respected everyone’s advice and tried many different styles, from modern and tight fitting to princess style ball gowns. When I put on the Blue Willow dress by Anne Barge, I felt like myself. I remember looking in the mirror and instantly imagined Alex standing next to me. I felt comfortable in the A-line silhouette and loved the low back of the dress. We made a few alterations – the neckline was altered from the original scoop neck style to more of a gentle v-neck and the very talented seamstress created a “ballroom bustle” to create a soft train on the skirt. I absolutely could not imagine myself in any other dress! Favorite Moment: Arriving at the top of the hill at Natirar after the ceremony and walking into the beautifully restored mansion was incredible. The renovation was impeccably done and the fact that it was finished literally just in time for the wedding was a dream come true. Seeing all our friends and family enjoying delicious passed hors d’oeuvres and cocktails on the patio overlooking Natirar park and the rolling lush hills of my hometown was a truly magical moment. Favorite Detail: Our band (The A List) was great at accommodating all our requests. We love Motown and 40’s big band so getting to hear all the classics was fantastic. Something That Went Wrong: The shuttle to take the bridal party to the church never showed up! In the midst of panic when we realized we were already fifteen minutes late to the Church, my dad, the calm and collected man that he is, looked outside and saw three of our family’s Volvo’s parked and said: ‘Lets just drive!’ What could have been a disaster turned into one of my favorite moments of the day, the bridal party just piled into the station wagons, and headed to the Church! First Dance Song: This Magic Moment by The Drifters Advice for Other Brides: My advice to future brides: just remember what “your” day is really about. It’s about making a lifelong commitment of love and respect to the person you have chosen to spend the rest of your life with. It’s about enjoying probably the one time you will have your favorite people from every phase of your life in one place. It’s about spending time with your families and thanking them for helping you get to this day. It’s so easy to get lost and caught up in the details. Just remember to have fun, enjoy the day, and know that everything may not go exactly as planned!