Real Weddings

Chelsea and Brian at The Grove at Centerton

I’m a small town girl, born and raised in South Jersey. My career as a Project Manager has taken me to many different cities, but three years ago led me to Dallas, Texas. I’ve been living here every since. Brian is a fierce American and an even fiercer Texan. A DFW native, Brian has been a firefighter in the Dallas area for the last 13 years. Brian and I met at a local East Dallas watering hole, our first date was in June 2017. We bonded over our shared love of Jesus, fitness, and Lord of the Rings.

Brian wanted me to experience more of his home state, so we planned a road trip to far West Texas in Summer 2018, visiting Alpine and the eclectic art hub of Marfa, Texas. Our first morning in Alpine we went on a hike, and as we were admiring the view of the valley from the top, Brian dropped to one knee, pulled a ring from his Nike shorts pocket, and proposed. I was surprised and immediately started crying as soon as he got down on his knee. We called our family and shared the good news with them!

A nod to our life in Texas, the favors were kept simple: Texas-shaped sugar cookies with a red heart sprinkle where Dallas is located.

Brian and I were in search of a beautiful venue in NJ where we could not only accommodate my large, local extended family, but somewhere that was easily accessible from Philadelphia for Brian’s Texan family and our out of state friends who travelled in for the occasion. We wanted something simple and classic, elegant but not over-the-top. We heard about The Grove at Centerton and after seeing it, immediately knew it would be the perfect fit for our October wedding. The wedding coordinators at The Grove were incredibly helpful and flexible, especially with my planning a wedding from across the country.

We had an open bar for the duration of the cocktail hour and dinner/dancing portion (crowd favorite). During the cocktail hour, there were hor d’oeuvres of mini crab cakes, coconut shrimp, mini sliders, and fish tacos, as well as an antipasto and assorted meat and seafood station. Dinner was a buffet of prime rib, stuffed chicken breast, grilled salmon, roasted potatoes, and green beans. Our cake was multi-layered: one layer was pound cake with raspberry filling, and the other was chocolate chip pound cake, all with buttercream frosting.

Finding the perfect dress was a saga. Brian asked that I wear something lacy, while I err to classic and simple designs, so it was a challenge to find a dress that melded the two styles. After a failed wedding dress shopping excursion in Philadelphia, I scheduled an appointment at a small bridal shop in Dallas and went dress shopping alone. I grabbed a handful of dresses to try on, but still wasn’t completely in love with anything. I picked one from the rack that was very unassuming, and to my complete surprise, absolutely loved it. It was a fitted/sheath silhouette, plain white from the waist down, the top was sleeveless and lace with a plunging neckline and an open back. It was comfortable, sexy but classy, lacy but still modern, and it felt 100% me. It was the absolute perfect dress for my wedding day!

I absolutely loved our ceremony. My uncle was the pastor who officiated, which was really special, and he kept the ceremony short and sweet, but still meaningful and Christ-centered. My husband teared up saying his vows, which was so cute (and made me cry), and I was so thankful to be surrounded by our closest friends and family as we entered into this marriage covenant.

One of my favorites was the ring structure that our florist (Petal and Poppy Co.) set up and decorated with flowers– we used it as a backdrop for the ceremony, and it doubled as a unique photo op during cocktail hour and dinner & dancing. My other favorite was the cake topper– Brian and I both enjoy working out, so I chose a weightlifting couple for a fun and unique cake topper!

I had envisioned our ceremony taking place in the outdoor courtyard at the Grove on a beautiful, crisp, fall day, but unfortunately a stretch of bad weather came through that week. On Friday afternoon, the day before the wedding, we talked to the wedding coordinator about our options– while we were optimistic that the rain would hold off, we needed a backup plan. The morning was chilly and clear, but the afternoon didn’t look promising. In the end, we were able to take all of our group/formal photos outside prior to the ceremony, but we opted to have the ceremony inside in the Grove’s beautiful cocktail room, which has vaulted ceilings and is flooded with natural light. The rain began just as we were starting the ceremony, and while I had my heart set on that courtyard wedding, I’m thankful we were all spared from the rain and dropping temperatures. Our photographer led us outside to take some additional photos, and the overcast afternoon and light rain made for some beautiful pictures! Plus, they say that rain on your wedding day is good luck!

“Photograph” by Ed Sheeran

Enjoy the process and don’t stress out about achieving perfection. Focus on the things you can control, and don’t worry about externalities like the weather. And have fun!

We went down to Atlantic City after the wedding for a “mini-moon”, since Brian had never experienced the Jersey Shore! A few weeks later, we rounded out our honeymoon with a snow-filled ski trip to Breckenridge, CO!

wedding details


Pitman, NJ

Reception Location

The Grove at Centerton


Daniel Bergin Photgraphy


Pastor Erich Eisenhart

Bride’s Gown

Lief by Willowby

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