Real Weddings

A Breathtaking Big Day on the Bay at Mallard Island Yacht Club

Posted on July 07, 2023 by New Jersey Bride

For their Mallard Island Yacht Club wedding, Chelsea and Joe incorporated many personal details, including odes to his late mother, wine bottles to sign as their guest book, a pizza fabric sewn into his jacket, and more.

Their Story

The bride and groom walk together before their Mallard Island Yacht Club wedding.
Photo by Lauren Ashley Photography

Chelsea and Joe were both living in NYC and swiped right to each other on Hinge. Chelsea was fresh out of a long-term relationship and Joe was about to take a break from dating after a few unsuccessful dates. They met at a wine bar near her office and hit it off immediately. Joe had mentioned early in the conversation that he likes to keep it to drinks only on the first date since he had been locked into dinner in the past and had to awkwardly sit at dinner with someone he wasn’t necessarily interested in. “I knew it was going well when I mentioned I was getting hungry and he offered to take us to dinner at The Spaniard, which has become one of our favorite NYC spots that we visit when we’re back in town,” says Chelsea.

The Proposal

The bride and groom share a kiss after their ceremony at Mallard Island Yacht Club.
Photo by Lauren Ashley Photography

When the world shut down in 2020, so did all of the couple’s travel plans. “I was so excited when Joe had the idea to take a trip to Newport, Rhode Island in November of 2020,” says Chelsea. “I love road trips and it was drivable from where we were living in Stamford, Connecticut and the fall in the northeast is my favorite time of year.” It happened to be one of the hottest days of the fall and while walking the Cliff Walk, Joe proposed at the 40 Steps. The couple spent the rest of the weekend celebrating and getting complimentary champagne everywhere they went.

About Their Mallard Island Yacht Club Wedding

The groom and his groomsmen sit on the dock at Mallard Island Yacht Club.
Photo by Lauren Ashley Photography

“The venue itself is incredible from top to bottom. Keeping that in mind, we wanted to simply accentuate some details and really make it unique to us. We both love the color navy and that felt fitting being on the water so we tried to incorporate that through linens, the bridesmaid dresses, the groomsmen’s ties/pocket squares, and Joe’s tux,” says Chelsea. The couple chose “Conversations in the Dark” by John Legend as their our first dance song.

Why Mallard Island?

The bridal suite at Mallard Island Yacht Club.
Photo by Lauren Ashley Photography

During their search, the couple had narrowed it down to a few venues that were either vineyards or waterfront. On their second weekend of venue tours, they hit Hotel LBI, Bonnet Island, and Mallard Island (all owned by the same company). “Joe had originally not wanted to check out Mallard because he disliked the red roof, but when we walked in, we knew it was where we were going to get married,” says Chelsea. “Between the waterside chapel, the abundance of outdoor space, the elevated ceilings on the dance floor, the onsite accommodations for our bridal party, and the absolutely insane bridal suite, there was nothing else like it.” Besides the venue itself being incredible, they also fell head over heels for the coordinator, Gianna Verdoni.


For this couple's Mallard Island Yacht Club wedding, they had a seating chart that incorporated a beach theme with place cards that were in a box of sand. Their wedding cake was simple white with some exposed areas.
Photo by Lauren Ashley Photography

Their cocktail hour included the following passed hors d’oeuvres: spinach and artichoke risotto cakes, creole shrimp and grits, steakhouse bites, seared ahi tuna, lemongrass chicken and cilantro dumplings, petit bayou crab cake, mini cuban sandwiches, lobster bisque soup shooter.

The food stations at their cocktail hour included: a charcuterie table, fresh shucked oysters, peking duck, sushi, pasta and a slider bar.

Dinner options, all served with dauphinoise potatoes and haricot vert, included chateaubriand with classic bearnaise, horseradish and chive encrusted salmon with a dijon glaze served with a roasted garlic and cucumber yogurt sauce; pan roasted chicken fresco with a garnish of artichoke hearts, capers and sundried tomatoes with a california sauterne and meyer lemon veloute; and grilled vegetable naploean presented over spaghetti squash finished with aged balsamic reduction and house made chive oil.

The wedding cake was lemon cake with blueberry filling and there was also a gelato station.

Bridal Style

The bride and groom pose on a dock outside the Mallard Island Yacht Club.
Photo by Lauren Ashley Photography

Chelsea wore a relaxed A-line Martina Liana (style #1137) that her MOH had suggested she try on when they were at her Kleinfeld’s appointment. “It was so different from anything I had been trying on,” says Chelsea, “I always envisioned myself in something simple and classic.” The dress has beaded spaghetti straps, a beautiful plunging v-neckline with sheer bodice, and an open-back, which was a must-have for Chelsea. It was covered in vine-like and floral patters with under layers of sequins and beaded tulle.

Favorite Moment

For their guest book, the couple chose to have guests sign their names to nine wine bottles.
Photo by Lauren Ashley Photography

“During our ceremony in front of all our guests, we sang a song that we sing at home about our dog, Luna,” says Chelsea. “It was something Joe and I had joked about for months and he said there was no way he’d sing it. Our videographer team made it the opener of our teaser video and makes us giggle every time we watch it.”

Favorite Details

A cigar roller at the couple's Mallard Island Yacht Club wedding.
Photo by Lauren Ashley Photography

The couple wanted to make their wedding personal. Here are a few special things they did were:

Live painter “I hired a live painter as a surprise for Joe,” says Chelsea. “His mom had passed away a year before our wedding. I had the artist paint our first dance with our parents (including his mom) standing alongside us.”

Wine lovers “We are big wine lovers so instead of a guest book, we did 10 wine bottles that everyone could sign and we’ll open 1 every year on our anniversary for the next 10 years,” says Chelsea.

Special details “I was adopted at 6 months old. When I came to America, my dad had given my mom a charm of a little girl that I wore on my bouquet,” says Chelsea. “I got Joe a pin that had pictures of him with his mom as a baby and as an adult. I wanted him to remember she was there that day, even if not physically (I got one for his dad as well). We had a single white rose on a chair at the front of our ceremony for her.”

Puppy love “We were able to have our dog, Luna come for a few photos. We loved having her there to celebrate part of our day,” says Chelsea.

Pizza time “With our new last name as Pizzolato (and Joe being called ‘Pizza’ for years), we really leaned into that,” says Chelsea. “Joe had a pizza fabric sewn into his jacket. We had late night pizza served at the venue for the after party alongside espresso martinis and a cigar roller.”

Signature drinks “Our signature drinks were one for our dog, Luna (The Luna Tuna – an elderflower french 75) and for Joe’s mom, Linda (The Linda – Ketel one botanicals with club soda and a splash of lemonade),” says Chelsea.

Song spotlight “Joe’s family is obsessed with Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want for Christmas is You,'” says Chelsea. “And our entire dance floor was belting it out at the top of their lungs!”


The couple found ways to incorporate those who have passed away into their Mallard Island Yacht Club wedding.
Photo by Lauren Ashley Photography

“Don’t make planning your whole life,” says Chelsea. “I know it’s much easier said than done, but don’t drive yourself nuts over little details or get caught up in things that won’t matter at the end of the day. The day will be perfect regardless when you remember why you’re there.”


A closeup of the bride and her bridesmaid's white flowers for her Mallard Island Yacht Club wedding.
Photo by Lauren Ashley Photography

“We decided to take a little break between the wedding and honeymoon so that we could ride the wedding high for a little,” says Chelsea. “Glad we did because we were exhausted and had a social hangover for weeks afterwards!” The couple is headed to South Africa (Cape Town, Winelands, Safari) and the Seychelles in October. “We chose this trip because it was a perfect mix of adventure and relaxation,” says Chelsea.

the details

Reception Location

Mallard Island Yacht Club


Lauren Ashley Photography


Brian "The Rev" Schleper

Bride’s Gown

Martina Liana (Via Jaehee Bridal)

+ more