Real Weddings

Dana and Tommy at Grand Marquis

Posted on January 09, 2020 by Ariana Baio

How did you meet?
We met through a mutual friend during the summer of 2014 in Belmar, NJ. We were staying in separate beach houses and my friend, who I worked with at a restaurant during college, invited my roommates and I to come to a party at his house. Tommy happened to be one of his roommates in the house and was there that night. The most memorable thing about our first meeting was us bonding over the Hootie and the Blowfish song “I Only Wanna Be with You.” It came on during the party and we both sung along and started a flirty relationship from there on out.

The proposal took place on May 20th, 2018 around 2AM. I was working part-time as a wedding coordinator and had an event in Brooklyn on May 19th. I had been gone since 7AM, and when I arrived back home around 2AM the next morning, Tommy had created a pathway leading from our front door to our office. The path included personal memories and items that were meaningful to us throughout the 3 ½ years of dating, and when I entered the office, he set off sparklers that were placed in our coffee mugs, played our first dance song (“I’ll Be” by Edwin McCain), and got down on his knee. There was a bottle of Vueve Clicquot waiting which we popped. The proposal was so personal and beautiful. I loved it!

I wanted our wedding to be romantic and sophisticated. I wanted to achieve an over-the-top/unforgettable look that felt luxurious. We chose an array of ivory and nude flowers to keep the vibe light and airy, and I kept all the décor white with gold accents. I think the ivory chair wraps and the cascading flowers from the centerpieces and photo back-drop really added elegance to the room. Our floral arrangements used ivory, nude, and dusty pink flowers. I wanted tons and tons of flowers to keep the décor romantic. This include four different types of centerpieces. We did two large estate tables for family, four halo arrangements, and the rest of the tables had a gold stand wrapped in flowers, or an arrangement that was an arch of flowers that stood in between a tall candle arrangement on each side. My bouquet was all white roses with orchids and rhinestones throughout.

Regarding the venue the main decision-making factor was the price, the location. and the reviews. My brother and sister-in-law had attended a wedding at the Grand Marquis two months before we got engaged and they highly recommended we visit it. They raved about the food, and they were right! It was nearby our church which was also convenient. We wanted somewhere close to our church and that had beautiful photo spots. The Grand Marquis has a beautiful outdoor garden with a water fountain, and they built a brand-new stunning patio that our guests would use for cocktail hour which was also on the pro list when making our decision. It included all marble tiling, two fire pits, and waterfall.

Our menu included an over-the-top cocktail hour with many stations and hour d’oeuvres. Dinner included a salad and the Surf n Turf entrée (filet mignon and cold-water lobster tail). Dessert was the Viennese extravaganza which featured everything you could think of, and the wedding cake. The night finished with coffee and a breakfast sandwich as the exit/ to-go food. Our wedding cake was four tiers: two layers of carrot cake and two layers of red velvet cake. It was white with gold accents including 5 sugar roses that had painted gold edges, and there was a “T” in the center for our last name that had Swarovski crystals surrounding it.

My dress was the Berta 15-110. This dress featured an open back and was detailed in all lace and beading. The dress was a trumpet style with a corset fitted top. I knew this dress was for me before I even tried it on. I had pictures of it saved to my phone a year before I got engaged! I always had my eye on it. When I went dress shopping with my mom I tried on four or five other dresses and saved the 15-110 for last. The second I put it on I knew my gut instinct was right, and this was my dress. My mom cried and we toasted with champagne at the bridal salon. It was perfect!

My most memorable moment was when the reception ended. My husband and I sat down in the hotel lobby and scarfed down the exit breakfast sandwiches together (he had four!). We took selfies and laughed and kissed. It was the best moment, just the two of us.

I think what made our wedding the most unique were the centerpieces/décor, and the personalized floor wrap (done by SHOUT! Graphic and Print Solutions). The floor wrap completely transformed the room and it brightened up the room to achieve the romantic look and feel that I wanted our room to have. All our guests said it was the most beautiful wedding they had ever been to. Repeatedly I have heard many of our guests say that they had never seen anything like it before!

I have to say, nothing major went wrong! I was 20 minutes late to the church, but everything else went according to plan!

During the planning process, my best advice for brides and grooms is try not to stress out and accept that you can’t please everyone. On your wedding day, my best advice for brides and grooms is to be present in each moment together. Soak up all the love and enjoy! I also suggest sitting at your sweetheart table during dinner and look at all your guests and realize that everyone in the room is there for you. We did this and it was such a heartwarming feeling. I was just full of pure happiness and couldn’t stop smiling the entire day. I surprised myself and didn’t feel stressed for a moment even when a few things went wrong. You can’t sweat the small stuff on the big day or else it will put a damper on it which you don’t want to do!

Greece! We visited Crete (where my husband’s family is from), Santorini, and Mykonos.

the details


Edison, NJ

Reception Location

Grand Marquis


Photo DH


Saint George Greek Orthodox Church

Bride’s Gown


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