Mike and I met for the very first time at my best friend’s house when were 15 and 16. (while he was dating her!) We grew up in neighboring towns, which helped us to see one another more often. We became closer over time and our friendship grew during our college years. Despite a strong attraction and connection, we remained just friends and always made sure to check in with one another for our birthdays and social outings. In March of 2014, we finally woke up and decided to go on our first date. The rest is history.
We were on vacation in San Diego, CA celebrating his birthday. We had just arrived to sunny California the night before and we woke up to the pleasant sound of seals barking in the bay. Our plan was to go to the zoo, but Mike suggested a walk on the beach first. I agreed, with no idea what he had planned, we made our way to Mission Beach near Belmont Park. There on the shoreline, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.
If our wedding had a theme, it would’ve been romance. I knew early on that I wanted to incorporate wine and champagne when we chose our venue as that color palette worked perfectly with the lush greenery and natural beauty of the grounds. The flowers incorporated various reds, burgundy, white and ivory hues. Our wonderful florist used peonies, quicksand roses, lisianthus, spray roses, wax flowers, hanging amaranthus, and eucalyptus leaves to bring my vision to life. Our table numbers were actually chapter numbers, which incorporated our love for reading and stories. The seating chart reflected these chapters, as if our guests were chapters in our lives. We think that gave it a nice, sentimental touch. The skeleton key bottle openers were a useful gift that presented a sweet and thoughtful way to thank our family and friends for showing their support and love for us.
Our venue stood out to us for a number of reasons. We wanted a place that was close to home and to our roots in Bergen County. The maitre ‘d and his staff were very kind and relaxed which immediately put us at ease. The club has an excellent reputation for their food, and it certainly did not disappoint. The grounds are absolutely gorgeous with lush trees and a relaxed tone. The outdoor ceremony space facing a lake and under cover of shade was an absolute dream. I always wanted a castle wedding, and RGCC has a beautiful stone abbey that depicts one. It’s stone architecture gives off an elegant, yet rustic vibe which is totally us. I still call it our castle!
Our wedding menu was phenomenal. For cocktail hour we had passed hors d’oeuvres that included bay scallops wrapped in bacon, mini crab cakes, gyoza dumplings, hamburger sliders, cocktail franks in a blanket, jumbo shrimp, spring rolls, baby lamb chops, and pepper jack and tomato quesadillas. Cocktail hour also included an Italian antipasto display, fresh vegetables and international fruits and cheeses, a chilled seafood display and risotto station. For dinner, our guests were served penne ala vodka for an appetizer. The option of a mixed greens or caesar salad was offered for intermezzo. For the entree, guests could have their choice of filet mignon, chicken franchise or blackened salmon. Dinner was served with mashed potatoes for the meat dishes or rice pilaf for fish and everyone had a side of green beans. Our cake was a semi-naked design with vanilla buttercream frosting. We got tlhe flavor we always wanted, which was vanilla confetti with vanilla pudding and cannoli cream as fillings. The cake was topped with a champagne-colored Mickey and Minnie with our wedding date, as sometimes we call each other by these loving character names. Additionally, guests were served chocolate covered strawberries and apple crumble with vanilla ice cream for dessert.
After trying on nearly 40 or 50 gowns, I stumbled across Jaehee Bridal in Englewood at the suggestion of my friend who bought her dress there. The first dress I tried on was the one, and I knew it. It spoke to my body and my emotions, I can’t describe it. I felt gorgeous in it, which was not the case with any others I tried on even if they were the same style. The beading, intricate detail and exquisite train were perfect for me. I tried on a few more after just to be sure, but I couldn’t stop thinking about this one. I’m glad I made this decision as my husband loved it, it photographed beautifully and brought out a huge confidence in me.
Seeing Mike for the first time, without a doubt. I always pictured seeing my groom looking as handsome as he did that day. That private moment between us is forever etched in my memory. He showed so much compassion toward me as well, which makes it that much more wonderful.
Everything was so visually stunning which makes it difficult to pick just one. But if I had to choose one thing aside from my groom, I would say my flower crown. I made it a point early on that I would not wear a veil and didn’t budge or sway from this choice. It was a crown or nothing for me. I chose a hairstyle that would flatter the crown and I think it came out gorgeous, it made a statement and it was uniquely me.
Guests arrived early and saw me before my walk down the aisle, and the limo driver did not stick to the itinerary. It rained during the ceremony, and everyone got a little wet. So what?! Things do go wrong, but it was still the most perfect day of our lives.
“Say You Won’t Let Go” by James Arthur
Don’t sweat the small stuff. The month(s) leading up to your wedding day will have you stressed and wanting to give up, but remember why you’re doing this in the first place. The love between you and your fiancé will triumph all lost hope and feelings you may have. Take a moment to step back and appreciate everything you two have done to make this day so special and how far you’ve come in your relationship. Catch your breath and look at all the people who came out from near and far to celebrate the two of you. It’s truly something special and believe me, it is all worth it!
We took a hiatus after our wedding to relax for the summer and traveled to Rome, Sorrento and Positano, Italy in August 2019 for our honeymoon.