How did you meet?
We met at a food bank where I worked, and Joe was a volunteer. After work there would be a group of us that would go out for happy hour. Over time the group started to dwindle until we ended up spending more time together one-on-one. Eventually, he asked me out officially on a date and we haven’t gotten tired of each other since then.
How did you get engaged?
Every year we travel to a different national park for about a week to hike and camp. In September, we went to Acadia National Park in Maine. I was kind of expecting a proposal to come soon but I thought it wouldn’t be until my 30th birthday next January. Instead Joe totally surprised me at a scenic overlook the day we hiked up Cadillac Mountain. We sat down to enjoy the view and take a breather and when we got up to leave Joe immediately got down on one knee to propose. He was originally planning to propose at the top of the mountain but at the last minute he decided to take advantage of the secluded spot.
Details of the day!
Before the wedding, we went offsite to Cross Estate Gardens to take photos and get some romantic shots together. Our ceremony was outdoors, and I walked down the aisle to Sweet Child of Mine, while Joe had the more traditional Canon in D. Our ceremony included a handfasting and being showered with paper airplanes as we departed. We also set up a trail mix bar for people to snack on while they waited for the ceremony to start. The cocktail hour was indoor/outdoor and so was the reception with music and games under the tent. We knew we didn’t want to do all the things you are “supposed to do” unless it was meaningful to us so we ended up paring down a lot of the traditional details. By focusing on what mattered to us, we really let our personalities come through in the wedding.
We decided that we would rather have games and live music than have the focus be a DJ and dancing. We had fantastic dueling pianos which were a huge hit. People were able to request songs and still got to dance, even though there was no official dance floor. We had a giant Jenga, cornhole, giant Connect 4, cards and Uno to keep people occupied. We also decided to DIY a photo station with props and Instax cameras to help capture the night. We really had a blast and it seemed like all our guests did too.
Why did you choose your venue?
We looked at a lot of venues in New York and New Jersey but when we found Olde Mill Inn, we instantly loved it. It was the perfect mix of formal and casual, outdoor and indoor and could host all our guests overnight. The Grain House restaurant space was charming, and all the food was delicious which was a big deal to us. We also liked that they seemed to understand the type of vibe we wanted and could make that happen.
What was on your menu?
We chose a cocktail-style reception because it fit perfectly with our relaxed vibe and allowed guests to enjoy dinner at their leisure. Our food stations included a salad station, a carving station, a ravioli station, a crepe station and a German station. We also had strolling dessert trays and a seasonal dessert table in addition to our cake, which was dulce de leche on one layer and chocolate fudge on the other layer.
One detail you couldn’t live without?
Open seating. It’s not for every wedding, but with the relaxed cocktail party atmosphere we were going for we didn’t want people locked into sitting at one table. We wanted them to be free to get up and mingle. It was definitely the one factor that made our parents most nervous and, to be honest, we weren’t sure what people would think because of how untraditional it is .In the end, we can’t imagine doing it any other way. Our guests were getting up, meeting new people and having a great time!
All about your gown!
I knew I would be miserable if I couldn’t move around comfortably in my dress or walk without tripping. My dress was by Allure Bridals and it was long, gorgeous and flowy with a vintage style beading on top. I felt like a princess and I was still comfortable.
What was your favorite moment?
It’s hard to choose just one thing but the anticipation of seeing each other for our first look was really fun. We both got driven to our garden spot in separate cars and arranged into position so we could get a good look at each other. After a morning of getting ready it was perfect to shake off some nerves together. It felt like a quiet little chunk of time that was just ours in a day that was non-stop energy.
Did anything go wrong?
It pretty much all went according to plan! There were just a few minor décor things that got lost in the shuffle, but nothing major.
First dance song?
Neither of us felt very comfortable dancing in the spotlight so we opted to skip all the first dances and focus more on music and games. Less awkward dancing for everyone!
Any advice for future brides?
Just do what makes you happy. If you want a wedding with all the bells and whistles then go for it, but if you don’t ,then don’t feel pressured to do things you don’t enjoy. This day is for you to celebrate your love. If your celebration reflects the two of you then everyone will get on board and love it because you do. Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to have something because everyone else does. Also, a day-of coordinator is the best reason to spend money on your wedding. We were so relaxed all day because someone was handling every detail for us. No matter how simple or complex your wedding, it is totally worth the peace of mind!