Real Weddings

Hannah and Peter at Park Avenue Club

Posted on January 27, 2020 by Ariana Baio

Pete and I met at the University of Delaware through a mutual friend – we were just friends for a while, and Pete’s friends used to joke that a fashion merchandising major would never end up with a sweatpants-and-ratty-sneakers-wearing hockey player. It wasn’t until after Pete graduated that I realized I couldn’t let him go, and we started dating in December of 2013. Turns out, when two University of Delaware Alumni get married, they’re actually called “Double Dels,” so I guess that’s us!

Five years later, just short of Memorial Day Weekend, Pete surprised me with a romantic engagement set up at our house that we had bought together exactly one year earlier. He tricked me into thinking we were going out to dinner at a fancy restaurant owned by one of his customers, but when he put on a suit and declined by idea to go to get a cheap dinner at Ikea instead, I knew he was up to something (seriously, I didn’t even think Pete owned a suit). We left the house, only to go back because, “Pete forgot the gift card,” when really he was leading me into his romantic set up on our back porch. The porch was filled with lit up tea candles, hanging lights, rose pedals, and a dinner table set for two. It was so special that Pete proposed at our house, because this was our first home that we put so much love and effort into together.

We were the first to get engaged and the first to get married in both of our friend groups, so this was an undertaking for the both of us as we were planning it ourselves! My vision for the day included romantic details from hanging greenery, candles, and wood elements. It was super important to us to keep everything local, from the venues to the vendors. We even had our rehearsal dinner at our favorite local family tavern, Bottle Hill Tavern, where we are regulars on Friday nights. Theme: Local, light, romantic, greenery, wood elements Colors: neutrals, blushes, greenery Flowers: I knew Erin from J&M from bridal shows when I was younger working at the bridal store. She made my flower vision come to life, but better. I wanted neutral florals, drawing in some blushes into my color palette. My bridal flowers and center pieces included polo roses, majolica spray roses, ranunculus, dahlias, mother of pearl roses, mauve lisianthus, clematis, eucalyptus, salol, and more. My bridesmaid’s flowers were inspired by my Swedish background and included wild Monte Casino and Chamomile. Favors: Tying into our local and romantic theme, we made our favors ourselves with the help of some friends and family. Pete’s family has been bottling their own family wine at Bacchus Winemaking Club in Toms River, New Jersey for years, and my own family has also joined in on the wine bottling for the past couple of years! We bottled 250 half bottles of 2018 Bordeaux, and made our own custom labels with our wedding date, names, and details that matched our wedding invitations. Our venue was great because we were able to have open flames and real candles lighting up the tables and room, which gave the room a romantic and cozy feel. There were also so many details that were personal and homemade. Our name cards were displayed on a large wooden board that my dad had made and stained himself the venue loved it so much, they asked if they could keep it for future events! Our signature drinks were an Old Fashioned and Spicy Margaritas, the sign was made by a close coworker of mine at L’Oréal. Finally, the bridal party getting ready in my own home, the home the Pete and I built together, and that he proposed to me in, was truly magical. I felt comfortable in my environment, and every detail was perfect.

We did a lot of searching to find a venue, and it was the hardest part of the process. We wanted a local NJ wedding, but my mind was in Sweden, Vermont, Colorado – places with beautiful and natural greenery. We ended up choosing the Park Ave Club because it was a local to us and our family, and is a non-profit organization. We actually booked the venue before seeing it complete, as it was undergoing a huge renovation.

A very large part of our choosing the Park Ave Club was the food and service. Our first course was fresh Burrata with organic baby lettuces, red onion, heirloom tomatoes, aged balsamic, pumpernickel tuile. For entrée choices, guests could pick between pan roasted filet mignon with natural jus, au gratin potato & asparagus, grilled Atlantic swordfish with roasted yellow peppers, Himalayan red rice and a squash medley. For dessert we had wedding cake which was from Calendras Italian Bakery in Caldwell, New Jersey, and the flavors were similar to a strawberry shortcake. The flavors reminded me of my dad’s traditional Swedish sugar cake, and were light and fresh which is why we loved it so much.

Choosing my dress was definitely the most exciting part of wedding planning for me, as I worked at I Do I Do in Morristown, New Jersey as an intern and bridal consultant since I was 16 years old! Even after starting my full time job at L’Oreal in New York, I go back to the store from time to time to consult. The owners of the store are truly like family and I couldn’t have imagined being a bride without them being a part of it. They let me run wild in the store, trying everything on from 3D flowers to laces, even though they knew I’d end up in something super simple and classic. My first dress was a custom Justin Alexander Signature, designed with I Do I Do. It was classic, elegant, and truly made me feel like the bride I’d been imagining myself to be since starting at the store at 16. My second dress was Pronovias, inspired by Hollywood glamour, as I wanted a light, more sheath style to party and dance the night away! My two dresses allowed me to have the best of both worlds!

On your wedding day you want to have each and every detail planned down to a tee, but it’s the moments that are organic and unplanned that made the day magical. We had a late start to our photos and our first look ended up being in an unplanned location. My photographer told me to make sure I took this moment just for us, to truly be in the moment with each other, and not to think about all the stuff going on around us. The unplanned location ended up being perfect, with yellow flowers that brightened the day. At that moment when Pete and I saw each other, my nerves were calmed, I finally felt as beautiful as everyone kept telling me, and I knew no matter what, the day was perfect.

To be honest, I first imagined my wedding being in an outdoor location with greenery surrounding me everywhere I looked. When it came down to choosing our venue, we decided that St Vincent Martyr Church in Madison was the perfect ceremony venue and the detail we knew we needed. We decided that we needed to be in a church because it is what our family members that couldn’t be with us that day would have wanted, especially my grandpa, who would have loved to watch me walk down the aisle in a church. There is something special about those church doors opening up before you walk down the aisle that I don’t think you can recreate elsewhere.

The morning of my wedding was dark, gloomy, and rainy. Although I was putting on a front for my bridesmaids and acting like everything was fine, I was so upset the weather wouldn’t clear up. Everyone tells you, “rain on your wedding day is good luck,” and I definitely doubted them until finally we left for photos and the rain stopped. It wasn’t the perfect sunny day I was hoping for, but the overcast made my pictures even better than I could have imagined. On top of the rain, the trolley that was coming to pick up the bridal party had an error in their schedule, and went to the hotel to pick up groomsmen instead. This threw off our entire photography schedule, including our first look. Thanks to my amazing photographer, she completely calmed my nerves and made sure we got the best photos in the amount of time that we had.

“Beautiful Crazy” by Luke Combs. I didn’t want to be cheesy, and almost ended up going with a different song, but it was the most perfect song for us.

When I worked at the bridal store, I used to tell brides to cherish every moment because the day would fly by. After being a bride myself, I can attest that the day truly FLEW by. Do not rush the day and take in every single moment. Do not fret over flaws in the schedule or a rainy morning, rather remember those moments as they are, the moments that made your day yours. My biggest piece of advice is to make sure you take a moment for yourself, this day is yours for you and your future partner, do not forget that.

Pete and I chose to go to Oahu, Hawaii and Maui, Hawaii for a 10-day honeymoon. With Pete owning a local plumbing business, he does not often get such a long break from work. We wanted to choose somewhere beautiful and adventurous, but also somewhere we could cherish our time together and relax. Being the Disney fans that we are, we stayed at the Aulani Resort in Oahu for the first half of our trip, and then traveled to the luxurious Four Seasons Resort in Maui for the second half. We ate (and ate and ate – the local food in Oahu is amazing!), hiked, relaxed, and enjoyed every sunset we could.

the details


Madison, NJ

Reception Location

Park Avenue Club


Brittney Raine


Father George

Bride’s Gown

i do i do

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