The Mill Lakeside Manor in Spring Lake Heights proved to be the perfect waterside wedding venue for Hayley and Dave. Their July big day had a dreamy romantic garden vibe. Plus, these Rutgers University alumni had a special guest show up at their reception.
Dave and Hayley met at Rutgers University at the end of their sophomore year. She was in Phi Sigma Sigma. He was in Sigma Chi. The couple met at one of his fraternity’s functions. “We both vividly remember the day we first met, and remember taking notice of each other again a few days later when we crossed paths on College Avenue,” says Hayley. “Our first date was in June, and that summer we enjoyed a lot of time down the shore together. When we returned to Rutgers in the fall, our relationship continued to flourish. We both knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. That’s why Rutgers will always hold a special place in our hearts. It’s the place where our love story began!”
It was April 2021, and Dave asked Hayley to go down the shore to one of their favorite restaurants for lunch. “I was totally suspicious that he was proposing, but tried to act like I didn’t expect anything,” says Hayley. “I was shaking with excitement the whole way there.” They ate lunch and left with no proposal to be had.
Meanwhile, Hayley’s sisters, mom and dad had been working to transform the backyard for a woodland forest fairytale proposal. After a carefully orchestrated scheme, Hayley walked into the backyard. Dave was waiting for her under a beautiful floral arch, surrounded by candles and flowers. “I walked to meet him with tears in my eyes. He asked me the easiest question I’ve ever had to answer,” says Hayley. “I said ‘yes,’ with our family all watching in the background, and it was everything I could have dreamed of! The surprises continued as our friends showed up afterwards for a party to celebrate our engagement.”
For their July 22 wedding, Hayley was aiming for an atmosphere that was formal and classic while also incorporating a whimsical garden vibe. The flowers for the ceremony were all white with lots of greens, and the installation atop the gazebo they got married under captured the dreamy romantic garden vibe Hayley envisioned. The bouquets, bud vases, centerpieces and installations were a mix of light summer florals combined with lots of organic looking greens. Their mirrored white framed seating chart was set up with their wooden welcome sign, amongst lots of candles and white lanterns in the foyer. Their beautiful ballroom with wrap-around windows, incorporated a mix of high and low centerpieces with flowers spilling over and lots of candles to feel whimsical and romantic. “My favorite detail we incorporated in our day was a ‘Generations of Love’ table set up right when you walked in from the ceremony that showcased the wedding photos of both our grandparents and parents,” says Hayley. The couple’s first dance song was “Conversations in the Dark” by John Legend and Hayley walked down the aisle to “Beauty and the Beast.”
The Mill Lakeside Manor was the perfect waterside venue for Hayley and Dave. “The beautiful ballroom overlooking the lake, paired with the lakeside garden ceremony space, were exactly what we were looking for,” says Hayley. “The classic black-tie wedding that I wanted with a summery feel down the shore was exactly what The Mill delivered.” Hayley loved the set up out back: a beautiful dock, patio and deck that all of their guests could enjoy. Inside, the cocktail hour space is spacious and airy with a stunning fireplace and giant wrap around bar. The groom’s suite is swanky and cool, and the bridal suite is breathtaking as it overlooks the running mill and lake. “When the doors opened, and Dave and I entered the room as the sun was starting to set over the lake, I knew we’d picked our perfect venue,” says Hayley.
Guests enjoyed a roasted pear and stilton cheese salad topped with a honey raspberry vinaigrette. During the main course, guests could choose from chateaubriand, chicken a la mill (a boneless chicken breast wrapped in prosciutto and topped with roasted eggplant and fresh mozzarella) and a seafood duet (jumbo lump crabmeat stuffed shrimp and salmon.) “A unique option that The Mill offered was guests were offered second portions of the entree choices,” says Hayley. Dessert consisted of several stations plus international coffees paired with cordials. The wedding cake was an almond cake with cannoli filling.
Hayley opted for a Hayley Paige gown that happened to be one of the first dresses she ever tried on. “The whimsical elegance of her signature skirt, the thick satin ribboning at the bottom—I knew this was my dress,” says Hayley. “I always wanted a classic ball gown that was timeless and romantic and also fun. This dress was everything all wrapped into one!” Hayley even had a chance to reach out to the designer herself. “[I told] her that I’d said yes to my dress and how I’d always dreamed of walking down the aisle in one of her designs. She responded with the kindest words, and was the absolute sweetest to talk to!”
Hayley’s favorite moment by far was the couple’s first look. “He gave me the sweetest reaction,” says Hayley. “He turned and immediately had tears in his eyes and I’ll never forget how I felt to be marrying this man at that moment.”
“Rutgers is so meaningful to us. We got the surprise of a lifetime when my family had THE Scarlet Knight, Sir Henry, come to our wedding,” says Hayley. “The band announced that we wouldn’t all be here today without one very special guest. Dave and I looked at each other completely confused as to who it could possibly be. When the Scarlet Knight walked in, dressed in a suit for the occasion, we couldn’t believe it.” Both of their fathers, several family members and tons of friends at the wedding are Rutgers alumni, too. “Everyone absolutely loved it, and Sir Henry brought out the moves, making his way around the dance floor,” says Hayley. “It was the best surprise two alumni who fell in love at Rutgers could have at their wedding!”
“Make sure you live and take in every single moment of your day. Even when things might go wrong, this is your one and only day that you’ve spent so many hours planning and waiting for,” says Hayley. “Don’t let anything bother you. Soak up all the excitement, and remember to enjoy time with your family, friends and most importantly your groom!”
The newlyweds traveled to Italy for their honeymoon, visiting Florence, Rome and Positano on the Amalfi Coast.