How He Asked: (from the Groom’s perspective) I proposed to Julie while we were on vacation in Punta Cana in July 2015. We spent the day sitting by the pool enjoying the beautiful weather. After some persuasion, I convinced her to stop back in the room. When we got back to the room, I had a surprise for her that she was definitely not expecting. I had the ring hidden inside a contact case in my pocket. I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me. She said Yes! Details of the Day: The wedding scheme had shades of neutrals to make for a simple, natural setting. The wedding venue, Avalon Yacht Club, was so beautiful in itself that only minimal decor was added such as lanterns, candles and succulents/greenery. The bride’s flowers consisted of a wispy, hand-tied bouquet of pearl roses, white stock, white football mums, dusty miller accent, brunia, and succulents, wrapped in ivory. The bridesmaid’s flowers had cream hydrangea, ivory roses, mother of pearl roses, white stock, accent of dusty miller, wrapped in champagne. The bridemaids’ bouquets were re-purposed as apart of the decor for the reception. The wedding favors were some local snacks and personalized “a perfect match” matches. The Venue: As soon as Steve and I walked into the Avalon Yacht Club (AYC) in Avalon, NJ, we knew it was the one for us. Steve’s dad owns a boat and we love be out in the water. We had planned to arrive at the AYC at the start of cocktail hour with a grand entrance…. boating up to the dock. The winds, however, were 40 MPH the day of our wedding which made our surprise entrance a flop. The view of the bay and the sunset make this venue breathtaking and memorable. Between the wrap-around, full bar, quality of food and service, this could not have been a more epic venue. The Menu: During cocktail hour, the Hors D’oeuvres consisted of: Scallops Wrapped with Bacon, Key West Coconut Shrimp, Crispy Chilean Sea Bass, Chicken Ricotta & Spinach Dumplings, New Zealand Lamb Chop Lollipops, Brie and Raspberry Tarts, Veal & Ricotta Meatballs. There was also an Imported Cheese & Roasted Vegetable Display which consisted of a lavish assortment of gourmet cheese, fresh fruit, crackers, honey and preserves accompanied by roasted local seasonal vegetables, fresh ricotta, and balsamic glaze. Our meals started with the “fall salad” ~ autumn greens, roasted apples, julienne carrots, candied walnuts, goat cheese, dried cranberries, and a pumpkin vinaigrette. Finally, the entrees were the famous AYC Crab Cakes w/ Chardonnay Sauce or Roast Filet of Beef w/ Red Wine Demi-Glace; both were served with Green Beans w/ Red & Yellow Peppers & Oven Roasted Fingerlings. The crab cakes were huge and melted in our mouths! The Gown: My gown was Pronovias by Manuel Mota and was a journey to find at my fifth and final dress shop stop. I purchased it at The Sample Rack in Philadelphia. What a find!! This dress was nicely detailed with a sweetheart shaped strapless neckline and a ‘fit and flare’ body shape. It was the “one” by far because it was made for my body type… booty! Favorite Moment: My favorite moment was looking around and seeing all the most special, important people in our lives having a wonderful time with one another. The bridal party also surprised the guests with a choreographed group dance to “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake and it really set the mood for the evening. Later on that night, we headed to the Circle Tavern for the after-party. This is when our beloved Penn State’s football team beat long-time rival, Ohio State University in the last minute, 24-21. Everyone went nuts. Couldn’t Live Without: My siblings giving a speech together. Steve and I had been dating for 9 years before our wedding day so he had been family for a long time. Instead of just my identical twin sister giving a speech, it was a combined speech with my two older brothers. It was hilarious and so special to us. Something That Went Wrong: Our priest called out sick the night before our wedding so when we showed up for our rehearsal at the Catholic Church, no one was there to lead the rehearsal. The priest had a Deacon last minute fill in from Stone Harbor. He did a nice job and his flexibility was much appreciated. Additionally, the winds were so strong the day of our wedding (~40 MPH) that our “first look” was EXTRA breezy and we were not able to carry out our surprise entrance to cocktail hour. We had docked my father-in-law’s boat outside of AYC and had it decorated for the grande entrance, but unfortunately we could not enter on the boat due to weather. First dance song: Bride/Groom: “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri. Father/Bride: “God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys. Mother/Groom: “One Love” by Bob Marley Advice for Other Brides: Don’t overthink it and just let it happen!