Nick and I lived less than a mile from each other in Ridgewood, without ever knowing. But we didn’t meet because Nick went to Catholic school and I went to public school. We continued on our paths for the next few years, narrowly missing each other several times. First, Nick and I both joined bowling leagues and bowled at the same bowling alley in Fair Lawn, but we bowled on different days. When Nick was 19, he joined the U.S. Navy and didn’t return home until 2015 when he was 23. He decided to rejoin the Fair Lawn Volunteer Ambulance Crops, and lucky for us, I decided to join too.
Nick and I travel to Walt Disney World relatively frequently – it’s one of our favorite spots! On a weekend trip there in December 2017, we did the “Keys to the Kingdom” tour around Magic Kingdom and learned all about the hidden, behind the scenes magic that makes the park run so amazingly. After the tour, we rode some rides and then went to our favorite photo spot where a professional Disney photographer was taking pictures. When it was our turn, I turned to face the camera but Nick kept turning me to face him. Confused, I turned to him and he started to tell me how much he loved me and how he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. At this point, I knew what was happening. And then, right there, on the bridge connecting Main Street, U.S.A. to Tomorrowland, with a perfect view of Cinderella’s Castle, Nick got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! The most magical place on earth just became even more magical to me.
Our theme was rustic chic and our colors were blush and light blue – perfect for a late May wedding! I hand-lettered all of the signs and seating cards. Our flowers perfectly matched our theme – they were a beautiful combination of springtime flowers; light pink and white peonies, roses, light blue delphinium, hydrangea, eucalyptus, and baby’s breath. We wanted to really play off of the fact that we were getting married in a beautiful repurposed barn and included string lights, lace, and vintage signs and decorations wherever we could.
I always knew I wanted to get married in a farmhouse or a barn. When we got engaged, I started doing some research and found Perona Farms. I fell in love with the venue after seeing pictures of their barn. Nick and I took our parents with us and we toured the venue and I knew that was the place I wanted to get married. From the two story barn itself with their beautiful handcrafted wood tables, to all of the rustic details, “getting ready” suites with a foosball table, the fact that their dinner was family style, which is perfect for picky eaters like myself, and how much was included in the price – I knew it couldn’t get any better. We started discussing possible dates with our coordinator and focused on May and June because we knew we wanted a spring wedding. The date of May 27th came up and when we realized how special that day actually was; 5-27 was the address of our first home together, 5:27pm was the exact time Nick proposed, and it was Memorial Day. And being that both Nick and my brother are in the military, it all felt so right. We booked the Barn at Perona Farms for May 27th, 2019 immediately.
The cocktail hour food needs to be mentioned because it was so incredible. Brick oven pizza bar, homemade tomato soup shooters in mini mason jars with grilled cheese wedges, homemade grilled sausage station, pasta station, shrimp cocktail bar, and a tequila barn punch signature cocktail. It was all so amazing. Our wedding menu was family style which was an absolutely amazing perk of choosing to get married at The Barn. I’m a picky eater so the idea of being able to choose whatever food I wanted was very appealing. We had fresh mozzarella, housemade breadsticks, marinated mushrooms, a medley of Greek olives, roasted red peppers, and salad first. Then, sliced beef chateaubriand and grilled marinated chicken breast with their signature Perona mayo (the best sauce ever!), with veggies and roasted Yukon gold potatoes. Finally, we topped it all off with our delicious Palermo’s cake, which was four alternating layers of vanilla cake with french cream and raspberry filling and chocolate cake with chocolate fudge filling, and homemade fresh hot cinnamon sugared donuts made on site right before being served.
My gown was entirely made out of a beautiful and delicate lace. It had a lower cut and sheer-paneled back with a double strap over each shoulder. It was an a-line style with a v-neck cut. It made me feel so beautiful and fit my body perfectly. It was tight in the right places and giving in the right places. It had a simple belt that came to a “V” above my lower back which was super flattering. It had a relatively long train, buttons down the entirety of the back of the dress, and a lovely French bustle. When I put it on and saw how well it fit me, I knew it was the dress. The lace went perfectly with our rustic chic theme.
My favorite moment was when Nick and I were standing at the altar, we decided to do a traditional Hawaiian Lei exchange ceremony to honor the time spent there while Nick was in the Navy. We had the leis overnighted to us from Hawaii, handcrafted for our wedding. We placed each other’s lei over the other’s head, and kissed each other on the cheek. It’s a ceremony that has existed for centuries in Hawaiian culture, a symbol of love and lives being woven together, and placing these fragrant, lovely tuberose and maile leis on each other was a moment I will treasure forever.
Nick and my brother, Connor, are both in the military. As a tribute to them and their service, I had one of each of their military uniform name tapes sewn into my dress. They counted as my somethings old, new, borrowed, and blue, and I couldn’t have imagined not having those little pieces of them with me. It was even more special because my brother surprised me for the wedding! He had been in Mississippi doing field training with the Army and wasn’t supposed to be able to make it for the big day. Through a miracle, he was able to come up and surprise me for my wedding, so I had a piece of him sewn into my dress and his presence, too.
The girls’ hair and makeup ran a little over the scheduled time so we were almost an hour late for pictures and video. Luckily, we accounted for a lot of extra time and didn’t miss out on any photos because we were late.
“Wanted” by Hunter Hayes
Write everything down! There’s nothing like keeping handwritten lists and ideas in a book to look at later. It also helps keep everything organized, made sure payments were getting out on time, and helped me hold myself accountable for everything. I’m a little old-fashioned when it comes to writing and lists, so that helped me enjoy every step. Also, during the reception, take a minute to stand back and admire everything. Really soak in that moment so it’s one you can picture and remember forever.
We went to Walt Disney World, the place we got engaged! We had an absolute blast riding rides and exploring the parks. We are young at heart and being at Disney was such a fun way to celebrate our marriage. We sported our “happily ever after” buttons, took pictures everywhere we went, and got to experience the Flower & Garden Festival at Epcot. We came full circle from our first ever trip together, to our engagement, to our honeymoon.