Joe and I met in middle school. I had the biggest crush on Joe but he never knew. It wasn’t until the summer before senior year of high school we began dating. Our first date was at the beach in Belmar, NJ. I was so nervous that when he came up to the door, I ran out and dropped all my things. It wasn’t until after I frantically picked everything up that I then noticed him standing there. It was a total Lizzie McGuire moment. From that first date on, we clicked, we both knew that was it for both of us.
After six years of dating, Joe popped the question! It was a random Saturday in the spring and he was very adamant about going to a park, Morris Arboretum, in Pennsylvania to see the cherry blossom trees in full bloom. Joe is not normally an outdoorsy type so I thought this was a little strange but didn’t think too much of it; it was a beautiful day to get out in the fresh air. We walked around the park for a bit, but I noticed he looked uncomfortable, almost limping. We sat down on a park bench and suddenly he was on one knee pulling out a massive ring box from his boot! I am still not sure what he said but he started with, I blacked out and then remember a ring on my finger!
For overall theme for the day, my mom, mother-in-law, sister and I decided to keep everything as classy as possible! Although I am an artist, I am not of fan of color. We kept everything neutral/pastel. Me and my sister’s flowers were white with some blush tones and greenery giving it dimension. My mom and mother-in-law picked purple and pink dresses, while my sister went with a charcoal gray. I asked my bridesmaids to wear any sundress they had along that color scheme. My mother-in-law created our centerpieces with contained flowers from the florist that matched my bouquet along with different sized floating candles and little pictures of Joe and I over the years scattered on the tables. One of my favorite ideas my mom came up with was our guest book. We got wine bottles and replaced the labels with custom ones I made with anniversaries. We then had our guests sign the bottles with metallic Sharpies. Now when we go to open the bottles of wine on our anniversaries, we will be able to reminisce on the beautiful wedding.
With Covid-19, we had to postpone our large reception at Clark’s Landing Yacht Club in Point Pleasant to next summer. We were hoping to do a small dinner following the reception at one of our favorite restaurants but with outdoor dinning only newly opening, this wasn’t going to be an option for the amount of people we would like there. After discussing with our parents, we decided on Joe’s parents backyard! Their home is only ten minutes from the church which made it convenient, and the grounds are beautiful (my father-in-law takes pride in his lawn). My mother-in-law was able to rent a nice tent with tulle drapery covering the ceiling and legs, fans and twinkle lights. We rented some high and low tables, to accommodate our 50 guests. Our parents set up a covered bar area and installed a fountain in the pool. It was beautiful! With multiple areas for seating, our guests were able to be spread out and enjoy the shade on the 95 degree day.
We had Joe Leone’s cater the wedding. We began with some passed hors d’oeuvres like mini rice balls and beef tenderloin on garlic toast, along with some fresh salads and antipasto. For dinner, we wanted to keep it light since it was so hot outside. We chose platters of sandwiches, chicken francese, with a side of summer rice. The food was a huge hit! For dessert, I asked Chocolate Carousel to create a small wedding cake mimicking the larger one for next year.
In addition to the cake, we order cupcakes, my aunt picked up Krispy Kreme donuts on her way down, and my mom and sister made homemade cake pops. We also had a chocolate fountain with fresh fruit and had Lexylicious ice cream truck come. The fresh cookie ice cream sandwiches were a huge hit.
I am saving my dress I had purchased for the larger reception next year so I purchased another dress from Lulu’s. I had always loved this dress but there was never any reason for my to purchase it. It fit like a glove and matched my veil and shoes for next year perfectly.
Walking down the aisle and seeing Joe get emotional. He is not an emotional person and warned me that if I was expecting it, I was wrong. But he even proved himself wrong. Also my sister and brother-in-law’s toasts- they were so heartfelt and you could tell they were planning them for a while.
I had a little frame of my grandparents to my bouquet. They are no longer with us but I wanted to make them apart of the day as much as possible. They walked me down the aisle on my wedding day.
I did not eat or drink enough the morning of. When we got back to the house, things were moving so fast and we began taking pictures right away. After photos, I went to sit down and got extremely dizzy from the heat and lack of food. I had to sit inside for an hour or so to cool off and get some food and water down. I changed into a sundress I was saving for the mini-moon to get out of the heavy long dress. I felt better after and was able to go back out and enjoy everyone’s company.
We are saving the first dance for next year’s reception.
If you are on the fence about a small wedding, do it! I never thought it would come even remotely close to the large wedding I have spent over a year planning. I was wrong. It completely blew me away, the entire day was so overwhelming, I couldn’t image it with 200+ guests too. Joe and I got to really enjoy each other’s company and the people we are closest to. Also, eat!
We are planning on going to Sandals Barbados next year when things settle down. For a few days following the wedding, we went to Ocean Place Resort & Spa in Long Branch, NJ.