Real Weddings

Lauren and Mark at Brooklake Country Club

Details of the day:

It was a perfect summer day. There were some light showers, but it cleared up to be beautiful. My dress, headpiece and shoes were a little over the top, but I tried to balance that with some subtle and understated touches. I wanted to have a slight New Jersey theme, without being gimmicky. To me, being from New Jersey and being from a big Italian family means having a lot of pride in where you are from, as well as a lot of love for your family and tradition.


I tried to include a lot of details to show both of those things. I wore a necklace that my husband gave me a year earlier that was aquamarine and diamonds, our birthstones. I also wore my grandmother’s earrings and my mother’s bracelet. I had a charm on my bouquet with a picture of my deceased grandmother and great aunt. My husband and I took pictures at my father’s garden center, located in Caldwell, New Jersey.


I also made license plate seat tags (my husband is from Massachusetts) and we completed the slight New Jersey theme by giving out salt water taffy wrapped in tulle. (This was a take on Jordan almonds, which are traditionally given as wedding favors in Italian culture.)


My favorite part:

My favorite part was the reception at Brooklake Country Club. We met at college, so we had so many friends there. We both come from large families, so we knew it was going to be a big wedding. When we accepted that fact, our biggest desire was for everyone to have fun and have a big party. The band was fantastic, and what I will remember most is dancing with my husband, surrounded by all of the people that we know and love.


Advice for other brides:

If it is something that is going to cause you a lot of stress, it is probably not worth doing. I spent a lot of time focusing on programs and menus but, in the end, no one will notice and remember that. Instead, I’ve gotten a million compliments on the license plate signs on the backs of our chairs that took me three minutes to make. Things get really busy, and even though it is a cliché, if you get stressed, take a moment to look at your future husband and that will put things back into perspective.


wedding details


West Caldwell, NJ

Ceremony Location

Brooklake Country Club

Reception Location

Brooklake Country Club


Vanessa Joy Photography

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