Real Weddings

Marissa and Howie at The Inn at Fernbrook Farms

Posted on January 06, 2020 by Ariana Baio

We met at a bar at the Jersey Shore through mutual friends. We each had houses down in Manasquan, and I had seen him around the bars and beach. He’s terribly hard to miss at 6’5″, but I felt like I knew him somehow. Sure enough, when we were out at our favorite place when I saw him across the bar with a mutual friend. I coyly asked his friend to come over, and introduce us. We spent the night chatting, dancing to Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On,” and the next day, I was gushing to my friends about how much of a crush I had on him! I instantly knew he was a special one!

Howie had made plans to go have breakfast at our favorite place in Manasquan. That morning he was so insistent on getting there right when it opened… I started to get a little skeptical. So I made sure my hair was brushed and makeup was on (I don’t typically wear any) JUST in case! We got to breakfast, and as we were finishing, he said “want to go walk on the beach for a little? it’s a beautiful day!” I agreed, and we walked to the beach and along the ocean. As he is teaching me to skip rocks, he reached down and got on to one knee! It was the sweetest moment, and as we turned around our whole family was cheering from the boardwalk. He proposed in our favorite place, where we started our journey. And as an added bonus, he even created a map for the whole family to tell them where to go and when to be there! Was so sweetly planned out and perfect!

We wanted our day to represent who we were as a couple and our life together. We chose The Inn and Fernbrook Farms, but given our love story wanted to bring in elements of the shore. So we donned the garden venue in shades of blue and hired one of our favorite shore bands to dance the night away. Our signature drinks were named after our puppy children, and menu items reflected our favorite foods and desserts. Napkins were also personalized with our bridal party’s names. With a floral designer mom, flowy and organic flowers and greens were present everywhere and provided a very intimate, cozy and romantic feeling to the venue setting.

Aside from it being absolutely stunning, the feel of the venue felt very relaxed, fun and inviting. We liked the idea of having a formal outside fare and feeling like we were inviting our closest friends and family to celebrate in “our backyard”.

Our wedding menu consisted of all farm-to-table options, and favorites from our family. Cocktail hour was very “upscale backyard BBQ” themed with favorites such as chicken parm bites, shrimp and grits, eggplant tacos, and a big antipasto display. Dinner started off with a burrata salad and choices of fish, chicken or short ribs. The dessert display was all of our favorites: crumb cake (me), key lime pie (Howie) and cannolis (our families)! And our cake was confetti with raspberry filling!

A DREAM! My gown was Dianthus from Carol Hannah. I had some custom elements put into the dress (lace belt and lace to the draping). The dress was everything I envisioned: whimsical, unique, comfortable, romantic, and completely me. I felt like a glorified version of myself immediately when I tried the dress on, and didn’t want to take it off! I paired the simple chiffon ruched gown with a custom floral appliqué cathedral veil to bring in the garden feeling of the day.

Seeing my husband for the first time. We had a first look and the anticipation to seeing him for the first time in his suit and his reaction to me in my wedding gown is something I will never forget! I missed him that morning and wanted to tell him everything that was going on.

Our floral chandelier! It transformed the whole space into a secret garden.

No! But even if it did, I was saying “I do” to the love of my life, so I don’t think it would have mattered.

“You Are The Best Thing” – Ray LaMontagne

Enjoy the process. It will be stressful at times but remind yourself at the end of the day why you are here and what the day is about: you and your partner.

New Zealand and Fiji – What a dream!!

the details



Reception Location

Inn at Fernbrook Farms


Cassi & Co


John Hash

Bride’s Gown

Carol Hannah

+ more