Marissa and Michael at the Coach House at Ryland Inn
My husband and I met when we were in high school. I was a sophomore and he was a senior. We both had sports practices after school, so we were both in the gym at the same time. We shared a mutual friend, and he started asking his friend about me. He finally got the courage to ask me to his senior prom. We have been inseparable ever since!
We went on a vacation to California for our nine year anniversary. We were going up the coast from San Diego to San Fransisco. On the night of our actual anniversary, we had a reservation for a gorgeous dinner at George’s at the Cove. Before dinner, we were taking a walk at Sunset Cliffs. While we were walking, my husband got down on one knee! It was such a special moment I will never forget.
The theme of our wedding was rustic glam. Since the wedding was in the spring, I wanted everything to be light and airy. The girls wore blush and the boys wore gray. The color of the flowers were white, pink, and hints of green. My husband’s tie also had pink flowers on it. Since my husband is a police officer, the boys’ boutonnieres had a shotgun shell and twine on the bottom. Everything came together exactly as I imagined it!
My husband and I both wanted a big wedding but didn’t love the traditional ballroom venue. I think I looked at every single venue in New Jersey online (thank you New Jersey Bride!). I always had The Ryland Inn in the back of my head, so that was the first place I booked a tour with. Right when my husband and I walked into the Coach House, we knew that was where we were going to get married. We booked our wedding there the next day!
I think the tasting at the venue was my husband’s favorite part of planning! For the main course, our guests had the option of chicken, steak or vegetable lasagna. At the cocktail hour, so many of my guests told me that the chicken and waffle station with macaroni and cheese was their favorite—and mine, too! We had a “naked” cake for our wedding cake. I don’t really like cake, but I loved the cake Palermo’s Bakery made for our wedding! The tiers alternated between chocolate and vanilla and it was filled with chocolate fudge throughout—so delicious.
Going into dress shopping, the only thing I knew was that I wanted lace and a really detailed back. I started the day off at Castle Couture. I tried on about 12 dresses and none of them really stood out to me. I left there feeling extremely defeated. I went to grab lunch and while we were eating, we saw another bridal shop next to the diner, Hearts For You. My cousin called Hearts For You while we were eating lunch and they said they had an opening and were able to take me right away! I tried on about seven dresses there and still didn’t love any of them. I was about to call it a day when my mom saw a dress on the rack. She told me to trust her and just try on one more dress. I didn’t think the whole crying when you found your dress was real, but I couldn’t hold my tears back. I am so happy I listened to my mom because she was absolutely right about the dress (just like everything else!)
There were so many special moments throughout the day, but there are two that really stand out in my mind as extra special. The first moment was our first look. I was so excited to see my husband I could’ve run up to him if my maid of honor wasn’t holding my dress for me. I will never forget that moment and the look on his face when we saw each other for the first time. My other favorite moment of the day was our first dance as husband and wife. We were both a little nervous that it was going to be awkward being on the dance floor and having all our guests watch us, but it was the total opposite. It felt like we were the only two in the room. I wish I was able to relive that moment.
I was pretty flexible throughout the whole planning process, but there was one thing my husband and I were not budging on. We needed our last song of the night to be “Wagon Wheel,” by Darius Rucker. It has been “our song” for basically our whole relationship and it was the only thing there was no changing my mind on.
There were definitely things that went wrong! I started off the weekend checking into the hotel who gave my suite away to another group. Then, as I was getting ready for my rehearsal dinner the night before my wedding, I looked down and one of my nails fell off. My maid of honor looked at me and said: “Get in my car, we are going to the nail salon!” We were able to find a nail salon with the nicest employees who were able to take me right away and replace my broken nail while we were on our way to the church for the rehearsal. The last thing that definitely did not go as planned was our sparkler exit. I don’t know why we thought mixing alcohol and fire was a good idea, but it was a very hectic time for sure. If a bride wants to do a sparkler exit, I would suggest doing a “fake exit” with just the bridal party— it would be much easier to manage.
“I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing,” by Aerosmith. We picked it out when I was 17 years old, so it was extra special to us!
Have fun and don’t stress! All of your planning and hard work is finally over and now you get to enjoy it! My husband and I made it to cocktail hour and were able to make our rounds of saying hello to everyone then. We were able to eat, talk with our guests and dance the whole night. It has been my experience at weddings that the bride and groom set the tone of the night. So if the bride and groom are having fun, so will their guests!
We went to Hawaii on our honeymoon and went to the islands of Maui and Kauai. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. I was definitely not ready to come home. I highly recommend Hawaii for anyone looking for somewhere to go on their honeymoon!