Real Weddings

Nicole and Brendan at Bonnet Island Estate

Posted on March 09, 2020 by Ariana Baio

Brendan and I started dating junior year of high school, 2011, and have been together ever since!

Although I knew Brendan and I were meant to be, our engagement was a total surprise. Brendan still jokes that I didn’t say “yes” right away, because I was in total shock! Brendan and I went to dinner and then went to walk around the Manasquan Inlet. It was a rainy night just as summer was ending. I was confused as to why we would walk around the beach in the rain. I stopped in the bathroom, and when I walked out the magic happened! Brendan was on one knee in the spot we went on our first date. Brendan proposed with his grandmother’s ring.

From the beginning, watercolor was my vision for the wedding. I was inspired by the sunset “golden hour” colors. I loved how Bonnet Island had a beautiful background of the water, but certain colors popped out. Our save the date was a custom watercolor postcard of Bonnet Island’s building and dock. A watercolor map was sent to the guests in the invites to share the weekend events. The bridesmaids dresses were muted, so the flowers were chosen to add color. My bouquet was whimsical, which complimented the simplicity of my dress. Unfortunately, from the time of our engagement to our wedding date, Brendan and I lost four close family members. They played an important part in our day. My bouquet had pictures of my grandmother and aunt. Each family member had a brightly colored flower with their name on it, so they were remembered throughout the wedding. Brendan and I wanted to make sure each guest at our wedding felt like family. We did not want to sit at a sweetheart table, so we sat at a long table with our entire bridal party! We had pictures of our parents’ and grandparents’ weddings, which was great as people mingled through cocktail hour.

Brendan and I both love the beach and the water. Our relationship started when we were both on the same swim team, so we knew we wanted to incorporate the water into our day. Bonnet Island has an elegance about it that was magical to Brendan and me. We fell in love with the windows to ensure our guests would be able to see the golden hour as they entered the ballroom.

Our wedding menu played on our favorites, including our parents! The cocktail hour included our signature drinks: Tennessee Mule and Bridal Bellini. We made sure our guests felt at home with lots of passed seafood during cocktail hours as well as an ode to Brendan’s Irish heritage with corned beef and cabbage. Our personal favorite were lobster rolls with homemade potato chips. For dinner guests were given the option of surf and turf, chicken fresco, or veggie lasagna. All dinners were served with scalloped potatoes and asparagus. For dessert, we had strolling mini desserts, and made sure to have cannolis, as my side of the family is Italian! Our wedding cake was cookies and cream.

I wanted to find a dress that was my style rather than what others thought looked great. After some research, I discovered my love for Sareh Nouri’s classic styles that were clean but also had a “wow” factor. I contacted Bridal Atelier in Montclair, and the magic happened! Rachel was a dream and said she had the Waldorf gown I wanted to try on. As soon as she zipped me up I knew it was it! I fell in love with the clean front, and dramatic back. Once the bow was put on, I could picture myself walking down the aisle. I was able to customize the front, so I gave the dress a v-neck. My dress also had pockets!! My something blue was sewn onto my dress. My dad is a retired state trooper, so I took part of his uniform with my maiden name to be placed on the inside of the bottom of my dress.

Everyone told Brendan and I to try to take the day in, and we made sure we did. After dinner, everyone was dancing. Brendan and I stood in the corned of the room and just watched for a few minutes. It was incredible to watch almost all our guests up and dancing to Brian Kirk. We watched friends and family on the dance floor moving around the room we created.

Brendan and I didn’t want to miss the cocktail hour. We worked hard with Ann Coen to ensure all our pictures were done, so we could enjoy the time with our guests! It was amazing to be able to interact and enjoy the time with our guests.


“Perfect” by Ed Sheeran

Do what makes you happy! If you want the day to feel unique, add your special touches. It is so important your wedding is a reflection of you as a couple.

Grand Cayman Island

the details



Reception Location

Bonnet Island Estate


Ann Coen


St. Mary's Parish

Bride’s Gown

Sareh Nouri

+ more