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This Couple Was the First To Book Their Wedding at Park Loft in Oceanport

Posted on January 31, 2024 by New Jersey Bride

When picking a wedding venue, Kevin, a chef, and Jackie were focused on the food. Their Park Loft wedding did not disappoint. Growing up, Jackie told herself that she planned to marry a chef or her best friend–she was lucky enough to have both attributes in Kevin. They were also the first couple to book their wedding at this new venue in Oceanport.

Their Story 

A Park Loft wedding.
Photo: Natali and Kate

Jackie and Kevin first met while working at a restaurant in Tinton Falls; he a sous chef and she a server. One day, Jackie was pouring hot soup for a customer and accidentally spilled the burning hot soup on her hand.

In the midst of plating a lunch order, Kevin noticed what had happened and he quickly ran around the kitchen counter to Jackie’s aid. He turned on the kitchen sink and told her to run room-temperature water on her hand. While she did, he went to the med-kit to grab burn cream. Luckily, her hand did not blister so he knew she was going to be ok. Jackie was both impressed and relieved with Kevin’s kindness—this is when she knew he was a keeper. From then on, Jackie and Kevin made friendly exchanges—she brought him coffee daily and he made special meals for her.

They stayed as friends for a while because they thought having a relationship at work would cause drama, however, it ended up being a lot of fun. They both worked the same days together, they grabbed drinks after each shift, and occasionally flirted–while still keeping a professional demeanor.

Kevin and Jackie were friends for a while before making things official. On their trip to Maine, Jackie got a lot of feedback from her friends and family asking who this guy was that she was spending all her time with. She would respond with a smile, “he’s just a friend.” After returning from Maine, Jackie approached Kevin and said, “People keep asking me who you are, so I am going to say you’re my boyfriend.” He said OK and the rest is history.

The Proposal  

A Park Loft wedding.
Photo: Natali and Kate

“Kevin and my friends brought me up to the top of a hill to propose,” says Jackie. “I had an inkling that this was the moment, but when he took my hand, I started shaking my head up and down–I kept telling myself, don’t cry, don’t cry.” Jackie grew up knowing/hoping she would one day get married. She told herself that she planned to marry a chef or her best friend–she was lucky enough to have both attributes in Kevin.

Their Wedding Vision

A Park Loft wedding.
Photo: Natali and Kate
A Park Loft wedding.
Photo: Natali and Kate

“We both agreed that one of the best parts of any wedding is cocktail hour – so we knew we wanted endless amounts of food throughout the entire evening,” says Jackie. “With Kevin being a chef, food was priority, period.”

“Kevin has been working at Fiorentini in Rutherford as the chef de cuisine since they opened in the fall of 2021. This restaurant has a focus on sustainability and farm-fresh food. We wanted to choose a venue with fresh ingredients and explained to our vendors of the sustainability aspect.”

The couple ultimately chose Park Loft in Oceanport as the venue for their 150-person wedding on October 20, 2023. What did they love about the venue? “Kevin worked with the two chefs in his past job and has the utmost trust and respect for them,” says Jackie. “We arrived at a construction site as they were in the process of creating what is now Park Loft. While seeing the building inside and out, chef Thomas had so much passion for the future of this place – explaining where the bar will be, what the suites will look like, and, of course, showed Kevin all of the brand-new toys in the kitchen.”

Their Park Loft Wedding 

A Park Loft wedding.
Photo: Natali and Kate
A Park Loft wedding.
Photo: Natali and Kate
A Park Loft wedding.
Photo: Natali and Kate

“Our color palette was a mix of soft greens, blues and white,” says Jackie. “The bridesmaids’ dresses were Mayan blue by Jenny Yoo, with the MOH being in a floral blue/green mixture. The groomsmen and groom wore more of a navy blue with bird print bowties.”

“We explained to Pam at Boxwood Gardens that flowers were not our forte, but she was able to make our vision come alive,” says Jackie. “We wanted to be as sustainable as possible, so we reused the bridesmaids’ bouquets and the floral arch as centerpieces on the main table. I wanted to stick with more of a white than color for the flowers, but Pam was able to add something to it. Flowers included: white gerbera daisies with a black center, white Lizzy, silver dollar eucalyptus, white lily, and thistle. The groom’s boutonniere includes thistle, white Lizzy, lavender, and sage.”

“In lieu of wedding favors, we donated to two charities that are close to our hearts,” says Jackie. “The American Heart Association in respect to Kevin’s aunt who recently got a heart transplant and his grandfather who passed away two years ago. National Multiple Sclerosis Society in respect to Jackie’s mother who was diagnosed with MS at a young age.”

“Our wedding was special because of the local and entrusted vendors that we worked with,” says Jackie. “Both of us being from the industry, our connections with our vendors made things so seamlessly easy throughout the planning process. Every single vendor was so helpful and accommodating.”

“We were the very first bride and groom to book at Park Loft,” says Jackie. “Kevin and I first visited Park Loft when it was bare bones – there was no greenery, no floors, no décor. We used our imagination and Chef Thomas was very helpful with that. While explain the esthetic of what Park Loft will be, he had a certain glow about him. His excitement was contagious and we never regretted our decision for a second.

[RELATED: The Ultimate Guide to Wedding Venues in New Jersey]

First Dance Song

A Park Loft wedding.
Photo: Natali and Kate

Kevin chose the song “Tonight and Every night” by Robin Schulz. He first heard it back in 2017 when the couple first started dating and immediately knew that he was going to make it the first dance with his beautiful bride. The lyrics of the song describe how he wanted his life to be one day, and it is very fitting for their relationship. Each line explains the stages of our lives and paints a beautiful picture.

The Menu 

A Park Loft wedding.
Photo: Natali and Kate
A Park Loft wedding.
Photo: Natali and Kate

“We both agreed that the best part of any wedding we have ever gone to is cocktail hour,” says Jackie. “The food is always a range of different types of cuisines and there is never enough time to try them all. The cuisines ranged from Asian, New Orleans, Oaxacan along with a pig carving station, a raw bar, and ended with duck Poutine as a late-night snack. We had Chocolate Carousel design our wedding cake. They work with Park Loft, but we were pleased because they are a local vendor as well. The cake was designed as a naked cake with red velvet flavoring with cookies and cream filling and icing.”

Favorite Moment

“The entrance with the confetti gun,” says Kevin. His plan was to pop it three times and on the third time, twirl Jackie under it. This plan was executed perfectly.

Special Moment

“The first look,” says Kevin. “After not seeing her all day/night, it was so amazing seeing her in her beauty.”

“The gifts to each other,” says Jackie. Jackie gave Kevin a locket with his late grandparents in it – this was very special since they had passed away and were not there. Kevin gave Jackie his late grandmothers diamond earrings and a letter written on yellow, notebook paper; the same way his grandfather wrote love letters to his wife. This was extremely meaningful.

Bridal Style

A Park Loft wedding.
Photo: Natali and Kate
A Park Loft wedding.
Photo: Natali and Kate

“My wedding dress was ivory satin, chic simplicity and strappy, says Jackie. “An A-line gown with illusion cutouts featured in the front and sides, buttons trailing down the long train.”

“My mom, sister and I went to Park Avenue Bridals in Cedar Grove just to browse and have a good time for my first wedding dress outing,” says Jackie. “I had an idea of what I had always imagined my wedding dress be—simple, flattering with thin straps. I shared my ideas with my sister, mom, and the stylist at the boutique–my sister picked the dress off the rack and added it into our options. That was the first dress that I tried on, and I knew it was MY dress.”

“My veil is something borrowed as it was my sister’s veil from when she got married,” says Jackie. “I kept a handkerchief that has been passed down throughout my entire family–all of the women marrying on the Bohanan side had this handkerchief on their wedding day, so I did too.”

Advice

A Park Loft wedding.
Photo: Natali and Kate

“Remember that this day is for you and your significant other – don’t forget to spend a few moments with them throughout the day/night,” says Jackie. “You won’t believe how fast the time flies.”

“DON’T FORGET TO EAT,” says Jackie. “I am so mad at myself that I did not eat enough of the food provided during cocktail hour and the reception. I ate while getting ready, which was good, but did not eat the food that we were most excited about.”

Honeymoon

A Park Loft wedding.
Photo: Natali and Kate
A Park Loft wedding.
Photo: Natali and Kate

“We have not gone on our honeymoon just yet, but we plan to go to either to a tropical island and stay in a hut over the water OR Italy,” says Jackie.

“We did, however, go on a mini-moon just to get away from the craziness and be newlyweds. We rented a house in upstate New York and visited some of our favorite areas–Poughkeepsie, CIA, relaxing fireside while viewing the mountainside fall foliage. We also brought our dog, Uni, to enjoy some much needed family time.”

the details

Reception Location

Park Loft

Photographer

Natali and Kate

Bride’s Gown

Park Avenue Bridals

Bridesmaid Dresses

Bella Bridesmaids

+ more