How did you meet? We both attended Rutgers University. We had many mutual friends and ran in somewhat of the same circle. In fact, one of my best friends from college, Alison, had known Brett since their freshman year, but I wasn’t formally introduced to him until two years later. This formal introduction happened in April of 2011, when we were both at Alison’s house for her birthday. From there on, we began to talk simply as friends. A few weeks later, Brett’s fraternity was hosting a formal for the end of the school year. Our mutual friends, Kerry and Corey, suggested to Brett to invite me as his date since he hadn’t asked anyone yet.
For some reason, he was nervous to ask me, but with enough of a push from Kerry and Corey, he finally felt the courage to ask. I of course said yes and looked forward to a fun night out with a friend. That night, however, we ended up talking for hours on end about any and every thing and realized very quickly that we had a great connection. We both knew that such an effortless chemistry had to be pursued further. From there, a budding romance began, and the rest is history!
How did you get engaged? We were no strangers to discussing our plans to get married one day and our intentions of spending the rest of our lives together. Although I knew Brett would inevitably propose, I certainly didn’t expect it when it happened. Brett had set up a decoy that his father wanted to throw his sister, Jennifer, an early surprise 30th birthday party. Although it was set to take place about 6 weeks before her birthday, Brett stated that his father really wanted to completely catch her off guard since it was such a big birthday, hence the early date. The surprise dinner would take place at Steakhouse 85 in New Brunswick, NJ – the stage was set.
Saturday, February 18, 2017 was just another typical Saturday (except for the fact that it was an exceptionally beautiful and warm day for February). Like any other Saturday morning, I woke up and headed down to New Brunswick, NJ to spend time with Brett at his apartment. When I arrived at Brett’s apartment complex, he greeted me at the guest parking space and we went up to his apartment just like we did every Saturday. Nothing was out of the norm, except for the fact that Brett’s apartment was meticulously clean. As soon as we walked into the apartment, I plopped on the couch and made a joke to Brett that I couldn’t believe how clean his apartment was. He laughed and instead of sitting on the couch as well, he walked straight over to the window and started opening the blinds. He asked me to come over by him.
Assuming Brett saw something outside the window that he wanted to show me, I got right up and walked over to him. Before I realized what was happening, Brett got down on one knee and proposed (with my dream ring)! It was the perfect, intimate proposal and since there was nothing out of the norm, I wasn’t expecting it in the slightest. After calling and texting all of our family and friends, we spent the next couple of hours ordering take out and watching our favorite show (The Office) on Netflix, constantly admiring my gorgeous ring every few minutes. It was the perfect lazy day together.
Back to the dinner – it turned out to actually be a surprise engagement dinner with both of our immediate families and my best friend, Thea. I couldn’t believe that no one in either of our families or my best friend slipped. In fact, Brett had even gone to my house earlier in the week to ask my parents for their permission to marry me and I had absolutely no clue. It was the perfect day from beginning to end. The best part is that it happened in New Brunswick, which is where we met at Rutgers and where we live together to start off married life.
Details of your day: I always joked that I was not meant to be a bride and that I should get married in a courthouse. That clearly isn’t what happened! Wanting a shorter engagement so that I could start my forever with Brett sooner, I had to make decisions quickly. Our entire engagement was 9 months to the day having gotten engaged on February 18 and the wedding on November 18. Fortunately for me, the biggest procrastinator in the world, it forced me to make decisions fast.
Never having been one of those girls that “dreamed” about her wedding day, it was fun to create a vision for my day right in the now and not have some preset expectations of what I would have thought I always wanted. To me, there is nothing better than elegance and romance; muted colors, subtle details, rose petals, candles, etc. Less is more is always a rule of thumb I like to stick with as well.
With that being said, my bridesmaids and I found the most chic champagne colored charmeuse silk gowns by Bari Jay. It was a great starting point for the rest of the color scheme. For flowers, I chose lush greens and soft pastels with some champagne colored flowers sprinkled in. To enhance the romantic feeling I wanted, we added mirror table runners and plenty of candles to all of the centerpieces. My sister-in-law has her own chocolate favor company and put together the most darling favor table for our guests. Simple signage for me was the best way to go so I did a great black and white canvas program for the ceremony space and used the same font in signage for fluidity at the reception space, such as drink signage, hashtag signage, etc which were all accentuated with rose petals to add some texture. My desire for simplicity was also seen in my invites which were uncomplicated with white and black font and touches of silver foil for some elegance.
Convenience was key for me as well. The hotel, Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel, was right across the street from the ceremony space, The Overlook at Convention Hall. From there, the ceremony space was less than a 100 ft walk from our reception venue, Tim McLoone’s Supper Club. It was so nice to not have to worry about transportation logistics for myself or my guests. Everyone was able to walk from the hotel, to the ceremony, to the reception, and back to the hotel at the end of the night!
Why did you choose your wedding venue? For us, we wanted something that wasn’t a traditional wedding venue. The beauty is that we had a smaller sized guest list relatively speaking with only 120 guests, so it opened up a lot more options for us. We first thought of a location that we’d like to get married in and immediately thought of Asbury Park, NJ, which is our favorite beach town and where we love to spend our days in the summertime. From there, we looked up wedding venues. The first and only place we looked was Tim McLoone’s Supper Club and instantly knew that it was the place for us.
It is so unique and different than a traditional banquet hall that you’d attend for most weddings. Between the 360 degree panoramic windows, fun supper club feel, boardwalk location, and view of the ocean, we knew it was for us. The beauty of it is that it’s somewhere we can visit and grab dinner on a regular day and a place we’ll pass by every time we go down to the beach. When we have kids one day and bring them to the beach, it’s an easy point of a finger to show “that’s where Mommy and Daddy got married!” and that was something fun for us to look forward to!
What was on your menu? Our cocktail hour was amazing! We had four stations: fresh vegetable crudites served with creamy dipping sauce, an international cheese display garnished with fresh fruit and assorted crackers, a bruschetta display consisting of tomato vinaigrette and hummus served on french bread, as well as a pasta station with rigatoni, cheese tortellini, pesto sauce and vodka sauce. We had chafing dish selections of Swedish meatballs and zuppa di mussels in white wine sauce. In addition, we had eight butler passed hors d’oeuvres which were a smokey risotto croquette, mini beef sliders with smoked cheddar, spicy tuna tartar on a crisp wonton, brie and raspberry wrapped in phyllo, mozzarella en carozza, mini Reubens, coconut shrimp served with a sweet Thai chili dipping sauce, and mini hot dogs wrapped in phyllo.
We opted to have a sit-down dinner service. We wanted to have something a bit different than a regular pasta appetizer that guests at weddings normally experience so we went with a jumbo lump crab cake with a spicy remoulade; we thought it was fitting for having our wedding down by the beach! From there, we had a mixed field greens salad beautifully displayed within a sliced cucumber with a tasty thyme vinaigrette. Our entrees were to die for and we had three choices for our guests to choose from: french cut chicken breast in a pan gravy, grilled Atlantic salmon with brown sugar, soy sauce and pineapple juice, and a dry aged beef filet with garlic herb butter. All were served with parmesan mashed potatoes and haricot verts. We also had wine service with dinner and chose a cabernet sauvignon for the red option and a chardonnay for the white option.
Our wedding cake may have been the tastiest one EVER! We had three different layers and each one was a different flavor. The top layer was a white cake with cookies and cream filling, the middle layer was a chocolate cake with a raspberry mouse filling, and the third layer was a yellow cake with chocolate fudge filling.
To top it all off, we had two fun signature drinks served throughout the night. The Blushing Bride, which was champagne with a splash of chambord and garnished with a raspberry, and a Groom’s Gimlet, which was Grey Goose vodka on the rocks with lime juice and garnished with lime.
All about your gown. Why was it “the one”? My gown was “the one” simply because it made me feel so beautiful the second I put it on. It was a mermaid silhouette which hit my body in all the right places and had a flattering sweetheart neckline. I loved that for the most part the dress was simple; no lace or embellishments. There was a hint of glitz with a simple belt but that was the extent of it. The amazing tulle bottom and train was the detail that transformed the dress into feeling and being bridal.
Favorite moment? My favorite moment was (I know this is cliché) seeing my groom! The second I saw him I was just put into an instant ease and knew I was about to make the easiest and best decision of my life in marrying him. A close second would be peering out onto the dance floor during the reception and seeing it full at all times during the night. Dancing and signing with all of our guests, and seeing how much they enjoyed the entertainment, was such a highlight and exactly what I hoped for and dreamed of.
Detail you couldn’t live without? I could not live without the detail of entertainment. It’s a huge detail and was the most crucial to Brett and myself for our wedding. At the end of the day, your guests will most likely forget the centerpieces and any signage you put out and will probably even forget what the food tasted like. One thing they’ll never forget, though, is their experience and whether or not they had fun. We pulled out all the stops to make sure our guests would have an unforgettably fun experience; a Frank Sinatra singer for cocktail hour, the best DJ ever (Jason Jani from SCE Event Group), a live percussionist and saxophonist, and belly dancer.
Did anything go wrong? I have to say, luckily, absolutely nothing went wrong on our wedding day! It was simply a dream. A huge reason that this happened was because my day of wedding coordinator, April Krogstad of Details Made Simple, didn’t miss a beat! Without her, I’m not sure how the day would have been pulled off so seamlessly!
First dance? When I Get My Hands On You – Lyrics by Bob Dylan and Vocals by Marcus Mumford
Advice for other brides? Don’t stress and just enjoy! This time in your life is so precious and unlike any other. Things may not unfold how you thought they would and there are so many reasons to stress and over analyze, but in the end, everything will be perfect! Make it a point to pull your groom aside at your reception and stand back and just look at everyone having fun, look around at your venue and all the details you put the time into, give each other a hug and kiss, and remember that moment because what everyone says is true: it goes by in the blink of an eye.
Where did you go on your honeymoon? Our honeymoon was truly a once in a lifetime experience. We started off by spending seven nights in the Maldives at Veligandu Island Resort & Spa in an over-the-water villa that was right in the middle of the Indian Ocean with a jacuzzi and breathtaking sunrise view every morning. It was the perfect place to unwind and relax after all of the stresses of wedding planning! We got to see dozens of dolphins swimming alongside our boat, saw plenty of sea life while snorkeling off of our villa, such as blacktip sharks, stingrays, turtles, and so many types of fish, and had the most incredible spa experience. From there, we headed to Dubai for three nights and filled up our days with a lot of activities since we had so much relaxation time in the Maldives. In Dubai, we did a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the desert, drove through a wildlife reserve, attended afternoon tea at the Burj Al Arab, and got to go to the top of the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa! We dreaded having to come home!!
New Brunswick, NJ
Andrea Purtell of For This Joyous Occasion Officiating Services and Seaside Ceremonies
Justin Alexander+ more