Real Weddings

Shaun and Johnathan at the Crystal Plaza

How He Asked: We went to see La La Land in Morristown after a big snowstorm. John suggested we go for a walk in the square, because the decorations were up and it had just snowed. I saw a photographer in the square and had a mini panic attack, thinking he had planned an engagement and hired a photographer. I immediately realized that this wasn’t his style at all, and she relaxed in the knowledge that I wasn’t about to be proposed to in my puffy coat and earmuffs. We did ask photographer to take a photo of us on John’s phone, and after requesting a second round of pictures, John got down on one knee and proposed! As it turns out, he didn’t hire the photographer. Said photographer was, however, the manager of the local hotel, and he gave us free champagne after filming the engagement for them! John is just lucky like that. Details of The Day: I really wanted the precision of a venue like the Crystal Plaza – the unparalleled attention to detail and the amazing food. However, I also wanted the vibe of my wedding to be something a bit more rustic. Lisa at A Touch of Elegance was able to create that feeling with ivy and lilies on the tables, even utilizing the Crystal Plaza’s beautiful candelabras. She also created an ivy and lily covered birch canopy for over the sweetheart table. The bouquets highlighted lilies as well, bringing in a touch of navy (which my mother wore, courtesy of Jacqeuline of Livingston) with a navy berry against the white lily and greens of the bouquet. The Venue: My parents got married there in 1986. We now have side by side photos of both my mother and I in the bridal suite as well as both bridal parties. The Menu:  The better question: what wasn’t on it? We had a 13-station cocktail hour with passed hors d’oeuvre. Stations included sushi (crowd favorite, hands down) served on ice, and hanging from the ceiling, a cheese station, the Prohibition Bar, and Chicken & Waffles. Passed bites included smoked salmon on cucumber, tuna tartare spoons, mini crab cakes, grilled fruit salsa in a strawberry shell, and a guacamole topped tortilla chip served on top of a mini margarita. Signature Drink: Raspberry Mint Julep in a mason jar with fun paper straws; Signature Shot: Green Tea Shot. The appetizer plate included nine different bite-sized appetizers, including grilled shrimp atop Boursin cheese and vanilla bean-poached lobster medallion. The guest chose from the following for dinner: Rib-Eye with Black Truffle Butter, Herb Roasted Chicken with Herb-Celery Stuffing, Grilled Halibut with Parsley and Garlic Pesto and Provencal Sauce, and a vegan (and gluten free!) Vegetable Lasagna. Three different flavors of cake were served: Pistachio and Lemon Curd-Raspberry from the wedding cake and Salted Caramel Bomb from the Groom’s cake (shaped like a soccer ball and a surprise to the groom from the bride). Desserts were also passed bites, and included mini ice-cream cones with sprinkles, fried oreos, nutella raviolis, zeppoles, milkshake shots, berry skewers, and cheesecake lollipops. There was even a traveling donut “wall” so people could grab one while dancing! The Gown:  Lela Rose designed a stunning dress with a “magic tulle” sheer deep V neckline and a sheer back with floating buttons that I just couldn’t say no to. Elizabeth John’s was able to pump up the original A-line of the skirt to give me a fuller ball gown like I always wanted. The material was sort of a light, stretchy cotton with a rose gold flower printed in it and a slight shimmer to it. On an 80 degree day, it felt like wearing air. It was the perfect choice! Favorite Moment: The ceremony – my brother, DJ, simply stole the show as our officiant, and we could not have asked for more perfect weather for an outdoor ceremony. My youngest brother, Cooper, was our marriage license witness. And then all three of my siblings, including my Maid of Honor and sister, Colby, witnessed the signing after the ceremony. It was great to include them all! And maybe the cake “smash” after we cut the cake. That was really important to me – I booked my cake tasting at Empire Cake before I booked an appointment to try on dresses! I also loved seeing John’s face when the soccer ball shaped Groom’s cake came out! Favorite Detail:  The signature 9-hole plate for the appetizers! I had attended a wedding at the Crystal Plaza when I was 20 and the plate stuck with me for a decade. I was so happy we were able to use it. John would probably also say the Prohibition Bar, stocked with craft beers and bourbons and whiskeys – some even served in an ice-filled bathtub. Something That Went Wrong: Well, one of my flower girl’s dresses slipped as she was going down the aisle and she flashed everyone. But she’s only four, so it was pretty much the cutest thing ever. First Dance Song: “The Book of Love,” by Peter Gabriel. Advice For Other Brides:  It just flies by – try to participate in as much as possible. Also, if you have no aim… maybe don’t throw a bouquet? (Advice I should have taken…)

wedding details

Ceremony Location

The Crystal Plaza

Reception Location

The Crystal Plaza


Alexis Buryk at City Love Photography

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