Details of the Day: It was a perfect Spring day, 72 degrees and sunny with a gentle breeze. It would have been my Dad’s 78th birthday. The limo dropped Dan, the groomsmen and the bridesmaids off at Allaire State Park and the mother of the groom escorted me to the wedding location. Dan looked sharp in his navy blue suit, silver vest and blue and white polka dot tie. His groomsmen complimented him nicely in their matching navy suits with blue vests and silver ties. The bridesmaids wore either red or blue one shoulder lace chiffon gowns and held beautiful blue and white flowers. Rustic patriotism was our theme. Dan was in the military for ten years and comes from a family where most of the men served. It is an honor to be surrounded by such bravery and we wanted to highlight that in our wedding. The first look was along a tree lined walk near the entrance of Allaire Village. The ceremony took place at the Chapel at Allaire where Dan’s Aunt Martha Bevacqua, a pastor, married us in front of our friends and family. The aisle was lined with rustic mason jars decorated by my niece. During the ceremony, everyone held a stone that they put in a vase for us at the end. The vase is displayed in our home as a symbol to remind us that we have the support and love of our family and friends. At 6pm, the cocktail hour took place at the Crystal Ballroom in Freehold, including a mashed potato bar and endless apps and drinks. The reception ran from 7-11, full of delicious food, drinks and excellent entertainment from Essential Sounds. PJ, the owner of the company, is a dear friend. Our favors were playing cards in honor of Dan’s grandma who loved cards almost as much as she loved her grandchildren. We ended the night with sore feet, smiles on our faces and love in our hearts. The Location: We walked into the ballroom at the Crystal Ballroom, saw the beautiful chandeliers and huge dance floor and knew this place would be perfect for our families and friends. There is a beautiful outdoor space for cocktail hour, and so much is included in the price. The staff at Crystal Ballroom is friendly and accommodating. We never felt worried about any detail because we knew the coordinators would take care of it. We also wanted a place with a hotel attached to make it easier for us and for guests, so Crystal Ballroom was perfect. The Menu: Cocktail hour included a buffet station, passed appetizers, a mashed potato bar and a signature drink of frozen pina coladas. Dinner included a salad, and choice of ginger salmon, herb roasted chicken and prime rib served with potatoes au gratin and asparagus. For dessert there was delicious wedding cake with buttercream frosting and a choice of vanilla mousse and strawberries or chocolate mousse and strawberry filling. Last, but not least, there was a smores bar with flavored marshmallows, different kinds of chocolate and graham crackers. The Gown: My gown has lace, sparkly and flared at the right spots. The straps were sheer lace and the neckline was a low v neck. It was a dropped waist a-line with chiffon flare at the bottom. It was “the one” because it had everything I could ever want. It was rustic, and romantic and could fit into a scene at Allaire State park, but also a beautiful ballroom full of chandeliers at Crystal Ballroom. I knew Dan’s jaw would drop. Favorite Moment: My favorite moment was the first look. I walked the long tree-lined path and could barely contain my excitement to see Dan. He turned around and the look on his face made the moment so perfect. It was as if he couldn’t love me any more than he did in that second. We hugged and complimented each other and the nerves of the day went away. He showed me the lockets I gave him of his grandparents that he wore safety pinned in his jacket. I knew it was going to be the best day of our lives. Detail You Couldn’t Live Without: I wore a charm with my Dad’s picture on my bouquet and then on my bracelet the whole day. I know he was with me in my heart all day, but it truly showed how much he was and is a part of me and who I am. First Dance Song: We chose “From the Ground Up” by Dan and Shay. We are big country music lovers and this song really spoke to us. Life isn’t always going to be easy, but we will do it together. We will build our love “from the ground up.” Advice for Other Brides: Enjoy the day. Take in every moment. You’ve planned for so long. Don’t let the stress ruin what should be the best day of your life. If things go wrong, brush it off. The real magic of the day is marrying the person you love.