How did you meet?
Vadim and I met our freshman year of college at Penn State. Though I wasn’t too fond of him at first, finding out that he lived in Marlboro (I lived in Freehold) called for the perfect opportunity to get a ride here and there to and from school. After freshman year, we ended up spending most days of the summer together wandering around the Freehold Mall, getting frozen yogurt at Yo Mon or going to iHOP for breakfast, lunch or dinner. But! Our friendship never crossed any lines. We were just totally inseparable FRIENDS. Until…I was asked on a date with someone I knew there wasn’t much of a connection with, and asked Vadim to come on the date as well, with the girl he was seeing at the time (it was helpful because both of our dates were also friends). The day after that double date, we celebrated the Super Bowl at Vadim’s apartment, both of our dates and other friends included. Drinks flowed, and the next thing I knew Vadim was telling me how much I meant to him and that he had feelings for me, more than a friend. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I felt the same way!
Will you marry me?
On February 10, 2018, we went on a pre-Valentine’s Day dinner cruise on the Hudson River. Vadim dragged me from end to end of the ship to find a perfectly scenic, but private location where he could pop the question. It took 2.5 hours, and with only 30 minutes left on the ship, he got down on one knee in the pouring rain, in front of the Statue of Liberty, to ask me to be his wife!
Details of the day:
We spent about nine months organizing our perfect day, and every detail within it. Our venue, Addison Park, came into our lives at the most perfect time. It took our breath away from the second we walked in. Having what felt like a clean slate with all of the black and white throughout the venue made it really difficult to decide on a color scheme for our wedding, one that would stand out beautifully without taking away from their beautiful décor.
I knew I wanted to incorporate wine/burgundy, being a winter wedding, but it felt so “over played.” After some debating, and ordering about 50 swatches, I decided to use David’s Bridal and Azazie for not one, not two, but three different colors for my nine girls!
We used Blush and Wine from David’s Bridal, and Dusty Rose from Azazie. Vadim was not nearly as picky as I was with colors; he let me have 100% control over that. When we went to Men’s Wearhouse, he joked that if I asked him to wear a plaid tuxedo, he would! So! He tried on a gray and black tux, and ultimately we both liked the gray on him better! We decided to have all seven of his groomsmen/best men in traditional black tuxes.
Our friends from college have a videography business of their own (Charliér Productions), so the second we signed the contract for our venue, we contacted them to do the videography for our day. Best decision ever to have videos as a memory of our day!
We found our photographers Kevin and Aly through Instagram and pure luck! From the moment Aly and I chatted on the phone and then we all met in person, we knew they were the right fit for us on our big day.
Our florist, Lena, from Paradise Flower Shoppe is a personal friend of my MIL, and she helped us from beginning to end designing our chuppah (traditional Jewish arch), all of my bridesmaid bouquets, my cascading bouquet and our corsages/boutonnieres.
We used Jeffrey Scott Gould from SCE for entertainment for the entire day. He was incredible to work with from the day we met him! He incorporated both of our traditions beautifully, and our guests still rave about how he got the party started before the party even started!
We had a lot of out of town guests, so we did our room black at the Residence Inn of Woodbridge. It was so comfortable and homey there, that it was a no brainer that we would want our guests, as well as us, to stay there! We also decided to do a very low-key rehearsal and rehearsal dinner there. It was very affordable and cozy to be close with all of our wedding party and immediate family. We catered our rehearsal dinner from a personal favorite restaurant, Florentino’s of Middletown, NJ! All of the food was AMAZING! They were so flexible and so kind to us in planning over the phone, and in person! We have catered before, and we will definitely again!
Our food and cake were all provided by Addison Park; though the cake was outsourced to a bakery they know and love, Bruno’s of Staten Island. This was by far our favorite experience of wedding planning, because both my husband and I were equally involved and invested in this. Fina, at the bakery, was so sweet and helpful, from phone conver sations to the actual tasting. And the cake itself—to die for!!!!
Why did you choose your venue?
We chose Addison Park because of its well-kept and beautiful aesthetics and vibe. From the moment we walked in, we were blown away. From the very clean color palette of black and white, to the “stop in your tracks” double staircase they have in their main lobby, we knew it was the elegance we, as well as our parents, were looking for! The ballrooms were perfect to design any way we liked, and the staff, of course, was helpful the whole way through. We originally wanted an October wedding date, but when we hear the deals they were willing to make us to push to December, it was a no brainer to get the venue of our dreams!
What was on your menu?
The food choices began at our extravagant cocktail hour. Guests could choose from one of our many walking hot hor d’oeuvres, as well as both hot and cold stations throughout. Our open bar also began during this time. During the reception, food was served in three courses. The first course was a choice between soup or pasta. We chose the ‘Straciatella Romano’ soup, which is chicken broth, egg drop, spinach and tortellini. For the pasta, we chose was the Rigatoni Marinara to accommodate both our veg and non-veg guests. The second course was an intermezzo of a lemon sorbet; however, we chose to use this as an additional desert during the final course, instead. So, our second course was dinner. Guests had a choice between a Sirloin Steak, a Breast of Chicken, Salmon or a Stuffed Portabella Mushroom. Vadim and I were lucky enough to try all of them! The steak was my favorite, while the salmon was Vadim’s! We both equally loved the chicken and portabella mushroom! The third, and final course, was dessert, which included both our intermezzo (lemon sorbet) and our cake. We chose to do alternating flavors on our 4 tiers. Two tiers were vanilla cake with raspberry jam filling, and the other two tiers were vanilla cake with banana cream and fresh strawberries. Both were AMAZING!
All about the gown: I tried on only about 10 gowns in total. I first went to David’s Bridal, and I was pleasantly surprised that I actually found the style I loved on the first try! I knew from the get-go that a ballgown was not for me! I loved just about anything that showed off my curves. Our second trip was to Azaria Bridal in the Freehold Raceway Mall, and that is where I found “the one.” The store associate who helped me took my budget and my style, and walked the store about 50 times and pulled EVERYTHING she could find (and then some!). It was overwhelming at first, looking at all of my options to try on, but I was also able to successfully and honestly pick out the ones I knew I didn’t like the look of. This left me with about five dresses in total. I went with both of my parents, and all three of us liked different ones. My dad liked one that had a lot of beading and detail on the back, while my mom liked one that had more beading and detail on the front. I liked one that kind of complemented both of their likes. Until…I tried on the gown I ultimately chose. We all equally adored it! And while there were no “tears,” I had that moment looking in the mirror, thinking to myself, “I’m going to marry Vadim in this gown!” And that’s how we knew!
The dress was all lace, with a beautiful long train. The off-the-shoulder sleeves and sweetheart neckline were so flattering and the perfect amount of elegance and comfort. It perfectly fit my body type, too. It hugged me in all the right places! I was told to steer away from cathedral veils when deciding, but I found a gorgeous cathedral style veil which was all tool, and had crystals randomly all over it. It complimented the long train on my dress, and also added a tiny bit of sparkle. I would recommend Azaria Bridal over and over again, with the experience I had!
What was your favorite moment?
My favorite moment of the whole day was so simple, and random! About half way through the reception, while everyone was sitting down eating dinner. Vadim and I were making our rounds to guests and saying our thak you’s. All of a sudden ‘Sweet Caroline’ started playing, and it was kind of impossible for us to not sing along, while talking to guests. Before we knew it, he and I were alone on the dance floor, drunk, belching the lyrics to one another! And the whole crowd kind of just looked at us through this moment and sang and swayed along with us. So random, but so perfect!
One detail you couldn’t live without?
Realistically, the only detail of the day I couldn’t live without was my now husband, Vadim! Without him, we’d have no wedding and I wouldn’t be married to my best friend! BUT! If I had to pick a “detail,” I would pick the song I walked down the aisle to (the second time around). I love the show Friends, and I am a HUGE Beatles fan—so the second I saw the episode where Phoebe marries Mike in the snow (I was probably like 10 when I first saw this?), and she used an instrumental version of “Here, There and Everywhere” to walk down the aisle, I knew I wanted to do the same thing. Not because she did it, but the song itself holds so much meaning, is so beautifully written and sung, and it was such an inspiration to see it being used! When I got engaged, I spent HOURS researching You Tube to see if it was done, and I found close to nothing! I saw on the Facebook group that a person here and there wanted to use it, but no “proof.” Every time I heard the song, I burst into tears, because I wanted it that much! And let me tell you…waiting with my dad (also a huge Beatles fan) behind closed doors to the ceremony room, and listening to the beginning of the song come on, and then the doors slowly swing open as the first verse begins and the first thing I see is my future husband, it was a moment I will forever remember, treasure, and hold very close to my heart. I loved the song more when I saw it in that episode of Friends, and I love it more today because I see my husband smiling back at me at the end of the aisle every time I hear it. *Excuse me while I go wipe away my tears writing this!*
Did anything go wrong?
Lots of things went wrong! We were an hour and a half late from the hotel to venue due to hair and makeup taking more time (last-minute changes and touchups). Because of this, I never got pictures with my whole bridal party on my hotel bed like I wanted and planned/decorated for. I have getting ready pictures with my mom. Our shuttle bus from the hotel leaked because of the rain so I sat under an umbrella the whole time! When we got to the venue, my videographers and photographers were told to leave my suite because they couldn’t find their liability insurances—I had to chase people down to tell them to check my file for two hard copies and emails with all of the insurances inside! I wanted my bridesmaids to put their bouquets in vases under my sweetheart table, but instead the venue took them and put them outside the ballroom, leaving empty vases. A lot went wrong, but so much more went right. I was told from the beginning that nothing I plan will go as I plan it, but if I come out married to Vadim, then everything went right. I thank my cousin-in-law everyday, in my prayers, for these words, because I heard them ringing in my head a lot that day and leading up. He was so right.
First dance song?
We chose “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran. Vadim actually hates this song, but he proposed to me with it on in the background, by accident, so it was inevitable we chose it for our first dance. He grew to love it a little 🙂
Any advice for future brides?
Breathe. Treat yo self throughout the planning process. And remember my cousin-in-law’s words: nothing you plan will go as planned, but if you come out of that day married to the love of your life, your best friend and soulmate, then everything went right.
We went to Montego Bay, Jamaica. We stayed at the Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton, in one of their villas with a private beach and honeymoon package. It was outstanding! We can’t wait to go back to Jamaica and stay at Grand Palladium again!