OUR WEDDING DAY: All the Details...

Here are all the details from our wedding day. Thought I'd finally share (now that it's been almost 6 months), along with more info about our wonderful wedding vendors. Everyone was SO amazing on our big day and we couldn't have been happier!

Our wedding was on a Saturday this past April in Ocean City, New Jersey. On Friday night, my inlaws hosted a rehearsal dinner for our bridal party and immediate families, followed by a welcome reception for all invited guests at the Ocean City Yacht Club on Friday evening - about 80 guests attended. On Saturday, our ceremony began at 1:00 PM at St. Augustine's Catholic Church, followed by photos. Our reception began at 5:00 PM at The Flanders Hotel and included about 170 guests. Sunday, we had a goodbye brunch for all of our invited guests at The Flanders - about 100 guests stopped by for breakfast and to say goodbye.

We wanted our wedding day to be really fun for our friends and family, but elegant and charming as well. We both agreed that with so many out-of-towners (like ourselves coming from DC), we wanted the church, reception, and hotel close to each other. We're so glad that we found The Flanders! The church was just a few blocks away, the reception was in the hotel, and our guests enjoyed walking on the boardwalk.

I chose the pink and orange color combo because I wanted something different than the usual beachy blues and greens (which happen to also be my favorite colors). Pink and orange is getting really popular now and you're seeing it in a lot of bridal magazines, but a year ago, a lot of people kept asking me why those two colors and 'did they really go together?' They do of course and everyone could see how great they looked together after seeing it all come together the day of.

MY GOWN: Adrian Pierce Couture, Berlin, NJ

At the beginning of our engagement, I ventured from DC up to Jersey where my Mom took me to a bridal shop in Berlin, NJ (my hometown) and I had no idea what was in store for our visit. It was my first shopping trip to "just look" at dresses and honestly, I didn't even realize that I would actually be trying anything on. What can I say, I was new to the whole thing. So we went and I wasn't wearing proper undergarments - at least for undressing in front of someone and working my way into dozens of different gowns. But Brittany at Adrian Pierce was cool as a cucumber (which was so calming for what I thought would be a completely nerve-racking experience) and gave me a slip and proper bra to wear. What I had dreaded (as let's just say not a size 6 bride - not even close), turned into one of my most memorable days. The ladies at this store are truly amazing and made this experience one of the most fun I've ever had! I tried on anything and everything and they even ran across the street to the reception site there (Lucien's for you South Jersey locals) and pulled a dress off the manequin in the window because they thought I should try it on. If that's not amazing customer service, I don't know what is!! I found my gown that same day - the first and only bridal shop we visited! I didn't want something strapless (which everything seems to be nowadays) and wanted something a bit more traditional and poofy.

The shop is owned and managed by a Mom and her three daughters. I can't possibly express in words how grateful I am for their kindness throughout our wedding planning. Most brides probably visit their bridal shop no more than a couple times, I think I stopped in to say hello and shop for something else everytime I was visiting Jersey from DC. I felt like I became a part of their family. Every time I visited the store, I had to make the trip up from Washington, DC and sometimes the girls would stay a bit late at the shop for me knowing I was making the 3 hour trip to their store. They were wonderful and I highly recommend checking them out.

WEDDING BANDS: Washington Diamonds, Falls Church, Virginia

We couldn't be happier by the service we received at Washington Diamonds. They were great to us and we highly recommend them if you're in the DC area. We both really love our wedding bands.
Ring Bowl - My bridesmaid Melissa gave me this cute ring bowl at my bridal shower that says 'To Have & To Hold' to place the wedding bands in on our wedding day. It was made by Etsy seller Paloma's Nest.

GOWN ALTERATIONS: Priscilla, La Donna Alterations, NJ

I'm 5 feet 2.5 inches (that half inch really counts when you're this short) and so my gown needed major alterations. They had to take what was probably designed for a six foot tall model and fit it to my short, curvy frame. Luckily, Adrian Pierce led me to Priscilla and she worked her magic on my gown! I felt like I was drowing in fabric before Priscilla got her hands on my dress. She had to take it in from the straps and it had to be made (what felt like a few feet) shorter. I also wanted something to cover my arms during the ceremony and so she made me this cute bolero jacket (I didn't want to do a wrap, I wanted something a bit more formal).


Veil & Tiarra - I found my veil and tiarra at Adrian Pierce Couture - because they are so amazing and I didn't want to shop anywhere else. On the day of, just a little over an hour before the ceremony, I had a moment of panic when the person doing my hair asked me for my veil. I knew I hadn't picked it up and I was pretty sure that my Mom didn't have it... where was it? Turns out that it was still at the bridal shop in Berlin - 45 minutes away from our ceremony. All of our family members were already on their way, so we couldn't ask any of them to pick it up. We called the bridal shop and one of the owner's daughters drove it to Ocean City. She dropped it off and then left in a hurry because she had a baseball game to go to. It's another reason why I love these ladies. They could have said tough luck, you should have picked it up, but instead they did everything in their power to get me that veil, making phone calls to find someone to drop it off to me. They're AMAZING!

Jewelry - I started the day wearing my something borrowed - a necklace that was my Great Great Grandmother's and my Great Grandmom, Grandmom, Aunt, and two cousins had all worn at their weddings. I was worried about something happening to it when we were taking photos on the boardwalk and beach though, so I switched after the ceremony to a simple single-pearl necklace along with a sparkley bracelet.

Shoes - I started the day in heels and changed into pink Converse sneaks (from Target) after we finished our photos in the church and were heading over to the boardwalk to take the bridal party pics. The funny thing is that my husband, who is very traditional, was worried that these wouldn't look "nice" and that someone might see them. I had assured him that my gown would hide them. It had rained that morning though and I had to lift my dress when walking outside and everyone we saw on the boardwalk kept saying how much they loved my pink sneaks. Then some of our family and friends caught a glimpse at the reception and they wanted to see them. So they were a big hit and made everyone smile - including me, since they were WAY more comfortable than the too-high heels I'd worn for the ceremony.

BRIDESMAIDS: Adrian Pierce Couture, Berlin, NJ

For our bridesmaid dresses, my sister (maid of honor) and I loved this strapless tea length dress that had a little poof in the skirt, but I wasn't sure if the other girls would feel as comfortable in a strapless dress. So I picked about 5 dresses that all came in the same color. My sister-in-law wore a full-length dress with straps, my girl friend wore a halter / tea-length one, and my cousin wore the same strapless dress as my sister. They were all pretty in pink and that color in the satin material ended up looking great. I loved how each dress turned out.

I included their jewelry, off-white wraps, and purses, which had this cute funky fuschia pink print, as part of their bridesmaid gifts.


I found these great big straw beach bags from Target that were fuschia pink on the inside and had striped ribbon on the handles. I filled them with all kinds of goodies for my bridesmaids and my and his Mom. I gave the bridesmaids their jewelry, purses (which were this cool funky fuschia pink print), wrap for their shoulders, and tons of snacks and bath/beauty products. For my sister, I included Fizzy Lizzy soda for her along with Elizabeth W soaps (my sister is an Elizabeth W.). For the guys (groomsmen and Dads), we gave them orange ties and framed vintage postcards from Ocean City, NJ.

GROOM/GROOMSMEN: Men's Wearhouse, VA / NJ

The tuxedo rentals were from Men's Warehouse. We picked them out at a store in Alexandria, Virginia, but the tuxes were delivered to the store closest to Ocean City, NJ. We bought the guys' ties for them at the store as one of their thank you gifts. The groomsmen wore solid orange ties, our Dads both wore gold paisley ties, and I found my husband's tie with the silver stripes on sale at Boscov's. He didn't love it at first, but when he saw everything together on the day of, he loved it and could then see how it went with my gown which had silver beading.

STATIONARY: Melissa Bielecki, Spruce Avenue, NJ -and- Marttie Pastore, First Impressions Calligraphy, NJ

All of our wedding stationary was designed by Melissa Bielecki with Spruce Avenue, who is a fabulous designer and just happens to also be my cousin and bridesmaid. She did an amazing job and I couldn't be happier with our gorgeous invitations. Our wedding stationary included:

- postcard save-the-dates
- wedding invitations in a booklet format
- personalized response cards with names printed on the cards
- rehearsal dinner invitations for the bridal party
- table numbers in pink/orange with starfish graphics on them
- menu cards in matching fonts, pink/orange colors
- tri-folded ceremony program with swing graphic
- stamps printed through zazzle.com with the swing graphic

I didn't want the usual invitations with a gazillion inserts and envelopes. I wanted one envelope (no inner envelopes) and everything in a booklet format, since we had a lot of extra info for out-of-towners and extra events like a welcome reception on Friday and goodbye brunch on Sunday. I also wanted personalized response cards, so we included the names and circles for people to check off which events they were attending. This was SO much easier than having people fill in their own names and not being able to read their handwriting.

Melissa used a photograph she had taken of a swing ride in Ocean City, NJ and turned it into this pink graphic that we used on everything from save the dates to the invites to stamps, which we made through Zazzle. I love the graphic and she gave me a framed print of it in green that I now have hanging on our bedroom wall to remind us of our wedding weekend (check it out here at Spruce Avenue).

Instead of doing traditional calligraphy (which is more expensive), we instead went with 'computer calligraphy' using matching fonts from the invitation. Marttie Pastore with First Impressions Calligraphy was great to work with and extremely patient and gave us a quick turnaround each time (because of course we needed everything as soon as possible to get things out in the mail). We matched the fonts and everything looked great. She also did our placecards for us.

Crossword Puzzle - I wanted to include a crossword puzzle because since I have known my husband, he has done the crossword puzzle every day! So we made and personalized our own crossword puzzle for Sunday's goodbye brunch using Discovery's online puzzle maker. I made the puzzle through their website and then put it into a Word doc to make it look how I wanted. I also ordered pink and orange pencils from Oriental Trading Company that said Ocean City, NJ on them.


My husband and I have a shared passion for postcards. He always sends them to family on trips. I always collected them from those who sent them to me. So instead of a traditional guest book, we had our guests sign Ocean City postcards and Kristin Barse (our wedding coordinator) mailed them to our home in DC following the wedding.

FLOWERS: Laura Davis, Savanah's Garden, Elmer, NJ

Our wedding coordinator led me to Laura from Savanah's Garden in Elmer, NJ and we could not possibly be happier with the job that she did for us. Everything was gorgeous and even better than I had imagined. She was able to work with me through email and over the phone since I'm in DC and she's in NJ, which was a huge help. We also had two in-person meetings and we got to see samples before the wedding (which were gorgeous). Laura brought me to tears the morning of as soon as I saw all the bouquets arriving - tears of joy! They were absolutely beautiful and she made the day perfect for us! My favorites are spring flowers, especially hydrangeas. So I wanted all pink and orange flowers in hydrangeas, tulips, rananculus, berries, and orchids - with a hint of blue tweedia to break up the color. I was nervous that the mostly pink and orange (no whites, no greens, just pink and orange) might be too much, but it looked gorgeous and I couldn't be happier with how they turned out. She's AMAZING and so talented!

My Bouquet / His Boutenniere - My bouquet had picture frames from Exposures Online (they're actually meant to be ornaments) with photos of my two Grandpops, Great Aunt, and Great Uncle, in remembrance of them on our wedding day. I also had tiny shells that Laura was able to add with wiring that my husband and I had collected and brought back with us from the Amalfi Coast in Italy (which was our first trip together when we were dating - my husband was temporarily living in Istanbul, Turkey for 5 months and we met there in Italy during his spring break to break up the long distance a bit).

We also included some of the shells in his boutenniere along with the blue tweedia.

Maid of Honor Bouquet - I wanted my sister's bouquet to be different than the other bridesmaids, so her flowers included all orchids, seashells, and the pink starfish brooch (to match my and our Mom's bouquets).

Mother of the Bride Bouquet - My Mom's bouquet also included some orchids to match my sister's bouquet.

Church - We had cherry blossoms on the church altar to represent our home in DC. We also had hydrangeas with starfish on the pews. Laura made these gorgeous wreaths for the church doors that were moved to the hotel doors following the ceremony.

Starfish Brooches - I had a matching starfish brooch on my and my Mom's bouquets and then a matching one in pink on my sister's bouquet (maid of honor).

Ribbon - We had champagne colored ribbon on both of our Dads' boutennieres and both of our Moms' bouquets to match my bouquet and my husband's boutenniere.

MOG Bouquet - For my husband's Mom's bouquet, I included mostly tulips to represent his time living abroad in Turkey when he and I first started dating. The Turks introduced tulips to Holland.

FOB and FOG Boutennieres - We also included tiny sand dollars on the Dads' and groomsmen's boutennieres.

Reception Centerpieces (tall) - For the high centerpieces, we did a mix of the spring flowers with hanging votive candles. Everyone loved them!

Reception Centerpieces (low) -For the low centerpieces, we had glass vases with sand and pink sea urchins in the bottom and a mix of flowers.

Cocktail Reception - We had an arrangement with pink pineapples (pineapples are the symbol for welcome) on the stairwell going up to the reception and tons of small vases of flowers and seashells.
Placecard Table - For our placecard table, we had this really neat centerpiece with dendrobrium orchids, hanging starfish and sand dollars. It was so great!

Dance Floor Room - In the room where the larger dance floor was, we had arrangements of glass vases with seashells and orchids.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Kella MacPhee, Brick, NJ

We loved working with Kella! She was an absolute delight to work with and truly captured the spirit of our day. We both loved her style and laid-back personality, which was a breath of fresh air on a very emotional and busy day. She let us be ourselves instead of 'forcing' us into stuffy poses and captured the colors, details, emotions, and spirit of our day. I can't say enough good things about both working with her and her photographs! We were so lucky to have found her, as you can see by all her gorgeous photos.

Before Ceremony - Our before ceremony pics were taken in each of the respective family's hotel suites. My parents' suite included this great deck with the boardwalk amusement rides in the background. My husband's parents' suite was at the top of the hotel, so we could avoid running into each other before the ceremony.

After Ceremony/Bridal Party - It was a bit chilly and there were lots of puddles after it had rained, so our families went back to their hotel suites and we then took our bridal party pics on the boardwalk. We were lucky to have Kristin and her team because they coordinated with Wonderland to allow us to take all these great photos on the rides. It was so much fun and the staff there were all so GREAT!

Just Us - The bridal party was driven back to the hotel and we had a moment on the beach with just our photographers. They took some amazing images that we absolutely love.


We just received our wedding video (finally!). While our videographer was great and we were happy with his work the day of, we were a little bit disappointed with parts of the final video. The stills of the hotel and church and people talking to the camera were all great. But, almost the entire ceremony, the camera is on us and didn't pan on the guests in the church or film them when they went up to the altar for communion. It's an hour of pretty much just us sitting at the altar. Then one of my biggest regrets is that we didn't just go ahead and pay the additional hour of overtime for the last hour of the reception. This is when we finally got to let loose on the dancefloor and both of our immediate families were out there dancing to Thriller and an Italian song where everyone held hands and whirled around in a circle. We have no photos or video of this. I highly recommend if you have a situation like this where you have the option to pay for overtime for your photographer and videographer for that last hour, pay it! Also, I wish I had worked with our videographer a bit more. This wasn't something that I thought I cared all that much about, but now seeing our wedding video, I wish I had set up an in-person meeting to talk a bit more about the shots we definitely wanted.

BAND: Lapis Luna, Brooklyn, NY

We absolutely loved our band! I found them online and Shawn (the band's main contact) sent us all this great info in the mail along with a cd to listen to. They were perfect and exactly the sound and feel that we were hoping for.

DJ: The Pros, NJ

Midway through the reception and after dinner, these big doors were opened to reveal an entirely new space to our guests that had a dj and a much larger dancefloor. People later told us that they thought the staff was accidentally opening to someone else's wedding. It was great to surprise everyone. The dj did an amazing job and had everyone up and dancing in no time at all. The dancefloor was packed and everyone from the older folks to the younger kids were out there.

CAKE: Steve, The Pastry Prince, Egg Harbor, NJ

We had an orange creamsicle wedding cake that was served with orange cream sodas in glass bottles with pink straws (I bought the pink straws from a company that donates some of the profit to breast cancer research). A lot of our family and friends told us how much they loved it! We loved it too : ) We used my grandparents' cake topper from their wedding day and they were married for over 50 years. I loved that we had a "vintage" cake topper, but the fact that it was my grandparents' made it even more special.

CHURCH: St. Augustine's Catholic Church, Ocean City, NJ

RECEPTION: Patty Wristbridge, The Flanders Hotel, Ocean City, NJ

Our reception was at The Flanders Hotel, which was recently nominated as the # 1 wedding reception venue in South Jersey by The Knot. I can see why now because it was AMAZING. You become a member of the Flanders family when you have your wedding reception there. Patty Wristbridge was our contact and she was so great to us. We also loved Jeff, Julie, and Gloria - who helped throughout the planning - and their smiling faces we'd see each time we visited the hotel for meetings. We had our cocktail reception in this big open foyer area and had a jazz trio playing at the piano. The fireplace was lit and we had flowers with pink and orange candles everywhere. We also had framed photos of all our parents' and grandparents' wedding portraits spread out onto all the cocktail tables. The tables had pintucked fuschia and orange table runners. Dinner was in the ballroom down the hall. The tables had pintucked fuschia and orange tablecloths. Our band sat up on a small platform in front of the dancefloor. They were wonderful and they were so much fun to dance to. After we surprised our guests after dinner with the opening of the big doors, we had our cake cutting in that larger room. It was nice to allow some of our older guests to be able to sit in the then quieter ballroom while guests who wanted to dance could in the other room. You could easily see through from one room to another, but it was nice that the speakers weren't blaring in the ballroom so that guests could catch up and enjoy dessert together.

Parent Dance - I danced with my Dad while my husband danced with his Mom and then at the end of the song, we had my Mom join my Dad, his Dad join his Mom, and then my husband and I danced together again. We really loved being able to include all of our parents in on this. The song was Israel "Iz" Kamakawiwo'ole's Over the Rainbow.

Candles - I bought the pillar candles for our cocktail reception area at Ikea. I was able to find these orange and fuschia pillar candles super cheap because they were on sale for a holiday. They were about a $1 a piece. The "candleholders" were actually beer glasses from Ikea that were WAY cheaper than buying candleholders. I needed candleholders that protected the flame from being blown out because of the proximity to the entrance to the hotel (doors opening and closing) to the cocktail area, so these worked great!

Framed Menus - I found these beachy pink and orange wood frames for about a $1-something each at The Christmas Tree Shop store in South Jersey.

Framed Family Photos - We included framed photos of our parents' and grandparents' wedding portraits throughout the cocktail reception space.

COORDINATOR: Kristin Barse, Bel Momento, Ocean City, NJ

I had met Kristin Barse with Bel Momento during a bridal show at Cape May's Congress Hall early in the planning before having set a date. She would email me from time to time to see how things were going and my husband and I finally reached a point where we knew that we needed help. It got to be too much with us being in DC and the wedding in Ocean City and our busy work schedules. We hired her and we're so glad that we did! We had run into a huge problem... we couldn't find a Roman Catholic priest to marry us. Because we belong to a parish in DC (the priest couldn't travel to OC for our wedding) and we weren't marrying in my hometown but instead at the Jersey Shore (the priest there wouldn't marry us because we weren't parishioners), we couldn't seem to find a priest. Kristin found a priest for us in just one day! Followed by finding us other vendors (ie. transportation, florist, etc.), arranging appointments for me with hair/makeup trials, and the list goes on. On the day of the wedding, she and the two wonderful ladies working with her were like having guardian angels watching over us - this is no exaggeration! Every time we turned around, they were there to help or take care of something we needed or answer any question for us - in addition of course to everything we weren't seeing that was going on behind the scenes. Besides the small veil emergency in the morning, we were both calm as could be because we had these three ladies taking care of every detail for us. They were amazing. Kristin had even arranged for us to be able to take our wedding photos ON some of the boardwalk rides! Our bridal party loved this! At first we weren't sure whether we should spend some of our budget on having a coordinator... now, I can't believe we ever doubted this! Kristin is amazing and we would have been so frantic the day of if it hadn't been for her and her team!


We registered at Pottery Barn, Williams Sonoma, Target, Crate & Barrel, and I later added a small wish list at Anthropologie online. I think at first people must have thought, "OMG, they have SO many darn registries." We spread everything around because we had wedding guests from all over the country and wanted to make things as easy as could be for them. I wasn't even going to register when we first got engaged - it felt like we were asking for gifts - but after being asked a million times by various relatives, we went ahead and registered. At first it was so stressful... which dishes?! We felt the pressure to select fine china, which just really isn't "us." So instead, we picked a set of all white dishes from Pottery Barn and we absolutely love them! For the ease of use by us and our guests, my favorite registry was Crate & Barrel. It was so easy to use and everything was always updated immediately. PB and Williams Sonoma were also great, however, they sometimes had items that we could only update in-store as opposed to online, which was incredibly annoying during what was a very busy time. The nice thing about PB and Williams Sonoma though is that their gift cards can be used at either store. Target was by far my very least favorite. We had received duplicate shower gifts without gift receipts and we have tried to exchange these, but they won't let us without a receipt or credit card number. We still have the darn things sitting in our living room. Target also "lost" our registry items after we spent an entire afternoon there with that gun they give you to scan items. My husband wasn't too happy after doing all that shopping to only have everything lost! So we had to re-find the items online, added them, and then mysteriously a month later, all the items we had selected in the store appeared (this was after Target staff had told us that the items were definitely lost), so we then had duplicate items and had to fix it and then wait for the registry to update. Anthropologie is not really a registry, but they do offer a wish list and it worked well. We selected smaller items (ie. measuring cups and spoons, candlestick holders, etc.) and everything we received was beautifully packaged.


We had invited guests from: DC, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, California, North Carolina, Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Alaska, Colorado, Massachusetts, Oregon, Utah, Missouri, Washington, Connecticut, Illinois, New York, Texas - and even Italy and Germany.


My parents, brother, sister, and my husband, all helped in putting these together. They were clear bags with Ocean City saltwater taffy inside, tied with pink ribbon that said Mark and Jennifer. Nothing fancy. Just very simple. I loved them even moreso because my family helped in making them.

I really wanted to make welcome bags as a small thank you to all of our guests who had travelled so far to be with us for our special day. I ordered the straw bags from Hawaii and included a bottle of water, cookies from Crazy Susan's (a local shop in Ocean City), Pirate Booty popcorn, Tastykakes, Hershey Kisses (directly from the chocolate factory in Hershey from family members who live there), an Ocean City map, and Ocean City travel guide. We used the seashell tags from Blue Bird Lane on Etsy to write a welcome message and include the person's name and hotel room on the back. The tags made it much easier for delivering them to guests.


I made special welcome bags for the kids in tote bags from Oriental Trading Company with anchors and sailboats on them. Inside I included goldfish crackers, wooden cars, helicopters, planes and other toys (from Target). I also included little books and other treats, depending on their age. These were delivered with their parents' welcome bags to the hotel rooms.

At the wedding reception, we had treasure map placemats with the kids' names written at the "X" spot. We also had beachy coloring books for them, crayons, and a treasure box with chocolate gold coins. They seemed to be a big hit with the kids and their parents! : )


I wanted to surprise my husband on the day of and have just one small thing in all this planning that was especially for him. Because when all was said and done, he loved me so much that he allowed me to select all the details. He had a say in everything of course, but there were some things that he just knew I cared way more about - like our colors for example, which were fuschia pink and mango orange. He of course would have never (ever in a million years) picked pink, but it's one of my favorite colors and in the end, it turned out amazing and felt so full of life because of the vibrant color combo. So I had asked our wedding coordinator, Kristin, if she could help me the day of in getting a pizza to our suite between the ceremony and reception. The original idea was to have pepperoni on it in the shape of a heart, but it was even better on the day of - they baked the dough into a heart! He LOVED it and everytime I ask him what his favorite part of the wedding (besides marrying me of course), he says the pizza.


We honeymooned in Sicily, where we were able to meet my distant relatives and ventured to the top of Mount Etna, Sicily's active volcano. It was incredible and we loved being able to start our marriage together by first learning more about my family's history.

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