Waking up early on a Saturday morning was not out of the ordinary for Colette Puhalski. But on this particular August morning, when Marty VanHooft, 27, of Melbourne, Australia, woke her up to watch the sunrise, she just wanted to stay under the covers. After some convincing, Colette, 22, of Hamilton, accompanied her boyfriend for a walk on the beach in Barnegat Light. While down by the water, Marty popped the big question.
The ocean is something the couple has always shared a love for. “It wouldn’t feel right if we got married anywhere else,” says Colette. But from the start, they didn’t want their September 15, 2015, event to be a conventional beach wedding. “I just wanted to be able to get married with my toes in the sand and celebrate while watching the sun set over the water,” says Colette. They decided to nix the typical shore décor and keep their beach bash subtle and classic.
The couple trusted the vintage rental experts at Rustic Drift to help them create their ceremony in the sand: Guests were greeted by a hand-lettered welcome sign on a cedar easel before taking their seats on handmade whitewashed wooden benches. Colette and Marty said “I do” underneath a rustic birch arbor (sourced in New Jersey!) with the water sparkling behind them. For their reception, the pair combined neutral colors—soft blushes and cream—with natural floral touches such as dahlia bulbs, eucalyptus and natural smoke bush to create an organic atmosphere. Tables were topped with mercury-glass vases, grapewood and floating candles.
Many beach brides make the classic faux pas of overemphasizing the nautical details when they should really let the surf speak for itself. “It’s important to let your location be the wow factor and just let your décor be a reflection of who you are as a couple,” says Colette. Take it from this beach bride: Sometimes, less is more! Especially at the Shore.
Bride’s Gown: Maggie Sottero from Bridal Suite Boutique, Hamilton
Bride’s Shoes: Nina Shoes
Florist: Reynolds Florist, Manahawkin
Hair: Guys and Dolls Salon, Hamilton
Makeup: Makeup by Lauren/ Beach House Spa, Surf City
Save-the-dates & Invitations: Kleinfelter Designs, Boston Ceremony
Details: Rustic Drift, Manahawkin
Ceremony & Reception Music: Be The Good, Barnegat
Videographer: Darn Swell Media
Cake: Big Apple Bakery, Manahawkin