Real Weddings

Lisa and Michael’s Wedding at The Reeds at Shelter Haven

Details of the Day: We were not concerned with current wedding trends or colors. We love vibrant colors, which is one reason we love watching the sunset. The summer sunset became the inspiration for our color scheme. We did not have a strict theme; we just wanted our guests to come to a party that truly reflected us. We wanted people to feel as though they attended a party that could only be ours. We chose seasonal blooms in bright colors of orange, purple, yellow, and fuchsia to mimic the sunset. Our wedding cake was simple round tiers in an ombre sunset color palate. Our cake topper was a silhouette of a couple kissing, with a surfboard beside them and “Best Day Ever” below. Mike loves to surf. The attire for the bridal party was also inspired by the sunset. The bridesmaids wore Alyce Paris prom dresses in royal blue with bright colored bouquets which were complimented by the loud and fun plaid ties worn by the groomsmen. We did not want the traditional look of a bridal party; we wanted a fun and unique look that reflected our personalities and I think we achieved that. Mike was equally involved in all the design elements of the wedding. We had so much fun planning our big day and it brought us closer to make all the decisions together. We had a cookie and candy bar for our guests. Mike loved the idea of having a groom’s cake that looked like a sandcastle because of the nostalgia. We had a basket of flip flops available for all our guests. We wanted to encourage dancing because we love, love, love to dance and to listen to live music. We had an amazing live band and colorful glow sticks that even my 93 year old grandfather enjoyed!

Mike has a passion for surfing. We hired a local artist to paint a tropical sunset on a surfboard which we used as our guestbook. Lisa works in geriatric healthcare and began collecting martial advice from her happily married patients during her engagement to Mike. We selected our favorite advice quotes and put them in picture frames on each table at the reception.Lisa’s mom has Multiple Sclerosis and we honored her by giving MS awareness bracelets to our guests. We are very close to my (Lisa’s) grandparents who have been married for 68 years. We seek their advice about life and marriage and we visit them frequently. Their advice has helped us strengthen our own relationship over the last 8 years and we wanted to honor them in a unique way. We were thrilled when Grandmom and Pop-pop Hermanns agreed to be our flower girl and ring bearer. They enjoyed playing a special role in our big day. Mike’s cousin is a Catholic priest and accepted the responsibility of preparing us for marriage and officiated the event. Mike and I consider ourselves very fortunate to come from families where our parents are still married; both couples have been married for 35 years. We look to them for inspiration in our relationship and understand that life presents many joys and struggles and you can achieve anything with your spouse. We surprised our parents by having the band play our parents’ wedding songs. Mike’s parents danced to Joe Cocker’s ‘You are so beautiful’ and Lisa’s parents danced to Lionel Richie’s ‘Forever’. It was so heartfelt for Mike and I to watch our parents dance to their wedding songs on our special day.

The Venue Mike and I knew when we got engaged that we wanted to get married down the shore. We met and fell in love there, twice, many of our favorite memories together and from our childhood were made down the shore, and it was also where we got engaged. We wanted to share the magic of the summer and the Jersey Shore. We were excited about the Reeds because it offers beautiful views of the sunset and a dock for a boat entrance. Lisa spent her childhood boating with her family. Mike asked for Mr. Hermanns’ permission to marry Lisa on her dad’s boat. The boat entrance during cocktail hour was a cool surprise for our guests and had special meaning to us to incorporate a boat on our wedding day.  The Reeds is a beautiful venue with an open air concept. The cocktail hour took place on the dock, which was perfect for the sunset and our boat entrance and the ballroom opens up to the outside so guests can enjoy the summer night without leaving the party.

The Menu: We love seafood. We had a raw bar at cocktail hour and assorted passed hor devours. Entree choices included: vegetable risotto, chicken stuffed with roasted red peppers, spinach and mozzarella, and filet mignon. Our wedding cake was vanilla chiffon with lemon curd, raspberry preserves and buttercream frosting in sunset ombre colors.

The Gown: My wedding gown was purchased and customized at TESI Bridal & Formal in Northfield, NJ. I had the best experience at this bridal salon. My younger sister, Michelle (maid of honor) picked out a dress for me to try. It was all lace with light beading that sparkled in the light and had a tiered lace train. Even with the long train, the fabric was light and airy. The feel of the dress was comfortable and something you’d want to wear in the summer. The dress has no straps, which I was not a fan of, but the entire back of the dress was lace embroidered. I worked with the seamstress to make the vision come to life. Some of the back embroidered lace was removed to create lace straps, which was much more flattering on me. When I walked out of the dressing room, I could not stop smiling. Even though the dress was not “perfect” when I tried it on, I was able to envision the changes that would make it become “my dress”. When the seamstress told me that the customization was feasible, I was sold! It was very special to wear a dress that my sister/best friend selected for me.

Favorite Moment: Our wedding was absolutely amazing in all the best ways. We were so happy with all the decisions we made and thoroughly enjoyed every moment. Our favorite moment was the first look, although the entire day was perfect. Mike and I chose to do a first look for several reasons. Because the ceremony and reception took place in Stone Harbor and we wanted our wedding photos to be in Sea Isle where we met, fell in love, and got engaged, we could not take our pictures during cocktail hour. We also both love cocktail hour at weddings and we did not want to miss our own. The biggest reason we decided to do a first look is because we spent a year planning for this day to share with everyone and wanted time to ourselves to just say, “I love you, I’m so glad today is finally here, let’s do this”.  Mike and I were so filled with excitement during our first look. It was quiet, peaceful time with my best friend. We weren’t nervous, just excited that we were about to be married and commit our lives to one another. Our first look took place at Townsend Inlet Waterfront Park where we got engaged. Mike and I got to hug, kiss, and exchange our own vows (separate from the Catholic vows) in private. It was a very vulnerable moment for us and I was thankful we decided to do it in private. A wedding is a big party and so much is done as a reflection of the bride and groom for the enjoyment of the wedding guests. The first look was only for Mike and me; it was sacred to us.

Advice for Other Brides: Remember that your wedding day is the day you and your spouse are promising to build your lives together. No matter how you choose to celebrate or who attends, all that matters is that you have one another on this day. Some of the best advice we got when we became engaged was:a) your wedding theme should be you! don’t worry about trends or sticking to a theme; if it means something to you, then go for it. b) make sure to take time for just the two of you on your wedding day; it goes by fast so enjoy it and try to be in the moment. c) appreciate how special it is to have all the people you care about the most in the same place together; they’re all there to celebrate/support your love. I think Mike and I did a really good job of achieving all these things and it’s why we have nothing but good memories of our day. As amazing as our wedding was, our marriage is even better.

Honeymoon: We were planning our honeymoon for 6 months post-wedding to tour  Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, and New Zealand. Mike’s golf career has led us to relocate to Los Angeles and so our original honeymoon plans have been postponed but we are loving our new residence. We will tour Thailand in January 2018. Mike and I were married in a Catholic ceremony by his cousin who is a Catholic priest. I found out from one of my patients that newlyweds married in the Catholic church can attend an audience given by the Pope and receive his blessing. We made arrangements to visit Rome a few weeks after the wedding and the church encourages newlyweds to attend the audience in their wedding attire. Mike and I scheduled a photoshoot in Rome, Italy; I wore my wedding dress and Mike wore a different Hugo BOSS suit I gave him as a wedding gift. Mike loved two Hugo BOSS suits and couldn’t decide between the two for the wedding; I encouraged him to wear charcoal to better coordinate with his groomsmen, who wore grey, and I gifted him the teal suit for Rome. I love, love, love our Rome photos. They are romantic and intimate. Mike and I attended the audience in Rome with approximately 60 other newlywed couples (in wedding gowns and tuxes) from all over the world! It was such an incredible experience. We met other newlyweds from Australia, Spain, and England. Meeting Pope Francis is one of the most profound moments of my life. You could feel the compassion that filled St. Pete’s Square and Pope Francis’ presence is indescribable. We also explored the Amalfi Coast, which is stunning!

  • Hometowns:Cherry Hill, NJ (bride); Medford, NJ (groom)
  • Reception Location:The Reeds at Shelter Haven
  • Photographer:David Hilliard Smith
  • Officiant: Rev. Louis Scurti (cousin of the groom)
    Wedding Planner: Reeds
    Bride’s Gown: Essense of Australia – customized; TESI Bridal
    Bride’s Shoes: Betsey Johnson
    Bride’s Jewelry: Grandmother’s diamond; JG Kronenberger
    Bride’s Accessories: TESI Bridal
    Bridesmaid Dresses: Alyce Paris
    Hair: Gail Luciano
    Makeup: Casey Dickerson – I DO hair and makeup
    Groom’s Attire: Hugo BOSS
    Groomsmen Attire: Hugo BOSS
    Flowers: Always Beautiful Floral Design by Stella
    Cake: Reeds
    Invites: Printing Plus South Jersey
    Music: Central Park Band – Center Stage Entertainment
    Videographer: Mondo Memories – Armand Digiampietro
    Transportation: Great American Trolley (ceremony); First Fish Adventures (reception boat entrance)
    Favors: Crazy Susan’s Cookies (assorted cookies and candy); MS awareness bracelets
    Honeymoon: Rome and Southern Italy


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