Details of the day: An early wakeup call to the waves crashing outside the window at the Berkeley Hotel in Asbury Park, NJ was the perfect way to start the day. The ladies began hair with Dana Brown and Beccey Michal and makeup with Amy Malkoff, while the guys were able to sleep for a few extra hours. We wanted our day to run smoothly, which is where Doreen Bavosa of Your Day to Shine came in as the day-of wedding planner. There were decorations and details galore – from Gatsby-esque chandelier centerpieces made by my dad to donation cards with small rhinestones hand-glued by her mom to escort cards by Art Paper Scissors enhanced with feathers by the bride and groom. Doreen calmed nerves and arranged decorations all while keeping everyone on schedule. As the day whirled by, my mom began to lace up her champagne-toned, sparkling Jenny Packham Luna gown – one of the first inspirations to creating a 1920’s boardwalk empire night-to-remember. The bridesmaids adorned their gold flapper dresses and sparkling headbands. On the other side of the Berkeley, the dapper groom and his men were freshening up and ready to dress in their grey suits with a mix of suspenders, vests, and newsboy caps. John Kotlowski of Inspire Me Imagery was there to capture every moment of this process and the rest of our dazzling day. An emotion-filled first look with my dad and I was followed by a moving first look with Angelo and I in the Berkeley’s art deco mezzanine. The entire bridal party had a blast taking pictures on Asbury’s boardwalk – such a unique, vivid, and lively site.
A few moments of breathing room were saved before the ceremony that was held in front of McLoone’s Supper Club on Asbury Park’s beach. The weather was superb with a sherbet-colored sunset in the background as I walked down the aisle. Guests were encouraged to remain “unplugged” to be fully present to witness the beginning of our marriage and capture how the moment felt with their hearts rather than with phones. We shared personal vows with tears and laughs which made for a truly beautiful ceremony. Guests were invited up to McLoone’s balcony for cocktail hour to indulge in a variety of passed hors d’oeuvres, raw bar, hot dishes, and a selection of cheeses and meats before entering the one-of-a-kind reception area. We chose McLoone’s for our reception site because of its breathtaking views of the ocean, Asbury Park, and Convention Hall, as well as for its roots in boardwalk history.
The supper club feel was perfect for the prohibition era visions that we had in mind at the beginning stages of planning. Table numbers were replaced with names of gangsters related to NJ prohibition history – Al Capone, Nucky Johnson, Lucky Luciano – and descriptions of these mobsters’ lives were placed at each table. Angelo and I worked closely with Narcissus Florists to find the perfect light pink and cream compliments to the gold accents and 20’s ambiance. After a delectable dinner with a choice of French-cut chicken breast, seared red snapper, or filet mignon, several signature drinks called The Bee’s Knees, and a smoke from Angelo’s cigar bar, everyone was up and dancing the night away with Richie Abrams from Cutting Edge Entertainment. In the mix of all of the fun, we cut our art deco inspired cake with three tiers of different flavors – cannoli filled being Angelo’s favorite. The night moved towards a close with a few ska and punk songs played as a nod to our days in Asbury at punk shows in the early 2000’s when McLoone’s was just a hotdog joint. To catch everyone’s breath, the DJ slowed it down for the last song – “I Feel Home” by OAR, a song near and dear to our hearts and those of many of the bridal party, as we have shared friendships for more than half of our lives. We could not have asked for a more impeccable, love-filled and engaging day. It sure was the cat’s meow.
Your favorite part: Taking pictures with our photographer and videographer in the middle of the Asbury Convention Hall Weekend Market. For a few moments, it felt like it was just us two even though there were hundreds of people swirling around us. We were greeted by shoppers passing by as we walked through the market and one awesome patron even let us borrow his boom box signed by Sugarhill Gang for a few snapshots.
If you could change one thing about your wedding what would it be? To not have had to plan from afar. We were living in CT and then FL for my internship and residency fellowship. It was tricky squishing three and four meetings into a weekend when coming home every several months to go over details, having meetings by phone and Facetime, and emailing ideas back and forth. We would have never changed having the wedding in NJ, though, especially on the Asbury boardwalk. It is our home and we have so much love for it. Even though it was logistically crazy, we were ready to make that sacrifice to return home to the place that holds our family, friends, and remarkably marvelous memories.
Advice for other brides: Remember to take a breath, look around, and soak in the beauty, love, and excitement of the day. You will remember the feeling of the day much longer than you will remember the little details or minor mistakes of the day. I had asked my matron of honor to remind me of this advice every few hours and she would brilliantly say to me every so often “Stop, take it all in. This is your day and it is beautiful.”
Officiant: Deborah J. Rivera
Wedding Planner: Doreen Bavosa – Your Day to Shine
Bride’s Gown: Jenny Packham – preownedweddingdresses.com – Zatsarina Fashion did the alterations
Bride’s Jewelry: Earrings – Etsy
Bride’s Accessories: Headpiece – Etsy
Bridesmaid Dresses: GatsbyLady
Hair: Dana Brown and Beccey Michal
Makeup: Amy Malkoff
Flowers: Narcissus Florist
Cake: Chocolate Carousel
Invites: Lisa Purcell at Art Paper Scissors
Music: Richie Abrams at Cutting Edge Entertainment
Videographer: Eric Pomerantz at Creative Unlimited
Favors: Donation Cards by Art Paper Scissors and Saltwater Taffy From Douglas Fudge of Wildwood, NJ
Honeymoon: Campervan adventure of New Zealand’s North Island and then a few relaxing days in Waikiki, Hawaii