Real Weddings

Michelle and Paul at Nanina’s In The Park

Details of the day: The morning was super relaxing all around! I chose to get ready at my parent’s house with my parents, and the girls in the bridal party. While we were downstairs with Jennifer from Pin It Up Bridal, getting our hair done, and Kira from Kira’s Makeup Artistry was doing our makeup, our gowns were hanging upstairs. Mine, a true white satin Allure ball gown with a sweetheart neckline, ruched bodice, and crystal belt, amongst a sea of Jim Hjelm black satin fitted dresses with a complimenting sweetheart neckline and a gold crystal belt we added.  The photographer, Charles Palmisano from Charles Anthony Studio in East Hanover, and videographer, Kaan Tulgar from Kaan Tulgar Productions of Bergenfield, arrived and the girls and I had a lot of fun taking photos.

The day was cold and crisp, with a little wind, but it just added to our “winter wedding” effect. The church was decorated with gold wreaths with a white wooden “P” for Paul in the middle of one, and “M” for Michelle in the middle of the other. Down the aisle were lanterns lit with a candle decorated with evergreen branches, a large white bow, and a sparkly white flower. Other pews had evergreen branches with white berries and white tulle bows affixed to them. The altar had baskets of white flowers with white sparkly winter branches coming out of them. As the evening rolled in on our 3pm ceremony, the candles glistened and the details shimmered, making the ambiance super romantic. Even our unity candle had a crystal applique! We opted for a full mass, and we received a lot of compliments on our ceremony. The priest’s homily was about love, and our hand-picked readings were a little more modern and relatable. After the ceremony, Paul walked out to the sight of a Jeep Wrangler Limo. Paul has driven Jeeps as his last few cars, and his hobby is off-roading and modifying the one he has now. When we got engaged, the Jeep limo was the only thing he formally requested for the wedding, but it couldn’t fit 18 people like we needed; so as a surprise I got it for the two of us! We sent the bridal party with our parents to Nanina’s In The Park, while we stopped to take photos with his police K9 partner. She even hopped in the Jeep limo and stuck her head out to pose a few times! When we arrived at Nanina’s, we took more gorgeous and creative photos in the bridal suite. Our photographer got married at Nanina’s, and he’s a preferred vendor at the venue, so he knew exactly what shots would work best. I highly recommend brides consider the preferred vendors at their venue. It makes a huge difference. When we got a look at the reception room before the guests were allowed in, I saw the absolutely breathtaking centerpieces I chose from Santos Florist. High hydrangea flower balls, with winter white sticks with glitter bursting out of the top. Lines of crystals dripped from the centerpieces to a table scape of black and gold plates, candles, and napkins. On each place setting you found our favors, a glittery wreath ornament in a white organza bag with a photo tag of Paul and myself with the words, “With Love & Thanks, Michelle & Paul.”

While our bridal party went to enjoy the cocktail hour, Paul and I stayed in the bridal suite to enjoy the food that was brought up to us. Our maître d, Vicky, knew that that time together for the first time as husband and wife was important, so she dimmed the lights, and let us really enjoy our food and conversation. Elite Sound Entertainment out of Saddle Brook was our DJ, and after the cocktail hour, they got all of our guests and bridal party really hyped up for the introductions. Each couple thought of a really creative, fun, and funny entrance dance, and it just added to our unique celebration. Our first dance was to Billy Joel’s I Love You Just The Way You are, and my dad and I danced to Michelle by the Beatles. Paul and his mom chose Lynard Skynard’s Simple Man, where I sung out loud the line, “You’ll find a woman…and you’ll find love…!” The evening flew by, and after cutting our delicious marble cannoli/raspberry filled cake from Conca D’Oro Bakery in Union, we took some romantic photos just before Elite Sound Entertainment played their last set as the night was ending. We planned ahead and brought Santa hats for a photo in front of the tree we were going to use as our Christmas thank you card! We had a wonderful after party at the hotel, and we closed the bar out! I enjoyed every single moment of our wedding. There was even a point where I was sitting at our sweetheart table looking at everyone who was there and just remembering they were there for us – to show their love and support for us, and celebrate our love. Unforgettable.

Your favorite part: The estimated 25 minutes Paul and I got to spend together during the cocktail hour. We had been surrounded by family and friends all day, and it was our first time together as husband and wife. Our maître d turned the lights down in the bridal suite, brought us a plate of every item at the cocktail hour, a drink, and let us enjoy that time together. We got to laugh, talk about the details of the day, and what was to come at the reception.

Advice for other brides: Really take the time to be present at the ceremony and reception, and remind your groom to do the same. The day will fly by, and it’s important to be super aware that you’re at your wedding! We took in every moment and we relished in it.

  • Hometowns:Clark, NJ
  • Wedding Location:Saint Helen's Church, Westfield, NJ
  • Reception Location:Nanina's In The Park, Belleville, NJ
  • Photographer:Charles Anthony Studio
  • Officiant: Father Michael Saporito
    Bride’s Gown: Allure
    Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka
    Bride’s Jewelry: Something Borrowed!
    Bride’s Accessories: Something Borrowed!
    Bridesmaid Dresses: Jim Hjelm
    Hair: Pin It Up Bridal
    Makeup: Kira’s Makeup Artistry
    Groom’s Attire: Men’s Warehouse/Macy’s
    Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Warehouse/Macy’s
    Flowers: Santos Florist
    Cake: Conca D’oro
    Invites: The American Wedding
    Music: Elite Sound Entertainment
    Videographer: Kaan Bulgar Productions
    Transportation: Santos Limo/Ohana Limo
    Favors: Kohls
    Honeymoon: Sandals Saint Lucia La Toc


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