Real Weddings

Stephanie Malavarca to Frank McDermott at Bonnet Island Estate

Although Stephanie, a 26-year-old hair colorist, and Frank, a 30-year-old sales rep, first met in high school, things didn’t get romantic until after Frank finished college. After dating for over two years, Frank popped the question on a beach in the Dominican Republic. “We had started to talk about marriage, but I wasn’t expecting anything to happen so soon,” says Stephanie. So the proposal—which included a cushion-cut diamond in a Tiffany band setting—took her completely by surprise.


Once Stephanie got over the shock (and said yes!), the two began planning a springtime affair. They initially wanted a Caribbean wedding, but after realizing that not all of their family members would be able to make the trip, they opted for the Bonnet Island Estate off the coast of Long Beach Island. The bride spent many childhood summers on LBI, and the locale offered the best of both worlds: a destination wedding that was close to home.

Bonnet Island Estate wedding

Stephanie walked down the aisle in a silk faille A-line gown with a sweetheart neckline and tulip skirt by Amsale. “I saw the dress in a magazine ad and I instantly knew it was the one,” says Stephanie. And the groom agreed: when Frank first saw his bride in her gown, he said she looked like a beautiful wedding cake! Stephanie completed her look with Jimmy Choo shoes and a round bouquet of green and pink rydrangea, Candy Bianca Roses, viburnum, cream Vendella roses, and soft pink ranunculus, all French-braided with coordinating ribbons and pearl pins.

Bonnet Island Estate wedding

The bride and groom exchanged vows in front of the boathouse chapel’s stone fireplace. Afterward, everyone moved to the open veranda for the cocktail hour, where a calypso band entertained the couple’s 90 guests. The reception was held in the formal ballroom, where Stephanie and Frank shared their first dance to “Crazy Love” by Van Morrison. The spin also featured the day’s one snafu: the strap on Stephanie’s gown broke, and she was forced to hold onto the bodice of her gown until the end of the song. Luckily, one of her guests was a professional seamstress and came prepared with a sewing kit!

Bonnet Island Estate wedding

Once that crisis was averted, everyone enjoyed the rest of the evening. Tables were adorned with tall glass trumpet vases filled with flowering branches and hanging votives, and the menu included spring salad, filet mignon, and Chilean sea bass. Instead of a traditional wedding cake, Stephanie and Frank served cupcakes in a variety of flavors. A sweet ending to a perfect day!


  • Reception Location:Bonnet Island Estate
  • Photographer:Marie Labbancz

    Caterer: Merri-Makers

    Officiant: Rev. Christopher Reilly

    Bridal gown: Amsale from Saks Fifth Avenue, Short Hills

    Bride’s hair: Brooke Perone of Depasquale the Spa, Morris Plains

    Bridesmaid dresses: Bella Bridesmaids, Madison

    Groom’s & Groomsmen attire: Ridge Squire, Rye Brook, NY

    Band: Soularrhythm

    Florist: Mds Floral Design, Manahawkin

    Invitations and wedding-day stationery: Invites by Stephanie, Little Egg Harbor

  • Janice DiNola

    You are even more beautiful than I remember you in the Fifth Grade. Congratulations and have a beautiful life full of happiness, good health. love and luck. Jim says congratulations Tatum!

Search Local Sources

[gravityform id="16" title="false" description="false"]
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
[gravityform id="15" title="false" description="false"]
[gravityform id="14" title="false" description="false"]
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
[gravityform id="13" title="false" description="false"]
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.