Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Our wedding day

As you may know, my now husband and I met in Surf City on Long Beach Island, New Jersey eight years ago. Our parents own beach houses across the street from one another, so I guess you can say I was the girl next door. A year and half ago, just after Hurricane Sandy had ravaged our beloved island, he proposed to me on our beach while on a visit from our home in Virginia to help our families assess the damage and clear out my house to be gutted. Just minutes after becoming engaged, we knew there was nowhere else we could marry except on Long Beach Island — where our love story began.

The timing of our wedding was very important to us. He was graduating from medical school in Virginia and we wanted our wedding soon after so we could take our honeymoon to the Maldives and Dubai before starting his residency in dermatology.  With a very busy wedding season already heating up a year and half out, we were very fortunate to secure the Brant Beach Yacht Club to hold both our ceremony and reception overlooking the beautiful bay in late spring.

We wanted to give our friends — many who had never been to Long Beach Island and were traveling from far away — a little taste of what the Jersey Shore is really like and not what they’ve seen on TV.  My mother and I set off to DIY nearly every aspect of our wedding to make it a true reflection of our love of Long Beach Island.

Since I have a background in marketing and public relations, I have dabbled a bit in graphic design and thought I'd put what I'd learn to good use and set about creating all of our invitations, signs, menus, programs, table name banners and escort cards. 

The invitation suite I created in addition to the engagement party invitation and Save the Date

I created double-sided thank you/menus and programs
I started with a seaplane and banner, which is a common sight when you’re laying on the beach in New Jersey, and used it throughout the invitation suite. For the reception, I constructed actual toy planes and banners with the name of each town on the island. These were strung up above each table to look as though they were actually flying. 

Guests found their tables using personalized beach badges — another detail unique to the Jersey Shore — with the name of the town/table on them. 

Beach badges were used as escort cards

Our sweetheart table was named after Ocean Beach in San Francisco where we will be moving to for Brian to complete his residency. 

Our sweetheart table with the special Ocean Beach banner for our upcoming move to San Francisco
We started with a muted color palette with gray and beige tones that you find in nature like in the driftwood and shells we used and then added some pops of color with coral and turquoise throughout. The centerpieces we put together using galvanized and rope lanterns surrounded by handmade nautical rope wrapped mason jars filled with hydrangeas and baby’s breath. Votive candles and shells were also added. 

The tables at our reception
The entire yacht club — both inside and out— was transformed through the use of tulle, burlap, driftwood, oyster shells, baby’s breath, starfish and shells. 

Just a sampling of the shell accents from our wedding
Other DIY elements included: the shell and driftwood bouquets for the bridesmaids and me; the boutonnieres for Brian, the groomsmen, our fathers and ring bearer; the ring bearer’s sign; the flower girl’s bucket; the “B & B” shell letters; driftwood frames; oyster shell garland; and more.  

A few of the DIY elements we tackled for the wedding
We did a “first look” on the beach before the ceremony. I am so happy we did this since we were able to knock out all of the wedding party and family photos and truly enjoy the extended cocktail hour with our guests. 

Our "first look" on the beach
The party got started early with a bellini bar set up prior to the ceremony for guests to have drinks and be able to toast us once we were married. Surely this helped turn our wedding into one of the most epic dance parties I’ve ever been to — and that was before anyone sat down to eat their salads!  

A bellini bar for guests to quench their thirst before and during the ceremony

May 30 will be a day we will never forget. Having all of our different groups of friends and family all together in one place for an entire weekend was the most cherished part. We could never thank everyone enough for all of their love and support throughout the wedding process and our lives, but we’d expressly like to thank both our families — especially my mom and my sister — for all of their help, our caterer Joe Dringus of Touch of Elegance Catering for making food that people are still raving about and our photographer Ann Coen for giving us beautiful images we will cherish for a lifetime.

Just a few of my favorite shots from the beach beforehand (above) and the ceremony/reception (below)