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Handwritten Notes Served as Escort Cards for Their 300 Guests

These two wanted their big wedding to feel truly intimate, so in lieu of traditional escort cards they wrote a personalize note to each and every one of their 300 guests. “Although we didn’t get a chance to speak to EVERY individual person, the notes allowed us to share a favorite memory and thank each guest for playing such an important role in our lives,” said the bride. It’s a meaningful touch with so much heart, and there’s more to love (AvaFlora blooms included) in the gallery from Michelle Lange and film by Bilski Productions.


Danielle and Nicholas’ Wedding at The Carltun in Eisenhower Park from Bilski Productions on Vimeo.


From the Bride… Coming from a big family where Sunday dinners are the norm and no milestone goes uncelebrated – we knew our wedding would be one big party! Nick and I met in college at Hofstra University just down the road from The Carltun, where we were married. When I met Nick I instantly fell in love with his sense of humor and his energy.

It was the day after our first date that I introduced him to my ENTIRE family at my father’s 50th birthday and he immediately fit right in. I am so grateful to have the love of my life by my side through anything life throws our way including two years of long distance between New York and Virginia.

After about a year and nine months of long distance, Nick popped the question in the best way he knew how – by proposing at my parents’ house with all of our closest friends and family watching from inside turning our engagement into one big celebration. Soon after our engagement Nick moved back from Virginia, we moved into our first place together in New Jersey and the wedding planning began!

The first item on our wedding planning agenda was finding a venue that could accommodate our 300 family and friends and could bring to life our vision for a rustic elegant affair. When we first visited The Carltun we instantly fell in love with the classic elegance of the space. The elaborate white molding and wood floors in the ballroom were absolutely breathtaking. The garden area where we would be married was so romantic as its centerpiece is a gorgeous water fountain surrounded by cypress trees.

After selecting our venue we then began to solidify the details of our big day. Our venue helped shape our color palette for our big day. Being that The Carltun was so elegant we wanted to incorporate a neutral color palette into our theme to compliment both the ballroom and the garden area.

When we first met with Lori at AvaFlora I explained our vision and she immediately knew how to bring it to life through a mix of white florals and greenery. The bar which, was the backdrop for my Dad and I walking down the aisle was covered in a green garland. The end of the aisle was decorated with an array of plants and white and green floral arrangements which, were later repurposed as decor for the ballroom and entrance of the space.

Being that we wanted to incorporate a rustic look to our day, we enlisted the help of Dovetail Rentals. They provided draw dropping farm tables to line the front of our ballroom for our bridal party’s table. When we walked into the ballroom the day of our wedding it was perfect! Our head table was lit with candelabra’s and each place setting was met with a simple piece of greenery giving it a cozy aesthetic and making it feel just like a big Sunday dinner.

Throughout the planning process, we wanted to find ways to include our family and friends in all of the excitement. For our favors we chose to give out a bottle of homemade wine as one of our favorite things to do is have a movie night and share a bottle of red wine. In March we got our entire bridal party and immediate family together to bottle and label 200 bottles of wine. This was such a fun day and allowed us to spend time with everyone leading up to the big day.

Being that we were anticipating around 300 guests for our wedding we wanted to find a way to make it feel intimate. Nick suggested we hand write notes to all of our guests and I am so happy we did! The week’s leading up to our wedding we dedicated about an hour a night to write a note to each of our guests. The notes were then carefully placed into an envelope which acted as the seating card for all of our guests. Following our wedding, we still hear about how amazing it was. Although we didn’t get a chance to speak to EVERY individual person the notes allowed us to share a favorite memory and thank each guest for playing such an important role in our lives.

As I worked on the nitty gritty details, Nick coordinated the elements for our wedding that he was most passionate about – the music.

About a year prior to our engagement, we attended our close friends, wedding in Florida where we heard, Bryan Malpass for the first time singing acoustically. That night Nick let Bryan know that the second we got engaged Bryan would be the first to know! Following our engagement – Nick confirmed Bryan to fly in from Florida for our big day to sing me down the aisle.

Our ten bridesmaids walked down the aisle to the acoustic version of “What Makes You Beautiful” and I followed walking down to the acoustic version of “Just the Way You Are” as selected by Nick – they could not have been more perfect.

Following the ceremony Bryan sang during cocktail hour, however, because Nick and I did not get a chance to hear him during that time, Nick requested he play some songs as guests were having their entrees during the reception. As Nick and I were making our way through the tables to greet guests we walked across the dance floor to get from one end of the room to the other but quickly stopped in the middle of the room for one of our all time favorite songs “I’ll Be.” This impromptu dance turned into such a memorable part of the night for us as we were not only the only people on the dance floor but felt like we were the only two people in the room.

After two years of planning, the day came and went so quickly and it could not have been more amazing. Our day was made special thanks to all of the love and support we received from our parents. From my mom going on countless wedding dress appointments with me to my dad sharing our favorite dance (“Butterfly Kisses”) together to Nick’s mom and dad for making numerous trips between Virginia and New York to be a part of every pre-wedding event – we are forever grateful for everything they did to make our wedding everything we could have dreamed of and more.

If we can give any future bride and groom advice it would be to not worry about the small stuff. While some things may not go according to plan don’t stress about it – chances are you and your new hubby are the only ones that will notice it. The day is about you and your husband and the love and excitement you have ahead. Most importantly have fun!

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Photography: Michelle Lange Photography | Cinematography: Bilski Productions | Wedding Planning and Design: Gilded Lily Events | Floral Design: AvaFlora | Cake: The Carltun | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Adrianna Papell | Makeup: Kristin Mavroson | Hair: Stephanie from De La Mer | DJ : Bravura Entertainment | Wedding Venue: The Carltun | Bridal Shop: Wedding Salon Of Manhasset | Invitation Designer: Linen & Leaf | Live Music : Bryan Malpass | Vintage Furniture Rental: Dovetail Vintage Rentals | Wedding Dress Designer: Inbal Dror

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The Cut

All of the 4 Cs are important, but when it comes to maximizing a diamond’s brilliance, cut reigns supreme. A well-cut diamond with proper angles and facets will catch the light and make the diamond look bigger regardless of its carat weight.

The Shape

With more than 58 facets, brilliant-cut diamonds are mathematically designed to maximize the reflection of light. But, fancy cut diamonds and elongated stones — oval, emerald and marquis cuts — can also look bigger than they are thanks to a large surface area.

The Metal

Making your engagement ring look bigger is all about creating an optical illusion, and the metal it’s set in is a key component. Though rose gold and yellow gold are having a moment, if you want your ring to look bigger, platinum or white gold is the way to go. Like a mirror reflects light and makes a room look larger, a platinum or white gold band will reflect the image of the stone in the metal, creating the illusion of a larger stone.


The Prongs

Normally, you probably wouldn’t pay very much attention to your engagement ring’s prongs, but they also are a factor in how big or small your diamond appears. In this case, it’s all about proportion. The smaller the prongs, the bigger the diamond will look.

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Choosing a halo setting is probably the most straightforward way to make a diamond look bigger. By putting a ring of smaller diamonds around the center stone, you create more sparkle, and therefore the illusion of a bigger diamond!

The Details

When in doubt, add more diamonds! Choosing a setting with side stones or a setting with a micropavé band has the same effect as a halo setting — it reflects more light and creates the illusion of a bigger stone. Opt for side stones smaller than your center diamond to maximize the effect.

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Engagement Announcements You Haven’t Seen a Million Times on Facebook

Announcing your engagement? It’s a big, big deal. And since you + yours are totally unique and crazy cool (obviously), you want to do it, well… a little bit against the norm. Enter this slideshow and 10 fabulous ways to say “We’re getting married!” that you haven’t seen a million (or trillion) times before. (PS – Get all the inspo you need for your engagement right here, y’all.)

Engagement Announcements You Haven't Seen a Million Times
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Engagement Announcements You Haven't Seen a Million Times
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Find more inspiration here!

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Tailgating Must-Haves for a True Touchdown

Fall means pumpkin lattes, leggings and cozy sweaters. But fall also means Sunday’s spent on the couch, cheering on our favorite teams. It’s officially football season and for those of you lucky enough to NOT be on the couch, but at the actual game itself, let’s make sure your tailgate is decked out with every single essential. Thanks to Food52 and Macy’s, we’ve got the 411 on what to register for to ensure you and your man are properly prepped for kick off!

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