It comes as no surprise that the SMP loving bride had a beautiful wedding from a laundry list of our favorite vendors – Brilliant Event Planning, Expert Makeup Artistry, Smock, to name just a small sampling – but what I wasn’t expecting was to fall just as in love with the couple as they loved SMP. I think I have Francesco Mastalia Photography to thank for that!
From the stunning bride… When we first told our friends and family that we planned to get married in February in New Jersey, the response was: What if there’s a blizzard? Weather not withstanding, our wedding date was carefully chosen. Colin and I met at a Super Bowl party on February 1, 2009, introduced by my future bridesmaid Chelsea and Colin’s good friend Josh (they later got married!). At the time I lived in NYC and Colin lived in Boston, but that night we each knew that we had met someone special. For the next few years, we made the best of a long-distance relationship, spending weekends together as often as possible (thanks to Amtrak!). Eventually, Colin moved to Hoboken, where I had recently moved, and we finally got to live in the same city. And on February 1, 2012, exactly three years after that Super Bowl party, Colin surprised me on the way home from our anniversary dinner by proposing on the Hoboken waterfront overlooking NYC. As a testament to my surprise, when he stopped, turned to me and gave me a card, I said, “It’s FREEZING, why are we stopping?” We ran back to my warm apartment and I called my mom, who had been waiting for my call for 6 hours (Colin had called each of my parents earlier that day to ask their permission). When we thought about when to get married February 2013 seemed only natural. And so on February 1, 2013, exactly one year after our engagement and four years after we met, we celebrated with our family and friends at our rehearsal dinner. The next day, February 2, 2013, Colin and I exchanged vows in front of our loved ones and officially began our married life together.
I grew up in Livingston, New Jersey and always wanted to get married nearby. As soon as I walked into the Pleasantdale Chateau, a beautiful 1900’s estate, I knew it was perfect. The venue feels like a private castle, with many rooms and alcoves to explore from a large Tudor-style room with a burning fireplace and decorative tapestries, to the Orangerie/conservatory, to the grand ballroom at the back. When I brought Colin to visit, he fell in love with it right away, and the planning began! Colin was very supportive from start to finish, and now knows more about china, calligraphy, flowers, linens and postage then he would like to admit!
I was also lucky to have my mother with me for every step of the planning process, from gown shopping, to florist and planner meetings, to designing invitations. I joke that she had been training for this moment for 34 years! My mother and I have always been extremely close. When Colin got a job in CA last year and we moved across the country, I knew that it would be hard on her. Wedding planning gave us many excuses to spend time together, and I cant thank her enough for being my east coast representative during the last few months of planning.
I knew that I wanted a traditional formal wedding with touches of fun and individuality. I wanted the atmosphere to be cozy, warm, romantic and elegant – a true escape from the cold weather. Sarah Pease of Brilliant Event Planning was invaluable in helping me carry out my vision. We focused on words like shine, textural and unexpected and imagined the colors of a winter sunrise. We decided on a soft warm palette of ivory, peach and light pink, with mixed metallic touches, textural elements and plenty of candlelight. I chose to use sequin linens from La Tavola (that I first saw on SMP) to reflect the candlelight and mimic the sparkle of freshly fallen snow. I also used pine cones sprinkled in gold glitter (from Michaels), gold and silver mercury glass votives, striped cocktail straws, and personalized napkins that I designed online. When combined with the floral design and the rich decor of the venue itself, my vision was achieved. Ashley Morgan of Belle Fleur was incredible to work with, and helped create two different centerpieces – tall silver trumpet vases with branches wrapped in orchids, and low silver vessels with lush garden roses, hydrangea, ranunculus and sweet pea, surrounded by antique silver candlesticks. For the ceremony, we kept it simple and romantic with clouds of babies breath to mark the ceremony space and pillar candles in hurricanes lining the aisle.
We also included a few nods to the fact that we got married on Groundhog Day. Our invitation suite included an after party card that read, “Didn’t get your Phil? Come toast an early spring or settle in for six more weeks of winter at the Happily Ever After Party.” And our specialty cocktails were the Punxsutawney Pomegranate Martini and the Groundhog Grapefruit Martini. We also had a Massachusetts Mojito for good measure, in honor of Colin’s home state. As another nod to Boston (and my obsession with coffee and donuts) we provided hot chocolate and 600 Dunkin Donuts munchkins for our guests as they left and headed out into the snow! We also enjoyed getting personalized gifts for our bridal party. I gave my bridesmaids pashminas and gloves (to keep them warm during photos) and gold necklaces with their first initial – all packaged in monogrammed totes. Colin gave his groomsmen Thomas Pink ties and cufflinks reflecting their individual hobbies or private jokes.
The most important thing to Colin and me was that our friends and family had a great time at the wedding. This goal was certainly achieved, thanks our amazing vendors. Our ceremony musicians, Randy and Topu, created the perfect atmosphere as guests arrived and during the ceremony and cocktail hour. Their mix of traditional and modern songs was exactly what we were looking for! Andrew Kronengold of the Pleasantdale Chateau was indispensable from the minute we met, and is one of the most genuinely helpful and professional people we have ever worked with. It was also important to us to hire some vendors that we knew personally or came recommended from friends. The first vendor I chose was Expert Makeup Artistry (of SMPs Little Black Book) because I went to high school with Lauren Iavarone. We hired Gary Hoffmann (DJ Gaza) who was the DJ at the wedding of the couple who introduced us (he was like having a third wedding planner). To capture the day, we chose photographer Francesco Mastalia who photographed both my cousins wedding in Newport, RI and my aunt and uncles 40th wedding anniversary. We chose Louis Sparre of Tweed Weddings as our videographer, due to the amazing work he had done for my bridesmaid Jen’s wedding. And my cousin, Jainé Kershner of Brklyn View Photography, introduced us to Elizabeth Bartucci of tuccicursive who did our amazing calligraphy. Both lovely ladies have recently been featured on SMP! Our strategy certainly paid off – these incredibly talented people helped make our wedding day more special than we could have imagined!
A final note about the snow: While I didn’t want a blizzard, I was not so secretly hoping for a little bit of snow and I got my wish! About 1-2 inches fell during the reception and it was beautiful! We also spent the night at the venue, and waking up with my new husband and looking out on the snow-covered grounds is something Ill never forget! I should also note that one week after our wedding, the Northeast was blanketed by 2-3 feet of snow. If we had gotten married then, over half of our guests would have been stranded in MA, CT and NY! We felt extremely lucky to be watching the storm on CNN from our honeymoon in Bora Bora!
Photographer: Francesco Mastalia And Susan Baker Of Francesco Mastalia Photography | Videography: Tweed Weddings | Floral Design: Belle Fleur | Invitations: Smock. | Bridesmaids' Dresses: J.Crew (Arabelle And Lucienne) | Hair + Makeup: Expert Makeup Artistry | Calligraphy: Elizabeth Bartucci, tuccicursive | Ceremony Music: NY Ceremony Music (Randy Bergida, guitar + Topu Lyo, cello | Venue: Pleasantdale Chateau | Brides Gown: Vera Wang "Joelle" | Brides Sash: Vera Wang | Chairs: Party Rental Ltd. | Cocktail napkins: Foryourparty.com | Groom's Shoes: Salvatore Ferragamo | Grooms and Groomsmen's ties: Thomas Pink | Groomsmen's Tuxedos: Joseph A. Bank | Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen Rental "New York Nude" | Menus: Checkerboard | Paper Goods From: Cambridge Street Papers | Planning/Day-of Coordination: Brilliant Event Planning | Reception Music: Gary Hoffmann (DJ Gaza