With A Garden Party behind the beautiful blooms (complete with the happiest flower there is – the sunflower) you know this is going to be a chic soiree from the get go, but what you probably aren’t expecting is the heart. This wedding, from Amie Schroeder Photography, has so much heart, it glows.
From the planner… Oh where, oh where to begin? I think the best way to describe Alyssa & Joe is; a big breath of fresh air! When we sat down with Alyssa for the first time she was flanked by her mom, her sister, the head chef of her parents restaurant (where the wedding was going to be held) and her father popped his head in and out when he had a question. This was a family affair and Kristin and I were totally down.
Alyssa was super excited to be able to show us the space (a place we knew well having eaten there a few times), her parents restaurant in Swedesboro, NJ. Rode’s Fireside had recently renovated and redesigned the dinning space. It had a gorgeous fireplace, wood floors, these amazing barn doors to separate the bar from the dining room, and glass sliders that entirely opened up a wall to the stone patio area. This was going to be where they held the ceremony.
Alyssa and Joe wanted something that wasn’t so lavish, they didn’t see the need in spending a ton of money on a day that was more about the actual act of getting married than it was about leaving your guests gawking as they entered. What they got was both.
Alyssa’s Mom wanted desperately for Joe and Alyssa to have it all. She was honored that Alyssa and Joe wanted to spend their special day in their family restaurant and feeling like she was getting everything she wanted, she spared nothing.
Rode’s Fireside sits on a couple of acres of land in South Jersey with the Family home just across the street. Beyond Rode’s is a perfectly sweet barn, the initial thought of Joe and Alyssa’s was that the reception would be held inside. Unfortunately (and fortunately), the guest list grew and the chance of everyone fitting in the barn got smaller. So, they were to have a tent. It would be perfect, right off the stone patio of the restaurant and decorated with love.
When Alyssa spoke of how she and Joe saw the day she mentioned she wanted something that felt like home. She was having it at her families restaurant that sat in the middle of plush South Jersey where wild flowers grew and people farmed their land (yes, this really happens in New Jersey). She wanted to make sure that the restaurants surroundings were a part of decor. Done and Done. Mary & Dawn from A Garden Party Florist were the perfect fit.
Back to Alyssa and Joe being a breath of fresh air…On their wedding day we stopped by the restaurant to make sure everything was going smoothly. Alyssa’s mother was there as well-we had to ban her from returning to her own restaurant so she could enjoy the day and get ready, after all that’s what she hired us for! After checking in we went across the street to check on the bride. She was glowing! I’m pretty sure there were actual beams of light shooting out from her. She and her bridesmaids were kicked back, relaxing, watching college football and getting their hair and make up done. She was excited about EVERYTHING and she wasn’t afraid to show it. She was probably the most jovial bride we have had.
Much the same – Joe was sweetly excited. When he and the groomsmen arrived at the restaurant, he was a ball full of energy. You could see how excited he was all over his face.
Before Alyssa left to do her first look with her groom, she made sure to carve some time in her day to do a first look with her father. And even though they didn’t make an appearance to the actual wedding, they were dressed up in sweet eggplant colored dresses for the occasion.
Alyssa and Joe’s first look was perfection. He loved looking at her and she loved him. They took pictures as a couple all around the little town. Stopping at different barns, junk yards and fields to capture the amazing moments before they said I Do.
Their ceremony was PERFECTION!!!! Their officiant was one of Joe’s friends who got ordained to be their minister. They wanted someone to marry them who knew them well as a couple-who better than a best friend.? As Alyssa read her vows Joe cried and reached to touch her-you could tell he just wanted to kiss his bride. Then it was Joe’s turn for his vows. Joe is in a band and LOVES music (especially Bruce Springsteen) and wanted to represent that in the ceremony. He surprised Alyssa (and everyone) by pulling out his guitar from behind a curtain and sang his vows to his bride. One of the sweetest moments we have witnessed.
As the ceremony concluded and cocktail hour began the new Mr. & Mrs. began greeting all of their family and friends. Cocktail hour was held inside the bar area as well as the stone patio. Guests were entertained by the Budesa Brothers. A duo who often played at Rode’s on the weekends and had become a part of their family. Cocktail tables were decorated with flowers in mason jars they used the night before for the rehearsal dinner. Alyssa’s cousin cut the flowers from the surrounding area to use. They held wonderfully over night-so we used them.
Guests were ushered into the tented reception with concert tickets arranged on a old farm ladder. The perfect juxtaposition of the family farm life and the slyly incorporated love for music. From the ceiling of the tent Synergetic Sound and Light draped satin lined with cafe lights to set the ambiance. The centerpieces created by A Garden Party were arrangements, high and low, of locally grown wild flowers and feathers. The low arrangements had wild flowers in tree bark boxes, the high centerpieces had the flowers escaping from tall glass vases with purple succulents to balance out the base. Every table had votive candles to help with the romantic feel of the night and they were named after some of the musical greats.
The B Street Band entertained the guests all night long -a nod to Joe’s love of Bruce Springsteen (a Jersey Native). The band even had Joe come up and sing a few songs with them.
It was truly a family affair. Guests of the wedding were family, friends and regulars to the restaurant who had become family and watched Alyssa grow up. It was an amazing feeling throughout the night. All of the guests who attended were there to celebrate the couple-even the wait staff. By the end of the evening every single person was on the dance floor including the bar staff, wait staff and chefs.
If you’ve ever been at a wedding where every single person involved in making the day come to fruition was emotionally invested-you’ve been to Alyssa & Joe Wilson’s wedding.
Photography: Amie Schroeder Photography | Event Planning: Kyle Michelle Weddings | Florist: A Garden Party | Bride's Shoes: Angela Nuran | Band: B Street Band | Bride's Dress: Jennifer's Bridal | Ceremony/cocktail Hour Music: The Budesa Brothers | Event Rental: Synergetic Sound and Lighting | Groom/Groomsmen's Suits: Men's Wearhouse | Hair Stylist/Make-up Artist: Patty Gattuso, In The Village | Rental Company: South Jersey Party Rentals | Restaurant/Tent: Rode's Fireside