After her family’s Jersey Shore beach house burned down during Hurricane Sandy, this gorgeous Bride (a Senior Editor at HuffPost Entertainment) and her handsome Groom decided their wedding was the perfect opportunity to “bring happiness back to the shore.” From Leigh’s stunning Rosa Clara Soft gown from Lovely Bride to the vintage glass bottle centerpieces, this day is full of beauty, love and so much joy. Take it all in thanks to InfocusNYC Photography in The Vault!
From The Bride…As I’m looking back on my wedding now, I have a huge smile across my face. Wow, what a journey to get to that one day, and how special it was to see all our hard work come to life.
My husband Will and I met a bar called The Red Lion in NYC in September 2011. While enjoying a night out with my gal pals, I bumped into my friend’s brother and got to chatting. He soon introduced me to a handsome young filmmaker friend (Will) and I felt an instant connection. From there, Will asked me out through email — how weird — and we dated for the next three years, bonding over our shared interest in the Entertainment field. (I am a Senior Editor at HuffPost Entertainment and Will, as mentioned, is a freelance filmmaker.) He proposed at sunset at his New Hampshire lake house in August 2014, with a pear-shaped diamond his dad proposed to his mom with, resetting it for me with a little help from my friends. It was magical, but somehow, our wedding day trumped it all.
I knew that I wanted to get married in September (the month we met) and down the Jersey Shore, where I spent many a summer at my parents’ longtime beach house. Sadly, the house, as well as some of our neighbors’ places, had burned down in a fire during Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and my family lost not only belongings, but a place where hundreds of beloved memories were built. It was a hard few months as my parents decided whether or not it was worth it to rebuild, but after realizing how special it was to all of us, they decided to go ahead and design a modular home. After missing two summers down the shore, the house was ready by Labor Day weekend of 2014, and we were thrilled. I turned to Will and said, “We need to bring happiness back to the shore,” and so we began researching venues.
We looked at a couple of places, but nothing stood out. I began thinking we could just rent a tent and do it up at the beach, but my mom warned that weather was unpredictable and although it sounded beautiful, the risk wasn’t worth it. So, we ended up looking into the Bay Head Yacht Club, which had recently been remodeled after the storm. It was stunning, romantic, nautical and classic. Only problem? You needed to be a member or get a member to sponsor you to have a wedding there. Luckily for us, Will’s uncle happened to have a friend who was a member and he decided to allow us the chance to have the wedding of our dreams.
The BHYC has a ballroom overlooking the bay, featuring a beamed ceiling embellished with sailing flags. It’s amazing. I knew I wanted to stick with the vibe of the room, but bring a little DIY magic to it. I also knew I wanted to play with a color palette of mint, navy and gold — to focus on the beachy side of the location. So, I began collecting old vintage bottles for the centerpieces to replicate sea glass, as well as the classic feel I was going for. I found some in Brooklyn, but amazingly enough, while up in New Hampshire at the lake house one weekend, we stumbled across a man named Gary who collected said bottles as a hobby, digging them up at old farms and in backyards. We purchased 75 of his “babies,” as he called them, and promised him that they’d be put to good use.
And they were. As we worked with our florist, we decided to fill the bottles with an arrangement of flowers featured in my and my bridesmaids’ bouquets — peach garden roses, dusty miller, white sweet pea, white lisianthus and assorted greenery and ferns. I then found old fish netting and cut it up to make smaller pieces for under the bottles at each table, then I decided that some candles would tie it all together. They were simple and unique, and didn’t clash with the BHYC’s ceiling.
While on the topic of bridesmaids, I knew I wanted to do a mixture of colors for their dresses to create an ombre effect, mimicking the sea glass shades of the bottles. I decided to go with the strapless Donna Morgan Laura dress in three shades — Candy Apple for my maid and matron of honor, Beachglass for three girls and Hint of Mint for another three. (Eight ladies all together.) My mother-in-law is a jeweler — Due Sorelle — and hand-made personalized necklaces for each of my ladies with beads I helped pick out. And to tie in the navy, Will and I decided that a blue tux would be great for the guys. We found one on The Black Tux — midnight blue — and got Will and his groomsmen matching shark socks to tie in the whimsical, beach theme.
For save-the-dates, we bought a wedding stamp from Etsy store Designkandy and hand-stamped it in navy ink on a mint card. We stamped a tag with “Save the Date” and tied it with a gold string onto the mint card. For invitations, we used our stamp again for the envelope, but bought a nautical card from Paper Source. Our RSVP and wedding details were on our website, Zullove.com — #Zullove was also our wedding hashtag as “Zullo” is Will’s last name.
For my dress, I wanted something vintage-looking with a bit of flare. I went to Lovely Bride in NYC and tried on a few dresses but fell in love with the Rosa Clara Soft Ulises gown, which featured sequins and a long, embellished train. I ended up wearing my hair up for the ceremony and down for the reception, sporting a jeweled flower crown by Toni Federici. My shoes were Kate Spade. (Discounted at Nordstrom rack, always a bargain shopper!) I wore my mom’s tennis bracelet and my great grandmother’s ruby bracelet for a pop of color. My hair and makeup were done by Shear Serenity Salon in my hometown of Pearl River, NY — Sam Diliberto has been doing my hair since my junior prom. They traveled down to the shore for the big day, and stayed by my side the entire time, making me look pretty every step of the way.
My bridesmaids, mom, mother-in-law and I got ready at my parents house, while Will and his men got dressed at The Bentley Inn in Bay Head. The girls and I walked up to the beach for some pictures, and my neighbors all came out to greet me! It brought tears to my eyes. When we were done, we got into the trolley from Long Branch and headed to our ceremony.
We were married in a full Catholic mass at Sacred Heart Church. We kept it simple, doing baby’s breath and burlap bows for the aisles and having our “ring-bearers” (our baby nephews) in Janie & Jack seersucker pants and white shirts and our flower girls in Janie & Jack blueberry-striped dresses. (They were obviously the cutest part of the wedding!)
For fun, at the reception, we set up a DIY-photobooth with the help of my sister-in-law, decorating it with fish-netting, banners and fun props. We also had a “message in a bottle” and a decoupage sand castle my friend’s mom made from scratch to be featured on the place cards table. Speaking of from scratch, our cake was made by Mueller’s Bakery in Bay Head. It was a red velvet cake, died mint-colored, with cream cheese filling. The outside was white and mint with an anchor candle as the topper.
We wanted the best of both worlds when it came to music, so we had a cocktail hour band, The Brooklyn Sugar Stompers who cover 1920s Gatsby-style music, and a DJ for reception, Aria Melody DJ. Both were fantastic and I highly recommend them.
Our photographers from Infocus NYC captured our day beautifully. From getting ready to breaking it down on the dance floor, they got every moment on camera. Take a look!
Photography: InfocusNYC Photography | Floral Design: Something Nice Floral Designs | Wedding Dress: Rosa Clara Soft | Cake: Mueller's Bakery | Invitations: Paper Source | Ceremony Venue: Sacred Heart Church | Reception Venue: Bay Head Yacht Club | Bride's Shoes: Kate Spade | Jewelry: Sam's Jewelry By Kim Inc. | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Donna Morgan | Hair + Makeup: Shear Serenity Salon | DJ: Aria Melody | Groom: William Zullo | Groomsmen Attire: The Black Tux | Bridal Boutique: Lovely Bride | Bride: Leigh Blickley | Bridesmaids' Jewelry: Due Sorelle | Cocktail Hour Band: Brooklyn Sugar Stompers | Hair Accessories: Ti Adoro | Invitation Stamp: Etsy - Designkandy | Veil: Toni Federici