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An Entertainment Editor’s Wedding Brings Joy Back to the Jersey Shore

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!

Colors
Seasons
Summer

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!

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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

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A Gatsby-Esque Wedding With a Knockout Dress

It all started with one of the sweetest proposals ever.  Well, actually, it started in an LSAT prep course, but when it came time to get down on bended knee, this groom surprised his bride with a meaningful moment she will NEVER forget.  Follow that up with a vintage-inspired love fest overflowing with gorgeous details (think Beacon Lane invites and a stunning Johanna Johnson gown from Gabriella New York) and it’s a happy, happy Wednesday.  See it all captured by Kelly Kollar in THE VAULT.

Colors
Seasons
Fall
Styles
Al Fresco

From the Bride… Randy and I met in law school. Technically, Randy noticed me first in our LSAT prep course (when I was in college) but he didn’t tell me that until the night of our first kiss. We became friends when interning together and started dating our last year of law school.

Randy proposed in our apartment after we finished decorating our Christmas tree. I was very close with my grandmother and she passed away right before Thanksgiving in November 2014. We had been at my parents’ house for the week helping with the arrangements and services. When we traveled back to Hoboken that Sunday, Randy suggested that, to cheer me up, we get our Christmas tree a little early (he knows how much I love a real tree in the house). All of our Christmas ornaments are from my grandma – who had been buying me collectible dollhouse and Barbie ornaments since I was born. She had also been buying Yankees and Giants ornaments for Randy since we started dating. We decorated the tree with each of her ornaments as a tribute to her. When we were done, I went to the bedroom to get something and when I came out, Randy was kneeling in front of the tree. The proposal was private, personal, and perfect.

We began to plan the wedding a month or so later. Because we wanted a summer or fall wedding, we thought we would have trouble finding a venue so put that first on our list. I had originally envisioned an outdoor wedding with a big tented reception complete with “twinkly lights.” However, I was nervous about the unpredictable weather and no contingency plan for rain. However, after one look at Hamilton Farm, we didn’t have to worry about that. Hamilton Farm not only has a beautiful mansion, but also a large addition with floor to ceiling windows and a beautiful tent swept under it for the reception. The mansion, lawns, patio, and tent provided every element we were looking for no matter the weather (as it turns out we had picture perfect weather on our wedding day). I knew that “getting ready” with my mom and bridesmaids would be almost as fun as the wedding itself and the mansion’s bedrooms and “drawing room” provided the perfect backdrop for a beautiful morning (and beautiful photos!) with my favorite girls.

The dress was probably my favorite part of wedding planning. I booked a weekend of appointments at various NYC bridal salons and my bridesmaids, mom, and mother in law all took turns coming to appointments. I have been to my fair share of weddings and knew I wanted a dress that was different from those I had seen, but also classic and timeless. At Gabriella New York, I found my three favorite dresses – each was a completely different style. We left for one more appointment and then called Gabriella to see if we could come back later that evening to make a final selection. I tried on all three dresses again and knew that the Johanna Johnson dress would be the one. I loved the classic, almost regal front of the dress contrasted with the low sweeping back. The Gabriella staff was amazing and let us hang in their beautiful loft for hours toasting to the final dress selection. I don’t think I took the dress off the whole time.

Once we had the venue and I picked my dress, the wedding began to take on an Art Deco or Gatsby-esque feel. Everything fell into place – invitations, flowers, bridesmaid dresses. I chose a muted color palette of blush pinks and subtle grays. The bridesmaids wore blush dresses from BHLDN and the groomsmen wore gray suits from Ralph Lauren, where Randy works.

Hamilton Farm provided the perfect backdrop for an elegant affair, but also allowed us to add our own personal touches to the day. For example, knowing that our 4-year-old ring bearer was a little shy and loved all things power wheels, we had him drive down the aisle in his new F150.  He definitely stole the show. My favorite moment of the wedding was probably watching Randy perform The Humpty Dance onstage with our band.

About two hours into the reception my best friend grabbed me from the dance floor and told me to “stop and look around.” I was so happy I did. Seeing the dance floor filled with all the people we love the most dancing, singing, and enjoying the wonderful party that we somehow pulled off was definitely a magical moment. I know time is precious at every wedding, but I would encourage all brides and grooms to take a quiet moment together to step back and take a good hard look at the culmination of all their hard work.

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Photography: Kelly Kollar Photography | Floral Design: Jardiniere Fine Flowers | Wedding Dress: Johanna Johnson | Cake: A Sweet Passion | Invitations: Beacon Lane | Bridesmaids' Dresses: BHLDN | Band: Around Town Entertainment | Venue: Hamilton Farm Golf Club | Bridal Salon: Gabriella New York | Bride's Hair + Makeup: Up & Out Beauty Bar | Bridesmaids' Makeup: Makeup By Ana | Groom's + Groomsmen Attire: Ralph Lauren | Robes: Plum Pretty Sugar

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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The Sara Gabriel Trunk Show at Gabriella New York

Gabriella New York gives us a lot of reasons to celebrate and this month is certainly no exception.  That’s because on April 13th and 14th, they’ll be hosting a Sara Gabriel Trunk Show and, let me tell you, loves… it’s going to be awesome.  Think stunning handmade veils, headpieces and jewelry more than perfect for you + your wedding.  Mark your calendars and break out the bubbly. This is going to be sooo good.

When it comes to adding just the right touch of gorgeous to your wedding day attire, designer (+ total genius) Sara Gabriel knows everything.  I’m talking dazzling Swarovski crystals, delicate French Lace and intricate detailing carefully crafted into each and every handmade accessory.  Which means that whether you’re a romantic bride planning a sweet garden affair or a modern fashionista ready to party the night away on a rooftop overlooking the city, Sara Gabriel has a piece that will truly speak to your personal style and individuality.  And did I mention they are ALL truly breathtaking?? We love.

View the latest Sara Gabriel has to offer in gorgeous veils, amazing overskirts, detachable straps, stunning headpieces and dazzling jewelry + meet the designer herself (!) at Gabriella New York’s Sara Gabriel Trunk Show happening on April 13 – 14, 2016.  Visit Gabriella New York here or call 212-206-1915 to book you appointment.

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