Peony Events is the absolute master at a traditionally elegant wedding. Absolute best, as you can plainly see with just a peek at this wedding from Images by Harrison. Black tie and candles, pearls and white blooms… this is a stunner, that’s for sure.
From the stunning bride… Colin proposed with a scavenger hunt through the penthouse of the Plaza Hotel, ending with me on the balcony and him coming out of his hiding spot inside and getting down on one knee. It couldn’t have been more thoughtful or perfect for me because it was memorable, classic, and in a place that had special meaning for me. This is exactly what we wanted for our wedding day too. With Colin and I living in Manhattan far from our families, choosing a wedding location took time and thought. We ultimately decided to get married at the place where our lives together began – Drew University in Madison, NJ, where we started our friendship in 2003. Our wedding ceremony took place on Saturday, October 12, 2013, in S.W. Bowne Hall, nicknamed “Great Hall,” which is a large Gothic structure in the center of campus that turned 100 years old in the same month as our wedding. For three years, I looked at the beautiful granite building from my dorm window where I lived with my maid of honor. Great Hall is beautiful – with 10’ high paneled oak wainscoting below two-story high leaded glass windows. Our Wedding Planner, Stacey Sainato of Peony Events, designed and decorated the entrance and stone stairway landings with pillar candles in hurricanes and ivory hydrangeas and continued the elegance to the large fireplace mantle in the hall as a surprise. The gown was my easiest wedding decision – I wore a strapless Angelina Faccenda gown overlaid by a sheer short sleeve embroidered Casablanca jacket, and my Mom’s pearl and diamond earrings. Bridesmaids wore long black silk chiffon dresses and we carried all-ivory bouquets of calalilies, roses, and lisianthus. The gentlemen wore classic black tuxes with black ties and black vests. A string quartet played selections from Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto during the ceremony and I walked down the aisle with my Dad and Stepfather to Handel’s “The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba,” as it was important to me to have music that felt traditional and timeless, without feeling too familiar. Our minister from our Methodist church in Manhattan officiated the ceremony attended by 120 guests. The cocktail hour and reception were at the Madison Hotel in Morristown, NJ, just down the road from Drew and where my family stayed numerous times while visiting me. Upon entering, guests pinned their hometown or place of origin into a large map of the world – friends came from as far away as Australia, New Zealand, and Wales! A pianist played jazz and Broadway standards while guests visited the mashed potato martini bar, a smash hit! The reception space twinkled as low lighting and candles lit the hotel Conservatory, which has a glass ceiling and glass walls and is filled with seasonal flower arrangements. Up the middle of the long oval tables were mint julep cups filled with an all-ivory mix of hydrangeas and garden flowers, surrounded by votives. The low table arrangements were allowed guests to converse and did not distract from the grandeur of the room. One of my favorite things at the reception was the head table, which included us, the bridal party, and their spouses. Colin and I will enjoy the rest of our lives together but we wanted to share that night with our best friends! For the tables, we chose eleven numbers that had special meaning to us (for example, the distance from The Madison Hotel to our hometowns, the number of days that we have been dating, the year that Drew University began its college). Guests were surprised to see table numbers like 1928 and 3,063, and it was a conversation starter! We created “Mad Libs” guest book cards that allowed guests to think creatively – the responses ranged from sappy to hilarious. Finally, each table worked as a team to answer trivia questions about us – the prize was the pride of winning, and having Colin announce the winning table. The bridal party entered the reception to the high-energy instrumental “Life in Technicolor” by Coldplay, and then Colin and I entered to “Clocks,” also by Coldplay. We had two first dances: the classic “Let There Be Love” by Nat King Cole and the quirky “Mario Kart Love Song” by Sam Hart. Our wedding cake was vanilla sponge with custard filling, berries and Gran Marnier, along with an ice cream sundae bar! Colin’s groom’s cake was three-layers of different flavors and showcased his major interests from bottom to top: Seinfeld, movies, and the Philadelphia Phillies. Our DJ played an unforgettable mix of dance songs that had all generations on the dance floor. At the end of the night our guests spontaneously linked arms, formed a circle, and sang along to “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz. The last song was “Country Roads” by John Denver, since I am a proud West Virginian and my family still resides there. The next day we left to honeymoon at Baros resort in the Maldives and then to Rome. Our wedding was the best day of our lives and it was perfect to bring together parents, family, and friends at the location where me and Colin fell in love!
Photography: Images by Harrison | Videographer: Digital Memories | Event Design: Peony Events | Wedding Planner: Peony Events | Flowers: Conroy's Florist | Bride's Shoes: Kate Spade | Bridesmaids Dresses: J.Crew | Make up: Kathy Genchi Make up Pro | Hair: Salon Tease | Officiant: Reverend Stephen Bauman | Ceremony Music: Harmonia Strings | Transportation: Tru Limo | Hotel: The Madison Hotel | Bridal Gown: RK Bridal | Ceremony Rentals: Broadway Party Rentals | Cocktail Hour Music: Jazz Pianist, Arnie Abrams | Men's Tuxedos: Men's Wearhouse | Reception Music: Aria Melody DJ | University: Drew University