It’s official. I am obsessed with the Bonnet Island Estate. OBSESSED. And, trust me, one look at all of the pretty below and you will be, too. Because this magical venue is boasting SO MUCH LOVELY (Hello Boathouse Chapel!), every last moment of this darling soiree looks like a scene from a romantic movie. Lucky for us, the oh-so-talented Femina Photo + Design was on hand to capture every last ounce of sweetness, including those charming DIY paper goods, the breathtaking florals by MDS Floral Designs and the uber-stunning bride and groom. Click here for more.
From the Bride… John and I met our sophomore year at UD. We were in the same dorm and he was rooming with one of my best friends. We started dating that year, and our relationship was the best thing about college. Five years after we met, on Christmas Day, John proposed to me in front of my family. We got married a year and a half later. I feel so lucky to have met such a wonderful man while at college. There were two really important things with our wedding that we followed through with. The first, was not to get crazy or stressed or anything negative. Once we had our minds set on a positive and stress-free wedding, everything was just really easy and simple. I didn’t get upset or worried over any details, I took people’s advice, followed my heart, and included John in every decision. Second, there were some things John and I knew we wanted in terms of personal touches. The first was to have my two godfathers marry us. So they got ordained online and were able to marry us. Neither John or I are religious, and I didn’t want a priest who didn’t know John or me or believe in something we don’t marry us. So my godfathers did it and it was amazing and so special.
I also wanted my sister and John’s good friend Mike to sing our wedding song. They sung “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and then transitioned to “What a Wonderful World” for my father and I to dance to. We did our own invitations. John is a graphic designer so he designed them, spending hours picking out the right colors and font, paper, envelopes, etc. He even designed the stamps and return address sticker. I helped with the cutting and pasting. We had our friend write the addresses in calligraphy. I won’t lie, they did take a lot of time and effort, but if you have the know-how and leave extra time, it is totally doable and worth it. All other personal touches were in the details. I let the bridesmaids’ choose how they wanted their hair and makeup, shoes, etc. Everyone, including me, walked down the aisle to acoustic Beatles songs. Instead of a guest book to sign, everyone signed a surfboard. The table cards were each attached to a star fish or sand dollar, and they were buried in these beautiful sand boxes. I wanted to employ as many friends as possible (including our amazing photographers!) so our menus and programs were made by my good friend Rachael who is a graphic designer. We had our own signature drinks during the cocktail hour. Towards the end of the night, I changed into a short white dress and put on my Sex and the City blue Manolo Blahniks. I got my bridesmaids silver sparkle TOMS that they all changed into. We wanted the atmosphere to be relaxed and just fun, nothing stuffy or traditional. We had an after party at the estate where everyone just hung outside, smoked cigars, drank beer and ate pizza. We had a party bus drive everyone home, and we had a bagel breakfast the next day.
And finally our photographers were absolutely amazing. My favorite thing about them is how they were absolutely everywhere, got pictures of everything that happened that night … yet I never saw them. They were never in the way or anything like that. They were perfect. Most of all I love how they set up our “first look.” John and I wanted to do pictures before the ceremony, so they came up with a beautiful place for John and I to see each other. It was so special and I will never forget it.
Wedding Photography: Femina Photo + Design / Wedding Venue: Bonnet Island Estate on Long Beach Island in Manahawkin, New Jersey / Flowers: Michelle Santanello of MDS Floral Designs / Event Planning: Laura DeGennaro of Merri-Makers Caterers / Catering: Merri-Makers Caterers / Wedding Invitations: John Clifford, The Groom (A Graphic Designer) / Wedding Programs + Menus: A Friend of the Bride / Wedding Dress: Maggie Sottero / Shoes: Manolo Blahnik + TOMS / Hair + Makeup: Aqua Bleu Salon / Band: Times Square Orchestra