Bonnet Island Wedding from 4Eyes Photography
July 12, 2012
Tri State
Classic WeddingsRustic Weddings
Seaside chic just so happens to be this wedding bloggers favorite thing to see. Bonnet Island is the PERFECT spot for seaside chic. It's fresh, it's pretty, and it's the perfect setting for a beach wedding with lots and lots of style. This soiree, captured by the fabulous eyes of 4Eyes Photography, is proof of that. It's a sweetly nautical affair with so much love in the full image gallery!
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We met at a birthday party in New York City in October of 2007. We had individual friends that happened to share the same birthday. Those 2 birthday celebrators were themselves good friends, but Jess and I weren’t. Oddly enough, at that time, we actually worked for the same company, in the same department, on the same floor, and didn’t really know each other! We talked for about 3 hours that night and we then decided to grab a few drinks after work sometime soon. I remember that we went for drinks, it was at a bar called Vintage on 9th Avenue. Jess had a martini and I had beer. We talked about dust and cleaning for hours (we are both very clean, neat, organized people). It was kind of a quirky conversation, but the time just flew by. I wouldn’t say we had love at first sight, but we certainly had a lot in common, had a strong connection, and really enjoyed each other’s company. Our first real date was 2 days after Thanksgiving 2007 at an Italian restaurant (now closed) called Arqua in Tribeca. Afterwards, we had desert and a nightcap at a lounge called the Brandy Library. We really hit it off and the rest is history.

Joe proposed on July 31, 2010 in Riverside Park in New York City during a picnic lunch. He had bought the ring the previous month and kept it hidden away in a safe in the apartment. Thankfully Jess didn’t find it accidentally! What I remember from the day leading up to the proposal was that Jess had left the apartment in the morning to go to a guitar lesson. In the meantime, I had prepared everything, including walking to Jess’s favorite bakery on the Upper West Side and buying cookies for desert at our picnic. I planned to hide the ring in the box with the cookies and have her open it as a surprise. Then I could properly ask her to marry me. What actually happened was that Jess was so excited about the fact that I went to her favorite bakery and prepared the picnic, that when she opened the box for desert, she looked right past the ring and said “is that their peanut butter chocolate chip cookie?!?!?” It was actually quite funny. Once we got past the excitement of the cookies, I was able to formally propose, and Jess said yes. One final surprise I had for Jess that day was a dinner planned at an Italian restaurant we liked in the West Village. She didn’t know that I had arranged for her younger sister to meet us there with her boyfriend. Jess was really happy that her sister was there to celebrate with us and the 4 of us had a wonderful time.

We got married at Bonnet Island Estate on Long Beach Island, NJ. Joe’s family had been vacationing on LBI since he was a little boy and he felt a strong connection to the island. Jess enjoys the beach and the water and really felt that her mom did too. It was such a beautiful venue and the people there treated us so nicely, that it was almost a no-brainer for us. Out of all the places that we looked at, Bonnet Island was the only venue that really talked to us and cared what our vision was for the wedding. They wanted to help us create our perfect day and Jess and I left feeling really excited and happy. Bonnet Island treated us as if it would be a privilege to host our wedding. Most venues act as if it is a privilege for the couple to get married there. We really appreciated that approach.

The inspiration for our wedding style was “elegant beach.” We wanted to make our wedding beautiful and beach inspired. It was important that the venue be in good condition and Bonnet Island was perfect. The decoration style of the estate was amazing and we felt very comfortable the first time we walked in the front door – it spoke to our sense of style (clean lines, lots of earth colors with a bit of a rustic feel). One only needs to look at the boathouse chapel or the entrance foyer to get a sense of what Jess and I like as a couple. It was also important to us that we have personal touches in strategic spots throughout the day. That helped to make Bonnet Island our own place even if it was just for one day….

When we saw each other for the first time in the boathouse chapel as we began to take pictures. I was waiting for Jess in the chapel by myself and I had turned my back to the doors and covered my eyes. After a minute or so, I could hear her walk in and I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around and opened my eyes (nobody every told me I had to cover them actually, ha!) and quite simply put, my heart skipped a beat. I remember feeling completely peaceful and happy. We both smiled, kissed, and I remember twirling Jess around so that I could get a full look at her dress – it was beautiful.

At the ceremony, Jess incorporated some special touches to honor the memory of her mother who passed away. She wore a ring of hers, had a special picture charm attached to her bride’s bouquet, and we had our flower coordinator create a special hanging arrangement to go over the side of Jess’s father’s chair in the front row of the boathouse chapel.

At the end of our receiving line, guests where treated to a special drink called a Kiwi fizz which incorporated the kiwi fruit and citron vodka. We picked this drink because the kiwi is the national bird of New Zealand, where we were going on our honeymoon. Each cocktail had a little New Zealand flag drink stirrer.

Jess and I took some dancing lessons several months before our wedding. At that point, we were starting to get very stressed and overwhelmed with the planning of the wedding. So, we decided we needed to do something fun as a couple to take our minds off of the wedding planning. We decided that dancing lessons would be fun and help us at our wedding (we both have 2 left feet!) The song we picked was “Running on Faith” by Eric Clapton from his Unplugged album. Joe is a huge Eric Clapton fan and Jess really liked the acoustic guitar in the song. Needless to say, with all the lessons we took and practice, Jess and I did a really good job remembering the steps as we danced together for the first time as a married couple.

Both our lives, like so many other people, have been impacted by the loss of loved ones due to terminal illness. Jess’s mother passed away about 10 years ago from breast cancer and Joe’s grandmother passed away in 2010 from ALS. We decided as a couple to make a small donation, in the name of each of our guests, to charities leading the fight against both diseases (in lieu of giving them an actual wedding favor). We felt that these were 2 people that made a tremendous impact on our lives and wanted to do something to honor their memory at our wedding. It was an act that was important to us because it showed love and respect to those family members who were at out wedding in spirit only.

Photography: 4Eyes Photography / Videographer: Christine Duggan Films / > Floral Designer: MDS Floral Designs / Invitation Designer: Stephanie Somodi / Cake: Merri Makers Catering / Wedding Gown Designer: Rivini purchased from Kleinfeld Bridal / Bridesmaid’s Dress Designer: Amsale