A beautiful engagement session at Weddings of Distinction’s The Ashford Estate. Catering by Merri-Makers.Read More
When Katydid Floral Design and Signature Events reached out to us this past Fall about shooting a whimsical stylized session, we just couldn't say no. Divine Park in Spring Lake sits just across the street from the floral boutique and had the perfect little nook for our beautiful set up. Vintage chairs, china, and petal pink antique glasses brought an elegant rustic touch that transformed the space from plain to extraordinary. Our stunning model (and florist Kate Duffy's daughter), Grace Kendall Young, looked straight out of a woodland fairytale in her dress from Waterlily, topped with a handmade duster loaned from a friend that morning. Her hair and makeup was artfully styled by Natascia Bellis of Colorbar. Flowers fresh from the markets in New York City were designed by Katydid and placed on the tiny table. The gorgeous champagne ribbon taffeta cloth from Party Rental Ltd added that extra elegant flare. And finally, for a special touch of fantasy, we included the peacock couple from Wildlife Taxidermy. The resulting images took our breath away.
Special thanks to Julia Claire Wagner for helping photograph the day!
Ben and Katherine met in 2007 at Georgetown while she was a Sophomore and he was a Junior. They were living in apartments that shared a wall. They were friends for a few years while Ben was at school - Katherine specifically remembers enjoying his 90s themed dance parties, but they didn’t start dating until after Ben graduated.
Ben went down to Georgetown frequently in the autumn of 2009 (he had graduated the prior Spring), and the couple became even closer. On December 10, 2009 Ben took Katherine to his fraternity’s winter formal. Rather than going to dinner with the rest of their friends, Ben asked if Katherine wanted to go out just the two of them. She did, and they talked for hours, ending up being quite late to the formal.
Katherine said yes to a second date the following night. Over winter break that January, Ben drove out to NJ to take her on their third date. That night, he met her parents for the first time, along with her grandmother, Nannie. After Ben left, Nannie turned to Katherine's mother and proclaimed that Ben was the one, and someday he and Katherine would get married. Sadly, Nannie died just before the wedding, but she got to know and love Ben, and knew that her premonition was about to become a reality.
Ben proposed on December 20, 2013, but the story starts earlier than that. Ben asked for Katherine's father’s permission to propose on Thanksgiving weekend. Since her other sisters had known when their husband’s were asking for permission, Katherine's dad figured that she did too. About five minutes after Ben asked him, her dad said “It’s about damn time” - among other nice “welcome to the family” things. Her dad later told her what had transpired. After the shock wore off, she started wedding planning immediately, and actually booked The Stone House at Stirling Ridge the very next day, before they were even engaged.
So then, on December 20, 2013, exactly one year before their wedding - Katherine came home after work to find their apartment completely decked out with red roses, candles and white lights. It was a beautiful proposal that ended with Ben on bended knee.
With the venue booked, Katherine went to work finding just the right individuals to work with to make her dream wedding come true. Carissa DeMarco from The Stone House worked as the couple's party planner, helping in any way possible.
On the day of the wedding, Amy Jones Baskin of Beauty on Location came to Katherine's home and skillfully created the perfect bridal makeup. Katherine then moved upstairs and got into her elegant Augusta Jones gown from Kleinfeld. Her mother then helped her add the finishing touches - a pair of earrings that her father had given to her mother before they were given to Katherine on her thirteenth birthday (which just so happened to be the same pair of earrings that Katherine wore on her first date with Ben), a necklace that had been a gift from Ben, and a bracelet that had belonged to her father's mother, Katherine. The veil held a special place in everyone's heart as it had been purchased for Katherine by Nannie before she passed away.
Despite the cold, Katherine's warm smile kept everyone in high spirits. When it came time for portraits before heading to the church, the bride tossed on her gorgeous cape from Alexander Furs and went out onto her parents' front porch, followed by friends and family. Her stunning flowers, beautifully done by Jardiniere Fine Flowers, were red roses with her grandmother's rosary wrapped around them. For a simple touch of winter, her bride's maids carried ivory roses with pine cones and greenery, a simple touch that added timeless beauty.
The ceremony was held at the Church of Christ the King in New Vernon, where Katherine and Ben proudly stood before all their family and friends and promised to love one another entirely and endlessly.
Guests then moved on to the Stone House at Stirling Ridge, which Jardiniere Fine Flowers had outdone themselves decorating with trees, candles, and alternating white and red roses. The lighting design, set up by Craig Scott Entertainment, completed the room's transformation. The Craig Scott Orchestra did an excellent job getting everyone on their feet as the couple made their entrance, Mike Simons Video Productions capturing every amazing second. Dancing and laughter carried on late into the night, ending with the traditional tossing of the bouquet and cutting of the cake.
Special thanks to Geraldine Pritchard for helping us capture Katherine and Ben's special day!
Robert and Chris are both working parents. They are both driven yet loving, inspired yet grounded. They're incredibly dedicated; to work, to each other, to family, to love.
On a romantic weekend trip to New York City, Robert proposed to Chris at the Soho Grande Hotel - the same place they'd spent time together years before. On their way to dinner, Robert insisted upon getting a drink at the bar, only to surprise Chris with an arranged celebration with the four children and parents.
On May 31, 2014, the couple had an intimate wedding at the Bernards Inn. Chris got ready in a beautiful suite upstairs with her maid of honor. First, her hair and makeup was completed by Express Yourself Salon, and then she stepped into her elegant Pronovias gown. Her striking blue Kate Spade heels were a fun touch to the tradition of "something blue". As Chris added the final details to her look (a gorgeous belt and jewelry), the kids went back and forth between her and Robert's room to help in anyway they could. Then came time for the couple's first look.
Wanting to have a private moment away from all the hustle and bustle of the day, Robert came to Chris's room and set eyes on his beautiful bride. The love between them was apparent, particularly in their moments of silence as they took time to just be together.
Before the official ceremony, the couple took their children and families to the local park for photos. The bright sky reflected the cheery spirits of the group. Back at the inn, Eggsotic Events light the space perfectly, and Somerset Hills Florist added the perfect details to complete the romantic atmosphere of the ceremony. Chris was escorted down the aisle by her two boys, and couldn't have been happier to meet Robert at the alter. The mix of faiths made for a very personal and one-of-a-kind ceremony.
After the ceremony, we briefly took advantage of the railroad station and rustic barn across the street and snapped a few additional shots of the couple - some of our favorites of the day.
Back inside, the space had been completely transformed. The warm golden ceremony was now a magical blue wonderland. The couple's DJ, Paul Anthony, did an excellent job, playing all the right music, not just for the celebration and the couple's first dance, but allowing the two parents extra special dances with each of their children. Later into the night, the DJ gave the mic over to the head table, where it was passed around to the couple's party, made up of beloved friends and family, who gave heartwarming speeches. The celebration and love carried on through the night - through dancing, cake cutting, and warm wishes for a joy filled future not just for the new couple, but for the new family that had been so beautifully joined.
Kaitlin and James met at Villanova University in the middle of their sophomore year. Kaitlin had gone with some of her friends to an event their sorority was throwing, and James had been set up as another girl’s date. A mutual friend introduced them, and they ended up dancing and talking the entire night - even after finding out that they were from rival sports cities once “Sweet Caroline” came on (she’s from New Jersey; he’s from Boston).
Fast-forward to graduation, and besides separate semesters abroad at the beginning of junior year, Kaitlin and James had been together since the moment they met. After graduation, Kaitlin moved to New York, and James headed back to Boston—but not for long... He moved down to New York a few months later.
After four more years together, James decided it was finally time to propose. In August 2013, he asked Kaitlin to marry him in her apartment - she had warned him not to do anything big or public multiple times!
They chose November 8th, 2014 as their special day, and Kaitlin's childhood church as the special place. She got ready at her parent's home, with makeup done by Tara Pagliara and hair by Lindsay Bert of Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa. Kaitlin looked like she belonged on the cover of a magazine in her Cymbeline gown and custom made veil. She and her father shared an emotional moment together when he first saw her in her dress. Afterwards, everyone stepped outside, Kaitlin's bridesmaids in blue Jim Hjelm dresses with gorgeous bouquets from Jardiniere Fine Flowers.
The ceremony at Resurrection Parish was particularly special, with Kaitlin's grandfather, a deacon, marrying the couple. The celebration of the love between Kaitlin and James was done beautifully, and the happy couple got into the limo hand-in-hand, excited to continue the celebration at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster.
Before heading into the cocktail, Kaitlin and James took a short walk around the club, taking time to be one-on-one without all their guests present. As the sun set, we were able to capture some perfect autumn portraits, shining bright with smiles and love. Inside, the reception hall was beautifully decorated and the Joe Caroselli and Masterpiece Orchestra were calling for the attention of everyone present. They announced the entrance of the party before getting everyone on their feet for the arrival of the new Mr. and Mrs. Surrounded by family and friends, the couple shared their first dance. Kaitlin's grandfather said a prayer and toasts were given. The lively group then got on their feet and stopped only for dinner, quickly back on the floor once it was done.
Kaitlin and James, having met at and both graduated from Villanova University, made sure to take a moment and celebrate with all their fellow alumni in a photo with the school banner. All in all, Kaitlin and James's wedding was exactly what a wedding should be: a lively celebration of love, friends, and family.
A special thanks to David Willems for helping us capture the day!
Amy and John met online through Match.com in January of 2008. Amy ‘winked’ at tall, dark and handsome John, and he wrote back to the girl whose hair reminded him of his treasured springer spaniel, Molly. They met in person for the first time later that same month at The Dove in Greenwich Village, which is known as one of New York’s most romantic bars. They quickly discovered that they shared Irish and Polish backgrounds, mid-Western roots, and a love of all things Star Wars. Amy was very impressed with John’s gentleman-like manners and keen wit, while John was intrigued by Amy’s engaging personality and insights into a family full of brothers. Soon enough, they were celebrating Valentine’s Day together.
Over the years, Amy and John traveled to Bangkok, San Francisco, Millerton NY, London, Paris, the south of France, and numerous trips to New Jersey and Minnesota.
On February 20, 2014, John surprised Amy with a ring over a romantic dinner at Michael Jordan’s Steak House in the majestic Grand Central Terminal in New York City. Following Amy’s favorable response, the waiter brought champagne, and numerous texts and pictures were sent worldwide.
For their special day, Amy and John decided that there could be no better place to have the ceremony than Amy's own childhood parish. So when the big day arrived, Amy got ready at her family's home with all of her bridesmaids close at hand. Their hair and makeup was beautifully done by Gillian Moritz of Beauty Artist Group, while Agnieshka Burke of Pumpkin Coach Events made sure everything was done on time and went smoothly. The headpiece that Amy wore came from John's hometown in Minnesota, while her blue garter was the same one her mother wore on her wedding day. The lace top that Amy wore over her stunning Amsale gown was an elegantly classic touch to complete her look.
Amy arrived at Calvary Episcopal Church with the sun shining through the breathtaking red, orange, and yellow Fall foliage. With her father by her side, Amy walked down the aisle, her first exciting steps towards a beautiful future with her groom.
The reception was held at the Hilton Short Hills. A bird theme was chosen for the celebration, which was reflected in the couple's save the dates, invitations, and reception decor. Bloomers Designs did a fantastic job on both the girls' bouquets and the centerpieces in the dining room, with tiny birds tastefully placed amongst the garden roses and hydrangeas. Elan Jazz Society Quartet played beautifully while dinner was served, before guests moved into the next room for fun and dancing with DJ Matty from Elan Artists. The night ended with cake by the chefs at the Short Hills Hilton, accompanied with another cake that Amy had done up special to surprise John.
Lana first met Michael at a friend's wedding in the autumn of 2008. They spent the first five years together at long distance, but, as most "happily-ever-after" stories go, they are now living blissfully together in New York City.
On the day of their wedding, Lana got ready at her aunt's home in Lincroft, surrounded by friends and family. With hair beautifully done by the Jon Lori Salon in Fair Haven, and makeup skillfully completed by Donna Spero, Lana asked her aunt, and Maid of Honor to help her into her gown. Her dress, an elegant lace masterpiece from Monique Lhuillier, was beautifully paired with Jimmy Choo heels and a long Mark Ingram veil.
The ceremony was held at the Church of the Precious Blood in Monmouth Beach. Lana was escorted down the aisle by her two brothers and said "I do" to a wonderful forever with Michael. Full of nothing but love and smiles, the newlyweds left the church and drove out to an estate on the Navesink River for stunning photos with their families.
The Navesink Country Club was the prefect location for the couple's 'black tie optional' reception. Craig Kiely and Darryn Murphy Designs transformed the space into a romantic haven for dinner and dancing. With a gorgeous autumn sunset as their backdrop, the couple had their first dance as husband and wife. Spotlight - a Hank Lane Band - did a fantastic job getting guests on their feet and moving throughout the night.
There is nothing more beautiful than two people in love. On their wedding day, Gabby and Ian weren't just another smiling couple - they shined. The love between the two of them was so bright, it couldn't help but melt our hearts.
The bride and groom had a perfect Autumn day for their October 4th wedding. Gabby looked breathtaking in her Rosa Clara gown that sparkled with a hint of 1920s elegance. Before the ceremony, the elated couple took a short walk (just a block from the Bernards Inn) in order to calm some nerves and capture a few stunning photos before the daylight faded.
Back at the Bernards Inn, the ceremony was conducted by Gabby's brother, making the celebration just a little bit sweeter. Gabby's mother contributed as well, designing all the stationary for the special day, ranging from the invitations to the place cards, which were each handmade origami cranes. The reception, which was artfully decorated with flowers by Jardiniere Fine Flowers, was warm and intimate, filled with the people that the couple loved most. Beat Train Productions did a fantastic job lighting the room and making this wonderful couple's reception a night to remember.
Samantha and Brian met through Match.com. For their first date, they went to a wine bar (a shared favorite of theirs) and had a very good time, finishing the night with a perfect first kiss. Within their first three months together, they took two weekend trips - one to Boston to see Van Halen, and the second to Mexico. On Valentine's Day, Brian cooked dinner and, according to Samantha, "...Along the way, we fell in love."
When asked about the proposal, Brian wrote, "We had just gotten to Montauk for a long Labor Day weekend. We were on the beach at that perfect time of day, that afternoon early evening calm. I intentionally left the ring in the room in my bag. I told Sami I needed to go to the bathroom. I went back to the room, pulled the box with the ring out of my bag and panicked when I realized I had no place but my bathing suit pocket to hide the ring. I walked back onto the beach with this bulge sliding from side to side against my thigh as I walked. I tried to use my arm to hide the obvious. I was able to sit down next to Sami without her noticing. I then asked Sami to take a walk with me. We didn't get very far, I was desperate to get the box out of my pocket. I stopped her at a spot that I believe to be perfect. I removed the box from my pocket, got down on my left knee, looked into her eyes, said a few words and proposed. She said yes and everyone around us cheered. We had the rest of the weekend to celebrate."
The wedding took place on a perfect Autumn day at Windows on the Water at Frogbridge. The girls got ready together, hair done by Anne Frances and makeup completed by Christina DePascal Atelier. Samantha's gown was custom made by her friend, Alice Roi, as were the maid and matron of honor's dresses. Bloom, the couple's incredibly talented florist, designed the breathtaking bouquets and additional details, such as their stunning huppa and rustic centerpieces. The love between the bride and groom could be felt by all those present as Samantha walked down the aisle with her eyes locked on Brian. The ecstatic couple stole a moment alone after the ceremony to simply be together. This is a couple clearly in love.
The tented reception was decorated with inviting Fall colors and rustic touches such as lanterns and painted wood table numbers. The cake, designed by Palermo's Bakery, had burlap around each tier and a special heart detail that looked as if it were make of tree bark, with the couple's initials carved into it. With warm hearts and lots to celebrate, the couple made their entrance with a little help from the Seth Tieger Band. The night was filled with smiles and love, all captured on video by Gary Licker, and is surely a wedding we will never forget.
Alexis met Jim in Atlantic City while enjoying a weekend with friends. Jim approached her at the Irish pub, Ri Ra, and there was an instant connection. They had a fun night talking and singing to 90s music before trading numbers and parting ways. Jim was a helicopter pilot for the Navy living in Virginia, so Alexis sadly believed she would not see him again. But they spoke every night and two weeks later, he flew to New York for their first date. The couple dated long distance for a year and half before Jim asked Alexis to move in with him as he relocated to San Diego.
On the drive across the country, the excited duo stopped at the Grand Canyon to take in the sights. Finding a secluded place away from other tourists, Jim got down on one knee and asked Alexis to marry him. She remembers it as the most exciting day of her life.
Nearly a year and a half later, the couple said their vows at the beautiful Stone House at Stirling Ridge. Alexis and her bridesmaids had their hair done by Pink Comb Studio, while their makeup was put together by Denise at Facewear. Prior to the ceremony, Alexis and Jim stole a moment to be with one another, and when the time came, Jim stood proudly in his Naval dress whites as Alexis walked down the aisle on her father's arm in her Augusta Jones gown. The bride and her bridesmaids carried stunning bouquets of ivory, peach, and white roses that were put together by A Touch of Elegance, keeping with the couple's theme of a light, woodsy feel. At the end of the ceremony, as per Naval tradition, the couple exited through a sword arch, which consisted of six Naval men in uniform creating an archway with their sabers.
Upon entering the reception, the couple's vision for an elegant woodland environment came to life. Place cards, designed by Wedding Paper Divas, looked like tree carvings, held in place by small potted trees. The rustic cake was decorated with a large tree. The lighting designer and DJ from Eclipse Events set the tone for a proper celebration that kept all the guests moving well into the night. The excited newlyweds were all smiles as they left looking forward to a honeymoon in Fiji and the rest of their lives together.