July 28, 2017
From a long distance start to an emotional, fairytale-worthy walk down the aisle, this sweet romance is one for the books.
How did you two meet?
M: I guess I would say I’m from New Jersey, that’s where I spent the last eight years. Two of our bridesmaids are married to each other…
J: Yes, my best friend, Lauren, and Mary’s good friend, Megan, are married, and four years or so ago they were living with Mary in New Jersey. I went to visit Lauren and Mary and I just kind of hit it off during that trip. We had met each other years before…
M: Like seven years ago.
J: But we were both in different places.
M: When she came to visit that time, I was the only one home.
J: My best friend was coaching basketball at the time and she had been like, “Just go to the house, get some food and Mary’s probably going to be home so you can just hang out until I get there. But then Mary and I talked for hours; everything was so easy with her.
M: We knew that was it for us.
J: And then we did long distance after that.
M: For two years we did long distance and commuted between New Jersey and Rhode Island. I would say at the most we would only go two weeks without seeing each other, but for the most part it was every other weekend. It was about five hours each way every time. Once I moved here we were like, “Wow, we would never do that again.”
J: It was brutal.
M: Talk about love being blind; looking back we were like, “How did we not feel that drive?” We thought nothing of it at the time though because it meant seeing each other.
Tell me about the proposal.
M: We had been together about three years when Jenny proposed at OceanCliff — right around my birthday.
J: I used her birthday as an excuse to get her there.
M: But I was suspicious because it was like real romantic and I thought, “This isn’t Jenny. Something’s going on.” And I was, of course, putting the heat on her before that anyways so…
K: So how did it all go down?
J: I took my dad to lunch one day before that and I was like, “Let’s go to OceanCliff, I want to see the place and talk to the staff and see if they can help me pull this off. They showed me the Adirondack Chairs out on the lawn and decided that was the perfect spot. So on a Monday — it was like August 22 last year…
M: Nothing was going on.
J: Which was awesome because hardly anyone was there.
M: But it was so bizarre because people like recognized her when we first got there.
J: I didn’t think she’d pick up on that!
M: Well, I just knew something was going on and this was all a little over the top… even the staff was being squirly. and then we had a perfect spot where we had dinner as if no-one else was around…
J: It was your birthday!
M: Okay, but then after dinner we were, like, escorted to go watch the sunset on the Adirondack Chairs… When we rounded the corner, I knew something was gonna happen.
J: I was nervous, of course, who wouldn’t be? But I had gifts and they basically did [the proposal] for me. I had made this small wooden box with our initials burned into it and I had made this thing where you pull the tab and all these little cardboard things with pictures popped out. For every picture I would say something nice about Mary and then at the end it said, “So, will you marry me?” She had to dig through this whole box of things to get to the rings at the bottom.
M: It was never-ending.
J: But she said yes, so I did something right!
How did the planning process go?
M: We got the big things done right away and then we were really laid back. We were just like, “Whatever is supposed to happen, is supposed to happen.” But then the last month of juggling — trying to do your job and trying to plan — was a lot. But we were never at each other’s throats or anything like that. There were things we probably wished we could have done earlier, but you really can’t do a lot of them until you know numbers, etc.
J: Mary is very creative and was going to build all of these things, but then we found Boston Rustic Rentals.
M: I would say if anyone should be noted in any of this, it should be Kate from Boston Rustic. She crushed it. Honestly, I could cry at how great of a job she did. She even made sure we ate the day of. And sometimes you would never even know she was there yet she made sure we didn’t have to worry about anything that day. She’s so professional, and she’s just a really good person, too.
Did you partake in any tried-and-true wedding traditions?
M: We kinda did the old rhyme, like I had blue heels and a blue pendant on my bouquet. The pendant was eighty years old and had been passed through generations on mom’s side, so it was also my something old and my something borrowed. It wasn’t something we were all that worried about, though. Jenny didn’t even know what it was!
J: Mary asked,”What are you doing for your something blue?” and I go, “What do you mean?” I figured most of it out the week before, but the most important one was my something old. My mother passed away six years ago, so I took all of her pearls and I went to the jeweler and made a double stranded bracelet out of them. It was beautiful and was so nice to have on my wedding day.
How did you come across your venue?
M: Jenny found it. Everything following the trend of rustic / DIY. I grew up in the country and I wanted something a little bit more neutral.
J: We like to go to breweries and wineries so I just googled something like ‘winery and brewery weddings in New England,’ and Hyland was the first thing that popped up.
M: It was the first place we visited and it was a no brainer; it had the look we wanted, it was affordable… We didn’t visit anywhere else. And thats our personalities — if we like it, that’s it. Check the box.
How did you settle on Stacy as your photographer?
M: I’m in a business networking group and that’s where I met Stacy, we hit it off right away. We probably only got engaged maybe a month or two before that. We set up a consultation and the minute you sit down with her… I’d be shocked if somebody walked away and said she wasn’t for them. She’s really, really, really good. And she always says that people always tell her that they initially thought she was part of the bridal party because she gets along with people so well. And she’s a total boss. She’s really intuitive with family dynamics, like who should be together and who shouldn’t be, and she will literally do anything do anything to make a photo happen. There will be photos of her taking photos in 3 and a half feet of water just so she can shot of them on a bridge.
J: Stacy was also really excited about Mary’s big, poofy dress because she was like, “I can do the shot that I’ve always wanted to do!” And that was the shot with the light underneath. We love that photo.
M: You’d never know that there was 10,000 bugs around us, getting caught in the tulle of my dress. I was like, “You better capture this because I am swallowing bugs over here!” *laughs*
Where did you get your dresses?
M: Mine was from VeLace bridal in Bellingham, Massachusetts. It’s a little bit more high-end; they were wonderful there. It was way too big because I got it right off the rack, and was like, “Hell yeah I’ll save $500.” My tailor actually basically ripped the dress apart; it didn’t originally come with a V like I had wanted, so she put the V in, layered it and added designs. She did a lot.
J: Then I got mine from the Bridal Shoppe. It was the third dress I tried on, and I was in and out in about an hour and a half. I got it right off the rack and it fit perfectly, I just had them shorten the boning and hemmed the length a bit.
K: Did either of you know anything about what the other’s would look like?
M: The only thing we knew was the swatch. We wanted to make sure they both were ivory.
K: Well, it worked out perfectly.
M: *To Jenny* Yeah, you looked alright. *both laugh*
J: And then Mary’s super trendy and cool, so I was not expecting fluff…
M: Yeah, no one thought I was gonna go traditional. They all thought I’d go modern.
J: Like some cool mermaid-style. But I was mind-blown when I saw you. It was perfect. Gorgeous.
How about your bridal party’s outfits?
J: We always knew it was going to be navy… Originally it was navy and gray but then we switched out the gray. Everything was kind of falling into the gold theme, like our accents and such, so we went with the champagne dresses. I would say it was a pretty last-minute change, but it all worked out.
Tell me about the morning of.
M: Kerri [of Pro Radiance Artistry] was wonderful. Two makeup artists and two hair stylists did a total of eighteen women — bridal party plus moms plus flower girl plus officiant). We started at 8:30 a.m. and we were done at 2. It was like *snaps*
J: And she was so confident about it, too.
M: I was a wreck. I was like “There’s no way they’re gonna do it on time.” But they did it in thirty minute shifts and they nailed everyone’s hair. It was awesome.
J: Kerri crushed it.
M: Also we got ready in different rooms in the hotel we were staying at. My party was high maintenance; the energy was very different. Mine was like Jersey music blasting with a bunch of upbeat divas that pretty much knew exactly what they wanted [for hair and makeup], and then Jenny’s side was more laid back.
J: My side knew what they wanted for the most part but they weren’t super specific. No matter what the crew did they were like, “Looks great!”
Who are these two cuties sitting at your feet?
M: My niece/goddaughter, Giovanna, and nephew, Lars. They’re both my sisters kids, both five years old here. They barely made it down the aisle — our Pomeranian, Foxy, led them.
J: Foxy was the problem if anything, because she saw me before they all walked down.
M: She was pumping the breaks going down the aisle.
J: She was trying to go towards me…
M: I looked at our coordinator, Kate, and said, “Just push her!” She made it down eventually.
First looks have been all the rage at weddings lately, any reason you chose not to do one?
M: Actually, our plan the entire time up until the week before the wedding was to do a first look. But we thought about all the investment, all the time, all the sweat and energy and we realized we just didn’t want to give that moment up. Of first seeing each other that day at the ceremony. So we did a last-minute switch and we’re really happy we did.
J: It was perfect. I walked down first with my father and then Mary came down and it was… Just woah. Seriously, though, that is an awesome feeling.
M: I would recommend anyone do it. There’s just so much build up and when you’re in that moment it’s so surreal, it’s so slow yet so quick at the same time.
And you had a friend of yours officiate, right?
M: Yes, my best friend, Laura. She was already ordained. I had married her and her spouse, so then she returned the favor. She’s a lit major and an incredible writer so we let her write the ceremony and gave her total freedom. We got a ton of compliments on how well she did.
Do any standout vendors come to mind?
J: We had the best DJ ever! We got recommended through the fire department and I’m telling you… We’re not just being biased, literally everyone was like, “That DJ was SO fun.” He just kept it moving and upbeat…
M: It was a party.
J: He really got the crowd into it and was so good at getting people to come on to the dance floor. It was nuts. You could tell he genuinely loved it
M: I don’t know what.. Ohhhh… That was when my sister and Tim did a dance and things really took a turn…
J: So, we didn’t really have a professional photo booth. We had Boston Rustic set up doors as a photo booth background with chairs in front of it where people could take pics and then my friend, Matt, brought a bunch of props… which somehow made their way over to the dance floor…
M: Back when my brother-in-law and sister got married, it was the year when Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” was all over the place, so I had told our DJ, “At some point you gotta clear the dance floor and play that song, they want to do a dance.” And they didn’t necessarily want to, I pretty much made them. I told them to be ready for it, so they brought props, too. I gave them a two-minute warning before the song came on and so they did a total wardrobe change. My Brother-In-Law put on this hideous, my sister had Michael Jackson gloves on, they both put on giant glasses… I don’t even know. And then everyone surrounded them while they did a ridiculous dance and that’s when it took a turn. People just started taking props from the Photo Booth and bringing them out onto the dance floor. I’ve never seen anything like that, but everyone had a really good time.
K: Sounds like it!
M: And it was cool because we had corn hole and giant Jenga going the whole time, too. You’re never going to please an entire party, but the people who were a little more quiet could go relax and play games and eat s’mores while the rest went and partied. During the golden hour when we took our photos we took a step back and looked down at our venue and we could see that the whole venue was being utilized. The fire was going, people were throwing horseshoes, they were dancing… It was cool to see it all.
So what was each of your favorite moments? Was that one of them?
M: I genuinely think it was the moment I walked down the aisle, because I couldn’t keep it together, [Jenny] looked so good! And then the last two hours when all the formalities were done and we could just be together and be crazy with all of the guests. Kate was like, “Go have fun; just dance and enjoy.” And that was the moment it was like, just so much love.
J: I’d say my favorite moments were seeing you come down the aisle and then hearing our reception speeches. Our fathers’ toasts and our siblings’ speeches. Mary’s sisters and my brother and sister, we had them both go up together in pairs for their speeches. They coordinated perfectly: super creative, good-humored, sweet and beautiful. It was awesome.
Do you have any advice for newly-engaged couples?
M: The best advice that we got, or at least what I appreciated most, was to take a moment to remember why you’re doing all of this. Why you love each other. Take that moment to stop everything and still go out to eat, still grab a drink and still have fun together. I think removing yourself from the planning sometimes is even more important than actually planning. And remember that no matter how perfect you want it to be, it’s going to go wrong in some areas. Like, my entire bridal party forgot their bouquets in the hotel, and they were our centerpieces, but everything worked out. The most important thing is that you’re going to get married no matter what happens along the way.
J: I think also some great advice is to go on a honeymoon right away. Give yourself at least a day to go home and recover and pack, but then go on a honeymoon. At first, I had been like, “Mary, let’s just wait until January or something and save money.” And she was like, “Nope,” and I’m so grateful. We went to Spain, the Canary Islands. Our wedding was on a Friday night, we spent Saturday with our friends and family at the hotel, went home Sunday to pack and then left on Monday. It was so awesome and totally worth it.
M: A colleague of mine had told us. He was like if I can give you one piece of advice, plan your honeymoon first. Because, without fail, you’re going to hit some type of hiccup and it’s going to keep you sane to know that you’re going to be relaxing and spending time just with each other at the end of all of this. It made a big difference for us.
J: Yea ’cause planning is definitely stressful.
M: You just black out the last month *laughs* You don’t realize how tired you are at the end.
J: So we slept in on vacation! It was the best.
M: I can’t imagine having the wedding and then no honeymoon… just going back to work on Monday after all of that.
J: Yeah, do a mini moon at the very least!
Photography: Stacy Smith Studios// Ceremony and reception: Hyland Apple Orchard and Brewery // Hair and makeup: Pro Radiance Artistry // Jenny’s Dress: Sotterro and Midgley, The Bridal Shoppe // Mary’s Dress: Justin Alexander, VeLace Bridal (with tailoring by Nancy Mernard) // Coordination and decor: Kate Jubboori, Boston Rustic Wedding Rentals // Ceremony music: Belle of the Fall // Florist: Petals Gift Shop and Florist // Cake: Renee Cakes // Music / uplighting: Jeremy Braza, The Dance Floor DJs // Bridesmaid dresses: Vera Wang, David’s Bridal // Groomsmen suits: Men’s Wearhouse // Catering: Annies Country Kitchen // Officiant: Laura Marcone