This wedding is proof that when you hire the right people, really pretty things happen. Especially when you’ve got people like Trent Bailey Studio, Michelle Elaine Weddings, Face Time Beauty Concierge, Katydid Signature Floral & Event Design and Around Town Entertainment on your vendor list. Scroll on for the entire lovefest, including a beaming bride in Oscar de la Renta who completely stole the show.
From the planner, Michelle Elaine… I absolutely loved working with Lauren! We planned together for about 14 months so time was on our side to get every last detail perfectly nailed down. Her natural style carried over into her wedding design displaying that same class and elegance. The vision created was timeless, with antique silver candelabras, lush white florals, gorgeous table garlands and slight touches of deep navy, courtesy of our talented calligrapher, Tara Jones. Lauren’s wedding dress, a stunning Oscar de la Renta, completely took everyone’s breath away as she walked down the aisle; I couldn’t even keep it together as I prepared her to walk!
Following the ceremony, the couple had portraits done as my team ensured no detail was missed at the venue. Lauren wanted to create the reception in a way that guests would enjoy a very formal, seated dinner and then be entertained on the pool deck by an incredible band to dance the night away, which they did!
From the bride, Lauren… Dan and I both went to the University of Southern California and were introduced by mutual friends. The first 2 years of our relationship were long-distance, trading weekends up and down the coast between LA and San Francisco, before ending up in Venice Beach. But while our life together is very much rooted in California, I knew immediately after we got engaged that I wanted our wedding to take place in my home state.
My parents both have homes near the Jersey Shore, so when we visit during the summer that has become our home base. It was important for us to have a Catholic ceremony, and as soon as we saw Saint Catharine’s, a stunning historic church, in Spring Lake, the most charming Victorian beach town, we knew it was meant to be.
After choosing the location, we set out to find the right vendors. I actually discovered both Michelle Elaine Weddings and Trent Bailey in the same Style Me Pretty post, and after exhaustive research, I’m so glad I went with my gut and hired them both! Trent’s editorial style was exactly what we were looking for in a photographer; and Michelle not only kept track of every detail leading up to the wedding, making long-distance planning a breeze but also perfectly executed our vision on the day.
We wanted everything to feel very elegant, classic and timeless. Dan and I both tend to favor neutral colors, so we chose that palette for the wedding as well. Almost everything was white or ivory, with accents of gray and antique silver, and a very dark navy for the calligraphy. I’m obsessed with all things paper and calligraphy and immediately fell in love with Tara Jones’ work, which really set the tone for the rest of the details.
The day of the wedding was a dream. My bridesmaids, who all wore different gray dresses of their choosing, came over to my dad’s house, and my mom brought over “Father of the Bride” and “My Best Friend’s Wedding” to play while we got ready. Dan and I gave each other gifts (pearl earrings for me, vintage cufflinks for him), and notes that we had written earlier. It rained that morning, and I think I was the only one who actually wasn’t worried about it… My trusty weather app told me the sun would come out at 2, just in time for the wedding, and sure enough, as we pulled up to the church in the trolley, singing “Going to the Chapel,” the clouds parted and the sun started shining.
I didn’t want anything to distract from my dress, so I carried a simple bouquet of white tulips and lily of the valley… and a huge smile, which I could not keep off my face! My father walked me down the aisle and we had a full mass, with readings by my godmother and Dan’s sister, and a solo of “Amazing Grace” performed by one of my bridesmaids.
Before the reception, the bridal party took the trolley back to my dad’s house, which is one of my favorite places in the world, for portraits. The photographs Trent captured there are so special to us. When we got to the reception, Dan and I snuck into the ballroom before heading out to cocktail hour to see the set-up and have a moment (and some food) to ourselves. It was so thrilling to see every detail we’d spent so much time planning brought to life and to spend a few moments alone as a married couple reflecting on everything before heading out to take it all in together.
While I had always dreamed of a traditional black-tie wedding, it was really important to us that our guests (many of whom flew across the country to be there) could still feel comfortable and have fun. The Spring Lake Bath & Tennis Club was the perfect venue to accommodate that, with its old-school East Coast charm and oceanfront setting being just the right amount of formal, without feeling stuffy. After the cocktail hour on the oceanfront pavilion (with signature Dirty Martini and Old Fashioned cocktails), we moved inside to the ballroom for a candlelit seated dinner. After 3 brilliant toasts and a delicious meal, the party moved back outside under the stars (actually, a tent filled with twinkly lights). I changed into a custom-made strapless ivory column dress and white Adidas, and we cut the cake with a champagne saber my mom’s boyfriend gave us as an engagement gift. The Around Town Band did not disappoint, and the dance floor was packed the whole night. Actually, I think the only time we were sad the whole day is when they played their last song!
The best piece of advice I received (and, thankfully, actually listened to!) is to be present – enjoy yourself, and be yourself. It really does go by so fast, so don’t miss a moment by worrying about something silly. Spend the whole day having fun with your new husband, your families, and all the people who are there to celebrate you! Thanks to Michelle and her team, we were able to feel like guests at our own wedding, which is how everyone should experience it.