Hannah-Kate & Anthony’s Ocean Place Resort & Spa Wedding, September 2018, it’s here! A new year always projects the pressure that we need to set goals, accomplish new things, improve, and everything else that we tend to discard six months after a televised ball drop that is supposed to make people shout with joy. Deep breath.
This sounds a little ominous… and it can be! This is why I want to take a different approach. Don’t get me wrong, I have my goals set for this year too, like posting a blog per month. So before I dive into my goals, I would like to take a minute (just sit right there I’ll tell you how.. jk no Fresh Prince here) to be present and be grateful for all you and I have.
Maybe that should be the word of the month? Grateful. This is why I chose a very special couple to highlight for the month of January. These lovely newlyweds reminded me that I have lots to be grateful for and I’m sure they will for you too.
Hannah-Kate and Anthony met in NJ, moved to Virginia when Anthony joined the Marines, and then to California where he was stationed. They had to plan their wedding not only from across the country, but with the stress of his upcoming deployment.
When I first spoke to them, they explained how Hannah-Kate grew up going to the Jersey shore and they wanted a beach wedding as they both LOVE the sand and ocean. Ocean Place Resort in Long Branch offered everything they wanted.
They wanted a ceremony on the sand while the sun dipped below the horizon and a first look was no-where on their radar. This meant that after their sunset beach ceremony, their first portraits together as a married couple would take place in twilight. There wasn’t much light, so we played with sparklers and smoke bombs to add a little something extra. But I’m getting ahead of myself…
I started the day with visits back and forth between the Bride and Groom. Ocean Place is pretty large, so I ended up clocking seven miles that day. Seriously! I walked/jogged seven miles in one wedding day – with gear strapped to me. Phew!
Anthony, being in the Marines, of course wore his uniform proudly as did his groomsmen who share the same pledge. During our pre-ceremony photos on the boardwalk complete strangers stopped to thank him for his service and offered the most sincere wedding wishes I have ever heard. Every time this happened, Anthony stayed extremely humble and gracious, yet softly stoic… even when one man held back tears while giving thanks and explaining that he himself is a Veteran. As my past couples know, I definitely teared up at that moment too.
Their dreamy beach ceremony was filled with plenty of Marine traditions, including a special exit known as the “Arch of Sabers.” As Anthony and Hannah-Kate left the altar and walked down the isle they passed under an archway of swords held by honor guards. Each set of swords prompted the statement, “The Price of Passage is a Kiss”. Anthony and Hannah-Kate gladly obliged, completing the symbolic gesture of acknowledging the obstacles a military couple will face.
The round of applause and cheers was enforced by the passing crowds that stopped on the boardwalk to watch! After we all dried our tears, appreciated how lucky we are to live in an amazing country being served by incredible men and women, and the struggle their families face which we may never understand as civilians.. the party began!
The bride did not hold back and hardly needed the assistance of her boisterous DJ, Bobby Aiello. Hannah-Kate’s first dance with Dad was yet another reminder that we should all be grateful. After a recent hip surgery, Dad worked tirelessly in physical therapy to make it down the aisle and run circles all over the dance floor – and he did!
Hannah-Kate and Anthony were not together for the holidays and are starting this year separated from each other. They will go over eight months without touching, seeing or speaking to one another. Imagine your best day ever, followed by some of the most difficult months ever.
Before I start to think about everything I want for 2019, I look back to who I met and what I accomplished in 2018. I am forever grateful to meet amazing humans and families. I am grateful to have the freedom to use my passion for a substantial career. I am grateful to be a part of my couples’ happiest days, and to create reminders of their memories that will hopefully keep them strong through their toughest days.
Couple’s Peach of the Day: “Laughing and dancing all night long with my soulmate but mostly just myself ….. I thought I was giving a performance apparently.”
Couple’s Pit of the Day: “Some inevitable family drama, because weddings and family, right?”
Before you decide what you need in 2019, reflect on everything you have.
Wedding Dress: Vera Wang
Groom’s Suit: Tie Bar
Shoes: no shoes – beach wedding!
Florist: Peter James
Makeup: Chelsea Schroeder
DJ: Bobby Aiello
Venue: Ocean Place Resort and Spa, 1 Ocean Blvd, Long Branch, NJ 07740
Venue Phone: (800) 411-6493
Venue Website: Ocean Place for Weddings
Event Coordinator: Danielle Foley