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Wedding Cakes designed by Three Little Blackbirds / AK Cake Design / Maggie Austin Cake / Charm City Cakes / M. Robin Cakes / Fondant Flinger
What better way to celebrate wedding Wednesday than by sharing this classic purple wedding from the Crystal Ballroom at the Radisson Hotel of Freehold! Lena and Christopher’s love story is as real as they come. The two were only fifteen when they met during the Babe Ruth Little League World Series and although they went their separate ways, they reconnected through a mutual friend years later. (Lena even admitted that she let Christopher slip past her once, but wasn’t willing to do so again!) Take a look at their magical images that 217 Photography brought to life beautifully.
“Starting around Monday of that week, the weather predicted rain. It was a high percentage and I had a feeling we weren’t getting around the rain. At first, I was devastated. We didn’t know where we’d take pictures and the flow of the day could have been ruined. For some reason, that morning when I woke up to pouring rain, it didn’t bother me one bit. I was overjoyed and so excited to be marrying my best friend, I shockingly forgot about the rain. The day was perfect. It was almost on cue when the rain stopped just in time for us to exit the church, get in some amazing pictures, and get to the ballroom before the rain started up again. The only way I can describe those events is pure luck.”
Lena’s bouquet featured white roses and a touch of lilac roses scattered throughout.
Chosen for its accommodating staff, a large ballroom to hold their guest list comfortably, and the ease of having on-location accommodations, the reception was held at The Crystal Ballroom at the Radisson Hotel of Freehold. Additionally, Lena and Christopher liked how the facility was in close proximity to their ceremony location.
Guests were served a variety of options during cocktail hour including a pasta station, carving station, smashed potato bar, eggplant rollatini, lemon chicken, fried calamari, and passed hors d’oeuvres of crab cakes, spring rolls, and wraps. For dinner, guests had a choice of ginger-infused salmon with honey glaze or filet mignon.
Lena and Christopher held the spotlight for their first dance as newlyweds to”I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz.
Tell us about your wedding proposal: I knew Chris was the one soon after we first started dating. We got along perfectly and he always made me laugh. Being around him was addicting and I felt as though I never had to try. Our relationship came natural. Chris proposed on the beach in Myrtle Beach on August 18, 2011. He had wanted to do it at sunrise, but I was in no mood to wake up that early on vacation. Luckily, he just went with the flow and did it on our early afternoon walk instead. The moment was a blur. I can just remember before and after, not during. I was so excited he said I could barely speak. I had a feeling the proposal was coming, but nothing can prepare you for the actual moment. It was perfect!
Bride’s favorite memory of the day: Chris and I promised each other that before the night ended, we would stop, look around and take it all in. As the night’s end neared, he took me by my hand and we stepped off to the side of the dance floor. We looked around and noticed all the people who were there to support us and our love for each other. We took in the laughing, dancing, and love that was all around that room. It was the most magical day and that moment really helped it sink in.
Groom’s favorite memory of the day: The best part of our ceremony was hearing us pronounced as Mrs & Mrs. Jones and getting to officially make Lena my wife. It was such a great feeling knowing it was done! We had waited a year to hear those words. All the planning had lead to that and it was great! At the reception, our first dance was very memorable. I remember looking at each other in amazement that our day had been so perfect. It was nice to escape with her for the 3 minutes we had together on the dance floor.
Where did you go on your honeymoon? Chris’s parents generously gifted us with our honeymoon! They had a timeshare through RCI and we were able to pick from hundreds of beautiful resorts. We wanted something that was fun and relaxing. When we came across the website for the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in the Dominican Republic, it looked perfect! It had so many different activities, restaurants, pools, and bars that could definitely keep us busy for a week. The reviews we saw were very positive and we couldn’t wait to try it out.
Do you have any advice for couples that are planning their wedding? It’s hard to put this into perspective, but as much as you want the day to be perfect, it is only one day. It’s the promise you make to each other for the rest of your lives that is most important. The little things didn’t matter once I woke up that morning. All I cared about was marrying my best friend. The day will be perfect no matter what as long as you remember what you are gaining.
Lena & Christopher
July 20, 2012
Crystal Ballroom • Freehold, NJ
In The Spotlight:
Ceremony Location: Saint Anthony’s Catholic Church / Celebrant: Deacon Jim Knipper / Reception Location: The Radisson Hotel of Freehold / Photographer: 217 Photography / Videographer: First Floor Films / Entertainment: DJ Available / Florist: Petal Pushers, Inc. / Limousine Service: Platinum Limo / Cake Designer: Chocolate Carousel / Bridal Salon: The Bridal Suite / Headpiece & Veil: Illusions / Shoes: Zappos / Formal Attire: Men’s Wearhouse / Invitations: Michael’s / Favors & Photo Booth: Go Festive / Hair Salon: Headways Salon / Makeup Artist: Unforgettable Faces / Jeweler: David’s Bridal / Honeymoon Locations: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino―Punta Cana, DR
Tara and Chris met at work on July 7, 2007. They had an instant connection, and although Tara was hesitant, their attraction was inevitable. “Chris had a gorgeous smile that was contagious. He has the best personality and made me laugh constantly,” Tara shared. After the two began dating, they enjoyed spending time together, especially while on several ski vacations. Chris had planned the proposal about three months prior, and as Tara and Chris reached the top of the mountain for a day of skiing, Chris asked to take a picture. As Tara stood there posing for the camera, Chris got down on one knee and proposed. “I was beyond shocked. We have so many great memories, and our proposal location has meaning behind it,” Tara reminisced
When the couple began planning their wedding, Tara and Chris knew they wanted to tie the knot during the fall, as they both love the weather during this time of year. Additionally in choosing October 9, 2011, Columbus Day weekend provided guests the best availability for travel arrangements.
The ceremony was held at the groom’s parish, Our Lady of Sorrows. Seeing each other for the first time as the doors opened to the church was Tara and Chris’ favorite memory of the day. “It was an unbelievable rush of emotions and a level of happiness I hadn’t experienced before,” Chris mentioned. “I was filled with anticipation as I waited to see my future wife.”
Tara walked down the aisle wearing an ivory silk taffeta Essence wedding gown, embellished with lace appliqués and beadwork. A fingertip blusher veil and Manolo Blahnik shoes completed her look flawlessly. Chris sported a Joseph Abboud tuxedo, Tiffany’s cuff links, and a Breitling watch.
Located on private woodlands and set for secluded and exclusive events, along with the facility’s storybook ambiance, renowned cuisine, and impeccable service, the Pleasantdale Château was the perfect locale to host Tara and Chris’ reception. “Every room was different from the next and even more breathtaking,” commented the bride. The architecture, pristine grounds, estate style, and one-wedding-at-a-time service factored into the couple’s decision.
Cocktail hour provided a lavish presentation, including coconut chicken, duck and cranberry salad, lobster cream puff, potato and camembert cheese croquettes, along with various stations and displays. For dinner, guests had a choice of tilapia meuniere or roasted filet of dry-aged Black Angus beef with roasted shallot and béarnaise sauce. Each entrée was served with risotto or whipped potatoes and vegetables. “We couldn’t have asked for better service. The Pleasantdale Château staff were there assisting before we could even ask,” noted Chris. In addition to the five-tiered octagonal hazelnut wedding cake, guests were treated to warm chocolate molten cake, French and Italian pastries, and petit fours.
Throughout the day’s events, Milton Gil Photographers captured the special moments in photography and on video. Tara and Chris liked Milton and Lou’s photojournalistic approach, as well as their creative eye, professionalism, and how wedding stories unfolded while looking at album samples. They were equally pleased working with their videographers, who blended in with their guests.
The décor of the ballroom beautifully set the tone for the reception. High centerpieces included curly willow branches decorated with magenta orchids with suspended glass votives holding tea light candles, while orchids submerged in three cylinder vases at varying heights topped with a floating candle completed the low centerpiece design.
Following Tara and Chris’ first dance to “You and Me” by Dave Matthews Band, guests danced the night away with the help of Barry Herman Entertainment. The emcee and disc jockey for the evening played a variety of songs from many genres.
At the end of the reception, the newlyweds escaped to Hawaii for their honeymoon, where they stayed at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa and Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea. Tara and Chris look forward to starting a family and buying their first home together.
Tara & Chris
October 9, 2011
Pleasantdale Château • West Orange, NJ
In The Spotlight:
Ceremony Location: Our Lady of Sorrows
Celebrant: Father Richard Pfannenstiel
Reception Location: Pleasantdale Château
Photographer & Videographer: Milton Gil Photographers
Entertainment: Barry Herman Entertainment
Florist: Flower Elegance
Limousine Service: D&G Limousines
Cake Designer: Pleasantdale Château
Bridal Salon & Veil: Ally’s Bridal • Shoes: Manolo Blahnik
Formal Attire: Joseph Abboud
Invitations: Birchcraft Studios
Favors: Photo Booth Pictures & Frames
Hair Salon: Brushez • Makeup Studio: Facez
Jeweler: West Orange Jewelers
Photo Booth: Photo Illusions, LLC
Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa―Kauai and Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea―Maui, Hawaii
Designed by ChocaL8kiss, “a touch of class” wedding cake features an elegant lace trim with light pink accents.