A Vibrant Orange-and-Purple Beach Destination Wedding in New Jersey
Katie and Colman
Katie and Colman met in August 2005, during training for Goldman Sachs's First Year Analyst Program. Over 700 people attended, but Colman ended up sitting next to Katie. He offered her some candy (tempting her sweet tooth), and the rest is history.
Katie, a native of Philadelphia's suburbs, and Colman, a Londoner who attended boarding school in the states, chose Long Beach Island, in New Jersey, for their wedding location. Katie's family vacationed there during her childhood, and Colman came to love it while spending summer weekends there with her.
The bride relied on her sister Liz, the creative mind (and Katie's boss) at Linda & Harriet (a stationer), for all of the wedding's paper goods. The save-the-date looked like a pint of ice cream, a nod to the couple's tradition of getting after-dinner frozen treats on the island; inside, the carton held saltwater taffy to get guests in the mood for the oceanside affair.
Each pint was embellished with an illustration of Long Beach Island's famed lighthouse and featured witty text descriptions of the couple. The "LBI Seaside Sundae" was made with "Blondie Bar and 6ft. 6in. of Brit-tle," which hinted at Katie's hair color and Colman's height. A letterpressed disk with a magnet on the back popped out of the lid.
Programs outlined the ceremony and included a special quote on the back in honor of Katie's late mother.
Colman and his groomsmen entered the ceremony first.
White benches lined the fences, so guests could sit and change into flip-flops provided in nearby buckets. And tall bamboo posts anchored in the sand let ivory lace and strips of sheer fabrics flutter in the breeze.
Another Flower Girl
Katie's older niece, Emma, wore a dress by Johanna Grace to set her apart from the younger flower girls.
The Bride and Her Father
Katie's father, Frank, walked her down the aisle. "The time before I walked down the aisle with my father was so special," Katie says. "The smile he had on his face when he looked at me will forever be engrained in my memory."
Another highlight for the bride was catching a glimpse of her husband-to-be as she mounted a small hill at the beachside ceremony. Walking down toward the water, "I couldn't wait to get to him," Katie says.
The 200 guests sat facing one another on either side of the sea-grass runner, with a view of the waves just a few yards away.
Although a hurricane watch had been issued and the entire morning leading up to the 4 p.m. ceremony was overcast, the winds calmed enough to allow an outdoor wedding.
Colman's Astor & Black suit had a hidden surprise under the collar -- the wedding date embroidered in orange; the groomsmen's suits featured their initials embroidered under the collars. The lining and button holes were also customized, by making them aubergine.
Something Old, Something New...
Colman's mother gave Katie just what she needed to complete the Old English saying, "Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in her shoe": Katie taped a British coin to the inside of her purple beach-friendly Christian Louboutin wedges.
To round out the saying's requirements, Katie used her mother's bracelet (old), her own wedding dress (new), her sister's veil (borrowed), and her vintage turquoise Seaman Schepps earrings (blue).
Since there is only one main road on the 18-mile island, guests made the inevitable crossing from the beach to the reception venue. Wedding coordinator Annie Lee of Daughter of Design created custom signs for the street. She arranged one that sported the couple's silhouettes and newly shared last name to replace the regular sign.
A Little Help
Township police officers were kind enough to assist with traffic as guests crossed Long Beach Boulevard to The Long Beach Island Foundation, holding signs that read "stop in the name of love."
Guests were transported from the beach to California wine country, by way of a creatively decorated cocktail reception area. A calligraphed sign read "Welcome to
Long Beach Island Napa Valley," and a faux vineyard was set up with grapes on the vine.
Cocktail Hour Fare
Wine barrels doubled as tables, and caterer Creative Edge set up wine stations with food pairings and a spread of cheeses.
The Guest Book
Sticking with the vineyard theme, Katie and Colman asked their guests to write notes on wine labels created by Linda & Harriet. Paperfinger calligraphy noted that Katie and Colman love to collect and scrapbook wine bottle labels, and that guests could add to the collection by leaving their well wishes on the custom labels provided.
A framed chalkboard reading "find your way" was perched near escort cards with guests' names calligraphed in slate gray.
Cocktail Hour Decor
Wine bottles placed atop old wooden crates held flowers and added to the decor of the cocktail area.
Flower pins made from repurposed note cards by Linda & Harriet added pops of color to the plain black shirts the waitstaff wore.
Portraits on the Beach
Katie and Colman took a few dance lessons before the wedding, but never with a full-skirted dress to work with. So just before entering the reception tent as husband and wife, the newlyweds held a private practice session.
The main wedding colors of eggplant, deep orange, and slate gray filled the tent, which was draped in white fabric and vintage-style chandeliers.
Custom silk dupioni tablecloths with gray cotton napkins covered the two long tables that connected with half rounds at each end. Fruitwood reception chairs with gray cushions rounded out the romantic look.
Table Settings at the Reception
An eclectic mix of patterned plates brought a flea market sensibility. Silver vases holding full arrangements of burgundy and purple dahlias, artichokes, orange tulips, 'James Story' orchids, ranunculus, and calla lilies dotted the table amidst mercury glass votives, vintage bud vases, and candlesticks holding orange pillar candles.
Centerpiece arrangements, done by Hatch Creative Studio, alternated between designs in complementary colors.
The Menu Cards
Ivory cards, tied with an orange ribbon to the back of each chair, outlined the evening's menu.
The couple wanted the menu to feature foods they enjoy. Katie chose Creative Edge based on her work with them when she was a corporate-events planner.
The meal began with a taster plate: baby beet and citrus Napoleon; hearts of palm and grapefruit with shrimp; watermelon and feta salad; and a goat cheese tart. Choices for the main course were short rib and fillet of beef with squash and spring-potato risotto, or lemon-thyme baked branzini. On hand for dessert: ginger snap cookies, pecan pie squares, chocolate beignets, berries and cream, and lemon meringue tarts.
Katie and Colman danced to Ray LaMontagne's "You Are the Best Thing."
Three songs followed the couple's first dance before dinner started, but the majority of dancing followed the meal. A special highlight: The father of the bride's rendition of "Hang on Sloopy."
A banana-bread cake with brown-sugar buttercream and chocolate nibs from Cake Alchemy boasted sugar flowers that matched the blooms on Katie's dress. The purple icing piped on each tier tied into the palette and also hinted at the lace details of the bride's gown.
Mini cups with wooden spoons contained custom "Save the Date" ice cream: vanilla with blondie bars and peanut brittle blended in.
Guests were treated to a bountiful goodie bag in their hotel rooms. The totes were filled with items of sentimental significance: peanut M&M's (Colman had offered the candy to Katie the day they met), a wine opener (in honor of the couple's first trip together), Cadbury chocolate (from Colman's home country), and dried cherries (from Michigan, where Colman spent summers as a child).