Scott and I have known each other since we were in junior high, but it wasn’t until Scott’s sister and my close friend’s engagement party that things changed. I saw Scott in a ‘new light’ and seven months later, Scott summoned the courage to ask me out. After a year and a half of dating we were on our first trip together to St. Lucia – Scott proposed and no sooner was the word ‘yes’ out of my mouth that the planning began!
BEYOND EXPECTATIONS | I wanted our reception to be held at a place that was different. I have always considered myself to be an old soul and as I began to research different venues I found myself drawn to the mansions. After visiting almost every mansion Long Island had to offer, I went to see The Woodlands. When I stepped through the front door I was immediately drawn back in time. I felt like I had just entered someone’s home from the Great Gatsby. I was smitten with the black and white marble floors, gilded mirrors, and dark wood paneled walls. It was then that I realized I wanted this to be my home – to host the most important day of my life. Not only had I found my place but my theme as well. To make The Woodlands our home for the day, the staff decorated the various mantles with our engagement photos (couretsy of our amazing photographer!) and family wedding photos.
Champagne and strawberries greeted guests as they arrived. The Woodlands also created signature drinks for our wedding to be passed around during cocktail hour. The food from start to finish was delicious and plentiful. One especially festive piece of cuisine was the heart-shaped watermelon salad with balsamic dressing. Best of all, as we know, there is a LOT of food at weddings and we were able to donate our leftovers to Island Harvest – it was nice to know that nothing went to waste!
OLD WORLD INSPIRATION | When I was 16 years old I got my first job working for The Writing Place in Stony Brook Village. While working there I learned the in’s and out’s of wedding invitations and had my favorite companies in mind. Owner Phyllis Martinez taught me many things during my time there. One thing that particularly stuck with me was that an invitation sets the tone of your party. Having chosen our theme of Great Gatsby, I knew I wanted something more formal and extremely elegant. I was thrilled with the William Arthur invitations that I chose and could not have done it without the staff at The Writing Place. They are creative, organized and attentive to all the details. I was beyond excited when I sent out our invitations, knowing that they definitely set the tone I was hoping for.
MUSIC TO OUR EARS | Scott and I both have a history of being musicians, so the right music was very important. We felt that music is the heart of the celebration. Guests were greeted upon arrival by a string quartet which had also played throughout our ceremony. For our reception we used Franklin Wayne Music. They have several bands under their umbrella and we would have been happy with any of them! We saw the band Vision at a bridal showcase. I will always remember the night we signed them; it was awful weather and we were tired, but despite those two elements Vision got us up and dancing. Vision has a huge repertoire and is willing to learn any song. Our wedding song was John Mayer’s ‘Covered in Rain’. This song is not well known and has a very difficult guitar solo. We worked closely with Vision to have them learn the song and were blown away when we began our first dance. We are still getting compliments about their performance to this day.
CREATING THE LOOK | I have always found that the best way to find what you need is through referrals. Nicole D’Angio was referred to me by two brides that I work with. Just seeing their wedding photos told me that Nicole would be able to create the period hairstyle that I was hoping for. Nicole was meticulous during the trial; she took pictures of the various looks that she created and made suggestions as to the hair pieces that I might want to look into. Prior to the wedding, Nicole formed a schedule for the girl’s hair and make-up to ensure that we would all be running on time. The morning of, Nicole made sure everything was moving along smoothly and did not leave until I was in my dress ready to begin pictures. My make-up artist from RJ West, a spa in Huntington Village, completed the look with a flawless make-up application using a potpourri of top of the line cosmetics.
CLASSIC DETAILS | Choosing a photographer was one of the easier parts of the planning process. We knew we wanted someone who would take their time to find those special moments and not try to create them. Five years ago I was the maid of honor in my friend Alicia’s wedding. She had Christina Bohn as her photographer and I remember looking through boxes of Alicia’s proofs just in awe of what Christina was able to capture. Christina is truly gifted and the pictures that she took (as you can see!) are proof of just that!
I love beautiful flowers, but sadly I lack any real knowledge of them. This being the case, I knew I needed a visionary who would take charge of my Great Gatsby theme and help to make it a reality – upon meeting Heidi Lauber of Sugar Magnolias, I knew that was exactly what I would get. Heidi was filled with enthusiasm from our first meeting. She embraced our theme and color scheme of plum. Her goal was simple: keep things lush, fresh and romantic. Heidi used a variety of flowers for the bouquets and centerpieces in colors of lavender, purple, green and cream. My personal favorite were the Cool Water roses – they added that little something extra. Aside from knowing what flowers I was expecting to have, I did not see my bouquets until my wedding day; everyone could not get over how beautiful and eye catching they were. The entire Woodlands ballroom glowed as I had requested with candles scattered on the tables and a gold revere bowls filled with roses, stock, snap dragon, hydrangeas, and old-fashioned spider mums spilling over. The room was warm and inviting and we were beyond thrilled when we did our solo walk through of the ballroom.
Being that our wedding was on the Fourth of July, Scott and I thought it might be fun to give a nod to that in small ways. With the assistance of Sara from Sara’s Gracious Goodies, each hotel guest was given a blue and white striped re-useable bag stuffed upon arrival. Each bag was filled with a variety of snacks, water, and information, accented with red tissue paper in honor of the holiday. Sara also includes delivery when you book with her which in my mind is just one less thing for any bride to worry about!
THE PARTY CONTINUES | Another fun addition to our special day was that Scott and I hosted an after party. The Woodlands created an intimate setting in their golf bar. We provided a fondue station and deep fried Oreos with shot glasses of milk passed around. Festive red and white napkins and milk cans filled with sparklers were [;aced along the bar. On their patio we had a cigar roller from The Little Cigar Factory and all the while a family friend played an acoustic guitar. Scott and I loved this because we had more time to spend with our guests.
Whoever thought that planning the happiest day of your life would be stressful? I certainly didn’t! One thing that kept me really grounded aside from being extremely organized was getting myself in shape for the big day. Working out proved to be the BEST way to relieve my stress as well as give me motivation to take the best care of myself imaginable! Once again through a referral I was lead to my personal trainer/pilates instructor, Elaina Girona of Core Pilates. Elaina has been in the fitness industry for years and has a wealth of knowledge to share. She takes a vested interest in all of her clients whether they’re training for an event or just trying to stay healthy.
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LIST OF VENDORS
Ceremony | St. James R.C. Church, East Setauket
Reception | The Woodlands, Woodbury
Photography | Christina Bohn Photography, Stony Brook
Videography | Mark David Productions, Hicksville
Band | Vision from Franklin Wayne Music, St. James
Favors | Godiva
Welcome Bags | Sara’s Gracious Goodies, Syosset
Cigars | The Little Cigar Factory
Florist | Sugar Magnolias, Stony Brook
Stationery | The Writing Place, Stony Brook
Bride’s Dress & Veil | By Marissa with Vera Wang Accents, The Bridal Salon of Manhasset
Bride’s Shoes | Sandy’s Shoes, Massapequa
Hair | Nicole D’Angio
Make-up | RJ West Cosmetics, Huntington
Groom’s Tuxedo | Tony’s Tuxedo & Formal Wear, Miller Place
Bridesmaid’s Dresses | Amsale, from the Wedding Salon of Manhasset
Transportation | Sir Oliver Limousines, Ronkonkoma
Pre-Wedding Trainer | Core Pilates, Mt. Sinai
Food Donation | Island Harvest