When you find out that Christine and Michael’s guest list consisted of family from 19 different states, you’ll wonder like us how they accommodated every single one of them. They happened upon Morristown, New Jersey because of its proximity to major airports and train stations: a huge plus. What they really lucked out on was The Madison Hotel-Conservatory. Cassi Claire Photography captured the breathtaking venue and its high glass walls, stark white interior with a slight industrial vibe, and the abundance of flowers already perched inside. The couple wanted to keep their colors simple, so they opted for a classic color palette so as not to detract from the conservatory itself. Apple Blossom Flower Shop created pieces with white flowers front and center and heaps of greenery strewn throughout, from the bouquets to the centerpieces. Check out local conservatories for their wedding availability; they are usually decked out in impressive flora and fauna already and are such a unique option for wedding venues.
In their own words
How did you meet?
Mike and I met at the University of Maryland College Park on spring break. A few girlfriends in my sorority knew Mike who was in a close fraternity, and introduced us. Mike graduated a year before me, and moved back home to Scotch Plains, NJ, where he got a job and started establishing himself. After I graduated the following year, I moved up to NJ with Mike (I’m originally from Maryland) and we moved in together. We’ve lived in a few different cities since, but are now located in Green Brook, NJ, living a suburb life with our adorable 5-month old mastiff/rottweiler puppy, Leo (who was a surprise part of the proposal!).
What is your proposal story?
From Mike’s perspective, it was very important for his proposal to be a big surprise for Christine and be something that they will never forget. It was their most important day with each other to date, and he wanted it to be something special. Mike and Christine lived in Hoboken, NJ for two years and it was a place that was significant to them. Mike had arranged a double date brunch at Halifax, a great restaurant along the Hudson River. After brunch was finished, he tricked Christine into going upstairs to a lounge area for some more drinks before heading home. What Christine didn’t realize was that it was a private space and that Mike had secretly rented it out and had it decorated for the proposal. After he asked the question (and she said yes!), the photographer told us to go to the Hudson River across the street, so we could take some photos with the Manhattan skyline as a backdrop.
As a secondary surprise, our new 10-week-old adopted puppy Leo was looking dapper with a bow tie and patiently waiting to meet his new mom. Christine, already completely overwhelmed and surprised, just about broke down at this point! Leo is a (mostly) rottweiler/mastiff mix that is now the focal point of our lives and will always represent the day we started to grow our family. Our family and friends were also there for the surprise as we continued the celebration in a private space rented out at a local bar in Hoboken.
If you ask Mike, he’ll say the months leading up to the proposal were extremely STRESSFUL. There were a lot of moving parts and many times where he thought that he bit off more than he could chew. You can understand why when you consider getting the ring, coordinating the brunch, booking and coordinating the private lounge, hiring the photographer, adopting the puppy, planning with family and friends, and arranging the after party. However, it was worth every second of stress and effort and, in the end, we were so satisfied with how it worked out. It was a perfect day and one we will both fondly remember for the rest of our lives.
What was the most important to the two of you while planning? Was there anything that you chose to splurge on or skip?
We heard from so many people that the day flies by (which it did!). Therefore, we wanted to make sure we documented the day perfectly, so we always had photos and videos to look back on. Our photographers, Keri and Yumi from Cassi & Co photography, did an amazing job capturing the photos, and Axel and Megan from NST Pictures shot the footage for a video that couldn’t be more perfect. We would consider the video to be a splurge, as it can be seen as a “nice-to-have” rather than a “need-to-have”, but having a videographer was one of the best decisions we made. Photos are beautiful, and look great on display in our house, but there is also something so special about a moving video with music and voiceovers, that help you to truly relive the day and feel all the emotion associated with it each time you watch it.
What were your favorite parts of the day?
The getting married part of course! :) Since we chose not to do a first look, the moment we saw one another for the first time as Christine walked down the aisle towards Mike was one we’ll never forget. It was a long day of anticipation up until that point, so both of us were finally able to breathe and be present in the moment once we found one another at the altar.
Another favorite moment was when our dog, Leo, showed up to take photos with us! Our neighbor drove Leo to the venue dressed in his tuxedo bandana, and he was so surprised to see us there! He was very excited to see us, our family, and our wedding party who were out on the lawn for photos, and happily received lots of belly rubs and attention between photos. When it was time for him to take photos, Leo posed so handsome for the camera and we got some great shots! It wouldn’t have been the same without him there.
Do you have any advice for couples planning their weddings now?
Create a wedding planning calendar and follow it! There is so much that has to be done to prepare for the big day, but creating a sectioned-out calendar really helped us stay on top of everything and feel at ease through the whole process. Some larger items like choosing bridesmaid dresses or booking the DJ were assigned to an overall month. As we got down to the final three months leading up to the big day, we put every single to-do item, from creating the seating chart to ordering food for while we got ready on the morning-of, on a calendar assigned to specific days, and spaced it all out in a manageable way. We slowly chipped away at the list without having to feel panicked or overwhelmed!
Additional Event Information
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- Wedding Cake
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