Happy New Week! Yes, I’m intentionally ignoring the fact that I skipped Monday entirely- don’t judge me! To make it up to you, I have an absolutely breathtaking New Jersey affair by Joshua Dwain Photography. You may remember Nkechi and Curtis from their Liberty State Park Engagement Session we shared last year. This gorgeous duo went on to tie the knot (exactly one year and a day ago today)- how time flies!
In celebration of this sweet milestone, we have all the ‘pretty’ from their modern fall wedding at The Estate at Florentine Gardens in New Jersey. As a special anniversary treat, we’ve also included stunning images from their post-nuptial couples session at home. Happy Anniversary Mr. and Mrs. Vaughn!
From the Bride:
So I’m not one of those girls that dreamt of her wedding day as a child and had it planned to a tee just in time to say “yes” so I kind of stepped into the role of being a bride cold turkey! I downloaded all the checklists, tried to keep up with all the rules, but at the end of the day, my husband and I simply had to just go with the flow and learn the ins and outs of wedding planning along the way. It was very important to us from the start to have a warm, elegant, fun and memorable wedding that glorified God in every way and so every other decision kind of pivoted off of these key principles.
In selecting our venue, we didn’t want to be very far from the New York – New Jersey area so we were totally ecstatic when we finally discovered The Estate at Florentine Gardens. The venue was simply stunning, full of character and their staff ran a pretty tight operation that catered to making the entire process easier for couples. I think the entire wedding experience kind of complimented our choice of venue from the invitations, to stationary, to music, to attire, food etc.
Some of my favorite memories of the entire process was our engagement session with Joshua Dwain at Liberty State Park earlier in the summer. The photos turned out amazing! Also, we shared many precious moments and one that really stands out is when my fiancé and I discovered that “Just the Way You Are by Billy Joel” was going to be “Our Song” forever. I really enjoyed designing our wedding website (thanks to a friendly tip from Aisle Perfect to check out WedMeDo) and I’m so grateful for my husband’s partnership and creativity in this project as it was the first one we tackled together as a couple – it definitely brought us much closer!
My first advice to brides-to-be is to be women of faith and pray about everything – it made a huge difference between being totally at peace versus running around like a headless chicken at times. =) Also, I can’t stress enough, the importance of making decisions together, while enjoying each other’s company and creativity! The wedding planning phase is an ideal time to embrace oneness and strengthen your communication skills as a growing couple.
From a practical standpoint, I highly recommend brides to do their own research and hire a Wedding Planner or at the minimum, a Day-of-Coordinator that can bring some sanity into the process. We planned our wedding from scratch in less than six months (with no prior experience or preparation whatsoever) and it came together only by God’s grace, and of course through the help of our loved ones and amazing vendors. I hired an outstanding Day-of-Coordinator only a couple of weeks to the wedding and she made a huge impact – the best part is that our relationship blossomed into a wonderful friendship over the course of this past year.
In closing, it’s so important to enjoy every moment of the process because the wedding day goes by super fast and then voila – your marriage starts! For me, the wedding was great, but I’m humbled to say that the marriage is even better and though many things didn’t go quite as we’d hoped, we came out of it stronger, wiser and closer! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my husband’s company and support in the last year – he is officially the funniest person I know and I’m officially his biggest fan! It’s just been great to do everything together – we have a blast with the little and big things – we eat, laugh, pray, cry, explore, travel, make decisions and fight battles together. One thing that has really helped is that we made a conscious decision to choose to see good in any and every circumstance and as believers, we are also being renewed in our minds by God’s Word and in our love for each other!
In this day and age where marriage is under attack and has been terribly marginalized, I would encourage couples to “proactively” and “continuously” invest as much time and resources into their marriages so that it can bear fruit beyond just the wedding day, but for generations to come!
Bridal Session at Home
Vendors: Photographer: Joshua Dwain Photography // Wedding Dress 1: Kleinfeld Gown // Wedding Dress 2: Berta Gown via Cymbeline Bridal NY // Shoes: Manolo Blanhik & Badgley Mischa // Cake Designer: Palermos Bakery // Venue: The Estate at Florentine Gardens // Invitations & Stationary Designer: Parchment by Dami // DJ: DJ El Gee // Wedding Day Makeup: Darya Latham // Bridal Shoot Hair & Makeup: Juicy Looks by Abby / Wedding Day Coordination: Bunmi Olorunshola // Photobooth: Shot in the booth // Gourmet Cupcakes: Mr Cupcakes