A Look At This Beautiful New Jersey Tropical Garden Party Wedding
Raquel and Eric’s friendship dates back all the way to 2002 where they met through a mutual friend on AOL. They exchanged screen names and started talking every day via AIM and then upgraded to talking on the phone every day. They remained friends and officially started dating in 2005. Unfortunately, they broke up two years later, but as fate would have it, this wasn’t the end of their relationship.
After not talking for almost three years, in 2010 the couple reconciled and got back together, and as they say, the rest was history! Here’s a look at the intimate wedding of Raquel and Eric and their beautiful beachside wedding.
All images via George Street Photography.
Eric’s proposal was really sweet. In August 2014, he planned a trip to Puerto Vallarta and arranged for a private beachside sunset dinner on the second day of the trip. After the most amazing sunset, we walked down a pier and he nervously proposed at the end of it. I said yes immediately!
I would describe our ceremony as traditional with a twist. Neither of us are very religious but it was important to our families to have my Catholic faith and his Jewish faith represented in some way. We had a traditional Jewish chuppah and the ceremony was lead by a Unitarian Reverend. We also had a harp player that played Mariah Carey! We also said prayers, had some friends and families do readings and wrote our own vows.
The number 11 has been important to our relationship (it’s my birthday, Eric’s basketball number, the day we got engaged, the number of years since we started dating etc.) so we each wrote 11 vows.
As I was nearing the 6 months deadline to have a dress ordered, I gave myself a deadline to just pick one. On my “decision day,” I went to 3 different salons but wasn’t really loving anything I saw. Just as I was about to give up, I got an email from one of the salons I’d gone to a month earlier saying they got a sample of a dress that they think I’d love and would be perfect for me. They even stayed open after closing so I could try it on. It ended up being the one despite that it didn’t look like anything I’d picked out or pinned. I even cried!
Our wedding style was mostly inspired by our love of the beach and our personalities. Everyone describes us as laid back and what could be more laid back than a rooftop cocktail style day party? We were toying with a beach wedding but we didn’t want to be sandy for 6 hours straight and then we found The Avenue. We were able to be right next to the beach while avoiding the sand. They introduced us to the cocktail style event as well. It was the only venue we saw and we wanted it so badly we even changed our wedding date for it!
The cocktail style wedding was one of my favorite parts. The way people could interact with each other without being tied to a table and move around freely really made it feel like a party more so than a wedding. Also, our first dance was to “So Into You” by Fabolous and Tamia which was our favorite song when we first met. We dreamed about it being our song for the longest time but thought it might be weird to have a rap song. It ended up being perfect! Our guests said they’d never seen a first dance that was so much fun and got everyone involved.
It was very important to us for the wedding reception to be “chill”. Instead of a sit-down dinner, we had a cocktail style dinner with food stations, passed hors d’oeuvres, and an open bar. We wanted to avoid the formalized banquet hall feel and The Avenue was perfect for that. Our theme was “Tropical Garden Party” which some
of our guests found confusing but once I said “imagine you’re going to a fancy rooftop day party in Miami”, they understood. We added tons of palm trees and lots of tropical flowers throughout. My family is Jamaican and the DJ played lots of reggae, soca, and dancehall to keep them happy. After an amazing sunset, we had our exit through sparklers. All of our friends said it was the most chill, fun wedding they’d been to so mission accomplished!
Wedding Planner: Visions Event Co. | Wedding Photographer: George Street Photography | Wedding Flowers: Carrie Gold Events | Cake: Chocolate Carousel | Wedding Location & Reception: Le Club Avenue, Long Branch, NJ | Wedding Dress: Victoria Kyriakides Iole Dress | Bridesmaids Dresses: David’s Bridal Vera Wang Collection | Grooms & Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Warehouse | Hair & Makeup: Altagracia & Jane Kim | Music: DJ Vision Event Co. | Harp Player: Therese Hurley