Photo by Heyn Photography
Leading up to our entire wedding month, part of me couldn’t get fully invested in the idea it was actually going to happen – out of the realistic fear of COVID’s ability to rip the rug from right underneath of us at any given moment. After witnessing so many people, including some I know personally, endure the heartbreaking process of cancelling or rescheduling their weddings, I was petrified that the surging Variant would have the capability to do the same with ours as we approached late October. On top of that, I feared that people closest to us (or us ourselves) would fall victim to it the week of and would not be able to attend (i.e. family & bridal party.)
The entire month was stressful in many forms, and we recognize just how fortunate we are to have been able to see our wedding weekend through without a hitch, especially when many people remain to be working towards theirs with the very same concerns. But despite the uncertainty that robs a lot of our mental time (& causing too many sleepless nights) there’s a lot that we have little to no control over when it comes to things like this. The best we can do is manage the things we personally have control over (aka ourselves) and have faith those closest to us will honor the same. Ultimately, what’s meant to be will be.
Photo by Heyn Photography
Also, I strongly believe in good karma coming full circle in its ability to return for those who deserve it. So definitely keep that in mind and continue to put that good energy out there leading up to the big day. I keep saying that Thomas and I must have done something right in our lifetimes to be rewarded with the Wedding Day of our dreams, complete with perfecting timing & all. Every star aligned to ensure our “destination” wedding day stayed on schedule; it was a miraculous feat to have been pulled off successfully without some sort of cosmic energy on our side.
In case it was missed, you can read all about The Rehearsal from the day before
On that note, let’s get into the details behind our incredible Wedding & highlight all the amazing people, places, & vendors that contributed to this special day!
FRIDAY – OCTOBER 22, 2021
Thomas and I chose to have our wedding ceremony in the Episcopal Church held very close to my late Grandfather, St. George’s By The River, in our hometown of Rumson, NJ. Following the ceremony, which was optional for guests to attend, the entire wedding party made their way towards NYC for the reception by hopping aboard the Seastreak Ferry out of Highlands, NJ. Our reception was held at the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan.
In a way, this was sort of a “destination” wedding by means of crossing over state lines for the day’s schedule of events. But for many of us who’ve grown up here in NJ, taking the ferry is one of the primary methods of commuting to/from the city so it felt extremely right to be venturing in that way, even for a wedding. We didn’t rent out the ferry, opting to hop on with anyone else heading to the city on that same Friday afternoon – definitely not something you see on your average ferry ride which made it all the more fun!
— The Invitation —
For our Black Tie affair, we had the opportunity to work with Minted for our save the dates as well as our wedding invitations! We chose this gorgeous Bianca Foil-Pressed Invitation & worked with the Minted Design Team on a few tweaks to the original format to suit our needs (mostly font sizing & spacing.) Added on Foil-Pressed Reply Cards, Belly Band & completed with a Black Envelope + Return Addressing in white font.
On the envelopes: we used these Lighthouse Stamps which were very on theme, as well as stuck a custom-made T&T burgee from Sticker Mule on the back fold that looks identical to the one we were gifted as an engagement present. All about those personal touches.
I wanted to incorporate a watercolor map as a visual to represent the wedding weekend at a glance, which would prove helpful for those coming to the ceremony from out of town and unfamiliar with the method of ferry transportation. After scouting several artists on Etsy, I landed on the beautiful work by Maria of Watercolor Baby Prints & promptly hired her for the job. What she came up with was beyond anything I could’ve ever dreamed of! So thankful for her & her talent which made our wedding invitation package complete.
To save money, we printed everything ourselves excluding the formal invitation, reply cards, belly band & envelopes. However, I believe Staples has a printing center that will do the heavy work of trimming for you should you not be interested in such a project haha.
— Our Wedding Website —
TildenandThomas.com — I bought the domain on GoDaddy and redirected the IP Address on Zola pretty seamlessly. I had our website password protected up until the wedding, so you can now take a look for yourself if you wish! Personally, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Zola’s templates and found resizing any images uploaded to be more of a chore than necessary. So I made my own “headers” on Canva and saved/uploaded them as images to reflect each of the website pages I envisioned them for. Glad my knacht for website design still comes in handy from time to time.
Zola’s Seating Chart Tool, as well as the Registry Gift Tracker, were two features I was quite pleased with. It made editing/printing out the listed-out table assignments, and writing/sending thank you cards for the latter, much easier to go about as a busy Bride juggling that & much more on the daily. For those of you working on your own registry and wondering what to add, or maybe searching what to gift someone for an upcoming wedding, here are some suggestions on where to start. You can also take a look at what we added to our registry for more of a direct reference.
THE MORNING OF
Both our parents still live in Rumson, so getting ready in the morning was made much easier by having the ladies & gents get ready at each of the homes. Us gals + my Bridesman got ready at my parents while the boys got together at Thomas’s parents place. Both houses had a spread of breakfast foods & coffee, as well as mimosas to enjoy. Everyone would be meeting at my parent’s house by late morning for photos prior to the ceremony scheduled for 2pm. Lucky for us, the driving distance between both the houses & the church is only 3 minutes, which meant we were able to maximize each hour leading up to the ceremony time (which we did, with 5 minutes to spare…)
Did I mention I had a Bridal Party of 13 people? Scheduling a salon to open super a early & hoping everyone would show up on time was simply out of the question. Instead, I hired Lyndi Kinofer & her team of stylists at High Maintenance Studio 62 to come to the house first thing in the morning to do everyone’s hair/makeup right in my parent’s dining room. WHAT A GAME CHANGER.
With 12 heads in the Bridal Party + 2 Mothers + 2 Grandmothers getting hair/makeup done, it was crucial we started early in order to be ready for first look & formal photos by 11/11:30am. The first shift of Bridesmaids were in their hair/makeup chairs by 7:30am, having been provided a schedule of times to refer to from Lyndi. This level of organization, not to mention the incredible talent that was shown on everyone’s head/face throughout the entire day, made all the difference in the world. I’m so grateful to have been introduced to Lyndi by a family friend & to have her team take care of us so beautifully on the wedding day.
— The Bridal Party Gift(s) —
As the Bride, it’s typical to gift your Bridal Party with something special as a thank you for all that s/he has done to contribute to your special day in the months leading up to them standing beside you. The most popular gift idea is typically a piece of jewelry, but this isn’t always feasible when on a budget. Additionally, I find jewelry to be a very risky gift because it’s a very personal thing – not everyone is guaranteed to like what you chose. A great place to start is by covering the cost of hair for all, which is what I did in addition to the direction I went in for the main gift.
So I went in a different direction and chose two pieces of quality clothing to be worn the day of, as well as something to be enjoyed well after the wedding day. 1) L.L.Bean Men’s Green Plaid Flannel to wear the morning of while getting ready, and 2) Old Navy Classic Black Denim Jacket as an outer layer to be worn over their dresses later or on the ferry. For Jesse – these monogrammed cufflinks instead of a jacket, which Thomas also gifted to his groomsmen. Lastly, I included a personal note of thanks & appreciation to each member of the bridal crew using my new custom stationary from Curio Press (also ordered our wedding thank you stationary here too.) I wrapped everyone’s apparel & note in a black paper tote bag with shades of green tissue paper and these gift tags to identify each one.
— The Wedding Dress —
I talked about the process of shopping for wedding dresses amidst a Pandemic winter, pre-vaccination. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I’d find THE DRESS at my second & last-visited Bridal Boutique, let alone at Kleinfeld of all places. Yep, I said Yes to the Dress at Kleinfeld. Can’t say I saw that one coming haha. But I’m so happy it was during a visit that included both my mom and my now mother-in-law; talk about a special moment.
The dress I chose is a style I’ve envisioned myself in longer than I care to admit, ever since seeing Kate Hudson wear that Vera Wang ball gown with the purple sash belt for the first time in the movie Bride Wars. Something about a full skirt like that really intrigued me, because how often will you get the opportunity to wear such a thing? Your wedding day is one of the only times. So after trying on this Hayley Paige for Kleinfeld beauty, I knew it was the one for me. I loved how it had straps with an elegant lower back, and layers of playful floating tulle making up the ballgown skirt. In true nature of my personal style, I opted to wear these white leather Frye sneakers the entire wedding until changing for the After Party. Not only was I super happy and comfortable all day long, but you wouldn’t have a clue these were on my feet under the skirt.
— Bridal Hair & Makeup —
For my hair: Lyndi Kinofer of High Maintenance Salon 62 styled loose waves with a semi-pinned back, inverted french braid complete with this flower crystal hair piece I found on Amazon. I absolutely LOVED my hair, especially the fact that it didn’t need a veil (which I chose not to incorporate, even for the Church Ceremony.) It just didn’t feel like me, but this hairpiece was 100% my vibe.
As for makeup: I had RoseMary Glancy of Jon Lori Salon work her magic on me, as she’s always provided me with the most natural glam I could ask for. So there was no question she would be doing my wedding makeup. And once again, I was beyond happy with how it looked AND how well it stayed throughout the many busy hours of the day.
— Bride’s Good Luck Recipe —
My late Grandmother’s string of pearls, which I wrapped around my bouquet
A pair of diamond stud earrings I received as an 8th Grade Graduation gift from my late Grandfather
Frye White Leather Sneakers, which I happily wore from Ceremony throughout the Reception
My Mom’s sapphire & diamond jacket earrings, main piercing statement along with smaller diamonds in second holes
Along with the earrings, I wore navy blue nail polish on my toes (I almost got it on my hands but was talked out of it last minute)
— What The Bridesmaids Wore —
I was approached by Birdy Grey shortly after I got engaged to dress my Bridal Party for the wedding and after seeing the gorgeous possibilities of dress styles & colors, I happily agreed to partner! Although the 12 individual styles my Bridal Party chose were gifted, the price point for all Birdy Grey dresses is $99 which is incredibly reasonable, especially with the variety of styles and fabrics available to select. There’s a flattering option for every body type – sizes ranging from petite to curve. What I also love about Birdy Grey is that you have the option to send your gently-worn dress back (post-wedding) to donate to The Princess Project, a non-profit organization that provides free dresses & accessories to teens in need for prom. A much more productive way to keep your closet clean of dresses you know you’ll never wear again, right?
I let my Bridal Party select any dress style in the color Emerald which is more of a hunter green hue. Here’s what each of the girls chose:
Alexa: Grace Convertible in Chiffon | Logan: Grace Plus Convertible in Chiffon | Kaitlin & Emily: Elsye in Lightweight Mesh
Piper & Rina: Devin Convertible in Chiffon with Slit | Brittany: Devin Plus Convertible in Chiffon | Kendall: Kaia in Chiffon
Annie: Ash Plus Cowl Neck in Crepe | Mackenzie: Jules in Chiffon | Lindsay: Gwennie in Chiffon | Ali: Ryan (will be discontinued)
*My Bridesman Jesse incorporated the green hue with his cufflinks*
In terms of preferences with hair/makeup, jewelry, shoes, even nail color for the Bridal Party — I let everyone pick whatever they wanted for each, as long as they all were happy and comfortable with their choices. I’ve read horror stories about Bridezillas who sometimes go too far with their requests in an attempt to chase a “vision” they’ve been pinning on their Wedding Boards since yester-year. The worst thing I came across: asking someone to dye her hair to “match with the rest of the party..” LIKE WHAT!?
Here’s the reality: you won’t see anyones jewelry, nail color, or shoes under a long gown in any of the pictures (unless you super-zoom in and who’s even going to do that anyway?) You know what you will see in those photos though? The visible discomfort of anyone uncomfortable with what s/he is wearing. Why force someone into a very specific box, especially if you love this person for his/her unique style and as your friend?
Don’t get me wrong, it’s totally ok to have a vision if you’re a Bride-to-Be but I encourage you to think about what would be appreciated by you if the roles were reversed and someone was telling you what to wear for the sake of a photo, yet you’ll be stuck in for the duration of the day & night. Also – if you’re one of those people who doesn’t want anyone in your Bridal Party to outshine you and purposely chooses unflattering attire for the group to wear… get a grip. You’re the Bride, no one can steal your spotlight even if they tried. And the aftermath of pulling a stunt like that will leave you with group pictures that make you cringe and your closest group of friends seeing a very insecure side of you. Just please, don’t be that Bride.
— Handwritten Letters & Groom’s Gift —
Thomas and I wrote letters to one another and read them separately prior to our first look. Within our notes, we penned our hopes & dreams for the future that we are to build together, as well as our overall excitement to be husband & wife within an hour’s time. It’s one of those traditions I was most eager about doing because it truly solidifies the dedication of the partnership about to be united by marriage. Reading Thomas’s words gave me all the reassurance I already knew was there in written form, and all the anxious nerves I was feeling (as most Brides do no matter what) immediately went out the window. *Do be prepared for your eyes to tear up and have someone on standby to fix your makeup*
In terms of a Groom’s gift, I got Thomas a set of Tux studs & cufflinks from the New York Yacht Club – where our reception was held in NYC & where Thomas is an active member. We discussed me not gifting him anything extravagant, as we intended for our Honeymoon to be a priority to focus financially on. But I had to get him something meaningful & these definitely did the trick!
— The Bridal Bouquets —
John Burn & his team at Sickles Market put together the most beautiful bouquets I’ve ever laid my eyes on. I still can’t get over how gorgeous everything was, incorporating all the fall-inspired colors I was looking for in my bouquet as well as the Bridesmaids. John also put together a smaller, toss bouquet for me to throw during the Reception as my original arrangement was on the heavier side :]
All the groomsmen, fathers of the couple, and bridesman had boutonnieres which ended up staying on THE ENTIRE DAY/NIGHT! That usually never happens, as most fall apart with continuous movement & hugging by the end of the day. But not these! The bouquets lasted for 1.5 weeks after the wedding too, which is the product of a well-sourced arrangement.
— Transportation —
Because of the size of our Bridal Party alone, plus all the family members on either side, making sure we had modes of transportation throughout the entire day was essential. We’re so thankful for these amazing companies that helped get everyone to/from where we needed to be, and perfectly on time! Like down to the minute perfection.
Long Branch Trolley: Took Bridal Party from my parents house to the church, and then to the Seastreak Ferry following the ceremony.
Santos VIP Limo: My dad and I rode in this antique 1962 Bentley S2 from the house to the church. Post-ceremony, Thomas and I hopped in & cruised to the ferry together following the Trolley carrying the rest of the Bridal Party.
33 London Taxi (+ Concierge Services): The most clutch transportation came from Mario Patiño of 33 London Taxi who drove all the luggage of the Bridal Party + immediate family into the city, dropping off at the NYYC to hold while we made our way into the city separately. This alleviated a lot of stress by allowing everyone to travel hands-free, not worry about their luggage and being able to pick it up at the end of the night from the NYYC locker storage. Mario also assisted in the transportation of the Reception Decor, as well as the Floral Centerpieces which were used for the following day’s brunch & driven back to NJ at the conclusion of the weekend. This type of concierge service made all the difference & strongly contributed to the smoothness of the weekend’s heavy moving schedule.
If you live in Central/Northern NJ or NYC Area & interested in learning more about Mario’s services (from personal rides to concierge services such as this for special events) please feel free to send me a note via email to get you in touch. Mario is a very good family friend & beyond credible; his website is currently under maintenance although his contact information is still available there if you wish to reach out directly.
Seastreak Ferry: Everyone + some of our guests who attended the ceremony hopped aboard the Seastreak from the Highlands landing, followed by Atlantic Highlands landing, to take into NYC. Along the way, my dad surprised Thomas and me with a drive-by plane carrying a banner that read, “Congratulations Tilden & Thomas.” What an amazing treat!
Academy Bus: We hopped off the ferry at the 35th St & FDR landing stop, where two academy bus charters were waiting for us + other guests of the wedding who came along for the boat ride. We all piled into one of the two busses that took us right to NYYC in a matter of 10 minutes! I’m so so thankful we had these busses because I couldn’t imagine trying to hail an Uber or Taxi in my wedding dress, let alone risk having everyone in the bridal party separate before the Reception Cocktail Hour.
Our Wedding Reception was held in the infamous Model Room of the historic New York Yacht Club in Manhattan. Since Thomas is a member of NYYC, we had the extremely fortunate opportunity to not only have our wedding here, but to secure a date that worked best for our families as well as ourselves to prepare for. We knew our guests would have a terrific experience getting to step inside one of the most incredible rooms in architecture history at one of the most prestigious membership clubs in the world. If you can’t tell from the images already, the eye is drawn every which place within the room – including up at the Tiffany Skylight and down at the longest Oriental Rug ever made. Several of us stayed the night & weekend in one of the 15 gorgeous rooms at the Club *available only to members for booking. But due to the convenient location of NYYC, many of our guests were able to book one of the neighboring hotels on the same block for an easy walk back post-celebration.
Because our Ceremony was optional, several of our guests began their evening with us at the start of our 5:30pm Cocktail Hour, which was held underneath the Model Room in the downstairs Dining Room. The space itself is designed to look like the inside of a boat’s hull, gorgeous woodwork and all. After cocktails, our attending 165 guests climbed the gorgeous set of red carpeted stairs to the Model Room to find their seats at one of the 15 set tables.
— Table Names & Centerpieces —
Instead of referring to the tables numerically, we went for a unique approach by assigning each with the name of a 12 Metre Yacht that has one either The America’s Cup or World Championship for the USA. During cocktail hour, we had our guests locate their own escort place cards and made sure to include a 8″ x 11″ framed signage in the center with a description behind the table names for reference. I made the Table Name Signage myself on Canva, and placed each print out in a standing 5″ x 7″ acrylic frame found on Amazon — super easy and saved us some money not having to hire outside design work.
Along with our bouquets, John of Sickles Market worked with me to come up with the perfect floral centerpiece that would serve two venue locations (Reception & Brunch), be easily transported and appear all-around stunning on a round dining table. The result: one of two styles on each of the 17 tables – 1) Wooden lanterns with votive candles surrounded by a wreath of arranged blue, white, green and burgundy hues, and 2) Rounded floral arrangement encased in a wooden square box surrounded by votive candles. Intermixed and alternating from table to table, both style of centerpieces served to be gorgeous additions to the already impressive room we were in. And the next day at the Brunch venue, they proved to be just as perfect for the second location as well! Also, I want to mention that all of these florals stayed in great shape for 1.5 weeks after the wedding which is truly amazing!
— The Band & First Dances —
For our wedding band, we hired Atomic Funk Project after Thomas discovered them in his research for an 8-9 piece band, complete with horns & diverse song list. Our guests are STILL talking about the band! The music was sensational all night long, choreographed to perfection thanks to their own MC/Band Coordinator that worked alongside the NYYC host to schedule timing between speeches & dinner servings. Aside from entrees being plated at the tables, the dance floor was never empty which is the tell-tale sign of an incredible band performance!
Following the cocktail hour, the Bridal Party + Bride/Groom entered the Model Room to the instrumental of Tequila – The Champs. After dancing for a short bit, we went right into the first dances but changed the normal order by dancing with our parents first prior to our own first dance moment as husband & wife.
Mother of the Groom Song: How Sweet It Is – James Taylor
Father of the Bride Song: These Are The Days – 10,000 Maniacs
Thomas and I chose the song Slide – The Goo Goo Dolls, an upbeat tune that we spent 2 months choreographing a dance to that turned out beyond epic thanks to our instructor Kerianna & Arthur Murray Dance Studio. We wanted to dance to something that would invite people to join us on the floor following our song, but needed some guidance on how to pull it off without looking like amateurs at an 8th Grade dance. If looking like you know how to dance with one another is important to you, then I highly suggest taking dance lessons a few months before the wedding. It’s a great excuse for a weekly date night to look forward and of all else, learning how to dance as a couple will be something worthwhile for the two of you in the long run.
— Cake, Signage & Decorative Details —
Our gorgeous wedding cake was baked by the ever-talented Laura Catena, who happens to be a high school classmate of mine. She created a stunning fall-inspired, naked 3-tier beauty that incorporated several flowers used in the bouquets. We couldn’t decide on two of the delicious flavors we tried, so she baked both options for us to serve our guests: Funfetti & Chocolate, both with Vanilla Bavarian Cream Filling.
Instead of having our guests sign a book, we had a recycled sail from Sea Bags Maine for everyone to leave their mark on; which would be sent back and returned as a personalized Guest Book Tote Bag to be used for years to come! Not only was this very on theme with the venue, but such a fantastic option for a more worthwhile detail of any wedding day. I’ll soon be able to see everyone’s messages to us on the inside of a tote bag as often as I use it, which I’m sure will be more frequent than if we had an ordinary guest book sitting on a shelf to be forgotten.
I found this Custom Acrylic Card Box that had a lock/key feature for any cards that our guests generously gifted us. It’s the only thing deemed “personal” for the wedding having our new last name, but it served its purpose and will be given to Thomas’s brother & my soon-to-be sis in law to use at their wedding next August (should they want it.)
Thomas and I both had signature cocktails for our guests to enjoy – His: Manhattan, Mine: Espresso Martini. I ordered this customizable Signature Cocktail Sign template, printing myself and placing in a similar 8″ x 11″ standing gold acrylic frame to display on each of the bar counters.
THE AFTER PARTY
I stayed in my wedding dress until the Reception’s final hour, changing quickly into this Retrofete white sequin robe dress and these Marc Fisher white booties with a slight block heel I was ready for after wearing sneakers all day/night so far. Following the Reception’s end, we walked the short 5 minutes around the corner to The Perfect Pint Rooftop (West) where we had a section reserved for the wedding party right at the bar until 2am. Upon arrival, an assortment of the best drunk bar food came out as an after party snack – from chicken tenders to mozzarella sticks to buffalo wings. It was a terrific ending to the most unbelievable night of our lives.
THE WEDDING VENDORS
We couldn’t have pulled off this terrific day without the help of our incredible vendors, all of which I couldn’t recommend more!
— Photography & Videography —
Due to the nature of our schedule and the demand of photographers for rescheduled events, I got SO LUCKY in finding two amazing photographers to capture our wedding weekend – one in NJ and the other in NYC.
For all of our NJ photos, from first look to formals, ceremony to even the Seastreak – Marissa of Heyn Photography worked WONDERS to make it all come to life considering the hectic time frame we were working with that day. I don’t know how she did it but OMG did she deliver. Our photos turned out absolutely incredible!! Marissa is incredibly organized and knows how to handle big groups of opinions beautifully, which is exactly what I needed in a photographer for those early on photo moments. She made me feel incredibly calm throughout the chaos, and managed to get absolutely everything on our photo timeline schedule captured.
Capturing moments from NYYC Reception & our Brunch in Central Park the following day – Asher of Asher Gardner Photography showed off her incredible talent for working a busy, dimly lit indoor space, which is exactly why I was drawn to hire her. Based on her experience photographing in all sorts of NYC locations, including where we’d be spending our weekend, Asher was the perfect person for the job. We got to spend the following Saturday morning taking some candid couple photos in Central Park before our Brunch, which turned out so so beautifully. Not to mention, she’s an absolute delight and we hit it off instantly from the moment we first spoke on the phone months ago. Asher provided us with still moments of our time in NYC that Thomas and I will treasure forever and ever.
In addition to photos, having video footage of our entire day was something I wanted just as much. There’s something about hearing the voices of people in attendance of a wedding that leaves a mark worth mentioning, as it’ll remind us of who was there and what the night was in a way still images cannot reflect the same. Joe of Off BEET Productions was with us from early in the morning up until the evening’s end, capturing a highlight reel of the day we’re beyond grateful for.
Our full wedding video won’t be ready for several months, but here are the teaser & highlight vids to get a glimpse of the energy from the evening – and yes, that’s a big purple lipstick stain on my cheek during the speeches…thank you to whoever planted that one on me lol
— Day Of Coordinator —
I did a majority of the planning myself, but knew I needed some professional help for the wedding day itself. I hired Audra of The Day Of Company to assist in all the nitty gritty details of the day, which was honestly the best thing I could’ve ever done for my Type A self. In the months leading up to our day, Audra put together an ongoing time sheet/itinerary detailing everything going into the wedding day down by the hour, which I was able to share with all of our other vendors + Bridal Party members for their own reference (super helpful in making sure everyone was aligned with the schedule of events.)
Closer to our wedding day, Audra assigned me to one of her pro-coordinators Tori Thomas, who has been kept up to date on all the details previously discussed between me and Audra. When the time came, Tori put together the most perfect Reception and Brunch set-up as well as managed much more behind the scenes to ensure it all went smoothly. I’m so grateful for the two of them in helping us achieve the most incredible day despite the many timing obstacles. There’s no way it would’ve worked out the way it did without their assistance!