Christina and James had to plan a New Jersey wedding while stationed in Germany, but they made it work with the help of friends and family.
Date: September 16, 2016
Venues: Ceremony- Cape May Beach, NJ (Grant Street and Beach Ave), reception- The Hotel Alcott (in Cape May, NJ).\
Photography: Cecilia Grace. She takes amazing photos and had been on my radar since I met her and saw her photos from a friend’s wedding in 2013!
Christina and James are one of those online dating stories you see on the commercials – they met through OKCupid in 2011, and when James got stationed in Germany with the U.S. Air Force, Christina went with him. While the couple initially disagreed on what type of wedding to hold (Christina wanted a Disney Wedding, and James wanted a WWE wedding), they came to a compromise that represented the two of them – a travel theme!
How he proposed: On May 17th, 2015, while we were stationed in Germany, both of our parents came to visit and we took a trip to Neuschwanstein Castle. This is the castle that was Walt Disney’s inspiration for the Disneyland’s castle. I am a HUGE Disney fan so while we were at the top of the castle, on a balcony, Jim decided it would be the perfect moment to propose to me! And IT WAS! He was so on it! And so that is how we got engaged!! At a castle!! I was completely not expecting it AT ALL! He got me good! And while I thought our parents were in on it, they didn’t really know it was going to happen at that moment either. His mom had brought the ring overseas with her, because *BONUS* it belonged to his Great-Grandmother! But Jim told her he was going to propose to me when we went to Ireland a few months later. We were all very glad that he decided to do it then because we got to celebrate it for the rest of their visit.
Caterer: The Hotel Alcott
Florist: Artificial arrangements made by Maureen Jones
Wedding Planner: Stephanie Berge, Jersey Cape Weddings & Events. I was planning the wedding from overseas, so it definitely helped to have a wedding planner.
Videographer: Nate Brady
DJ/ Band: Elliot, from Tri-State Professionals
Cake: Victory Baking
Wedding theme and design: Travel theme
Colors: Peachy- Coral, Minty-Green
Flowers/ Centerpieces used: Each table was named after a country we visited and so we made illuminating picture boxes and printed photos of us traveling to each particular country on vellum paper in black and white so the light would shine through them when we added fairy lights in the middle.
Wedding Party: 3 bridesmaids- My sister in Japan, my sister in West Virginia, my best friend in New Jersey. 3 groomsmen- Jim has no siblings and so he had his 3 best friends from high school.
Bridesmaids Dresses: Full-length dress by Dessy, in ‘Ginger’. We were trying to coordinate a bridal party that was all over the world and so I had to be decisive. That was my strategy for most of my planning. In order to not get overwhelmed with choices I would look at a few things in the category of what I needed but ultimately as soon as one thing really stuck out I just ended up picking it. It really helped to keep the planning process moving along and to not get too attached to any particular item or aspect of the wedding.
Tuxedos/ suits: We wanted a casual beachy vibe, we went with khaki pants, mint green shirts, and navy blue ties—to help tie into Jim’s air force mess-dress attire.
Wedding Dress: Camille Le Vie Beaded Lace-Cap Dress in White. I absolutely LOVED my wedding dress. The cut and style was just perfect for me and the lace with sparkly gems was a beautiful touch. I definitely had that teary moment with my bridal party and mom(s) when we found this dress!
Shoes: Bonus of a beach wedding is having the excuse to wear flip flops!!
Rings: My engagement ring was his great grandmothers! It is such an honor to have a piece so original and so personal to his family! The design is unique and there was never a band that went with it so I got to design my own! Since the engagement ring had an open shank, that is held together by the diamond setting in the middle so I wanted my wedding band to do the same and fit in between the open spaces of the shank and the diamond of the engagement ring. We used diamonds from some of his mother’s jewelry pieces and the jeweler engraved an intricate pattern in to the engagement band and the ring to allow light to hit the ring differently and create more sparkle! I absolutely love my rings!
Jewelry: Our “metal” color was gold. I bought the girls matching necklaces to wear the day of the wedding. I loved the daintiness and simplicity of these.
Honeymoon: Tour of Croatia with Mini-Cruise.
Vows: We wrote private vows for each other and read different vows that we picked out with the officiant.
First Dance Song: The Girl, by City and Colour.
Did you hand-make or DIY any wedding items? Yes, my mom, sisters, and cousins helped me make the centerpieces, cardbox, and seating chart.
You and your husbands’ wedding advice: Don’t be indecisive! You know your own style and the things you like so just follow your heart! There may be moments where you and your spouse don’t agree but you have to compromise. He wouldn’t let me have a Disney wedding, but I wouldn’t let him have a WWE wedding! We were still able to let each other have a subtlety from each like a “happily ever after” cake topper and a WWE bride and groom entrance theme song. Don’t forget that the day is for BOTH of you!
What was the biggest roadblock that you ran into while planning the wedding? Coordinating everything from overseas. Our moms sought out venues for us, got the information and sent us lots of pictures. They even got to enjoy our tasting when we finally picked our venue! (lucky them!)
Who/what gave you the most help in the planning process? Our families, and friends, and Weddingwire.com!
How much influence did your family/ fiancé have in the planning process? I made sure that my fiancé was involved with everything and told him that from the beginning. I said, I may ask you duuuumb questions like “what color do you like better, this pink or this pink?” but I truly want your opinion and I want you to be involved in everything bc this is OUR wedding not MINE.
Which part of the process gave you the most stress? The few weeks before the wedding because we had visitors that came to Germany, my fiancé had a promotion ceremony and party which I needed to help coordinate, and I was also coordinating a weekend cheer camp for my cheerleading team that I was coaching at the time.
What did you do that you found helped out with stress the best? We were decisive in planning, and we hired a wedding planner.
Is there anything that didn’t go as planned? Our candy bar was not set up to our desires but by the time we saw it most of the candy was GONE. Our cake did not have all of the correct flavors we requested, and lots of cases of beer were opened by the bartenders that never even got touched—but we couldn’t return them because they were opened.
What was your favorite part of the experience/ event? The whole wedding day!! Even with the few errors that occurred there was so much love, joy, and fun that day that we can’t really complain too much about anything!
If you could go back in time, what would you have changed? Taken more individual pictures with guests, had the DJ play more popular oldies songs to get some of our older guests on the dance floor.
What did you do to save money? We made the centerpieces, used a distributor we had a connection with to get wine and specialty beer, bought my dress at a discount store. I’ve known that I wanted to get my wedding dress from this shop ever since I went prom dress shopping in high school.
What was your biggest splurge? Our wedding planner.
Thank you Christina for sharing your beautiful wedding day with us!