My New York Beach Wedding
As a 55 year old widow I never thought I was going to have so much fun getting married again. Today I celebrate my ONE YEAR anniversary! It has sure thrown us lots to deal with: retirement for one of us, a global pandemic, a home sale, the death of my mom, a kitchen and bath renovation and both my kids coming home to live with us for a while during it all. Moving forward every day has been my motto.
We survived half of 2020 and keep smiling that we have each other. It’s never too late for another amazing adventure in life!
So let’s go back to the beginning…
It all started with a proposal back at Thanksgiving 2018 We went out to dinner and he surprised me with a beautiful diamond and sapphire ring. The two sapphires stand for our September birthdays which both fall on the same date!
Unlike most brides to be, once engaged I immediately booked our honeymoon. In fact since I wanted to go to Greece I thought maybe we’d just get married there.
That turned out to be expensive and in several ways too difficult to get an official marriage license.
And then his great niece volunteered to be a flower girl so we adjusted our course.
Having both been previously married I wanted to do a lot of things differently.
For starters, we would not be getting married in a church.
One evening after talking to my brother about his new job and all the public speaking he was doing, I asked him if he would like to be our officiant. He said yes, and became certified by the World Wide Web.
We considered having a celebratory party at one of our houses. But the guest list of family alone got so big, it seemed like more work to host an event at home.
Finding a place was the next step. I really love the beach so a water view was important. We live on an island, Long Island, New York, with over 400 miles of coastline and beautiful beaches. Plenty of water view and water front venues are available, we just had to find the right one for us.
We decided to use the Pavilion at Sunken Meadow State Park to host our party. Located 8 miles from our homes on the North Shore of the island and adjacent to the Long Island Sound it was perfect.
We saved money by choosing to have a Sunday afternoon reception and selected the “Long Island Shore Dinner” instead of a traditional sit down wedding meal. Our guests lined up for a delicious buffet of steak, chicken, salads and LOBSTERS!
Once we met with the pavilion party planners to reserve our date, I saw photos of wedding ceremonies right there on the beach. Suddenly I decided I needed to have a ceremony. I had a groom and an officiant and a flower girl. The rest would just fall into place.
I googled short wedding ceremonies and scripted one I found on you tube that was about 5 minutes long. My cousin and her husband offered to sing a song so the whole ceremony was about 9 minutes. I picked Canon D to play as I walked down the aisle escorted by my two handsome sons and “Don’t stop Believing” by the Vitamin String Quartet to play as we walked back up the aisle together with our new rings. (We recruited the flower girl’s brother to be our ring bearer)
Of course you can’t have a flower girl without flowers so I went into a local shop In Northport called Hengstenbergs. I sat down with the owner Terri and we designed simple table flowers with a mason jar, babies breath and greens placed on a burlap circle, surrounded by shells. She also decorated the arch and seat decorations for the ceremony, designed beautiful white and pink rose bouquets and made corsages for both my mom and my 86 year old late husband’s mother.
I am so glad that I made that small gesture to give my Mike’s mom a corsage that day. She was very happy for me but when she got the corsage she cried. It meant so much to her. My mother in law passed away 3 weeks after my wedding. She will be missed in my life but I hope that she is happy to be with her son again.
My neighbor plays in a band and also has been a DJ for a few parties. He and his friend brought their equipment and played all my favorite songs as well as some fun dance tunes like “Cotton Eye Joe” and “Cupid Shuffle” which got everyone up and dancing.
Tracey Spero, is a local professional photographer and also a neighbor. She is amazing and managed to capture the day and get stunning photos of us and all of our guests.
Lessing’s is a well known restaurant group that provided the catering and Rolling Pin bakery designed our cake. The cake was designed based on a beach themed photo I showed the bakers. I don’t remember how it tasted but that is OK. I have a box that I just took out of the freezer and we plan to eat the top of the cake on June 30th, our one year anniversary date.
I had fun one day buying things on Etsy and Amazon. We purchased personalized white sunglasses with our names and wedding date on them and multi colored anchor flip flops for everyone as ‘favors’. They were whimsy and practical.
While we didn’t have an official photo booth we did have a cool rustic sign designed with our names and wedding date. Our guests had fun posing during the cocktail hour with the frame.
We made a photo collage of our 2 years of dating and placed it next to the table place cards. Our venue gave us cards with their restaurant name on them. I typed up new labels with names and table numbers, printed out labels to cover the restaurant name, glued little shells to the label and put them in a sandbox. Also instead of a guest book, people wrote a short message on a small heart and placed it in a decorative mason jar.
For those not familiar with weddings on Long Island it is customary to have an open bar which I admit was well attended. When a sudden squall broke out that ultimately uprooted trees all over the area during the reception, my son helped the bartenders get the alcohol inside just in time.
My sister once again was my maid of honor, although this time she was a matron of honor. She chose her own dress and looked fabulous. Since I did not have bridesmaids my neighbors and coworkers took it upon themselves to throw me a bridal shower / bachelorette party. They surprised me by decorating my house while I was out and then we played some fun games and ate food while I wore a silly veil decorated with small plastic penises.
My wedding dress was one of the simplest decisions for me. I love clothes from the Sundance catalog and I saw the perfect dress, ordered it and it was just right. Finding shoes was another story. I bought beaded Tory Burch flat sandals that were so pretty but when worn with my dress, the length of the dress was too long. The sheer outer layer couldn’t be hemmed so I ended up wearing white flip flops that had a bit of a wedge and some bling. They were super comfortable and perfect for wearing down the aisle on the beach.
As a gift, one friend arranged for a professionally done make up session by Rachel from R.J. West the morning of my wedding, complete with fake eyelashes. When she finished I had my hair done in a low bun. Since my hair is quite fine, the hair stylist Nicolette from Beyond the Brush Long Island added some extensions and I think I looked a bit like Elsa from the show Frozen! Fabulous.
The invitations I ordered from Zazzle and enclosed pre stamped RSVP cards. For thank you notes I ordered picture cards from Costco and wrote a note on the back to everyone.
Finally 2 days before the wedding I was getting my nails done with my sister and her daughters. French style. When I decided that my future husband should not drive us to the wedding like he had assured me was fine. I made the call and arranged for a limo to pick us up along with my sister, her husband and 2 daughters who would be spending the night with us at his house. My house had the other 6 young adults and my brother and his wife. No hotels necessary! But arriving at your wedding in a white limo…priceless.
All in all, best day ever!
Of course the honeymoon was amazing as well. I have a fabulous travel agent, Rosemary Martinek with Cruise Planners, who arranged for us to have a 7 day cruise in Greece with a balcony suite on Celestyal Cruise line. We spent one night in a luxury hotel on the cliffs of Oia in Santorini and 2 nights in Athens. Read more about the Honeymoon here: My Honeymoon in Greece