The Estate at Florentine Gardens wedding reception of Kevin & Peter | River Vale, New Jersey

More from Kevin & Peter’s gorgeous wedding reception…

Who proposed to who and how?
Pete proposed to Kevin during the fireworks at Disney World.

Pete had a work related trip to take to Orlando and Kevin had been hinting that the two of them should go a few days before Pete’s conference and have a “mini-vacation.” Pete had been brainstorming with friends and family about how to propose to Kevin, and when this trip came up it just felt like the best time to do it.

So Pete chartered a pontoon boat to take him and Kevin out onto the seven-seas lagoon during the fireworks. To keep the proposal a secret, Pete designed a flyer about the fireworks cruise. This flyer was made to look like the hotel we were staying in was chartering the boat, and that they had limited space available – on a first come. Pete left the flyer in the hotel room, and the trap was set. Kevin found the flyer and indicated to Pete that this would be a great thing to do. Pete agreed, and called the front desk to book the trip for that night. (Little did Kevin know, but Pete didn’t actually call anyone.)

When they arrived at the dock, The boat captain greeted them and escorted them to their pontoon. Already aboard was another couple. The captain, who was in on the proposal, indicated that only 4 people would be traveling tonight, and we were on our way. At this point it should be mentioned that the other couple on the boat, were professional photographers that Pete hired to capture the moment.

When the fireworks began, the captain positioned the boat and the photographers got into position. Then Pete got down on one knee and proposed. Kevin had no clue. It was magical.

gay wedding photography New Jersey

Why did you choose the Estate at Florentine Gardens?
We have been to many weddings together, but we can only remember a handful of them. Seven years ago, we attended a wedding at The Estate at Florentine Gardens and to this day we are still talking about it. When it was time to pick a venue, we checked out a number of places, but none of them compared to the uniqueness of the Estate at Florentine Gardens.

Having never planned a party of this size (160 guests) we were nervous about where to begin or how it would all come together. The venue provided us with a wedding coordinator, Denise, who held our hand the entire process. She told us what to do and not do while planning our wedding. She told us what to do if things didn’t work out the way we were hoping. She told us how to handle the vendor and guest issues that arose. She was our partner throughout the entire process. She was genuinely invested in our special day being perfect. By the day of the wedding, she felt like family to us. Speaking with Denise weekly will be the one thing we will miss now that the wedding is over.

What inspired your decor or theme?
We wanted something that represented us, Kevin’s favorite color is navy, and we wanted and Elegant and Classic theme, so we thought gold would perfectly compliment navy.

Tell us about your décor, flowers, etc.
Our décor consisted of gold Moroccan lanterns, and gold and crystal candelabras for the table centerpieces and white and cream floral arrangements of roses, lilies, hydrangeas, spider mums and snap dragons. Our color theme was Navy and gold and it was used in everything from the cake filling to gold frames around our photos in the lobby.

same sex wedding New JerseyNew Jersey gay wedding photographersame sex wedding at New JerseyFabulous gay wedding first dance at New JerseyEstate at Florentine Gardens weddingsame sex wedding first dance at Estate at Florentine GardensAnd that awesome wedding cake topper…
Our cake was from Palermo’s Bakery. We had two flavors, chocolate cake with chocolate pudding and vanilla cake with raspberry and French cream. We requested that one of the layers be dyed blue to go with our color scheme. The icing is buttercream with fondant accents. We wanted the cake to tie in with the gold Moroccan lanterns we had as our table centerpieces. Our cake topper was a 3D model of the two of us. It was so life-like, our guests were lined up by the cake just to get a picture of it. We got it from Doob3d in New York City. It was Pete’s idea to get a 3D printed cake topper that would be unique and something we could keep as a keepsake, so we replicated our wedding tuxes and even went as far as renting the exact tie and vest and having our florist make boutonnieres for us. The cake and topper are definitely something people will remember about our wedding.

wedding cake with 3d toppergay wedding reception Estate at Florentine Gardenssame sex wedding photography New Jersey

What’s next for the two of you?
VACATION! After planning and hosting the largest party of our lives, it’s time to get away. We chose to honeymoon in Cancun, Mexico and we opted to travel in January, to get away from the cold and snow in the northeast.

Venue: The Estate at Florentine Gardens – River Vale, New Jersey
Suits: Men’s Wearhouse
Cake: Palermo’s Bakery – Little Ferry, New Jersey
Flowers: Bill O’Shea’s Florist – Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey
Invitations: You’re So Invited – Westwood, New Jersey
Venue Coordinator: Denise Downing
Officiant: Matthew M. Morales
Band/DJ: Sal Travis Entertainment – River Vale, New Jersey

New Jersey wedding photographer: Leslie Barbaro

The Estate at Florentine Gardens wedding of Kevin & Peter|River Vale, New Jersey

Kevin & Peter can’t identify one particular “moment” when they knew they wanted to get married. They’ve been together for thirteen years, have lived together for more than ten, and have two adorable dogs they consider their kids. They spend holidays and birthdays with each others’ families and have worked together to establish a home. “We were practically married already, the only thing missing was an actual ceremony, solidifying our intentions to remain together forever,” they said. “The time was just right for a formal proposal and to host an event announcing our relationship plans to the world.”

Some words and wisdom and photos from the ceremony today, reception photos coming Wednesday!

What was the one thing you were most stressed about before the wedding and how did it turn out?
After planning our special day for nearly a year, we had just about everything all set for the wedding, except for the weather. Not having control over this aspect of the day gave us the most stress, especially since we so wanted an outside wedding. We kept an eye on the weather for days before the wedding, and what added to the stress was that each forecaster had a different forecast for the day.

Finally, the day arrived and the weather called for overcast skies, with rain in the afternoon. This worked for us as our wedding was at 11:30am. But as we were going through our final rehearsal, a light rain started falling. We had to decide what to do. Do we move inside or attempt an outdoor ceremony? We literally made the decision 10 minutes before the ceremony, and as luck would have it. The rain stopped and our ceremony was perfect.

groom and groom prep before Florentine Gardens same sex weddingring box and invitations for Estate at Florentine Gardens wedding ceremonygrooms prepare for their same sex wedding ceremony at Estate at Florentine Gardens in Bergen County NJ

What was your favorite part of the wedding day?
Looking back on the day, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly which part was our favorite. From the ceremony to the reception to the first dance, everything seemed to go as planned and was exactly as we envisioned our wedding day would be. If we had to pick one part that stands out for us, it would be the start of the ceremony.

It may seem odd to select this, but this was the most emotional part of the day for us. Walking down the aisle together, hand in hand, symbolized the start of a new chapter in our lives, and the act of embarking on this new chapter together had us feel love on a new level. Having all of our family and friends around us, supporting, encouraging and loving us, provided an emotional boost we weren’t expecting. At this point, the dream called “marrying my best friend” became a reality and it set the stage for the rest of the day.

Estate at Florentine Gardens same-sex wedding in black and whitegorgeous setting for gay wedding at Estate at Florentine Gardens, New Jerseygrooms say vows at New Jersey gay wedding at Estate at Florentine Gardensgroom and groom hold hands down the aisle during Estate at Florentine Gardens weddin

Now that you’re married, and you’ve been through planning a wedding together, what advice would you give to other couples who are just starting the process?
Start the planning early. Half the fun of your big day is planning it together. If you start early, you can take your time and enjoy the entire process. If you wait too long, the time crunch will cause stress and the planning wont be enjoyable. We started planning about 1 year before our wedding. We made a list of things to do, and took time each week to do something on the list. When the wedding day came, everything had been taken care of and we were stress-free. As an added benefit, going through the planning process together in a relaxed state brought us even closer together. Sit back, and enjoy the journey.

wedding party phots at Estate at Florentine Gardensgroom and groom portraits on grounds of Estate at Florentine Gardens

wedding party phots at Estate at Florentine Gardensgroom and groom portraits on grounds of Estate at Florentine Gardens

How does it feel different being married?
It’s funny, people keep asking us this and we haven’t come up with a unique way to answer it. We have been together for 13 years, so we had been living as a married couple would for over a decade. If anything, our wedding was a way to promise that we would always be there for each other, and to openly share our intent with all or our friends and family members. Its hard to explain, but the act of saying “I Do” in front of your loved ones, intensifies the love you have for each other. So if anything, it feels like our love has grown somehow.

black and white grooms portrait at Estate at Florentine Gardens

Venue: The Estate at Florentine Gardens – River Vale, New Jersey
Suits: Men’s Wearhouse
Cake: Palermo’s Bakery – Little Ferry, New Jersey
Flowers: Bill O’Shea’s Florist – Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey
Invitations: You’re So Invited – Westwood, New Jersey
Venue Coordinator: Denise Downing
Officiant: Matthew M. Morales
Band/DJ: Sal Travis Entertainment – River Vale, New Jersey

New Jersey wedding photographer: Leslie Barbaro

Liberty House wedding of Ashley & Sean – sneak peek | Jersey City, NJ

When I walk into a home and first thing I see is a triptych of Janis Joplin, Bob Marley playing soccer and a poster from Woodstock, I’m pretty sure this is a couple/photographer match made in heaven. Congrats to Ashley & Sean who were married yesterday at the chapel on the campus of their alma mater – Seton Hall University!

seton hall wedding in south orange new jersey

Venue: The Liberty House Restaurant – Jersey City, New Jersey
Dress: Kleinfeld Bridal – New York, New York
Groom’s Attire: Indochino – New York, New York
Hair & Makeup: Up & Out – Hoboken, New Jersey
Flowers: Bridal Bouquets by Jill – South River, New Jersey
Wedding planner: Blush Events – Hoboken, New Jersey
Band/DJ: Pure Rhythm Entertainment – Queens, New York
Transportation: Romantique Double Diamond Limousines – Brooklyn, New York

New Jersey wedding photographer – Leslie Barbaro

Cairnwood Estate & Bryn Athyn Cathedral wedding of Rebecca & Ben – sneak peek | Bryn Athyn, PA

Congrats to Rebecca & Ben who were surrounded by friends and family who joined them from far and wide to celebrate their wedding at Bryn Athyn Cathedral and Cairnwood Estate!

bride and groom dance for portraits during cairnwood estate wedding reception

Venue: Cairnwood Estate – Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania
Dress: Ellie Sanderson Bridal Boutique – Beaconsfield, U.K.
Hair: Janelle on Location – Warminster, Pennsylvania
Flowers: Astrid’s Flowers – Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania
Cake: The Master’s Baker – West Chester, Pennsylvania
Caterer: Sage Catering – Berwyn, PA
Officiant: Grant Odhner
Band/DJ: Slippery Band – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Transportation: Sterling Limousine – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia wedding photographer – Leslie Barbaro

Winterthur wedding of Kathleen & Jacob – sneak peek | Winterthur, Delaware

Congrats to Kathleen & Jake who were married yesterday, and came prepared to traipse around the grounds of Winterthur for some gorgeous and super fun portraits! More to come soon…

winterthur wedding portraits

Venue: Winterthur Museum & Country Estate – Winterthur, Delaware
Dress: Jennifer’s Bridal – Hockessin, DE
Suit: Men’s Wearhouse
Hair & Makeup: Currie – Glenn Mills, Pennsylvania
Flowers: Fresh Designs – Chester Heights, Pennsylvania
Cake: The Master’s Baker – West Chester, Pennsylvania
Invitations: Crane & Co.
Wedding Planner: Proud to Plan – Wilmington, Delaware
Officiant: Fr. William Melnick
Band/DJ: Imagine – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Delaware wedding photographer – Leslie Barbaro