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Planning for your Special day at the Southern NJ Shore


Presented by Photo by Shaun Reilly Photography

5 Tips for Perfect Wedding Photos Your wedding is a oncein-a-lifetime occasion something to be celebrated and cherished. Planning it, on the other hand, can feel as if you're preparing for war – between ensuring that Uncle Sal isn't sitting next to his brother, who owes him money, to budgeting for everything you want and need. The one thing you don't want to skimp on is the memories. Which is why choosing your photographer is one of the biggest decisions you will make. To help ensure that you get the most romantic photos of your fairytale day, Professional Photographers of America, a 29,000-plusmember association, offers these suggestions:


* Express yourself. What kind of photos do you like? Do they tend toward the journalistic or is your style more whimsical, classical, or romantic? Whatever your style, be clear with your photographer so that he or she can capture your personality. * Say yes to the dress. It starts and ends with this iconic garment. What will make you feel like the bride you've always dreamed of being? Is it a flowing sundress, a formal gown complete with train and veil? Or maybe your idea is more modern and it's a strapless dress, in a color other than white. Whatever it is, dare to wear your dream dress.

* Buy the shoes? or not. Carrie Bradshaw knows shoes. And you should too. Will you walk

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down the aisle in stilettos or kitten heels? Maybe cowboy boots are more your style? Can't decide? Then leave the shoes at home, and feel free to walk barefoot. * Rejoice in style. Your wedding day isn't just a ceremony, it's a celebration

that brings all your family and friends together (for better or worse), and pictures of this memorable party are a great way to inject your own sense of style. Be it a backyard BBQ, a tail gate at your favorite stadium, or a formal dinner, pictures of this event are a must-have. * Decide on your ride. Some people prefer to be whisked away by horse and carriage as if they were Cinderella herself. Others prefer luxury limos and cars as their modern equivalent. For the unique freespirits of the world, maybe a motorcycle is more your thing. Either way, a great photo opp awaits as you leave your wedding.


What’s trending for 2019


ouples today are finding increasingly creative ways to personalize their wedding day. Guests will enjoy custom creations from interactive food stations and wedding favors that double as decor. More and more couples will gravitate toward minimalist yet bold aesthetics. Couples will continue to buck wedding traditions for almost every aspect of their big day. From interactive food stations where guests can customize snacks to two-piece bridal gowns, here are some popular trends to watch. Starting with bridal fashion, expect to see lots of polka dots. Brides will embrace polka dots and crop tops while grooms will mix and match different fabrics and prints. This playful pattern, which was all over bridal runways this year, adds a flirty, romantic touch to any wedding look. Gowns with asymmetrical design, such as the one shoulder dress, will also be in style. Brides looking for a more modern look may want to consider a two-piece wedding dress. Groomswear will feature suits that pair different fabrics and patterns together. Many grooms are leaving traditional tuxedos behind.


When it comes to food, many weddings will have artistic edible displays treating guests to delicious treats that are also visually striking. Grazing tables will be another popular choice for couples. Guests can look forward to snacking on dif-

ferent breads, meats, fruits, nuts, cheeses, chocolates, and more. Get ready to enjoy custom creations from interactive food stations. You might see a s’mores bar or a classic fondue display. Many couples are ditching traditional wedding buffets for more memorable options. Popular examples of interactive

food stations include tea bars, guacamole bars, and popcorn bars. As for wedding decor, velvet linens will be popping up. Expect to see lots of pampas grass, too. The feathery, wheat-colored grass is perfect for beach weddings. Pampas grass adds a unique, modern texture to wedding bouquets and floral arrangements. Many weddings will also feature structural floral installations. Couples are taking their floral arrangements to the next level. To add drama to a traditional floral centerpiece, consider incorporating structural elements such as golden rods or wooden beams. Signs will continue to get more modern and personalized. Some of

the biggest signage trends include creative seating chart displays, light boxes, and letter boards.

Copper will be a popular metallic accent. Expect to see copper flatware at weddings. Copper’s unique pinkish-orange hue makes it a modern and versatile choice for wedding decor. Weddings will continue to feature “earthy” and “natureinspired elements” like leafy green plants, crystals, and stones. Plants in ceramic or wooden boxes will be popular choices for centerpieces. Green plants brighten up any wedding reception table. In general, weddings will look and feel more personalized and natural. More couples are mixing and matching attire and decor elements for their weddings, so the end result is “less polished.” Similarly, many couples will ditch rigid color palettes. Strict color schemes are getting less and less popular. Instead of seeing one or two specific colors, you’ll likely see a range of complementary shades at weddings. Many weddings will feature minimalist yet bold elements. Weddings will highlight quality, not quantity. Everything from invitations to wedding venues will get more simple. There will be an increased focus on sustainability. Couples and vendors alike are finding ways to avoid waste at weddings —from sending digital RSVPs to choosing smaller floral arrangements. SPRING - SUMMER 2019

Imaginative menus Creative presentations unparalleled service

It’s not just about the day, It’s about the moment!

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Playing Your Part

he bride and the groom have a clearly defined part in the wedding story. They both coordinate all the tasks such as choosing a date, a venue, clothes, flowers, invites, rings, photographer and above all setting a budget. But what about the other wedding roles and responsibilities? Bride and Groom Usually, the bride and the groom have separate tasks. For example, the bride makes sure her parents have a list of their guests, chooses the maid of honor and bridesmaids, set all the details for the bridesmaid’s luncheon and offer them thankyou gifts. In addition, she buys a present for the groom. The groom has similar duties, including his parents list of


guests, choosing the best man and groomsmen, thank-you gifts and the present for his future wife. He is also responsible for the officiant’s fee, and to take care of the out of town guests (hotel reservations, transport, if necessary). All these efforts by the bride and the groom may result in some tiresome moments, so a little bit of help is always welcomed. Bride’s and groom’s parents The parents, as in many other life circumstances, should be ready for moral support and secondly for financial help, as in today’s tradition the costs as evenly distributed among the parent’s and the couple. The bride’s parents duties: – Hosting the engagement party;

– May contribute to some expenses; – The mother chooses her clothes and then informs the groom’s mother so they can complement each other; – The bride’s father is always ready for any wedding duties, escorts the bride on the aisle, he is ready for the Father- Daughter Dance, and traditionally he is the last to leave the reception. He also may prepare a special toast. The groom’s parents duties: – Hosting the rehearsal party and may organize a second engagement party; – May also contribute to some expenses; – They consult with the bride’s parents regarding the formal wear. Maid of Honor She is one of the most important persons in a wedding. Everybody relies on her abilities to solve things, to organize activities, to respond quickly to all the problems. Customarily, she is the bride’s sister or best friend. – Before the wedding, she is in charge with the bridesmaids and their activities (bachelorette party, dresses, etc.), and she is also ready to help in any tasks of the bride and groom.

– On the wedding day, the maid of honor will help the bride dress and prepare, will stand as a witness when signing the marriage license, will take care of the veil and dress to look perfectly, and keep the bouquet at the altar. She will bring the groom’s ring. She is also in charge of organizing the bridesmaids for the photo sessions. She’ll finally help the bride to change, at the end of the wedding, and will take care of her dress and bouquet until the couple comes back from the honeymoon. – She will pay for her attire and other costs generated by her role (accommodation, transport, etc.) Bridesmaids The bridesmaids can be of any age starting 16, single or married. A bride can choose as many bridesmaids as she wants however in most weddings you don’t see more than 12. – They assist the maid of honor and is ready to help the bride; – They may contribute to the bachelorette party costs; – Similar to the maid of honor, they will pay for their attire and other expenses generated by their roles (accommodation, transport, etc.) SPRING - SUMMER 2019

Finding Your Dream Dress “By Serendipity”


hey say that everything happens for a reason. At Serendipity Bridal Collections, we believe your dream dress is waiting for you. I’m excited to share with you my personal wedding dress story and how it led me to this new business venture. My name’s Melissa Jones, one of the business partners at Serendipity— joined by my mother, Lynn Trabbold. Three weeks before my wedding day on December 29, 2017, I was faced with an alterations fiasco at my

final fitting. My wedding gown was a disaster and there was no way I could wear it. So, emotional breakdown aside, my mom and I went on a frantic search for an alternative dress. Off-the-rack was the obvious choice since I had a tight timeline and budget for a new dress. Well, serendipitously, I ended up finding the perfect dress to accompany me on my wedding day. Fast forward several months later and here we are! After the experience I went through with finding a wedding dress, I wanted to

be able to help other bridesto-be find stunning off-therack designer gowns at amazing prices, while providing a full-service bridal boutique experience—right down to a champagne toast! And that’s just what we’re doing! We also help former brides easily sell their lessthan-four-years-old wedding dress to another lucky bride. The majority of our inventory is comprised of sample wedding gowns that we hand-select from established bridal salons throughout the country. Our business’ unique nature

allows us to carry a wide variety of designers—from Allure and Morilee to Pronovias, Casablanca and Justin Alexander (to name a few!) Given that these samples are purchased off-the-rack, they’re offered at friendly prices, discounted up to 40% off retail value. Our clients may be budget-minded, have a shorter time window for getting a dress, or, as in my case, had an alteration disaster 3 weeks before their wedding! Whether your visit with us is your first or last stop, prepare to receive a memorable experience.

What a Time to be a Bride! If you're budget-minded or have a shorter window for getting a dress, stop in or book your appointment online! Learn more at and follow us on Instagram @serendipitybcdresses


Find stunning off-the-rack designer samples for up to 40% off retail 2327 New Road Northfield, NJ 08225 · (609) 380-6164 SPRING - SUMMER 2019


Honeymooning in the Caribbean


he Caribbean is still the number one destination for honeymooners,” says Susan Berman of Berman travel. “People love all inclusive resorts and there is a wide array to choose from.” Whether you're interested in the Bahamas, Barbados, Antigua, Jamaica, Grenada, or St. Lucia honeymoon resorts or another island altogether, you will never leave the Caribbean disappointed. This is a literal paradise, the perfect place to visit for two people in love. One thing that makes an all-inclusive honeymoon in the Caribbean so enticing is that you get a lot for your money. You can hop a plane or boat to visit several islands. Because


each island offers something special and unique. If you and your spouseto-be love being on the water, there is no better destination than the Caribbean. In addition to island hopping, you can enjoy deep-sea fishing, sailing, kayaking, or incredible yachting tours. Along with the sheer romance of it all, spending time on the water allows you to see marine life up close while providing amazing photo opportunities. Regardless of age, couples can enjoy so many memorable experiences together, some low-key and others adventurous. When spending your honeymoon in the Caribbean at an all-inclusive resort, many excursions are part of

the package deal. Some of the more popular adventures include hiking through the rainforest, sightseeing, and participating in an array of watersports, such as scuba diving and snorkeling. The Caribbean has a worldwide reputation for its gorgeous sandy beaches. Because many of the best Caribbean honeymoon resorts with all-inclusive packages are situated only feet from the beach, there is quick and easy access. For beautiful romantic beaches, head to one of the flatter islands, such as Anguilla, Antigua, Barbados, and Grand Cayman. If you stay in Grenada anytime from March to July, visit the Levera Beach, where you can see hatchlings of leatherback turtles scurrying into the ocean. If you and your partner enjoy sightseeing, you have the chance to learn about the rich Dutch and colonial heritage of the Caribbean. Hotspots for honeymooners are Nelson’s Dockyard in Antigua, Port Royal in Jamaica, and the Brimstone Hill Fortress in St. Kitts. No matter where you go, sightseeing is a great way to spend quality time together

For romantic experiences, stay tucked inside of your room or suite, spend time on the beach, or take a number of different outdoor excursions. Although exploration is a huge part of any honeymoon in the Caribbean, so is privacy. Especially after spending extensive time planning your wedding, you want and need alone time with your loved one. While many Caribbean islands offer privacy, Belize is hard to beat. On this island, you can stay in an intimate hotel or all-inclusive resort, swim underneath waterfalls, explore caves, hike in the jungle, and more. For your honeymoon, there is nothing better than feeling the warmth of the sun on your skin. With clear blue skies, and more sunny days than other destinations, you have the opportunity to spend quality time inside and outside while on your Caribbean honeymoon. Before making a decision, you and your partner can few hundreds of videos of all inclusive resorts at Also be sure to check out and for more information. SPRING - SUMMER 2019

The Best Honeymoons & Destination Weddings Begin at Berman Travel From Adults Only, All-Inclusive Resorts in the Caribbean, to Over-water bungalows in Tahiti breathtaking Sunsets in Hawaii to exploring Europe and beyond.

We are here to help plan and create an amazing Honeymoon Experience! Call Susan at: 609-345-2129 or toll free: 866-934-6292 or email us at:

Four Things That Make Wedding Photos Amazing By Shaun Reilly Owner Shaun Reilly Photographer

He popped the question and you said Yes! Then you picked the date, the perfect venue, and now you are finalizing all the pieces that will ensure that your wedding day matches your vision. You will soon begin to think about how your photographer will help capture all of these details and show your personal love story. As a wedding photographer, helping create an amazing artistic record of your day is my top priority. In this article, I’ll give you a few tips on how to help make sure that your wedding photos are as perfect and stressfree as possible. These tips don’t involve spending hours on Pinterest choosing poses or crafting lots of awesome signs and props. (though feel free if you are crafty or love looking at #weddinginspo). These four tips will help no matter what kind of wedding you are having. Engagement Session - Surprisingly, the first and best thing you can do to help your wedding images is to schedule an engagement session with your wedding photographer. This is a time, well in advance of your wedding, that you get together with your photographer to make portraits. These photos are often used for save the dates, wedding web-


sites, and decor for your home. They are also a great chance to get in front of the camera as a couple and prepare for the big day to come. At my studio, we love doing unique and involved engagement photography sessions. Typically we’ll choose a location based on your favorite places and spend an hour or two getting to know each other. Beyond all the awesome images we get to make together, this helps out tremendously on the wedding day. We build a great rapport so that when I show up on the wedding day, we are well on our way to being old friends. Also, it is a chance for me to teach you a few poses. They may feel a little awkward at first, but this is part of the process. We work together to show you what looks amazing and see what poses work for you as a couple. On your wedding day, when stress is at a slightly higher level and time constraints are a little tighter, having this experience will make things flow much more smoothly. Timeline - It's my job as a photographer to work with you and other professionals involved in your wedding to help create and stick to a timeline for your day. On

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the wedding day, this is one of the biggest factors that contributes to amazing and stress-free photos. You can help yourself out by allowing for plenty of time to do everything that you need to do on your busy wedding day. Timelines and photos go hand in hand. If we have a little extra time, we can do more fun and creative things. Most importantly, if you are feeling rushed, it may show in your expressions. Your wedding day isn’t one big photoshoot, but a lot of little events that you share with your closest friends and family. We hate to have to rush through any of those moments because we’ve run out of time. Fittings and Trials This goes for the guys and

the girls. Make sure your wedding attire is fitted properly. It will be tough to show your real personality if you are fighting to breathe or if your dress is falling off. This goes for shoes as well. For sure rock those flawless heels if that’s your thing, but make sure you can wear them without wincing in pain. Make-up trials are also important. This goes back to the timeline so that your hair and makeup team know how long it will take to achieve the look you are going for. It also prevents surprises on the wedding day. Be sure to speak up during the fittings and trials to get things the way you like them. Plan,plan,plan, then let go - This part is most important. Make great plans, chose great vendor partners and then when the day arrives, go with the flow and have an amazing time. My job as a photographer is to keep you on schedule and create beautiful candid moments as well as some fun artistically posed images. The absolute best wedding photos are ones that show true love and happiness. So remember why you are getting married, have a blast and let your team take care of the rest. SPRING - SUMMER 2019

Let’s Create the Unforgettable WEDDING EVENTS AT TROPICANA

Tropicana Atlantic City provides a one-of-a-kind wedding experience with breathtaking views and sophisticated elegance, making your dream wedding a reality. We have you covered for your Bachelorette parties & rehearsal dinners. You can even honeymoon with us! Call 609.340.4398 and let us start planning your dreams today.



Play the Right Notes Photography by: David Bristol Photography


any things make your wedding truly unforgettable, and a dance floor full of guests cutting loose into the wee hours of the morning is definitely one of them. Music is of top importance when it comes to setting the scene for your reception. From ceremony to cocktail hour, first dance to the final song, music moves the evening along and adds an elevated level of ambience to those special moments. A professional live band, made up of truly talented musicians, can navigate all of that and more. Here are just a few reasons why a live band could be the perfect fit for your wedding day:


1. It's unique – The artistry and talent world-class musicians bring to their performance is priceless, and becoming increasingly rare. Live solos on guitar, sax, keyboards, bass and drums are not something you or your guests see or hear everyday. 2. Creative flexibility – In real time, live bands can extend, shorten, re-arrange, vamp, transpose pitch, modify tempo and alter lyrics of songs to fit requests and respond to “spur of the moment” dance situations. Sometimes these tools can literally save the day. 3. Memorability – A phenomenal, live performance will be talked about for years to come, especially when they keep an entire audience rolling for hours. 4. Energy, excitement, audio fidelity - People rarely get to experience the raw energy and excitement of a sizzling, live performance up

close and personal, and when they do, they hit the dance floor with passion. 5. Entertainment value – When the band is into it, the audience is into it. A live band also gives guests something to watch - whether they plan on hitting the dance floor, or not. 6. Cost – A reputable live band will run $3000-$5000, but that covers the cost of 5-6 talented musicians. 7. Repertoire – The right wedding band will have an expansive playlist spanning all genres classic to current, shattering the misconception that a live band is limited in what they can play. Some will also learn special requests at no extra charge. A comparison of bands' songlists should always be made. 8. Emcee included – A common myth says you have to hire

Photography by: Hanna Stevens

a separate DJ or emcee to make necessary announcements during the evening. Not true with the right band, where this service is a natural part of their work. Classy, polite, articulate announcements keep the event flowing and organized. 9. Sound control – By checking in directly with clients multiple times throughout the night, the band can tailor sound level to their wishes. 10. Complete package – If there are songs you want to hear that the band doesn’t currently cover, you can still hear them during break mixes. You can also request your own custom mixes for pre-recorded music on band breaks.


A Guy's Guide to Selecting the Perfect Engagement Ring


etting engaged is a very personal and intimate experience for a couple. But for many guys, the purchase of the engagement ring can be a bit overwhelming. Color, clarity, cut, carat weight -; there's a lot to consider! But by understanding the basics of diamonds and keeping the future bride in mind, guys can find the process of selecting a ring much less daunting. Philadelphia-based jewelry designer Craiger Drake of Craiger Drake Designs offers the following tips to help

men select a ring that their bride will love: Know the 4Cs. Men should always consider the color, clarity, cut and carat weight of a diamond. Color and clarity, less commonly understood, are critical to the quality of the stone. Choose a diamond valued higher on both the color and clarity grading scales to limit the presence of color and unwanted inclusions. Carat and cut, on the other hand, are personal preferences. Keep the bride's personality in mind to select a size and a shape that will complement her style.

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Get certified. To guarantee the diamond's authenticity and quality, be sure to purchase a diamond that is certified from the Gemological Institute of America. The diamond's certificate outlines all the individual characteristics of the stone, including the 4Cs, serving as proof of the diamond's identity and value.

Be unique. For many women, an engagement ring is their most treasured piece of jewelry, so it's important that it is special and unique. A rose gold band or colored side stones, for example, can accent a traditional ring with a touch of color. To personalize the piece further, consider custom designing a one-of-a-kind ring tailored to the bride's individual style. A final piece of advice: Remember what the ring signifies. "With so much to bear in mind, it can be easy to lose the romance of selecting an engagement ring," said Drake.

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Wedding Cakes that are Almost too Beautiful to Eat


oastal inspired cakes give new meaning to the words "sugar sand". Decadent layers create a centerpeice to the party. Ward's Pastry in Ocean City designs wedding cakes with a beach inspired design. “I use cinnamon sugar for sand along with chocolate seashells often topped with dune fence and beach or adirondack chairs,” explains owner, Walt Hohman. Wards Pastry in Ocean City been baking up edible treasures for over 80 years.

If you’re exchanging “I dos” near the water’s edge, then it’s a great idea to draw inspiration for your wedding-day details from

the ocean. The treasures of the sea—shells, pearls, coral, the deep, moody

blue hues—can all be jumping-off points for beach-themed details. Instead of incorporating all of them though, keep things tightly edited by choosing only one or two of your favorites. The end result will be elegant, sophisticated, and not overly themed. When it comes to your wedding dessert, a talented cake designer can turn ocean elements into incredible (edible!) cake embellishments. Again, if your overall wedding aesthetic is elegant and modern, then

err on the subtle side and aim for a more minimalist dessert design. You cannot go wrong with soft, watercolor hues paired with intricate ocean-inspired elements fashioned from sugar.

Wards Pastry An Ocean City Tradation For Over 80 Years!

Distinctively Decorated Cakes for your Weddings, Showers & Anniversaries! Delicious Pastry & Cookie Trays! 730 Asbury Avenue, Ocean City NJ


Open 7 Days a Week - Sunday ill 2pm




Pre-Wedding Beauty Tips for the Bride


ou want everything to be picture perfect for your wedding, including your smile. But like everything else about your big day, that perfect smile could require some work ahead of time. In fact, experts suggest starting your entire beauty regimen six months before the wedding. Here's a complete prewedding beauty checklist. * Lips: Get soft, kissable lips by brushing away flakes of dry skin with an infant toothbrush soaked in baking soda and water. Apply healing ointment, and in no time, your lips will be ready for that "kiss the bride" kiss. * Teeth: Be sure to get a thorough cleaning from your dentist, possibily a teeth whitening. A cosmetic dentist can often correct an imperfect smile with veneers.

* Makeup: Women with warm skin tones look best in makeup with pink, coral, peach, amber, brown and red with yellow undertones. If you have a cool skin tone, choose

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pink, berry, lilac, mauve or red with blue undertones. * Skin: Make your face glow with a good cleansing program. Use a cleanser that's appropriate for your skin type in the morning, makeup remover and cleanser at night and a daily moisturizer. Use a gentle facial scrub once a week. Many get tan for a healthy glow right before the wedding. * Hair: If you're planning to change your hairstyle or color, experiment several months before the wedding so you have time to correct any mistakes.

* Nails: If you're a nail-biter, get weekly manicures to keep your nails healthy. Plan your last manicure a couple of days before the big day. Choose a pretty pale pink or splurge on a French manicure, not just because it looks great, but because the chips won't show as much and are easy to fix. You'll have beautiful hands for the rehearsal dinner and any other festivities. Don't forget, practice makes perfect. Schedule a trial run with your hair and makeup artists several days before your wedding, so there are no surprises the day of the ceremony. SPRING - SUMMER 2019

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