Thursday, October 7, 2010

Journalist Jen and Scrabble-Man Gus

After party at the Wonder Bar
Embarrassingly, in high school I won a made up award from my friends for being the "Promenator," a honor I received for attending several proms in one year.  Now, if such an award existed Jerome and I have become know as the wedding professionals.  As you may know, we did not obtain this expertise from having a wedding - quite the opposite, as we've also become known as the unmarried married couple - we simply attend a lot of weddings.  

We both had the good fortune of creating amazing bonds with several friends when we were young that we've held onto firmly with both hands - and primarily from all the way across the country - which was an excellent decision since I'm not sure where I'd be without them today.  Since then, we've moved around a bit, and come across some of the most amazing people this world has to offer, not that I'm biased or anything.  We're at the age when many of our friends are getting married and have attended quite a few weddings over the past 10 years.  Although if you talked to my very open minded mom, you might hear that Jerome and I have been at the age to be married for quite some time but that's not part of this story.  

Getting ready for the wedding
This is a story of a wedding in Asbury Park, NJ, where my good friends Jen Brown and Gust Hookanson got married on October 2.   One of the best weddings to date!  As I've done on previous posts, I think at top 10 list is the best way to describe a big event.  So, here goes:

1. Introductions at the rehearsal dinner: Each person in the 20-25 person seated dinner was asked to stand up, introduce themselves, say how they met  Jen and/or Gust and an interesting fact about themselves.  Jen's interesting fact was that she nearly became a CIA agent, before turning to journalism.  The introductions gave us all an understanding of where everyone fit in and made for a nice wedding celebration the next day with plenty of familiar faces.

The view from the venue,
The Watermark
2. Gift bags: When each guest checked into their hotel room, they received a gift bag with such goodies as: a small beach ball, extra strength Tylenol, a bottle of water, 2-for-1 drink coupons at a local bar, and maps of the local area.  Thank you Joan Brown!

3. Scenery: The wedding activities were set along Asbury Park's boardwalk, which is beautiful wooden walkway that offers amazing views of the beach front.  Due to the weather, which hovered around 65 degrees, the beach was fairly empty on Saturday which left miles of beach in its natural state.

4. Casual after-parties: The couple, who met in a bar and still enjoy a good beer or cocktail, choose relaxed, casual venues for the Friday night welcome drinks and Saturday night wedding after party.

5. Personalization: The ENTIRE wedding was personalized to reflect Jen and Gust's characters from the lounge themed venue to the pre-drafted vows.  It felt more like a party in their living room, albeit a fancy living room, than a formalized ceremony.  Isn't that every wedding guest's dream?

The ceremony

Our tattoos of choice
The amazing couple
6. Wedding treats vs. wedding favors: A fortune teller and some temporary tattoos gave me plenty to remember October 2 by.  And no, I can't tell you what the fortune teller told me but if I go see her, just a couple more times, she'll tell me what the one thing that I need to change in my life to unlock all the happiness I've created for myself.  Hummmmm....

7. Sunshine: The wedding day was full of sunshine and perfect for an indoor/outdoor venue.  The ocean breeze and views where awesome!

The outdoor area of the Watermark
8. Specialty cocktails:  Jen and Gust picked a few specialty cocktails for the wedding and served champagne to guests as they entered the wedding venue.  It was an extra little personal touch to relax the guests and make sure everyone was having a good time....which worked.
9. Mix of live music and DJ: Through the duration of the day we were treated to an acoustic guitar player who strummed lovely tunes before and during the ceremony, a DJ who took requests and helped guests of all ages rip up the dance floor and a live band who rocked the after party.  There was no way you could couldn't have fun.

10. Relaxed Sunday brunch: Following a full day of wedding madness, including a lovely ceremony, dancing, drinking and even singing we were all invited to a relaxed brunch at Jen's parent's house a few miles away from the Asbury Park.  I've seen people do these types of brunches before, but they've always been at a restaurant and far to structured for a large group (particularly when more than half of them have hangovers).  The relaxed setting and serve yourself tasty treats were a perfect way to say goodbye to a weekend of celebration.

Additional Photos of the ceremony and the fun that followed:

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