Toms River Clarion Hotel Wedding :: NJ Wedding Photographer :: Erin and Jonathan
There’s something about a classic, formal wedding inside of a church that gets me every time. It just feels so pure and cinematic. I love the pews, the pulpit, the architecture, and – if I’m lucky – the stained glass windows. Erin and Jonathan’s wedding took place at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Manchester Township, which has beautiful stained glass windows, a LARGE organ and beautiful grounds outside.
These two met through Erin's brother, and Man of Honor, Donny. Donny and Jonathan are best friends from college and Erin was finally introduced to Jonathan at the end of their senior year, after hearing hundreds of stories about Jon. Jonathan proposed in their Brooklyn apartment on their favorite holiday, Halloween. Erin says the best part was that he proposed with her grandmother's ring, who had passed a few month earlier. Erin was very close to her grandmother so Erin's mother offered the ring to Jon and said, "she couldn't imagine anyone else wearing it but me." Now, here we are looking at their wedding photographs! I love when family heirlooms are passed down and incorporated in a new love story.
The couple decided to keep everything traditional and not do a first look prior to the ceremony. The night before, Erin called Jon after he left the rehearsal dinner, which was the last time she spoke to him before walking down the aisle. She asked him if he could try his best not to cry because she didn't want to cry and ruin her makeup! Jon was able to hold it together for Erin and she said, “The best part of the wedding was the ceremony, which was at my childhood church. I would have to pick that because I loved EVERYTHING about the reception.”
After the traditional wedding ceremony, the newlyweds proceeded to celebrate with their friends and family at The Clarion Hotel and Conference Center in Tom's River, NJ. Mike and Dan from Real Entertainment helped keep the dance floor full all night. Erin told me that they were super great, very helpful and really great guys. She recommends everyone in the area use them! I mean, check out these dance floor pictures
Speaking of the dance floor, the couple picked "The Very Thought of You" by Nat King Cole for their first dance song. The song is featured in their favorite movie, Home for the Holidays, which describes their family perfectly (and it was the closing song to the movie so it was a no brainer). Erin shared a dance with her father to LeeAnn Womack's song "I Hope You Dance." Her father told her the song always reminded him of her - so she knew it would be their song. Jon danced to "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" with his mom, as it was a song she used to sing to him as a child.
Erin's dress, from David's Bridal, was her something new, but it also has a strong family connection. Erin went shopping five day before her aunt passed away; the two were very close. After they went dress shopping, they went to visit her aunt in the hospice center. Erin shared a picture of the dress in the hope of some advice as she was unsure about it. When her aunt saw the dress, she cried and Erin knew instantly it was the one she had to have. The gorgeous dress come from the David's Bridal Collection, which features illusion mesh sleeves, a wide-set V-neckline, low back and an A-line tulle skirt. I loved the romantic, yet traditional, look of the dress, which photographed beautifully, both on Erin and on the hanger.
Don't sweat the small stuff and live in the moment, it goes by so fast.
When preparing for wedding photos, do your research about who is important to have photos with and where you want them. If you are doing photos after the ceremony, you'll want to get the process moving along so you have more time to party at your cocktail hour.
Put one person in charge of gathering everyone you need for photos - that way they can yell at everyone and tell them where they need to go and you only have to smile.
Use Weddingwire.com for their checklist. It helps so much, especially when you have to be your own wedding planner. Weddingwire was also great to book your vendors because you can compare prices of venues, which is the most expensive part of every wedding.
Use Zola.com for gift registry - it's super easy and user friendly.
Oriental Trading has an adorable and super affordable wedding section that will help save you from over spending on small stuff.
Book Brittany Harmening Photography - that way you won't have to worry about a single thing. They're the best in the business. It was like working with friends or family, they are so easy going and provide helpful insight.
The Creative Team
Venue | The Clarion Hotel and Conference Center Photography | Brittany Harmening Photography DJ | Real Entertainment Bridesmaid Dresses | David’s Bridal Cake | Tinton Falls Pastry Chef Florals | Bayville Florist
Want more of Erin and Jonathan, check out their engagement session!