The beauty of nature and touches of Hungarian tradition helped to make Real Bride Sara's wedding to Brian a true celebration of their relationship.
The loved-up pair got married on a sunny and breezy Sunday on the 9th June 2019 in the heart of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area in the state of New Jersey.
Photographer, and Brian’s former co-worker, Matt Giambra, captured special moments between the couple, using the surrounding hills, lakes, and forests as the perfect dramatic backdrop for such a romantic occasion.
The dress had an illusion bodice with appliqués that flowed onto the outer tulle of the cathedral length skirt. The floaty skirt featured vintage shade tulle layered over Chantelle-lace and nude lace.
'It was a dress I had been eyeing for a while. It was also the first dress I put on, and while I tried on two others, I knew right away this was my dream dress. Love at first sight. And, it was on sale and in my size. Talk about ‘meant to be.’'
Adding gold tones to her look, Sara met jewellery designer Avigail Adam at Bryant Park’s Christmas village, who made custom earrings for her. Sara also wore the 'Amber Blooming Flower Goddess' headband, 'Twig and Pearls' armband, and snake ring all by the same designer.
Sara further accessorised her bridal look with blush and beaded 'Tonina Pointed-Toe Flats,’ and arranged for some heels to be added.
'I knew I’d be walking a lot on grass, gravel, and uneven ground, so high heels were out. Plus I was super comfy the entire day.'
For her 'something blue', Sara carried a gorgeous vintage parasol given to her by Brian, assuring us that there is more of a story behind this unique gift. And, to complete the vintage and airy feel of her look, she used gold nail polish and wore Dolce & Gabbana’s ‘Light Blue’ perfume to add the perfect finishing touches.
Adding to her ethereal and dreamy outfit, Sara set her heart on our bright and bridal silk style barely there wedding veil 'Ilona'
'I tried on shorter veils in other stores, but because the tulle skirt was so long and flowy, anything that hit at fingertip, hip or floor length looked odd. Then I found the Skylar veil online. The consultants suggested the Ilona veil instead - and it was the perfect choice! I bought one shade lighter than my vintage skirt and even in my short hair, it felt light to wear. '
The stunning veil merged seamlessly with the dress and was the perfect touch to complete the flowy and vintage look our bride had dreamed about. When it came to taking photographs outdoors, the breeze caught the veil lifting it and twisting it around, resulting in a striking and dreamy effect whilst adding to the fun of the day.
Sara also carried a custom-made bouquet, created by felt artist Laura Milak, of 'Laura’s Felts and Flowers'. The all-white bouquet was handcrafted from the finest merino felt with silk woven in, and decorated with gold, silver, and pear toned beads to match her wedding dress.
'I get to keep these flowers forever! By the way, we weren’t allowed to have live flowers in the church, as the National Park Service considers it a museum. Talk about making lemonade out of lemons.'
Unique and imaginative, she also bought one-of-a-kind fly fishing boutonnieres for Brian and his best man, as they both love fly-fishing.
The ceremony was conducted in the historic Millbrook Village church inside the beautiful Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, NJ, with the landscape around the church holding an extra special significance for the bride and groom:
As Sara's family couldn’t be at the wedding, they wove Hungarian elements and family details into the day. From walking down the aisle to Hungarian folk song ’Tavaszi Szél’ (a love song about spring, streams flowing, birds finding mates, and two lovers choosing each other) to using a hand-embroidered Hungarian cloth to cover the altar table and a crocheted sachet for the rings, both from Sara's mom, our bride was able to add meaningful elements to the wedding to keep her loved ones close at heart.
Brian’s four-year-old great-niece acted as flower girl, holding Sara's skirt as she walked down the aisle – the Hungarian custom, instead of throwing petals in front of the bride, and Sara's youngest daughter made a beautiful bridesmaid.
'This is a second marriage for Brian and I. This time around we understand better what we hold important in life. At the top of the list - each other. My two daughters both finished college and live in New York City. It was really special to have them by our side. My younger daughter especially embraced the wedding preparations and we bonded as she became my consultant for a year, as well as my hair and make-up artist for the wedding.'
After the ceremony, the newlywed couple made sure they had a few hours to themselves.
'This was one of the most brilliant parts of how we planned the day. Not only did we have plenty of time for photos, but we also got to relax and focus on each other before we rejoined our guests for the ceremony. We took a symbolic drive down the park, stopping at some of our favourite and special places. Some of the photos from this drive are among our favourites from the entire day.'
Later that afternoon, the couple rejoined the wedding guests at The Inn at Millrace Pond in nearby Hope, NJ, celebrating on the patio with cocktails and hor's d’ oeuvres. The venue is a 250-year-old former Moravian grist mill and features beautiful rolling grounds, lush with mature trees and streams.
Sara's friends had helped to decorate the church with flowers and photographs, but for the reception, the twosome hired the Inn’s florist.
'Instead of centrepieces, we bought gauze runners, vintage gold garlands (during Christmas time), different size votive holders, and asked the florist to drape greenery and warm-coloured roses into the garlands.'
The personal theme continued with thoughtful decorations, including a hand-embroidered heart decorated Kalocsai table runner, purchased in an antique shop in Budapest, placed on the sweetheart table, and dried red paprika – a Hungarian icon. They displayed photos from when they were five-years old on the gift table, along with Brian’s grandfather’s fishing creel as their gift-collection basket, with photos of the couple together on the reception room windowsills.
After drawing the artwork for their invitations package, Sara then used this artwork at the church and the reception, and to continue the bird theme, the happy couple gave bee’s wax bird candles as favours in a lacy paper box and Spanish moss (all recyclable/biodegradable).
For the cake, Sara and Brian chose their favourite chocolate cake with chocolate ganache from their local Honest Weight coop in Albany, NY, and topped it with two flower fairy figurines from Sara's aunt.
'I made the gutsy move of driving the cakes down three hours to the venue the day before the wedding – along with my dress, my accessories, and everything else I needed for the whole weekend! It was risky but so worth it, our guests are still talking about how delicious those cakes were.'
For the rest of the reception, the wedding party were seated in the main dining room, and enjoyed a delicious dinner, dessert, and lots of fun dancing:
'Our first dance was to blues giant Keb’ Mo’s soulful and joyous “Your Love.” We enjoy seeing him perform live and he is a favourite for both of us. After the reception, many of our guests stayed to hang out by the Inn’s fire pit until the stars and bats came out.'
The couple travelled to Hungary last August for a long visit with Sara's family and visiting the countryside as a ‘pre-honeymoon.’ After the wedding, the newlyweds opted for a relaxing honeymoon using their home as a base, taking day trips and overnight stays in Hudson Valley, NY and nearby Berkshire, MA.
Sara also shared her special advice to help brides-to-be plan their wedding day schedule:
"Plan time for just you and the groom on your wedding day. The best thing we did was to have a couple of hours between the ceremony and the reception just for the two of us. It was our special time: we stopped at favourite spots, with beautiful photo opportunities, and we even had a little picnic all to ourselves. It also made the day much less hectic, with more time to have fun with our guests at the reception."
Thank you so much, Sara and Brian, for allowing us to take a little peek at your wedding day. It sounds like it was a truly magical day. We all wish you the very best love, luck, and happiness in your future together.