For ALL Couples Getting Married

Blush and ivory has been a popular color palette for weddings for as long as we can remember, but it comes as no surprise. It’s chic, romantic, and gives the slightest pop of color that will be forever timeless. Carmela and Justin’s wedding is no exception. From the bride’s  Mira Zwillinger with floral appliqués and lush florals (which are surprisingly from Whole Foods), to the estate setting at the Shadowbrook of Shrewsbury, there’s so many pretty details to fall in love with. Have a peek at their beautiful imagery captured by Ashley Mac Photographs.

From Ashley Mac Photographs…Carmela and Justin grew up 3 blocks away from each other but never crossed paths. Finally, the two met when Carmela’s friend introduced them.  Their friend set up a meeting at a Christmas show for Justin’s friends’ band and the two immediately hit it off. Over five years of dating, the two finally got married! They love cooking together, trying new restaurants, going to food festivals and markets. They can’t wait to go back down the shore to Manasquan this summer and both love activities with our pups – Jameson and Truffles. Their stunning summer wedding took place at Shadowbrook in Shrewsbury at the beginning of June as everything in nature was finally in bloom. Their day was filled with beautiful pink and ivory details and personal touches making their day truly special.  The Shadowbrook is full of greenery and pops of color from the gardens making Carmela’s girls blush dresses and natural toned bouquets look perfect. I’m still obsessed with the bow on her dress is priceless! Carmela actually had another wedding dress and last minute fell in love with this dress and you will see why! Carmela wore her mother’s jewelry and their favors were donations to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in honor of Justin’s father. They were married in Carmela’s family church down the street from her family’s home followed by a celebration surrounded by their closest family and friends at the Shadowbrook. Justin proposed to Carmela in Charleston, South Carolina and fell in love with the town and the food down there and wanted to integrate parts of it into their wedding day. When they drove up to the Shadowbrook it immediately reminded them of a southern plantation mansion and knew it’d be perfect!  Their signature cocktails had a southern touch to it as well as their cocktail hour food choices.


Tell us about your wedding! What was the inspiration behind your day? Did you have a specific theme, style or color palette? Did you incorporate any cultural or religious traditions in any part of your day?
We got married at our church in our hometown in June 2017. Our reception was at the Shadowbrook in Shrewsbury, New Jersey. It was a special day and we were so happy to share with our friends and family. The weather was perfect, the food was awesome, the band had everyone on the dance floor. It was everything I had envisioned for my wedding day as a little girl and more. When we booked the Shadowbrook for our venue, the gardens at the Shadowbrook became my inspiration. I loved the meticulously landscaped gardens. The perfect hedges and rose bushes and the canopy of trees lining the driveway up to the estate. I then knew my inspiration was a summer garden. It was perfect because during our cocktail hour and reception guests could go outside to the gardens and eat, drink and mingle at anytime they wanted. The color palette was simple; basically white and blush pink. It was important to us and our families that we were married in a church. Justin and I are both Italian and he’s also Irish. We had a full Catholic mass. Our friend, Sandra, sang a beautiful Ave Maria during the mass and we selected one or two Celtic hymns that the organist played and sung. We had bagpipes outside the church at the beginning and end of the ceremony.

Let’s talk fashion. How did you both choose your wedding day look? Describe the looks in detail.
For my dress I wanted something light and summery since we were getting married in June. When I first laid eyes on the Mira Zwillinger gown, I knew it was “the dress.” It was unique– I loved the grey underlay, the bow in the front and the floral appliqués. It was light, comfortable, and I felt amazing in it. I paired it with a very simple cathedral-length veil. I didn’t want heavy makeup or hair extensions– I wanted to look like “me.” I did wear false eyelashes which i’m happy I did! For hair, I went with a low chignon with side-swept bangs. For jewelry, I went with my mom’s earrings and tennis bracelet.


What were the florals like in your wedding? Did you use flowers in any of your design elements like the bridal bouquets, centerpieces or ceremony backdrop? Did they play an important part in the overall style of your wedding?
Florals were crucial. I say that because it was the only decorative elements I had to add to both the ceremony and reception locations. I had these grand ideas of what I wanted our flowers to look like and then discovered, fairly early on in the wedding planning process how expensive my ideas were. Our photographer, Ashley, suggested the Whole Foods in Marlboro, NJ for florals. I was shocked and people couldn’t believe I was going to a supermarket for wedding flowers. But our guests were even more shocked when they saw how stunning our flowers were. My bouquet and my bridesmaids’ bouquets were huge! They had lush peonies, cabbage roses, eucalyptus, hydrangeas–all in pale pink and white. Same color scheme was applied to our centerpieces. I explained to the Whole Foods floral team my vision of what I wanted and they exceeded my expectations and the team was so fun to work with too. I loved how passionate they all were about their flowers!


Let’s talk wedding decor. How did you decorate your space for the ceremony and the reception? Was any part of the decor DIY?
Both the ceremony and reception locations had so much charm and beauty that I really did not have to do much for decor. We had simple floral arrangements at the church altar. We are fortunate our parish’s church is so well-preserved and maintained. It has stunning a stunning, massive altar in white marble, beautiful frescos on the ceilings, marble floors and columns. It’s not a huge church, it’s intimate, but feels like you’re in a church in Rome.As for our reception, the Shadowbrook is stunning in and of itself. It is a Georgian-style mansion that was built in the 1900’s and was very recently renovated. When we booked the venue, the owners had just started renovations and they did a spectacular job. The Shadowbrook has an incredible tree-lined driveway up to the estate, gorgeous gardens and fountains on the exterior and on the inside, rich, mahogany paneling, stone fireplaces, gorgeous crystal chandeliers– it was very tastefully done. Again, all I felt was needed as far as decor were centerpieces on the tables, and some tea light candles.

Did you personalize the day in any way (food trucks, guest entertainment etc.)? What were some of your favorite parts of your wedding?
Some of my favorite parts of the day were exchanging vows and saying “I do,” the toasts/speeches which were hilarious and so touching, dancing the night away with our friends and family, and eating…the cocktail hour was awesome. I remember one of the first meetings we had with Mark, the owner of the Shadowbrook, Justin and I had said we were obsessed New England lobster rolls, which wasn’t an option at the time for the cocktail hour menu. Mark said it didn’t matter, he would make it happen and low and behold there were these delicious mini lobster rolls being passed around. There was also a man making fresh mozzarella at the cocktail hour which was appropriate because my nickname is Carmela Mozzarella.


Ceremony Location: Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church / Reception Location: Shadowbrook At Shrewsbury / Photographer: Ashley Mac Photographs / Cinema and Video: Creative Outfit, Inc. / Band: Live Wire Entertainment / Floral Designer: Whole Foods / Transportation: Long Branch Trolley Company / Wedding Gown Salon: Elizabeth Johns Couture / Wedding Gown Designer: Mira Zwillinger / Jewelry: KMG Jewelry / Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Hair Stylist: About You Salon / Groomsman Attire: Deluxe Formal Wear / Bridesmaid Dresses: Nordstrom / Bridesmaid Dresses: Adrianna Papell / Invitation Designer: Invitations by Dawn

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