After this bride shared her knowledge of the many positive qualities this bird bestows upon many cultures, we now have a new love for peacock-themed weddings. Mari and Nick’s wedding day is a breath of fresh air, as their special day truly inspires through a personalized ceremony focused solely on the love this couple shares. After all, there’s nothing more special than sharing personalized vows surrounded by those you love most, family and friends. “The overall theme of our wedding was peacocks. We choose this because of the positive symbolic attributes bestowed on peacocks around the world. Peacocks are widely regarded as a symbol of openness and acceptance. Christians adopted the symbol of the peacock to represent immortality. This came from the ancient legend, supported by St. Augustine, that the flesh of the peacock did not decay. Peacocks are also associated with the Resurrection of Christ because they shed old feathers and grow newer, brighter ones each year. In Buddhist iconography, peacocks are symbols of wisdom. They are compared to the great bodhisattvas for their ability to consume poisonous plants without being affected, just as a bodhisattva is capable of taking in the toxins of human emotion while still attaining Enlightenment. A symbolic representation of a tree flanked by two peacocks represented absolute unity in Mesopotamia. Native American cultures view the peacock as a symbol of dignity, wholeness, and beauty. The peacock symbolizes the Hindu deity that represents benevolence, patience, kindness, compassion, and luck. In Japan, the peacock is associated with an emblem of love, compassionate watchfulness, good will, nurturing, and kind-heartedness.”
Mari’s wedding day jewelry were heirloom pieces of jewelry that she received from her grandmother who passed away. She wore diamond earrings with a single pearl at the end and a diamond tennis bracelet.
The wedding day began early for the bride who was up bright and early ready to begin getting ready. “I didn’t sleep much the night before. My sister stayed in my room with me, and Nick stayed with his uncle, so she and I talked a lot about how I was feeling and the excitement.” Styled by DeVenir Beauty, Mari’s hair was styled half up with long cascading curls for a soft and romantic look, while her makeup was applied to highlight Mari’s natural beauty. Nicole applied purple and plum eye shadows, which brought out the green in Mari’s eyes, while the rest of the makeup was applied in neutral tones, including a nude lipstick and liner from MAC cosmetics.
While the ladies continued with hair and makeup, the groom and his groomsmen were also prepping. “The morning of the wedding was spent relaxing with family and friends. I got up and had some breakfast with some out town guests. After breakfast, the best man and groomsmen came by my room where they helped me get ready and shared a toast before heading to Laurita Winery for pre-wedding photos.”
When the bride began searching for bridesmaid dress styles, Mari knew she wanted floor-length dresses in royal blue. “Three of my local bridesmaids were able to come with my to Cinderella Bridals in Matawan to help make the decision. the women were real champs each trying on so many dresses. They would find one that someone liked and pass it to the next dressing room over. When someone didn’t like one, we would take it out of the pile.” After narrowing down the dresses to their top three, the ladies decided on Bill Levkoff dresses with a sweetheart neckline that complemented Mari’s La Sposa wedding gown perfectly.
Describe your bridal bouquet: “I wanted to have a cascade style with just white and greens to offset the peacock feathers that were in it. I asked the florist to pick mostly white seasonal flowers, with my only request being that I have white snapdragons for my nanny, who was an adoptive grandmother to us since she was with my family from before I was born until she died about a year and a half before the wedding.” When the couple began planning their wedding, they knew they wanted to host their special day at a location that would be convenient for guests, most of whom live in New York City, New Jersey, and Philadelphia. After visiting Laurita Winery, Mari and Nick were impressed by the pristine grounds and outdoor ceremony location. They also loved that this is a facility they can continue to go back to for years to come. “We went there this year around our anniversary and bought a case of wine from 2011 so we can enjoy it on our milestone anniversaries.” The ceremony was held overlooking the vineyard during sunset, which provided natural light and a beautiful golden haze. During the ceremony, the couple incorporated a reading from the Song of Songs of Soloman, a reading of Pablo Neruda poem, and lit four small candles for those who couldn’t be there. A single white rose in a blue vase was displayed to represent Nick’s mother who passed away in 2004, and Mari and Nick also presented roses to their parents to acknowledge the nurturing and growth they gave to the couple’s relationship.
They ended the ceremony with a Native American wedding prayer, shared their first kiss as newlyweds, and the recessed down the aisle to a string version of September by Earth, Wind, and Fire, one of the couple’s favorite songs.
From the wedding day preparations to the ceremony and reception, Michelle King Photography captured the wedding in a photojournalistic approach. “Michelle was an absolute pleasure to work with. We choose her after looking at a lot of photographers online. We were drawn to her because of her photojournalist style, but she also seemed to have a special way of capturing the day that made the couple’s personalities shine through. She had described herself as a ninja when working weddings, and she was just that. She always seemed to be there to capture every shot, yet she was never invasive or in our faces.”
Mari and Nick were equally impressed working with Videoccasions who caught the special moments on video. “They were able to deliver the video really quickly after the wedding, and we got to keep not only the raw footage of the entire event, but also the cut videos. We also got a 3-minute music video, which we watch all the time. It gets better every time for us!”
Mari and Nick’s theme was tied together with their wedding day stationery. Their escort cards featured the “two love birds” motif that were used on their invitations, which were displayed on hand cut wine corks.
Rather than traditional table numbers, the couple opted to name their tables after locations that were special to them. They used royal blue wine bottles and even added a photo of the two at the location in which the table was named. Centerpieces consisted of white large pillar candles set inside white birdcages with a floral wreath at its base.
Through his high energy, seamless transitions, and attention to detail, Jason Jani of SCE Event Group got the party started and had guests on the dance floor the entire night. “Jason was really good at reading the crowd and really gave us a full service experience.” In addition to providing music, SCE Event Group also transformed the ballroom with blue uplighting, a custom gobo light on the dance floor, and entertained guests with a photo booth. “One special thing that SCE Event Group did was at the end of the night when everyone went outside for our send off, they let us relive our first dance with only us on the dance floor. It was such a great moment for us to reconnect and absorb everything that we just experienced.”
Prior to the wedding, Mari and Nick took dance lessons at Stepping Out Studio and learned a choreographed rumba for their first dance to “You and Me” by Dave Matthews Band. “It was so much fun to do something special and for everyone to see our lessons paying off.”
“We wanted our cake to be a nod to NYC, which is where we have lived throughout our whole relationship and started dating.” In addition to the wedding cake, guests were treated to a miniature dessert display featuring cannolis, seasonal tarts, chocolate mouse in praline phyllo cups, chocolate brownie diamonds, assorted miniature cheesecakes, cookies, and fruit with chocolate sauce.
Tell us about your wedding proposal: Nick proposed on May 28, 2010. It was a Friday night, and since his birthday was only three days before, I thought we were going out to dinner for that. I headed downtown to meet him and his uncle and his uncle’s partner for dinner, but I was surprised when Nick met me at the subway. We got in a cab instead of going to his uncle’s apartment for drinks and ended up at the restaurant where we had our first date, Sushi Samba 7. Nick was acting a little giddy, but it wasn’t too abnormal. There were a few things off, like when we went up to the hostess stand, she had the reservation for only two, and I still thought his uncle and partner were joining us. We went to have a drink in the lounge to wait for them, and Nick had preordered the drinks we had on our first date. I thought something was fishy because his uncle is never late, but I glanced at his jeans pocket and didn’t see a ring box, so I assumed I was wrong. After a phone call to his uncle, which I later found out was staged, Nick decided we should go to the table to wait for them. The hostess took us up to the roof deck, and it was completely empty except for us, which is unusual for a summer Friday evening. There was a table set up just for us and none of the other tables were set, so it was clear at that point that he was going to propose. He sat across from me and told me how much he’s enjoyed out time together and cherishes our relationship, then got down on his knee and asked me to marry him. I said yes, and cried for about 20 minutes and then called all of my family and friends. There were people on the street below clapping and cheering for us. We had a great dinner at the restaurant after the proposal.
Bride’s favorite memory of the day: My favorite memory was walking down the aisle. It was such a surreal moment because Nick and I locked eyes and I really didn’t notice that anyone else was there. It was like we were the only people in the world. I had a huge smile plastered on my face to keep me from crying and because I was just so thrilled to finally be getting married to him.
Groom’s favorite memory of the day: My favorite part of the day was when I finally saw my wife. We had our pictures done before our ceremony and we had a big reveal. When I saw how beautiful she looked, it made me realize that all the planning was worth it for this very moment. I wouldn’t have changed a thing!
Where did you go on your honeymoon? We were looking for a tropical destination and somewhere off the beaten path. We visited Tahiti, Fiji and Syndey, Australia. Nick’s uncle was nice enough to give us miles for our flights as part of our wedding present. To use them, we had to fly in and out of a single place, so we choose Sydney, Australia. It was a place that I had never been before and I always wanted to do the Sydney Harbor Bridge climb, so we made that part of the trip. We also realized how easy it would be to get to Tahiti, so we added it on as well. When were in Tahiti, we stayed in an overwater bungalow, which was so beautiful. You could see thousands of fish right off of our deck. We didn’t even need to get in the water. In Fiji, we stayed in a private beach room that had it’s own pool. It was so secluded and romantic. The wildlife there was unbelievable; we’ve never seen so many different species just wandering around. We also had a short stop off in New Zealand as a layover for a flight and were able to visit a winery and enjoy the local wine.
Do you have any advice for couples that are planning their wedding? Your wedding day goes by pretty quickly. Every so often, look around the room and just absorb. Take a mental snapshot of your friends laughing together, your parents happily crying and the look on your new husband’s face when you do your first look. It’s worth it to take a step back and remember those moments.
In The Spotlight:
Ceremony & Reception Location: Laurita Winery
Catering: Conroy Catering
Officiant: Dr. Joseph Indano
Photographer: Michelle King Photography
Ceremony Music: Elegant Ensembles
Entertainment: SCE Event Group
Florist: Flowerful Events
Limousine Service: Arrive In Style & A-1 Limo
Cake Designer: Conroy Catering
Bridal Salon: Pronovias • Veil: Bride’s Mother’s
Headpiece: Etsy.com • Shoes: MyGlassSlipper.com
Formal Attire: Joseph A. Bank
Invitations: KO Designs
Favors: Pondrelli’s Italian Pastry Shop
Hair Stylist & Makeup Artist: DeVenir Beauty
Honeymoon Locations: Fiji, Tahiti, Sydney, & New Zealand