This Couple Weathered a Storm for Their Backyard Wedding

Real Weddings
Bride and Groom in New Jersey

Photo: Lilian Haidar

Two years after they first met outside a bar on New York City's Upper West Side, Jeffrey Gorenstein brought Kate Laufer back to the same spot on the sidewalk to ask her to marry him. "His palms were so sweaty — I knew something was up!" she remembers.

The couple decided on a short engagement, setting the date for September 6th, 2014, only seven and a half months after Kate said "yes," and picked her family's home in Fair Haven, New Jersey as the venue. "My parents literally moved heaven and earth for us, using the wedding as an opportunity for a huge backyard renovation," says the bride. "It continued until a few days before the wedding, when the last of the fresh sod was put down."

Even a hurricane-like storm couldn't put a damper on the day, though it did cause a few changes in the schedule! "Instead of marrying at 5:30 (in the middle of a downpour), we served champagne and waited it out, then got married at 7:30 just as the sun set," Kate says. Keep reading to see how it all came together, photographed by Lilian Haidar.

Formal Wedding Invitation

Photo: Lilian Haidar

The couple's classic invitation was printed in gold.

Pnina Tornai Wedding Dress and Jimmy Choo Shoes Lisianthus Bridal Bouquet Bride and Groom in New Jersey

Photo: Lilian Haidar

During a shopping trip with her mother and her maid of honor, Kate picked an ivory draped gown by Pnina Tornai. "It had the timeless sophistication I was looking for," she says. She wore a beaded belt and silver Jimmy Choo wedges, and carried a pink and white bouquet of roses, lisianthus, and dusty miller. Jeff wore a navy suit, and had the couple's wedding date embroidered on the inside. The finishing touch was his watch, which belonged to the groom's late father.

Chuppah of Branches and Pink and White Roses and Hydrangeas

Photo: Lilian Haidar

The ceremony took place beneath a natural chuppah, made of branches and covered with soft pink and white roses and hydrangeas and lots of greenery.

Bride and Groom with Bridesmaids in Jenny Yoo Dresses

Photo: Lilian Haidar

Kate wanted her bridesmaids to wear something flattering and soft, so she picked a pink chiffon dress by Jenny Yoo that they could tie in different ways to create individual looks.

Wooden Specialty Cocktail Menu Wedding Reception Table with Pink and White Hydrangeas

Photo: Lilian Haidar

Kate works for an alcohol importing company, so it was no surprise that she and Jeff served a plethora of signature cocktails — four to be exact! "My good friend and award-winning mixologist, Todd Richman, created four drinks for us to serve, ranging from a gin-and-champagne concoction to tequila, watermelon juice, and lime," says the bride.

For dinner, guests were seated at tables topped with lush pink and white arrangements of astilbe, roses, and hydrangeas. The couple wanted guests to rave about the food, so they offered everything from mini BLTs and freshly shucked clams to pan-roasted filet and herb-marinated chicken.

Wedding Table with Roses, Hydrangeas, and Floral China

Photo: Lilian Haidar

Floral china, hanging chandeliers, mercury glass, and amber lighting created a cozy, intimate feel in the reception tent.

Rosette Wedding Cake

Photo: Lilian Haidar

Kate's bridesmaid made the couple's chocolate-and-vanilla marble cake. "She'd never made a wedding cake before, and it was amazing!" says Kate. And a New Jersey wedding wouldn't be complete without a little Bruce Springsteen (for the father-daughter dance) and a local favorite — Max's Famous Hotdogs as a late-ngiht snack for dancing guests.

"Sure, our plans changed halfway through the day, but we still enjoyed every second of it," says Kate. "And we loved our honeymoon! Two weeks in Paris, Mykonos, Santorini, and Athens. Heaven!"

Ceremony & Reception Venue: The Bride's Family Home || Bride's Wedding Dress & Veil: Pnina Tornai || Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Hair: Gilda Pastena of Pierre Michel Salon || Makeup: Monika Makeup, Ten Hair & Makeup || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jenny Yoo || Groom's Attire: Suit Supply || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Goldtinker || Floral Design: Darryn Murphy Designs || Invitations & Paper Goods: Ink.Papery || Catering: Max Hansen Caterer, The Lusty Lobster || Rentals: Prestige Party Rental, Party Rental Ltd., Eggsotic Events || Favors: Levain Bakery || Late-Night Snack: Max's Famous Hot Dogs || Photography: Lilian Haidar

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