Jen and Tyler first met as neighbors in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in 2009 — she was pursuing her Masters in psychology at Lehigh while he was getting his MBA from Moravian and coaching their basketball team. Months later, the two bonded over their mutual love of Dumb and Dumber ("We can both quote it verbatim, of course!") and realized there was something between them. While sparks were certainly flying, Jen was gearing up for a move to Washington, D.C., so the duo decided to stay in touch and see what happened. Despite several states between them, their relationship flourished and when each was offered a job in the New York City metro area, they both jumped at the chance to move to Hoboken and live in the same zip code again.
On February 3, 2014, Tyler decided to make it official with a proposal on Jen's birthday that include all of her favorite things: Vanderpump Rules, Benny Tudino's Pizza, and the couple's French bulldog, Pierre. "It was the end of the show and I was in the middle of chowing down on a gigantic slice of pizza when he asked me to spend the rest of my life with him," Jen says. "I couldn't have asked for anything more perfect. It was simple, us, and Pierre was there begging for pizza."
As the two planned for their July 18, 2015, wedding, Jen and Tyler had three must-haves for their venue: It needed to have a stunning view, great ambience, and delicious food. In the end, they chose Jersey City's Batello, an industrial-meets-rustic venue with epic views of New York City, high ceilings with hanging lights, and seriously incredible grub. Want to see how this BRIDES staffer's (Jen's our associate digital editor and the founder of HobokenGirl.com!) big day came together? Read on to see how, with the help of EVJ Wedding Co., this couple mixed modern décor with vintage style, as documented by Andrew Graham Todes Photography.
To find her dream wedding dress, Jen first tried on gowns with her mother and best friend before selecting "the one" at a pal's bridal salon, Vows, in Boston. Her Lazaro wedding dress, which featured a stunning embroidered bodice, started out as a ball gown but the bride-to-be envisioned more of a flowing, A-line silhouette. To get the style she loved, the salon was able to remove layers of tulle from the fuller skirt. "I knew I couldn't live without the beaded bodice!" she says.
Soft curls, a flowing veil, and a swoon-worthy bouquet of garden roses and baby's breath completed her bridal look.
Tyler was every bit the handsome groom in his black seersucker tuxedo from J.Crew. "He was supposed to wear a white pocket square but he forgot it!" Jen laughs.
The couple decided on an almost private first look — Pierre was there to join in on the fun! "It was so special to have our first look alone," Jen says. "We were right in front of our favorite building in Hoboken, which is where we started our lives together, in one city, as a couple, so it was important to us to take pictures here."
Pierre even rocked a tuxedo and red bowtie for the special day.
The bride asked her 'maids to choose their own knee-length champagne or beige dress. "It came together very nicely," Jen says. "I know mismatched dresses can be tricky sometimes but I wanted the girls to look beautiful, unique, and different from each other." Her bridesmaids all carried arrangements of tea roses and baby's breath to complement Jen's bouquet.
Like the bride, the groom wanted to keep things easy for his attendants, so he gifted each guy with a black skinny tie and leather shoes, meaning all they had to do was show up with a black suit and white button down. "We wanted their looks to be classic and easy," Jen says. "Black and white with no frills so the ladies would really stand out."
While their venue was on the waterfront, the couple decided not to do photos with the skyline in the background. "We chose more of a street photo feel since we wanted to embrace getting married in an urban area," says Jen, who also happens to be a photographer (so great photos were a must). "We found this amazing wall in Jersey City that wasn't far from the venue and had a painted, graffiti look. It was a fun backdrop for photos."
The couple's aisle was lined with white gladiolus that were arranged in cylindrical vases. Guests were seated in chiavari chairs that faced an altar made of draped white fabric. "The venue doesn't need much dressing up," the bride says. "It has cathedral ceilings, industrial décor, and hanging lights, plus a beautiful view of the skyline through the floor-to-ceiling windows."
Jen's father and 21-year-old brother walked her down the aisle while an acapella version of Ed Sheeran's rendition of "In My Life" played throughout the space.
The ceremony was personalized from start to finish. Tyler's best friend from high school read a collection of quotes about love, relationship, and marriages gathered from the couple's parents and close friends. Then, the bride and groom exchanged heartfelt (and funny!) vows they penned themselves. "The vows were my favorite part of the day," Jen says. "They really showed who we are as a couple. There were lots of tears and laughter from our guests and from us. Even Tyler broke down a bit and he never cries."
Among their favorite lines from their vows were a quote from Dumb & Dumber ("What are the odds of a guy like you and a girl like me getting together..."), a March madness reference, and promises to split black and white cookies down the middle.
Guests sipped the couple's two signature drinks during cocktail hour: "Something Blue," the bride's choice of hypnotiq and champagne, or a "Vanilla Mule," the groom's choice of a Moscow Mule upgrade with vanilla vodka.
Instead of a traditional guestbook, the newlyweds asked guests to get creative with The Haiku Guys, who helped friends and family whip up funny poems for Jen and Tyler to read after the wedding.
"Our vision for the wedding was to create an intimate feel, but also 'wow' our guests with the views we love of New York City from New Jersey," Jen says. They did just that with the vintage-inspired elements they brought into the industrial space. As a photographer, the bride wanted to include vintage cameras as part of their centerpieces, so she hit up flea markets, estate sales, and browsed Ebay for the perfect antiques. Her future mother-in-law helped cover old encyclopedias with kraft paper for another vintage element.
Along with plenty of cameras and books, tables were also decked out with vintage lace linens, lush arrangements of garden roses in gold vases, and mercury glass candles.
In lieu of favors, Jen and Tyler donated to the Adult Congenital Heart Association and the French Bulldog Rescue. "They're two organizations that are near and dear to our hearts, since we have a French bulldog and because I was born with a congenital heart defect and had open heart surgery at 4-months-old," the bride says. "They were easy choices instead of gifts and we let everyone know about it by tying a red heart with the donation information to every napkin."
After a decadent dinner of short ribs and scallops ("The food at Battello is something to write home about in itself," says the bride), guests dug into slices of the couple's four-tier naked red velvet wedding cake.
Jen and Tyler shared their first dance to "Hero" by Enrique Iglesias before inviting all of their guests to join them. And join them they did! "The dance floor was packed all night," Jen says. "Four people ripped their pants from dancing, including the groom! Too much limbo."
Following the reception, the newly minted Mr. and Mrs. invited guests to a pizza-fueled after party where everyone was invited to dig into slices from the same local pizzeria that Tyler proposed over. Jen and Tyler, who enjoyed a three-week-long honeymoon in the Amalfi Coast, Capri, Rome, and Santorini, remind future couples to enjoy wedding planning and make your day how you want it. "I'm so grateful to have celebrated marrying the love of my life in such a special way, true to who we are as a couple," the bride says.
Venue & Catering: Battello || Wedding Planner: EVJ Wedding Co. || Officiant: Celia Milton || Bride's Wedding Dress: Lazaro, purchased at Vows || Veil: Ally's Bridal || Jewelry: Aaraa Accessories || Shoes: Badgley Mischka || Hair: Ashley Branda of Two 01 Hair || Makeup: Jules of Artist Makeup Academy || Groom's Attire: J.Crew || Flowers: Bartlett's Greenhouses & Florist || Invitations & Paper Goods: Life of the Party Details & Design || Cake: The Hudson Cakery || Guest Book: The Haiku Guys || Music: Jason Jani of SCE Event Group || Videographer: Forever Lucky Films || Photographer: Andrew Graham Todes Photography
Planning your own New Jersey wedding? Then watch another couple's gorgeous Garden State nuptials in the video below.