Deciding to hold their September 2007 nuptials on the New Jersey shore was a no-brainer for Virginia Meade and Dennis Cristofoletti—and not just because they love the beach. “I grew up spending summers in Stone Harbor and Dennis proposed to me in front of my parents’ beach house, so the location holds a lot of special memories for us,” says the bride. The couple exchanged vows in a Catholic ceremony at St. Paul’s Parish in Stone Harbor and then joined their friends and family at Congress Hall, a seaside retreat built in 1816 in nearby Cape May. Guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres inspired by the ocean—crabcakes and scallops—during the cocktail reception on the veranda before moving into the Grand Ballroom. After a gourmet meal of steak and salmon, Philadelphia-based band Midnight Hour had everyone dancing to Bruce Springsteen hits, at the groom’s request. Says Virginia, “The whole day felt like us.” And when it was all over, the couple honeymooned on another beach, in Bora Bora.

A couple's relationship blossoms down the shore

Deciding to hold their September 2007 nuptials on the New Jersey shore was a no-brainer for Virginia Meade and Dennis Cristofoletti—and not just because they love the beach. “I grew up spending summers in Stone Harbor and Dennis proposed to me in front of my parents’ beach house, so the location holds a lot of special memories for us,” says the bride. The couple exchanged vows in a Catholic ceremony at St. Paul’s Parish in Stone Harbor and then joined their friends and family at Congress Hall, a seaside retreat built in 1816 in nearby Cape May. Guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres inspired by the ocean—crabcakes and scallops—during the cocktail reception on the veranda before moving into the Grand Ballroom. After a gourmet meal of steak and salmon, Philadelphia-based band Midnight Hour had everyone dancing to Bruce Springsteen hits, at the groom’s request. Says Virginia, “The whole day felt like us.” And when it was all over, the couple honeymooned on another beach, in Bora Bora.

Guests enjoy cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres outside of Congress Hall. Because the bride and groom have a long-standing tradition of collecting pint glasses from bars they visit together, they gave each guest one engraved with “Just Married” and their names and the date as a personalized wedding favor.