Kate Austin and Sarah Sulsenti first connected with each other via Facebook message in 2014. Although Kate lived in Ohio and Sarah lived in New Jersey, a mutual friend suggested they should connect after Kate had recently come out. Sarah tells Brides, "We have not stopped talking since that day."
After one-and-a-half years of long distance and a few more living together, the couple knew it was time to take that next step in their relationship. Kate, a content creator, decided to propose first on a European vacation in October 2019. "Kate told me we were doing a 'dress photoshoot' with BHLDN in Paris and that we had to be up early for the shoot," explains Sarah. "I fell for this because we worked with BHLDN a ton and did a few shoots with them! As we were in front of the Eiffel Tower, the photographer had me pose in a way where I was not facing Kate (so she had time to get down on one knee without me seeing). then asked me to turn the other way for a pose. That is when I saw Kate down on one knee."
After that gesture, Sarah knew she wanted to propose in a grand way as well. The following November, Sarah arranged for the couple to go on "The Ellen Show" for a big viral surprise. "The entire time we were in L.A., Kate thought we were filming something for Ellen Tube," shares Sarah. "The producers acted like there was a delay, and offered us to sit in the crowd and watch her show while we waited for our turn. Soon after, we got called into the crowd. Kate was absolutely shocked, but she did an amazing job on explaining how to move on in your life when your parents remove you from theirs. A bit into our 'segment,' Ellen asked us to move to a part of the stage, where I got to get down on one knee and propose. Shortly after, the curtain lifted and a huge present was there, where our 13 friends and family members bursted out to spread the love and celebrate."
After the two incredible proposals, the couples wanted to continue the celebration of their love with romantic and elegant wedding near home in New Jersey. "We picked Park Chateau because it is absolutely breathtaking, from the moment you pull up to the venue to the time you step inside. You are consistently blown away," notes Kate of the venue choice. "We loved the fact that we could have our ceremony in their stunning gardens and have people go right into cocktail hour and then the reception without having to travel elsewhere. Plus, their hotel is next door which means nobody has to travel far post celebration! It’s all right there. The aesthetic of the interior paired with their phenomenal team who went above and beyond for us made it the greatest possible option for us in the world."
While Kate was behind most of the planning, the in-house team of Park Chateau and day-of coordinator Devin Hope made the whole day go smoothly. "Aside from the beauty, the staff was absolutely amazing. They went above and beyond for our big day," gushes Sarah. "Words cannot express the gratitude I have for the Park Chateau staff. Their services absolutely blew me away throughout the entire process." Kate adds, "The most important thing to me was making sure that the vendors we worked with not only worked with those in our community, but also supports and uplifts them. We were so lucky to have the vendors we did."
On April 22, 2022, Kate and Sarah said "I do" in front of 210 family members and friends. Ahead, see all the stunning details, planned by the couple and Park Chateau and photographed by Ashley Rae Photography.
"I wanted a romantic, but elegant feel," shares Kate of her wedding vision. "Neutral colors throughout the venue I chose were really important to me which made choosing Park Chateau so easy. On top of all of those, I just wanted neutral and green florals throughout making it feel like a really tasteful fairy tale for two brides!" This vision was translated through the couples charming invitation suite.
For Kate's wedding day beauty, she wanted to achieve a neutral glam look. "My make up artist, Makeup by Jay Saunz is a literal magician and I knew anything she did would look amazing," the bride shares. "I definitely wanted bold yet neutral eye look that would make my eyes pop in photos!" Kate also made sure to give her skin some TLC before the big day. "I went to Kaitlyn Nelson, who helped touch up my botox and lip filler. She also touched up our skin with a Gold Micro-Infusion Facial that made our skin glow like BABIES!"
Since Kate wasn't wearing a veil, she decided on a soft wavy look for her hair. One personalized touch to her wedding look? "I did a simple white nail with a hidden 'S' (both for my future last name and for Sarah) on one thumb, and a hidden heart on my other thumb!" The brides both wore Flowerbomb by Viktor and Rolf, as well. "We have used them for all major events leading up to the wedding and now that scent will always remind me of all of the joy the wedding process and day brought me," reflects Kate.
Sarah also chose a soft glam look for her wedding day beauty. "I am not a big makeup girl, but I wanted to still look glamorous," she shares. The bride also decided upon two hairstyles for the ceremony and reception. She donned Bellami extensions for a long wavy look for the ceremony, and pulled her hair up for the reception to keep hair out of her face.
Sarah also accessorized her look with stunning jewelry by Reeds Jewelers, which held a special significance for the couple. "My earrings were designed by the woman who owned Reeds that had passed away. That is extremely important to me because Reeds Jewelers had become family," she shares. "They were our jewelers for our engagement rings and will be our go-to jeweler always. We got to design our wedding rings and bands with them and their expertise and service is indescribable."
I am so grateful we got to spend those moments wrapped in each other.
The couple decided to do a first look before the ceremony. "We wanted that moment to ourselves," shares Kate. "I wanted to be able to hug her and soak it all in for as long as we wanted to instead of seeing her down the aisle and then not being able to tell her in that moment exactly how her dress made me feel! I am so grateful we got to spend those moments wrapped in each other." Sarah agrees that seeing Kate for the first time was one of her favorite parts of the day.
The brides had a 28-person wedding party with a maid of honor and a matron of honor each. Seeing them all bond throughout the wedding events was one of Kate's favorite memories. "Watching your loved ones love each other is special. I will never forget the joy it brought me," she reflects. As for their attire for the day? "Our bridesmaids wore a really beautiful BHLDN midi satin dress," she says. "It was in the tone oyster that was the most beautiful muted pink, truly a perfect wedding neutral. It fit every girl so well and looked stunning with their bouquets. The bridesmen all wore classic Vera Wang black tuxes."
The couple's nieces and nephew were also additions to the wedding party. "Our flower girls both wore a dress from BHLDN kids with jeweled headbands to keep their hair back," shares Kate. Sarah adds, "Sofia and Gigi met for the very first time during rehearsal the night before. They held hands as they walked down the aisle together. It was the sweetest thing." Kate continues, "Our ring bearer wore the exact same tux as our bridesmen and looked so stinking handsome! They were adorable."
Kate describes of the ceremony space, "The gardens and fountains at Park Chateau are so beautiful on their own, we wanted to keep it simple and romantic without details getting lost in everything!" White rose petals lined the aisle while an open floral arch with nude and blush blooms framed the vows.
Kate and Sarah made sure to curate the music for each part of their ceremony, with orchestral versions of a few meaningful songs. The wedding party entered to "Drops of Jupiter" and the brides walked down the aisle to "This Is Me" from The Greatest Showman. Kate's brother took her down the aisle and Sarah' father escorted her to the altar.
I loved you then, I love you now, and I’ll love you always.
The couple recited their own vows to each other as their friend Kristina Rogan officiated the wedding. Kate shares, "One thing Sarah and I have always said to each other is 'I loved you then, I love you now, and I’ll love you always,' and that’s how I ended my vows!"
After the couple said their "I do's" they brought their guests together for a truly special moment. "We did a pride flag entrance instead of bubbles or rose petals because our community makes up so much of who we are and we are so proud to be in it," shares Kate. Sarah echoes her sentiments, "It was super important to us to have a part of who we are shine through the biggest moment of our lives, through people who love and support us and were there to share our special day."
After the ceremony, the brides took a few moments alone together with their photographer to capture portraits. They made sure to get some photos with their neutral bouquets featuring white roses, pink florals, and greenery. "Both of ours were the same color scheme but were not similar, which we loved," adds Sarah.
Sarah also reveal an extra special touch she custom-designed into her dress. The see-through lace design had a symbol of their dog as well as the words, "Our family is defined by love."
As the wedding moved indoors for the reception, the brides took advantage of the stunning floral displays around the space. "Our florist, Twisted Willow Flowers, was truly unbelievable," says Kate. "The floral staircase they did in our entryway was so insanely breathtaking. I couldn’t get over how amazing everything looked."
The floral design could also be found on a modern and romantic seating chart, where acrylic signs over a wall of greenery and flowers listed table numbers.
The reception room was equally as charming with a mix of high and low floral centerpieces on neutral linens. Kate adds, "On some tables, we did large blooming trees!"
Kate continues, "We were able to repurpose the floral arch from our ceremony to around the fireplace behind our sweetheart table at our reception and it looked stunning!" Candles also leant a dreamy air to the space.
The brides chose neutral textured linens and elegant menus with bows for the tablescape. In addition to the meal, guests could enjoy two signature cocktails—The Paisley, an espresso martini, and The Naomi, an extra dirty martini. "One was our signature cocktails were named after our first dog together who has since passed and our current dog," explains Kate. "Our pups are our lives so having an ode to them was super important to us!"
After the brides had their grand entrance, they took to the dance floor. "Our first dance went from Adele and remixed into Drake, which also felt really close to us because 'Right Hand' by Drake is one of our songs," says Kate.
"We had SCE Event Group with our DJ Jason Jani hosting the event. Jason is hands down the greatest DJ in the world and was our must-have vendor when we first were budgeting and booking," explains Kate. "Through him, we booked a percussionist to play with him during our reception and then he surprised us with a violinist who completely blew everyone away. I cannot recommend adding live musicians onto your DJ package."
Later in the night, Kate and Sarah cut into an all-white cake with a colorful surprise inside—layers of vanilla-flavored rainbow stripes.
Rainbow-hued items continued to appear for fun moments throughout the night. "Our MOHs surprised us with an ice rainbow shot luge which really got the party started and that felt like the perfect addition to our reception," adds Kate.
As the evening came to a close, Kate and Sarah Sulsenti put on "bride" fringe jackets and made an exit through a tunnel of sparklers held by their guests. Shortly after, the newlyweds made a trip to Italy and Greece to celebrate being wife and wife.
As she looks back, Kate says one of her favorite moments of the wedding was bringing her family together with her new in-laws. "I’m originally from Ohio so the opportunities for my family to meet Sarah’s are few and far between. I don’t speak to my parents due to me being gay, so my extended family and my in-law’s finally getting to hangout with each other was unreal. Watching them be so excited to get to know each other… Let’s just say I cried a lot of happy tears."
Venue Park Chateau
Coordinator Devin Hope of Park Chateau
Officiant Kristina Rogan
Bridal Salon BHLDN
Shoes Bella Belle
Makeup Jay Saunz
Bridesmaid Dresses BHLDN
Groomsmen’s Attire Men’s Wearhouse
Flower Girl Attire BHLDN
Ring Bearer Attire Men’s Wearhouse
Engagement Ring and Wedding Bands Reeds
Floral Design Twisted Willow Flowers
Invitations and Paper Products Bek Custom Designs
Music SCE Event Group
Videographer NST Pictures
Photographer Ashley Rae Photography