10 Nontraditional Things I Did At My Wedding As A New Jersey Wedding Planner

Mar 13, 2023

Hi! I’m Kristen, one half of Well-Dressed Events, and I recently got married. My wedding was untraditional to say the least, so I’m taking over the blog today to share what I did and why I did it.

If you’re new around here, we’re Well-Dressed Events, New Jersey’s premier stylecentric wedding, party and event planning company. We specialize in high-end, unique events for modern, bold, standout clients and we pride ourselves on cutting-edge, creative design, styling and event management.

Our go-to phrase with our planning couples is “there are no rules, do what makes you happy”, so it’s my hope that this will inspire you to prioritize the things that bring you joy and make your wedding feel undeniably YOU.

I ordered my dress from Etsy.

It was custom made in Poland and it cost me $500. Of course, the alterations cost me $400 because I measured myself all wrong, but that’s still a steal in comparison to the cost of purchasing a gown from a bridal salon. This wasn’t a budget move either (though that was a benefit). I just knew I wanted something different and because of that, a custom option was the smartest move. I also know my body. I like loose-fitting styles and am not a fan of my bare arms, so a chic sleeve situation was important to me. However, finding a stylish combination of loose fitting bodice with sleeves is a challenge, so when I laid eyes on this dress I was sold.

The woman I worked with was fabulous and I can’t recommend her enough. Her store is Le Bride Atelier. I got the dress altered at Moline Kronberg in Montclair and they were incredible as well.

Mother Nature was on my side on my wedding day and gave me the most amazing gusts of wind to really play up the billowiness of the dress.

I got ready with my fiance and all our friends.

Not only is Dan (my fiance/now husband) my best friend, but all our friends are friends too, so getting ready together just sounded like an amazing time. We rented a suite at the Canopy Hotel and invited everyone that was attending our ceremony (more on that later!) to hang out with us that morning. The hotel is dog friendly so I was also able to have my dog Goose there as well, which was a non-negotiable!

I didn’t have any bridesmaids, so whoever wanted their hair and makeup professionally done took advantage of the amazing team at Salon Salon the Suite being on site. Otherwise it was a lot of laughs, drinks and a killer 80/90/2000s mashup playlist (you can grab it for yourself here!). It was laidback and honestly one of my fondest memories of the day. 10/10 recommend and would do again in a heartbeat.

I didn’t wear white to get ready.

Simply because I found a really cute set on Amazon and said, eff it. I like this.

I let my florist do her thing.

As a wedding planner, I have the privilege of seeing some of the most beautiful florals every weekend but that also means that deciding on just one style would have been absolutely impossible. Luckily, I hired Christina from Tame Florals, who is one of our top NJ wedding vendors at Well-Dressed Events. I trusted her enough to just send her a picture of my dress and the restaurant and tell her to have at it! The end result was a stunning neutral fall color scheme that perfectly complimented my dress.

The decor at dinner was a mix of bud vases and small compote arrangements in similar shades with taper candles. I also had her add watercolor brush lettered place cards to each place setting. To be honest, I would have never thought to pick that color scheme, so I am glad I left it in Christina’s hands because it was *chefs kiss*.

Moral here is – trust your vendors. Don’t micromanage them. It’s great to have a vision, but let them take creative liberties. After all, there is a reason they are doing this professionally.

We took photos at the apartment where we first met.

We chose to get married in Jersey City because it holds a lot of meaning for us. It’s where we first met (if we’re getting technical, it’s actually where we both swiped right…thanks, Hinge!). Dan was living in Jersey City and I was living in Hoboken.

We spent a lot of time at Dan’s apartment and “the stoop” was a big hangout spot for him and his friends. It’s also where we were sitting when I realized I loved him (sigh). Totally had to get a pic there.

One of my best friends married us.

And she wore one of my mom’s jackets from the 80s. Why? Cause she thought it was funny.

Having a friend or family officiate has been trending for the last few years. In fact, it was one of our top wedding trends for 2023. I think it adds a really personal layer and since I didn’t have a bridal party, it was a nice way to honor someone special to me. I always tell couples to consider this if they have a smaller bridal party or if they just want a personalized vibe for their ceremony.

Let go of the reigns here a little too. You want to guide your officiant on the readings you want (if any), the vows and maybe even the call of intent, but it’s awesome to be surprised and see what they come up with!

Our ceremony was off-the-cuff.

We gave our guests general instructions on where to meet us, then let our photographer Adam Okimatsu choose the best spot. We knew our ceremony was only going to be about 10 minutes in length so we had our guests gather around and take in the view while we said our vows. The rain plan was to get married at the restaurant where we were having dinner. As mentioned, Mother Nature was my girl that day so the plan went off without a hitch.

The ceremony was a hilarious and heartfelt look back on our relationship (thanks, Laura!). After the ceremony Dan and I walked the 10 blocks to dinner together and it’s still my favorite walk to this day.

We had a small dinner at the spot we had our first date.

Continuing on the tour de Kristen and Dan, we invited those who were at our ceremony to join us for dinner at Luna where we had our first date. I highly suggest Luna whether it’s for dinner or a special occasion. The food is amazing, cocktails are to die for and the private room upstairs holds about 30 people.

Then we invited all our friends and family to join us at our favorite dive bar.

After dinner, we headed back to The Canopy for a quick change and then made our way to The Keyhole Bar for our reception. If you haven’t been to The Keyhole, allow me to paint a picture. It’s a cash only dive bar that has windows shaped like keyholes (hence the name). It’s nothing to write home about, but again it’s where Dan and I share so many memories.

We rented out the bar and about 75 people joined us for drinks and a live DJ.

We served Shake Shack.

If you’ve read my bio on our website, you know my favorite category of food is “fast”. I love burgers, fries, tacos and sandwiches. If I can order it without getting out of my car, even better. So when we were deciding on what to serve everyone at the bar, the Shack Truck was a no brainer. They served up all the favorites for our guests including milkshakes! It was a big hit and made for some great photo opps too.

By the way the second dress is by Watters and the shoes are Karl Lagerfeld. The veil is Amazon’s finest and yes, I cut it for the reception.

To put a bow on it…

We planned a wedding that felt unabashedly like us. Nothing was forced, no one did anything they didn’t want to do and we didn’t break the bank. The entire day felt just as special as a traditional venue and experience (if not more).

The most important thing about your wedding day is that you are happy with your choices. Whether that’s having a 350 person wedding in a church and then a ballroom reception or stuffing burgers in your face on the streets of Jersey City, you can do no wrong if you are happy doing it.

For help planning your New Jersey wedding whether traditional or nontraditional, contact us. We offer an amazing service called Power-Planning which is a great way to kickstart the process and work with a professional to identify what’s most important to you on your wedding day and set you up for success. Please reach out to us with any questions or to get started planning the wedding of your dreams!

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