A Peony-Filled Backyard Wedding in New Jersey
This couple celebrated their wedding in the bride's childhood home with garden-inspired, traditional details.
Emily and Matt
Like many young girls, Emily Simon had dreamt of her wedding day since she was little, always knowing she would marry in her childhood church and host a reception at her childhood home in Green Village, New Jersey. With a gorgeous garden of peonies and lush lawns, Hidden Pond Farm has forever been the go-to locale for her fairytale wedding.
Many years after those childhood daydreams, Emily (a cost analyst for a construction company) met Matt Crystal (a dentist) at a party hosted by his track team on their last day as undergraduates at Lafayette College. Matt took Emily out for ice cream following finals week, and the two became inseparable leading up to graduation.
Four years later, all of Emily's (and Matt's) dreams came true on May 30, 2015, when they married at Church of Christ the King. With a team of family friends as vendors and 332 guests in attendance, the celebration continued in a classic garden party style.
The Welcome Box
Each out-of-town guest received a wooden welcome box engraved with the couple's wedding logo and filled with the couple's favorite local treats: heart-shaped shortbread cookies and raspberry Champagne wedding preserves from The Artist Baker, Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen artisan crostini, Valley Shepherd Creamery cheeses, and sea salt caramels from Enjou Chocolat.
Something Old, Something Blue
To honor family tradition, Emily had pearls from her grandmother's wedding dress sewn into her gown as her "something old." For her "something blue," she added an embroidered blue ribbon with her name and wedding date.
Judith Ness, a close friend of Emily's family (and also the couple's wedding calligrapher), gave the bride an heirloom handkerchief to use for happy tears throughout her wedding day.
The Wedding Gifts
Matt gave his bride a gold charm engraved with their monogram, while Emily created a photo album of all of their special moments for her groom.
Emily's bridesmaids included her future sister-in-law and her four best friends from kindergarten, elementary school, and her college ski and field hockey teams. They wore pale blue Lee Anderson Couture dresses in either short sleeve or sleeveless styles. Jerry Rose, a Simon family friend, created bouquets of lily of the valley and peonies for the bride and bridesmaids to match the property's beloved garden.
The Ceremony Location
The Newark Boys Chorus School performed traditional songs as guests arrived. Emily entered with her father to "Trumpet Fanfare" by Henry Purcell, and bible passages were read aloud during the Catholic ceremony.
The Reception Location
Located an hour outside of New York City, Emily's childhood home has hosted decades of Simon family events. The mother of the bride was eager to turn her only daughter's dreams into reality for her big day.
The Path of Peonies
The flower girls ran through the beautiful path of peonies in the backyard of the house that served as the focal point for the design of the wedding.
The Cocktail Hour
In the terrace garden, guests sipped on elderflower Champagne cocktails and enjoyed a raw oyster bar, along with an array of passed hors d'oeuvres prepared by Glorious Food—miniature blini with caviar and crème fraîche, deviled quail eggs, and sautéed foie gras on apple feuillantine, to name a few.
The Escort Cards
White escort cards calligraphed in a spring green ink surrounded a white garden urn filled with hydrangeas, peonies, roses, snowball vibernum, delphinium, and dogwood.
Inspired by the peonies on the Hidden Pond Farm grounds, Jerry Rose Floral & Event Design and Kara Minogue and Co. created a garden inside the reception tent with hanging boxwood garland and blush and white hydrangeas in urns atop boxwood pedestals. Centerpieces of garden roses, peonies, and greenery were placed on white tablecloths with patterned green Schumacher fabric trim.
The Place Settings
The First Dance
The couple had a lot of fun taking dance lessons together prior to the wedding, and were able to finally show off their moves when they danced to "Fly Me to the Moon" by Frank Sinatra. "It was something really special," says Matt. "We practiced it for months, and it couldn't have gone better."
The all-white vanilla cake, layered with raspberry buttercream frosting and adorned with hand-crafted edible flowers, was designed by Colette Peters—the same woman who has created cakes for every major Simon family celebration since Emily was little, including her sixth birthday party.
The Bouquet Toss
For Emily, tossing the bouquet off of the balcony of her childhood bedroom was a magical point of the night.
The Outfit Change
Photography, Christian Oth Studio; Mary Hilliard; John Simoudis
Ceremony Location, Church of Christ the King
Event planning, Kara Minogue & Company
Fashion stylist, CLG Creative
Catering, Glorious Food
Flowers, Jerry Rose Floral & Event Design
Videography, Seth David Cohen Video
Stationery, Mrs. John L. Strong
Calligraphy, Judith Ness Studio
Cake, Colette's Cakes
Music, Newark Boys Chorus School (ceremony); Hank Lane Music (reception); DJ Mouz (after-party)
Bride's gown and veil, Carolina Herrera
Bride's accessories, Suzanne Couture Millinery (hair comb); Paul Morrelli (earrings); Jimmy Choo (shoes)
Bride's after-party dress, Oscar de la Renta
Bride's after-party shoes, Chanel
Bridesmaids' dresses, Lee Anderson Couture
Flower Girl dresses, Nicki Macfarlane
Groomsmen and Groom's suit, Brooks Brothers
Tablecloth pattern, Schumacher
Welcome box, The Artist Baker (cookies and preserves); Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen (crostini); Valley Shepherd Creamery (cheeses); Enjou Chocolat (sea salt caramels)