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I Tied the Knot! | Great Performances


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I Tied the Knot!
CPS Events at The Plaza
by Ali Papalia

After planning events at The Plaza for the past four years, I knew that I had a handle on how an event should run – but when you’re the center of attention on your wedding day, it’s a completely different and surreal experience.  I can honestly say that I learned so much about myself, my now husband Nick, and weddings in general during the days leading up to our wedding!  It really was one of the best weekends of my life and I would do it over & over again if I could.


The weekend was set in Central New Jersey – half way between where Nick is from in Delaware, and from where I grew up in Northern New Jersey.   As friends and family were arriving from near and far, we all came together for our rehearsal dinner at Steakhouse 85 in New Brunswick.   Our dinner of about 50 guests was made up of our bridal party of 10 bridesmaids and 11 groomsmen with dates and our immediate families.  It was so special to us to be able to thank the people who have stayed so close and true to us, not only during our wedding planning process, but throughout our entire relationships.  We are so fortunate to have all of these people in our lives.    After the rehearsal dinner, everyone went back to the hotel and Nick and I parted ways for the last time.  My three best friends and roommates from college and I went up to my room and we stayed up almost all night talking and reminiscing, it sounds strange but this was one of the highlights of the whole weekend for me! They are such a great group of girls and I know we’ll all be in each other’s lives forever.

Before we knew it, it was FINALLY February 3, 2018 – the day Nick and I had been waiting for - exactly 14 months from the day we got engaged!  It was a super clear, crisp day, and everyone was in great spirits! We headed over to the wedding venue, the beautiful Park Chateau Estate & Gardens in East Brunswick, where we were getting ready for the festivities!  The daytime leading up to the ceremony was so fun, it was great to spend some quality time with my bridesmaids, my mom and Nick’s mom.  Before I knew it, the photographer arrived and it was time to start taking pictures – and then time to get into my wedding dress and do a first look with my dad, and that’s when things started to get real!  I’ll never forget my dad’s face when he walked into the bridal suite – there was not a dry eye in the room!  

All of a sudden, my bridal attendant was telling me it was time to go outside and do my first look with Nick, and it really was everything I had ever hoped for; we were both so truly happy in that moment, and the smile on his face when he turned around is permanently engraved into my mind.  We took tons of photos outside and with the bridal party and then guests started to arrive and it was time for the ceremony! The ceremony was held in the chapel that’s on site, and probably one of my favorite things about this venue.  The ceremony was quick, but filled with love – and then Nick and I were introduced as husband and wife!

Cocktail Hour was upon us and hors d’oeuvres were passed and the champagne was flowing!  There were options for everyone, including sushi, raw bar, mac and cheese bar, a martini bar and everything in between.  It was a remarkable amount of food and drink but I still get compliments to this day on how great the food and service were. 

Guests were then escorted into the Grand Ballroom for dinner and dancing and gathered around the dance floor. We started the party off with our first dance, a rendition of Firestone by Kygo – it was magical and one of my favorite songs.  Steve Delisi with Hank Lane really knew how to get the party going.  Pretty soon, dinner was served – as if anyone was still hungry from the cocktail hour, then the speeches were made – and my dad’s toast as well as my sisters Maid of Honor speech and the Best Man speech were really second to none!  I had friends coming up to me asking if my dad could give the toasts at their weddings since he did such an amazing job!  Soon it was time for dessert, and there were ice cream sandwiches and smores passed on the dance floor, as well as a dessert station that had everything from cookies and milk to flaming after dinner drinks!

One thing that we really thought long and hard about was not offering favors – instead, we had a grilled cheese truck parked outside for when everyone was leaving!! Such a great way to end the party.

Sunday morning came and we said our goodbyes at brunch as people left on a serious high from the weekend.  It was sad to watch it come to an end but it really couldn’t have been a better weekend. It was time to get back home for the Superbowl!  Nick and I spent the night reminiscing on the whole weekend and packing our suitcases and headed straight for Bali on Monday morning!!

This was truly the best weekend of my life, and it’s so clear to me that Nick and I are surrounded by so much love from family and friends and I wish we could press repeat on the whole thing!

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