My Best Friend’s Wedding

by Jenn (eating bender) on October 18, 2013

Some of you may know this, but for those who don’t, Sam and I met through the luck of the draw that was the college roommate lottery at Northwestern University. While I don’t know the exact statistics, I assume it’s pretty rare for two people to be randomly placed together in a living situation and become as close as we did, as quickly as we did.

When we first found out we were roommates, we talked on the phone and through Facebook message, which was still a novelty back then. One thing led to another, and soon we were writing the equivalent of a college essay back and forth to one another talking about our interests, our families and, most importantly, how we were going to decorate our room once we got to campus.

But it was when we finally got to campus that I realized, not only did Northwestern find me a great roommate, it also single-handedly introduced me to my best friend for life…

This past weekend, my best friend married her best guy.


The wedding was picture perfect. Every detail came together, every moment was beautiful. But most importantly, you could see the love radiating from Sam and Alex all day long.

For the bridal party, the festivities officially began Friday morning with a trip to Gigi Nail Salon.


The bride chose OPI’s Big Apple Red for us, which turned out to be a perfect match.


Nice Miley Cyrus shirt, Sam. πŸ˜‰ Reci and Lauren were also ready to go…


…as was Sam’s sister, Kianna (her sister Kylah was en route from college)…


…and the beautiful mother-of-the-bride, Leticia!


After pedicures, we moved on to the manicures and were soon ready to hit the road!



We packed up the cars and headed south to Red Bank, New Jersey, where we checked into the Courtyard Lincroft hotel. Sam and Alex provided gift bags for all of their guests. Inside was a mix of information about things to do in the NYC area, candy, favors and a 4-1-1 guide to their wedding. The mason jars with red string on the outside of the bags were super cute, too.


Then there were some amazing gifts for the bridesmaids!


As her matron of honor, I can’t wait to use this bag again.


Inside each bag was a different color robe (mine was appropriately purple, though you can’t tell because of the lighting). These were to be worn the following day while getting ready!


We each also received a Pinch Provisions Kit filled with emergency essentials like hair spray, clear nail polish, nail polish remover, an emery board, lip balm, earring backs, clear elastics, a mending kit, double-sided tape, stain remover and more. It was such a great idea.


Last but not least came the items she got for us to wear in the wedding: a beautiful ivory shawl and gorgeous vintage bracelet. Each bracelet was unique, made with different earrings from the 1960s – though they all had the same pop of red.


We also received a pair of teardrop earrings that I’ve already worn again!


With a bit of time to spare, Lauren, Reci and I grabbed a late lunch at d’jeet?


This place was awesome with its seasonal and local cuisine. There were a lot of menu items I wanted to try, but ultimately I went for the chicken salad pita wrap with Granny Smith apples, walnuts, dried cranberries, cheddar and baby greens. It was delicious.


Bellies full, we headed back to the room to get ready for the rehearsal!


The Holmdel Community United Church is such a cool place to tie the knot. As I watched Sam practice walking down the aisle, I knew I would be a blubbering mess the following day.


Reverend Rusty has gotten to know Alex and Sam well, and helped to ease the nerves.


By the end of rehearsal, we were all thinking the same thing: let’s get these two lovebirds married!


But we couldn’t resist a quick photo shoot while we waited for Saturday to arrive. πŸ˜‰ Sam and her beautiful family: Kianna, Leticia, Ruben and Kylah.


Sam and her fantastic friend since high school, Reci.


And the “three-blue” (our dorm’s suite number and color) musketeers: me, Sam and Lauren.


The rehearsal dinner put on by Alex’s parents, Ann and Gene, was wonderful. Delicious food and a great introduction to both sides of the family! When we got back to the hotel later that night, we celebrated with a glass of champagne and screening of Bridesmaids before calling it a night. After all, the bride needed her beauty sleep before the big day!


We woke up bright and early Saturday morning to begin the hair and makeup rotation.


Sam knew she wanted her bridesmaids to all have a similar, half up hairstyle that incorporated a braid. We randomly came across this style on Pinterest and she loved it, so we decided to go for it.

Bridesmaid Hair

Huge props to Kayla Guiliano, our stylist. She translated the look from a photo to our hair perfectly!



Meanwhile, Melanie Della Rosa did a flawless job on our makeup.



With our hair did and makeup done, it was finally the bride’s turn!


It brings tears to my eyes just typing about how beautiful Sam was on her wedding day. Take away the gorgeous hair and makeup, and she would’ve still been a stunning, glowing bride. You could tell this lady was ready to say, “I do.”


Then, she put on the dress.


When the father-of-the-bride got his first glimpse, I knew it was going to be an emotional day.


But no time to lose it – yet. We had a limo to catch!



The florist, Decor Galore, did a fantastic job with Sam’s bouquet and the bridesmaids’ flowers, too.


Several minutes later, we arrived at the reception venue for pictures. The bride and groom did a first look, which I truly can’t wait to see. One of the groomsmen – another Alex – got this great shot.

Wedding Field

Once the photographer was happy, we hopped back in the limo, this time with the groomsmen in tow: Andy (Alex’s brother), Alex (the groomsmen), Alex (the groom!), Michael and Darrin.


Before we could blink, we had arrived at the church. The time was almost here!


We were quickly shuttled into a side room to avoid anyone getting an early glimpse of the bride.


While waiting, Lauren and I requested one more photo with the bachelorette.


From across the way, we could hear the band playing (photo courtesy of Milton Ramirez)…


…and when The Lover’s Waltz began, that was our cue. Bobby played paparazzi. :)









Everyone looked wonderful – especially the adorable ring bearer, Zuriel, and flower girl, Cibeles – but what the guests were really waiting for was the moment when Sam walked into the room.


Apparently that was what I was waiting for, too, because it was at that moment that I truly lost it.

Yep, full on ugly cry.

…and when Sam first met Alex, I could tell immediately that he was someone special. She lit up whenever she talked about him. It has been a true honor for me to be able to say I’ve watched their relationship grow from the very beginning to where they are today…

The ceremony was lovely, with readings from three of Sam and Alex’s closest friends and a few touching words from Reverend Rusty. Then he asked the entire audience whether they approved of the marriage, to which he received a resounding, “We do!”


As usual, it all went by so fast – and soon it was time to introduce Mr. and Mrs. Schwarm!

True to their wedding’s timeless style, the bride and groom rode in a classic car to the reception.



Just Married

The rest of the wedding party hopped onto a shuttle and made our way back to Bayonet Farm.


The actual dinner took place inside a tent, but the iconic red barn that sold Sam and Alex on the farm for their reception venue was ready for the cocktail hour and dancing that was to come.



Remember when I mentioned that every detail came together? Just look at the gorgeous guestbook station, complete with a typewriter for filling out notes to the bride and groom.


There was also a memories station full of old wedding photos, and a vintage suitcase for cards.


The groom’s cake was fitting for two people who are crazy about film – and the wedding cake looked delicious! It was topped with the famous quote from 1 Corinthians 13:4–8.


Guests also received a jar of homemade jam to commemorate the day.


Inside the tent, I was honored that the bride and groom used the burlap banner that the sisters and I purchased for Sam’s bridal shower as the backdrop of their table.


After ooh-ing and ahh-ing, I met up with my hubby to grab a picture.


And then we went back into the barn to enjoy some photoboothing with friends.

Wedding Collage

There was also a touching sequence of the bride and groom…with photobomb.

Bride + Groom Collage

As the cocktail hour winded down, the guests headed into the tent for dinner…and a few toasts. Both Sam and Alex’s parents, as well as Alex’s brother, Andy, and Sam’s sisters, Kylah and Kianna, did an amazing job making guests laugh, cry and everything in between.

I also had the opportunity to speak, which I was so excited about. I think it went pretty well – you never know if people are going to laugh or be utterly confused by your inside jokes, but fortunately it seemed to be the former, with a few musical renditions and a mandatory mention of the infamous Groundhog Day story. If only I had had the clip to show for the full effect… :)


We feasted on scrumptious dishes before heading back to the barn for the first dance.


This video makes my heart melt every time I watch it. Between the “I love yous” and the lip synching, it provides a clear depiction of exactly what I’ve been saying throughout this post: these two are crazy about each other.

“Kiss Me” by Ed Sheeran was an excellent choice. It was followed up by the father-daughter dance.


And from there, we boogied in the barn all night long.


…Despite living on different sides of the country, my husband Bobby and I have had the chance to hang out with Sam and Alex together a few times since graduation. As we’ve gotten to know them better as a couple, we’ve noticed several things that I believe prove they are meant to be.

First is their ability to be silly with one another – and I actually think this is most important. By looking at Sam and Alex, it’s clear they are head over heels for one another, but they also have the ability to laugh with one another and not take life too seriously.

Second is their support for each other. Having been together through college, graduation, career transitions and changes with family and friends over the past seven years, the one thing that has remained constant is that they are there for each other no matter what life brings their way.

And the third “S,” which has to be an “S” because I am a big fan of alliteration…is simplicity.

What I mean by simplicity is that even though their relationship when they first got together was jokingly listed on Facebook as, “it’s complicated,” the reality is that it’s anything but. It’s simple and easy, with no drama involved. They leave that to the television shows and movies they enjoy so much.

It has been an honor to watch them grow as individuals and as a couple, and a true blessing for me to be able to watch my best friend find that perfect person…

I love you, Sam.

Cheers to one amazing couple.



{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cara (Twinthusiast) October 18, 2013 at 2:20 pm

Congrats Sam and Alex — what a totally gorgeous wedding! I’m loving all of the unique red details — so beautiful. Everyone looked amazing!

(OMG Jenn, your hair – so pretty.)
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2 Jenn (eating bender) October 21, 2013 at 9:42 pm

The pops of red were one of my favorite parts of the “details.” And I wish I knew how to do my hair like that all the time!


3 Karla October 18, 2013 at 2:37 pm

What a beautiful wedding and beautiful gift this post is, Jenn! Sam will be able to look back on the photos, stories and memories for years to come thanks to your amazing work chronicling it all.

The whole weekend looked picture perfect! Congrats, Sam and Alex!!
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4 Jenn (eating bender) October 21, 2013 at 9:42 pm

Thank you, Karla!! That was my goal! :) (So great to talk to you tonight, P.S.)


5 Karla October 22, 2013 at 10:08 pm

Ditto, Jenn! It’s always such a treat. :)
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6 Samantha October 18, 2013 at 2:45 pm

Thank you so much for this post! I absolutely love it! :)


7 Jenn (eating bender) October 21, 2013 at 9:43 pm

And I <3 you!! :)


8 Erica October 18, 2013 at 4:13 pm

What an AMAZING wedding! Love all the pampering! The robes are beautiful- such a great gift idea! Your hair- gorg. LOVE LOVE the bridesmaid dresses. And all of the details at the reception were just amazing. Glad she had such a perfect wedding (and awesome matron of honor ;))


9 Jenn (eating bender) October 21, 2013 at 9:47 pm

Aww, thank you, Erica! It truly was an amazing day with so many fun details. :)


10 Chelsea @ Designs on Dinner October 18, 2013 at 4:39 pm

What a beautiful tribute! I want to know what the Groundhog Day story is…
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11 Jenn (eating bender) October 21, 2013 at 9:55 pm

Thanks, Chelsea! I love the Groundhog Day story. :) If you go to 3:52 in this video, you can hear me telling it (the inflection is important, haha): I just wish I still had the actual news clip!


12 Nicole @ The Marvelous Misadventures of a Foodie October 18, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Such a beautiful post Jenn! I teared up a little reading it! It looks like it was such a fun wedding :)
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13 Jenn (eating bender) October 21, 2013 at 9:56 pm

Aw, thank you, Nicole!! It was definitely a great weekend. :)


14 Melissa @Tryingtoheal October 23, 2013 at 12:15 pm

What a beautiful wedding!! I can’t get over the car they rode off in! The colors and decor of their wedding was beautiful and ah! It looks like it was so much fun!!
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