The Wedding of ...
Irene Lijoi & Ritchy Owens
Ceremony: Our Lady of the Holy Angels Roman Catholic Church
Reception: The Brownstone, 973.595.8582, www.thebrownstone.com
Gown: Allure Bridals
Bridesmaids: Angelina Faccenda
Tux: Vera Wang
Makeup: Connie Tahinos
Hair: Chic Hair Salon
Florist: Shoprite Florist
Cake: The Brownstone
Photographer: Dean Michaels Studio
Cinematographer: M Puzzo Productions
DJ: Zenrgy Productions
Treated Like Royalty
Despite going to the same high school and having the same circle of friends, Ritchy and I didn’t meet until many years later, back in our hometown of Little Falls, NJ. Our romance began during a trip to Point Pleasant Beach, NJ, organized by the Russian Hall. Our first official date was at the Meadowlands Race Track, my first time at a race track. I am a graphic designer and Ritchy is a project manager.
We quickly became a couple and Ritchy brought his incredible daughter Lily into my life, who was six years old at the time. I fell in love with Lily and we instantly bonded. Two years later, Ritchy secretly asked my family for permission to propose. That Christmas Eve at my uncle’s house, Ritchy asked me to marry him on the front steps just before entering the house. We walked in and announced the news to my whole family, who happily welcomed Ritchy and Lily as new members of the family!
The first time I saw The Brownstone was over 20 years ago when I was a junior bridesmaid in my uncle Sean’s wedding. Even then, I envisioned my wedding there. Ritchy and I have been to many weddings and events at The Brownstone over the years. Familiar with their excellent service, incredible food, and beautiful décor, it was no question where our wedding would be.
Within minutes of arriving at the venue, we were whisked into a beautiful suite and treated like royalty. Owner Albert Manzo and his brother Tommy worked with us to plan every detail, including creating a budget to make it all happen. Our maître d’ helped with every detail of the day. The whole staff anticipated and handled everything we could possibly want.
Our ceremony was held at the church where I grew up, also the same one where my parents and several family members have been married. The church also happens to be down the block from Ritchy’s childhood home, where his parents still live. The showstoppers of our ceremony were my niece Dylan, who was the flower girl, and my two nephews Brandon and Stephen, who were the ring bearers.
Our cocktail hour was in the glass conservatory, a beautiful setting with glass chandeliers. Our guests are still raving about the out-of-this-world service and food. We had everything from beefsteak and lobster rolls to a sushi raw bar and a pasta station. The hands-down best was the homemade mozzarella station. The mozzarella just melted in your mouth. And that’s a lot to say coming from an Italian!
The ballroom at the Brownstone is breathtaking on its own, so we kept the décor simple. We dropped off our centerpieces a couple of days prior to our wedding and The Brownstone staff did a beautiful job setting up the arrangements and table settings. The tables were decorated with candle centerpieces and cream colored linens. The ambiance was elegant, charming, and romantic, with plenty of space for our nearly 200 guests.
Again, the food for dinner was exquisite. For the first course, our guests enjoyed a salad and a choice of rigatoni Bolognese or penne vodka. Then they had a choice of Chilean sea bass, filet mignon, veal osso bucco, or chicken savoy. Dinner was followed by a never-ending Viennese table of desserts featuring cookies, pastries, fruits, you name it.
The dancing was nonstop! Our DJ, Rich, kept the party going at full speed. We had guests from ages three to 80 on the dance floor throughout the night. A highlight of the evening was our good friend Christopher Parisio doing his rendition of “Juicy” by The Notorious B.I.G.
First and foremost, a special thank you to our parents, Laura and Jay Lijoi and Rena and Russel Petersen, for helping us throw the wedding of our dreams. Thank you to our entire wedding party and extended family for their love and countless efforts throughout the year to contribute to our special day. Thank you to all our vendors, especially my hair and makeup artists Kimmie and Connie and our incredible photographer and cinematographers for capturing the magic of the day. And finally, thank you to The Brownstone for such an incredible experience and going above and beyond to create the most beautiful and fun wedding.
Paterson, NJ, 973.595.8582, www.thebrownstone.com