The Wedding of…
Kara Licastro & John Mendez
Ceremony & Reception: The Park Savoy Estate
Gown: Morilee at Castle Couture, Manalapan, NJ
Bridesmaids: Morilee; Tux: Chuck Taylor
Photographer & Cinematographer: Alex Kaplan
DJ: Jam Music Events
Makeup: Jax Cole Artistry, Jacqueline Cole
Hair: Hair Designs by Lauren Liuzzi
Florist: Crest Florist
Cake: Calandra’s Italian Bakery
LOVE Marquee Letters: Alpha-Lit NJ
Party Painter: Martin Hardy
Honeymoon: Travelong, Sue Zellman
“Exceeded My Expectations”
John and I met the end of August, 2016 at a potluck for football players, cheerleaders, coaches, and parents to kick off the football season. We had been coaches elsewhere, but this was our first year coaching at Bergen Tech. We talked a lot that night and I even called my mom afterwards to tell her about him. We reconnected a few weeks later after a football game and our first date was at the Cheesecake Factory. Over four years later in March, 2021 I was cooking dinner in our home when I turned around to see him on one knee.
John wanted us to get married at The Park Savoy, where he and his father had worked on the renovations. I went there for a tour and after meeting Sam Tillawi, the general manager, I wanted to get married there too. Sam made me feel comfortable instantly. He was knowledgeable and I knew Park Savoy would make everything stress-free. My coordinator, Johanna Matuk, was so responsive and helped me keep everything organized. The client portal also made making my seating chart and submitting final numbers fast and easy when things changed, which they always do. Big shoutout to my bridal attendant, Mary, who was helpful, attentive, and a pure joy to have around. Shoutout to Faith too, whose personality is what everyone in the service industry should strive for.
The venue’s historic setting, elegant modern ballroom, and charming traditional bars are everything a bride could want. The updated bridal suite is gorgeous and the groom’s suite and cigar lounge puts this venue over the top. I also fell in love with their new chapel and its grand doors, which were a perfect backdrop for family portraits. The big windows overlooking the grounds were also perfect for our bridal party pictures. The wooden beams and chandeliers added even more charm to the chapel. Our ceremony was short and sweet. Our maître d’, Manny Gonzalez, made sure everyone was on time and things went off without a hitch.
Cocktail hour offered endless options and food. We couldn’t get enough of the chicken and waffles. We were obsessed! Our guests raved about the martini bar station and the size of the lobsters at the raw seafood bar. Another delicious dish was one that Sam recommended, Korean style beef with sesame seeds. Other favorites were maple-glazed scallops wrapped in bacon, grilled chicken quesadillas with avocado relish, and rack of lamb.
The ballroom has long, high ceilings, unique oval tables with plenty of space for dancing, and easy access to the outside gardens. Uplighting from The Park Savoy created a finishing touch to an already exquisite room. Instead of flowers on the sweetheart table we opted for LOVE marque letters in front of the fireplace, which made for great photos.
To make sure guests had options besides dancing, we had a photo booth, cigars, and a live painter. Our DJ played into the crowd and made the night magical with dancing on the clouds and sparklers along with geysers for our entrance. There were photo montages playing throughout the first dance, the dance with my father, and John’s dance with his mother. Instead of throwing out a garter and bouquet, we threw out a football and pom pom, since that is how we met.
For table numbers, we did wine bottles that had a picture of us and a table number on the other side. Whoever had a birthday closest to our wedding date got to take it home. For favors, we had 4x6 frames, the same size of the photo booth photos, for guest to put their photos in. We even had a personalized Shotski.
Dinner was delicious. We started with a roasted pear salad. My husband ordered the chateaubriand and raves it is the best around. Guests also could choose salmon Oscar, chicken saltimbocca, or spinach and ricotta-stuffed eggplant. The DJ company worked with our photo company to play a same-day video during dinner which took guests through the day, from getting ready to the ceremony to dinner. Our favorites at the Viennese dessert table included the banana foster, cannoli’s, and chocolate fountains.
There was always a sense of caring at Park Savoy. The staff went above and beyond and I want to wholeheartedly thank everyone at The Park Savoy and all my vendors for making such an important day unforgettable. To our family and guests, we are grateful you were there and made the experience that much more special!
The Park Savoy Estate, Florham Park, NJ