The Wedding of ...
Natasha La Volpe & Robert Mooney
Ceremony & Reception: The Skylands Manor, 973.256.9380, frungillo.com
Gown: Casablanca, at Bijou Bridal, Paramus, NJ
Bridesmaids: Self-bought, jewel-toned colors
Tux: The Suit Store Outlet
Catering: Frungillo Hospitality Group
Photographer: Daniel Nydick Photography, danielnydick.com
Cinematographer: Martin’s Wedding Videos
Makeup: A Beauty By Amanda
Hair: Amac Hair Artistry, Selina
Florist: Ling’s Moments
Cake: Frungillo Caterers
DJ: DJ Iron Mike, Off The Chart Entertainment
Photo Booth: Marta, Lodi Photo Booth
Seating Charts & Welcome Board: Plum Paperie
“Adventures in the Castle”
Rob and I “met” many times since age nine but somehow never got to know each other. Finally, at age 23, a mutual friend from high school invited us both over. From the moment we started talking, we felt the connection. We were both at perfect points in our lives to officially “meet.”
We spent every weekend together, falling in love and creating lifelong memories with friends who were all part of our wedding. Rob and I were together six years before he proposed. I took our dog to the vet on Valentine’s Day and when I returned, he stood in our kitchen with a bouquet of roses and my ring on top.
Our venue was a storybook castle. Skylands Manor makes you feel as though you are walking into a different era; perfect for Rob who loves history and for me, since I love fairy tales. It’s within the beautiful NJ Botanical Gardens. Skylands has rooms to roam through during cocktail hour and we loved the idea of our guests having their own adventures inside the castle. It has overnight suites so we could sleep like royalty after our reception. We could also return for an overnight stay on anniversaries.
The maître d’, Linda Pergola, is one in a million. When we met to go over the details, she was extremely reassuring. We frequently asked her what she would do and she filled in all the gaps. She made our vision come to life. Liz, the innkeeper, also made our experience at Skylands Manor memorable. We began the day at 8am in the Library and Liz brought us breakfast. She was so accommodating.
Our first priority was not wanting anyone in the wedding party stressing out. Rob and I worked hard to stay out of that perfectionist mentality and made our decisions based on what would make our day more carefree and enjoyable. Linda set up all our decor, corralled us at different times throughout the day, made sure we were eating at cocktail hour, brought us champagne at the reception, and cleaned up all the décor at the end of the night.
When Linda told us it was time to start the ceremony, Rob asked me where the rings were and I realized I misplaced them. Rob sprinted from one end of the castle to the other, eventually finding the rings at the last second, arriving back just in time, only to drop the ring himself 10 minutes later during the ring exchange.
Our ceremony was short and sweet with lots of love and laughter. Uncle Tommy, our officiant, eased our nerves with his authenticity and charisma. My favorite moment was right before walking down the aisle. I asked my dad to stop so we could look around the room. Those 30 seconds let me take it all in. Seeing the faces of people we love, seeing Rob at the end of the aisle, being arm-in-arm with my dad. Perfect.
Cocktail hour was in six rooms on the first floor of the castle. Each room has enchanting décor, stunning architecture, and large windows with garden views. The décor has a classic, romantic charm. To echo the already existing décor, our centerpieces consisted of vintage-style books, with lanterns, candles, and roses. We chose vibrant jewel-tones to create a timeless “Cinderella’s Ball” ambience. Almost every room had a different food station. We had a smash potato bar, a raw seafood spread, a carving station with flank steak and corned beef, a pasta station, and a Tuscan display
Rob and I sat in the Library and were discovered by some of our guests as they made their way around the castle. Linda brought us food from each station as well as champagne so we could relax and enjoy our first hour as newlyweds. Sharing an intimate toast after our light-hearted ceremony was exactly what we needed.
Our guests raved about the food! For entrées they choose filet mignon, grilled Atlantic salmon, or chicken caprese. The cake was extra special for me. After my groom and I fed one another, I saw my best friend whom I met in eating disorder treatment and fed her. A spontaneous moment that only years of recovery made possible, and a different kind of dream come true.
Rob and I knew that stress might pop up on the wedding day, so we planned to “go with the flow.” I enjoyed every moment from the morning with my girls, romantic moments with Rob, and of course partying at the reception. We put our faith in the venue and our vendors. So we want to thank our families, our vendors, and Skylands Manor from the bottom of our hearts.