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If anyone knows about weddings recently, Dawn Righi of Eatontown, has run the gamut: her son and daughter-in-law were married last year and now she is the midst of helping her two daughters plan their 2015 weddings. “It’s been a learning experience,” she said.
“And we’ve done everything locally.” The brides bought their dresses in Red Bank and the weddings were or are being held in venues in Monmouth County.
The search for the perfect wedding gown has taken Righi – and her two daughters and daughter-in-law, who works in fashion, – all over. “We went to a million places and tried on a million dresses,” but in the end, all two of the brides found their dresses right in Red Bank at Sassy Chic on Monmouth Street and the third will make that her first stop when she starts shopping. “We learned shopping locally you don’t have to pay $5,000 to look like a million dollars,” she said.
Her son Daniel and bride Karlye had what Righi calls a “do-it-yourself wedding” at the Water Witch Club at Monmouth Hills in Highlands. Righi played more than the usual mother of the groom role as the bride and her family came from Maryland and were not familiar with the Monmouth County area.
At the Water Witch the bride and groom provide all the food, dinnerware, decorations, linens and other items. With an impressive barn reception space and views of Sandy Hook, the Atlantic Ocean and New York City skyline, the wedding venue was just what the bridal couple wanted.
The guests enjoyed the catered spread, which included Lusty Lobster’s grilled lobster. “And we had a raw bar, which is very popular,” Righi said. “And a cigar bar.”
“It was stunning and beautiful, but a lot of work,” Righi said, as they did everything from arrange centerpieces to create an aisle for the bride and groom.
Liz and fiancé Michael will marry in May at the Buono Sera Palazzo in Ocean Township. “It’s an old Greek church that they redid and..it’s ornate and beautiful,” said Righi. The family has been pleased at the level of attention they are getting. “They will build a wedding around you. From soup to nuts, filet mignon, everything. I can’t say enough about it. They’ve been very accommodating.
“I think a lot of people have come away from the traditional table of 10 people staring at each other,” she said. “While keeping the traditional element of a wedding, they want more of a party.”
An added feature to the wedding, which seems to be popular recently, is a “to go” package of food for departing guests who may have worked up a second appetite after hours of dancing.
“They can pick out what they want and they’ll have something to eat on the way home. It’s a great idea.”
In that same vein, many couples hire a food truck to park outside their venue to feed wedding revelers one more time before heading home.
Righi’s daughter Emily and fiancé Patrick are planning a New Year’s Eve wedding at the Molly Pitcher in Red Bank.
The couple, who got engaged on Thanksgiving, seem to enjoy tying celebrations with holidays and the family is looking forward to spending New Year’s Eve at their wedding. “She wants a party – lots of music, dancing. And it’s a beautiful venue,” said Righi.
“Emily is hiring a company that will do all the lighting and oversee every element from when you walk down the aisle until the end,” Righi said. “Emily wants fireworks.”
Many brides, wedding planners and even guests agree, Pinterest, a website of countless creative ideas that people contribute, is the place to find clever and innovative ideas from centerpieces to dresses to gifts.
Righi says her daughter Emily stocked up on New Year’s decorations immediately after the holiday that she’ll use for decorations, party favors and centerpieces. “You can take a mini-wine bottle to create a miniature bride with a sparkly belt for a shower favor,” she said. “The ideas are just amazing.”
With all the tasks and to-do lists, Righi keeps the joy of the three weddings in mind. “My girls are best friends,” she said. “They are supportive and loving and so happy for each other.”
And as any good mother of the bride, Righi says she also knows her role in the nuptials. “I do what I’m told,” she said.
— By Judy O’Gorman Alvarez
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