Alissa and Matt...Married | An Ocean City, NJ Wedding | A historic Flanders Hotel Wedding | Ocean City, New Jersey
Meet Alissa and Matt
Alissa and Matt met five years ago through a mutual friend. At first, Alissa wasn't interested in Matt. Little did she know how wrong she was. After, hanging out sporadically for six months Matt and Alissa both realized their feelings for one another were stronger than just friends. October 18th, 2014 is when they started dating. Fast-forward three years and Matt was getting down on one knee asking Alissa to marry him on Christmas Eve 2017.
Alissa could tell something was wrong or off by Matt's demeanor during her family's traditional Christmas Eve gathering. As soon as they arrived to Matt's parent's house, he immediately retrieved the ring, got down on one knee, and proposed. Alissa was in such shock she didn't believe it was happening at first-- but through tears, of course she said, "Yes!".
You can find Alissa and Matt going to concerts together, doing yoga, listening to podcasts, trying out new restaurants, relaxing at the beach, hiking, or just sitting in their backyard having a cocktail and enjoying each other's company.
I met these two last year when they were searching for a wedding photographer. When we met we clicked right away! I was excited for the opportunity to photograph their wedding for them. Matt and Alissa envisioned their wedding day to be a celebration of love celebrated by close friends and family all while sharing with everyone their favorite spot, Ocean City, NJ. Their vision came to life on October 18th 2019. Five years after the day they became boyfriend and girlfriend...they said "I Do".
The bride and groom both got ready at the Flanders Hotel in Ocean City. The Flanders hotel is such a grand venue decorated in a vintage art deco style which perfectly encompassed Alissa and Matt's theme. They loved how it is a historic piece of Ocean City with gorgeous architecture and knew it had to be their venue when they chose it.
Alissa and Matt were getting ready in suites just down the hall from each other, which definitely made photographing the two getting read very easy for me!
When I arrived at Alissa's suite she had just finished with hair and make-up. She looked absolutely stunning with her hair pulled back into a classic bun. Her rings, earrings, save the date card, antique purse, shoes and her bouquet were all beautiful and intricate, but all of those details came to life when she put on her wedding dress. A classic romantic dress with gorgeous sparkly, embellishments on the back. It was gorgeous. I couldn't resist taking down the beach landscape photograph on the wall to capture the beauty of her dress -- even if It mean struggling to put the photograph back on the wall afterwards. Alissa's mother and maid of honor were both there to share these special memories with her,
Next up was Matt. His family was all ready for their photos when I knocked on the door. Matt was so calm and ready to call Alissa his wife. Matt's family were in such good spirits, we were laughing and joking the whole time. They made photographing them so easy and fun. Special thanks to Matt's brother (the best man), for dragging the pretty blue chair up and down the hall for me!
Alissa had mentioned that there was a pretty room downstairs in the hotel. Well, she definitely wasn't wrong. The Terrace Room was perfect. White walls, white drapes and an antique green tile floor made for some truly enchanting and elegant photos. Alissa's grandmother's rosary was her something blue as well as extremely sentimental to her. We took some special photos for her, and her grandmother was happy that she carried it with her on her wedding day.
At first, Alissa and Matt didn't plan on doing a first look. However as their wedding day approached closer and closer they started to consider it. It just made more sense with their schedule and transportation to the church. Getting some of their photographs in earlier allowed them to spend that extra time and celebrate with their guests.
I personally love when couples chose to do a first look. It allows them to share that special moment together in a more intimate setting instead of in front of an audience. Alissa's advice to future couples is to definitely consider it and shared, "Having that special moment together wipes away any anxious energy and brings your focus back to your partner and the union of marriage.".
We took these photographs in the hall of mirrors. It is a beautiful hallway decorated with mirrored doors and gorgeous chandeliers. After photographing the first look we also dove right into their bridal shoot. How could I not take advantage of the mirrored hallway? It added so much elegance to their photographs. The light streaming in from the window at the end of the hall was perfect and really illuminated their silhouettes. And of course we had to take some photographs on the boardwalk!
The catholic ceremony was at St Francis Cabrini Church in Ocean city. The couple walked into the church together to proclaim their vows to each other as fiance's and walked out as husband and wife. The ceremony was as beautiful as the church itself.
I now pronounce you husband and wife
After the ceremony we went to the boardwalk and beach in Ocean City. This is a special place for these two. Making it a part of their special day felt perfect, and you can see how at ease they are in each other's arms. Love was definitely in the air.
Mr. and Mrs. Whelan, the bridal party, and I ventured to the music pier and then down to the beach. The boardwalk wasn't busy and it was a perfect day,
We took photographs at some of Matt and Alissa's favorite spots, and had the perfect amount of time to capture some memories before heading back to the hotel for cocktail hour.
The cocktail hour was filled with laughter, food and signature drinks. Alissa and Matt were enjoying every moment being surrounded by family and friends.
The reception was held in one of the gorgeous ballrooms. Divine chandeliers and sconces decorated the room, and were accompanied by a huge stone fireplace. Matt and Alissa took the less is more approach while wedding planning. They didn't go all out in decorations and flowers. They felt the beauty of the hotel would suffice and that it did. Everything still felt luxurious and looked beautiful. In lieu of flowers Alissa and Matt made donations to the Philadelphia's Children's hospital.
Their first dance was to Shining Star by Grateful Shred. I just love the way they are looking at each other in these photos! So much love! Alissa shared a special dance with her brother and Matt danced with his mom.
Matt's Grandfather blessed the couple and toasts were made from the maid of honor and the best man. There were many tears and laughter throughout! The DJ did a great job getting everyone onto the dance floor! Everyone danced their night away while celebrating the bride and groom!
After the traditional dinner and cake the venue put out a spread of Ocean City favorites: Manco and Manco pizza, Johnson's popcorn, Shriver's saltwater taffy, and boardwalk french fries! It was a huge hit! And it was another way for Alissa and Matt to share their love of OCNJ on their wedding day. It more special for them and their guests. I loved it!
I walked by the terrace room at just the right moment during the reception. The sun was setting and illuminating the room with a gorgeous orange hue! We didn't have enough time to run outside so we took advantage of the terrace room once again..and wow, I think it worked beautifully!
Just before I leave I make sure to snap a few photographs at the end of the evening. From start to finish their day was beautiful, elegant, and perfect for them. I love the classical touch the piano adds in these photographs. Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Whelan!
I loved being a part of Alissa and Matt's day. I personally love Ocean City myself, and seeing all of the Ocean City elements tied into their wedding day was magical.
Alissa and Matt didn't have to worry about a thing. They both were very calm and didn't let anything stress or frazzle them. I asked Alissa and Matt recently what their favorite moment of the day was and Alissa said it was hard to pick just one! They will always cherish the amount of love they felt for one another walking down the aisle, hearing Matt's grandfather give the blessing at dinner, their first dance, and the dance party after dinner!
Alissa"s advice for future brides: Less is more! Don't lose sight of the purpose behind the entire day.
I enjoyed this wedding and getting to know Alissa and Matt, I will always be honored you chose me to capture these moments for you. I wish you both many happy, and healthy years together. And Alissa always remember that Matt is your ticket into heaven!
Venue/Caterer/Wedding Planner: The Flanders Hotel, Ocean City, NJ
Officiant: Father James Dever
Wedding Cake: Simply Sweet Cupcakes
Florist: South Jersey Florist
Wedding Dress: Irini's Orginals
Men's Suits: Suit Supply
Dj/Entertainment: James McElFresh
Memories by Maria
Every photo has a story and every story will have many photos.