Here comes the bride...

In July of 2023, I got engaged to my favorite person in the world at my favorite place in the entire world.

Indulge me for a moment to tell the story because it was something you would see in a Rom-Com.

My now fiance, Nick, and I planned on going for a hike with our dog at Cattus Island in Toms River. I volunteered at Cattus for about 10 years when I was a kid and it's my favorite place to go hiking.

The day we planned on going it rained all morning long. This wasn't just a drizzle all day, it downpoured.

By the afternoon, it started to let up so we packed up and drove to the park. As fate would have it, the rain started up again once we got there.

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We decided to go for the hike anyway. This should have been a major flag for me to realize what was about to happen.

I kept laughing saying that one day we would look back and laugh about how we hiked in the rain.

We got to a clearing by the bay on the yellow trail and I took our dog Maddie by the water.

I turned around and Nick was kneeling in the wet sand, rain running down his face, with a ring in his hand.

The rain and my tears became one and I said yes.

Cute, right?

Okay, not back to what you're here for.

We have 5 months until our wedding and it cannot get more "Jersey Shore." No Snookie will not be in attendance.


I won't go into specifics until after my wedding.

How to Plan a Budget Wedding in New Jersey

One of the best things I have done to plan a wedding on a budget because I will not be spending the state average of $55,000, was to join Facebook groups.

If you're looking for a great group without being bombarded by vendors, join New Jersey Bride Private Group. I found a few of my vendors there.

I have learned that The Knot isn't always the best resource so I went to my fellow brides for help.

Another group I have found great information from is Brides on a Budget.

This group has brides from all over the world so sometimes it's a tad confusing. However, I found some great budget ideas from the women in that group that were much more realistic compared to Pinterest.

Make sure you shop around, do a deep dive on vendors' social media pages, ask other brides in those groups for opinions/suggestions, and make sure you create a realistic budget.

Remember, it's your and your fiance's day. Do what makes you both happy. Do what you both can afford.

Don't try to make everyone happy and sacrifice your budget. Don't fall down a Pinterest rabbit hole.

And, if they're within your budget, check out some of the most beautiful wedding venues in South Jersey.

13 of South Jersey's Most Breathtaking Wedding Venues

If you're looking for a breathtaking place to exchange vows and have a reception that will wow your guests, check out one of these romantic venues in South Jersey.

Gallery Credit: Heather DeLuca

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