A Wedding Editor’s Victorian Picnic Celebration by the Sea

As high schoolers during two different graduation years, Sarah Schreiber and Zach Van Wingerden were “sometimes” friends. “Zach was a major social butterfly and operated in a lot of different friend circles, including one of mine,” she explains. “He was a year older and very cool; I was not.” When they came across each other a few some years later at an area bar in which Sarah was working, and Zach requested her number, she did not respond to his messages. “Then fate started messing with me–I ran into Zach everywhere,” she claims. “At the pharmacy, with friends, again at the bar. When he finally called me out for not texting him back, he said it nicely: ‘I think I put my number in your phone wrong.’ I replied honestly, saying that I just…didn’t answer.”

Following the contact, Sarah did begin responding to Zach’s messages and the couple were able to spend the next couple of months getting to know one another. “It was truly the most wonderful courtship,” Sarah explains. Sarah. “We took it really slow and learned so much about each other from afar, even when we were back at school.” The “pretty life-changing” weekend visit from Zach to Sarah at the college located in New York City made the relationship formal.

In the month of January, 2021, the couple were living together and they had an engagement ring from Sarah’s family diamonds transformed to create a custom-designed engagement ring. although Sarah was expecting Zach to propose during a trip towards Cape May, N.J. which is one of their favourite places, he instead sank to kneeling after he got back from work on Monday evening. “He said he just couldn’t wait, and would I please make him the happiest man on earth by becoming his wife,” Sarah says. Sarah. “It was very simple, straightforward, and sweet.”

When Sarah as well as Zach began to plan the wedding of their dreams, they were aware they wanted to have a small outdoor affair, which would reduce the chance of contracting COVID-19 to Zach’s immunocompromised father and his expecting sister, and a location located in Cape May, where Sarah’s family vacations during the summer as well as a top-quality vendor team. As the associate director of editorial of MarthaStewart.com, Sarah had the third element in mind: She hired Wendy Kay of Birds of a Feather Events to assist with the wedding design and planning, Carey Lowe of The Idea Emporium to handle event details as well as stationery Sofia Bloss of Cezanne for floral designs, Megan Pettus of Megan Pettus Films for videography along with photographer Charla Storey to record every aspect that was a part of their “Victorian garden picnic by the sea” she envisioned.

“We had the privilege of working with some of the greatest creatives in the business. That honor is not lost on me and I am so grateful for this team, who prepped for months and flew out on a holiday weekend to make this day special for us,” Sarah adds. Sarah. “But whether you’re in the industry or not, it’s important to hire a vendor team that understands you–and then let them work.”

The setting for the couple’s wedding with 32 guests in 2022, on the 28th of May was the famous Abbey mansion located in Cape May, N.J .–“a town I’ve been awed by all my life and also a place where Zach discovered he was in love with. This was the moment I realized I would love him for the rest of my life and forever,” says Sarah. An almost endless selection of personalization options included honeysuckle-scented wedding invitations that were designed by the couple’s preferred beach walk and blueberry cobbler that was made by the bride’s mother and the bride for dessert, a contemporary Jewish ceremony that included the public ketubah’s signing and a beach portrait post-reception session complete with a flower-adorned bridal bathing suit.

The concept for the wedding consisted of “casual, but elevated, picnic, but not beach picnic, antique, but not vintage-themed, classic, but not in the modern interpretation of the word,” Sarah says. Sarah. “I wanted someone, anyone, to look at our wedding in 50 years and have no idea when it took place. It went beyond ‘timeless’ for me–it was more about taste, restraint, and intentional, personal details.”

However, in the event that Sarah and Zach take a look back at their wedding day in fifty years, the thing they’ll be most proud of is the joy they felt being with their family and acquaintances and how their bond was strengthened — not just through their vows, but throughout the entire weekend. “Even if you do it your way, big or small, your wedding is a major family event. There will be some feelings!” Sarah says. Sarah. “Accept this and move through it with your partner at your side. In the aftermath, Zach and I look at each other and say, yes, some of that coordination was tough–but we always had each other’s backs, no matter what. We always will.”

It was a real feeling and real, even when the couple woke up early on the morning of their wedding to make preparations for the day’s vendors’ arrivals. “Was it a highlight in the moment? Hard no,” Sarah says. Sarah. “But in retrospect, that’s it, isn’t it? That’s the work. Marriage is moving cars at 5 a.m.–and it’s looking at your partner eight hours later and saying, ‘There’s no one I’d rather have in the passenger seat.’”

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