Last Summer, I photographed Kat and James’ summer wedding at the beautiful The Grand Hotel Cape May! Kat and James had a traditional wedding with a chic beachy theme filled with brightly colored sunflower bouquets as well as pops of blue on the groomsmen and bridesmaids. The day started with a ceremony at St. John of God Church, photos throughout Cape May and finally a fun reception with the Big House Band at the Grand Hotel!
Kat and James have known each other since they were 5 years old when they went to the same preschool. After dating for several months, they learned from Kathleen’s family home videos that James was at Kathleen’s 5th birthday party in her basement! They were friends in high school and sat next to each other in math class. James remembers vividly how Kathleen stole his chocolate chip cookie in first period. After high school graduation they rarely saw each other or kept in touch. It wasn’t until several years later after they had both graduated college and moved on to start their careers that James and Kathleen would cross paths again. James was living in Lynchburg, VA and working as an engineer while Kathleen was working as an oncology nurse on Long Island, NY. They found themselves together again at a New Year’s Eve party in Saratoga on a very cold night. Little did they know they would spend every New Year’s Eve together in the future. After a long distance courtship and significant debate and denial that they “were just friends”, James and Kathleen became a couple on May 10, 2013. Over the next year they made the long distance work by planning trips to see each other. They made trips to Florida and Chicago and would meet in Cape May where both families have summer homes. Cape May became a very special place for them in their relationship. Kathleen moved to Washington, DC to work as a pediatric oncology/hematalogy/bone marrow transplant nurse in December 2013, a job that she always wanted. James moved to DC just a few months later and they were finally able to spend time together more frequently.
Kat and James were engaged on March 25, 2016, on a beautiful spring day in Washington, DC when James and Ka went on a picnic in the National Arboretum. Kat’s mind was very preoccupied that afternoon with school work and schedules and had no idea what James had in store for her. After a lovely picnic they strolled through the azalea gardens. Kat was completely surprised as James got down on one knee and asked her to spend forever with him and marry him! It was a perfect day.
Their Grand Hotel Cape May wedding day started out in an all morning rain storm, I couldn’t believe how wet and dreary of a day it was! We had so many plans for outdoor photos throughout Cape May following the ceremony and when my weather app said the rain would be gone before the ceremony was over, I was so relieved! But the ceremony came and went and the rain still persisted. We decided to continue with our plans, so after a few fun trolley photos, we drove to the Cape May light house anyway. Once we arrived, the rain literally tapered off and the sun came out! I couldn’t believe how perfect this happened and my bride and groom were ecstatic with the sudden change in weather!
When I asked Kat what was the hardest part about wedding planning, she said it was finding the venue. They are both from New York and looked at a total of 12 venues between NY and NJ before choosing The Grand Hotel Cape May. They always knew The Grand Hotel Cape May was the right one for them. The easiest and best part of wedding planning for them was the food and cake tasting! A Piece of Cake is located right in Villas, NJ where both their parents have homes and they let them have four different flavors and fillings in their cake! It was delicious.
Their favorite wedding day memory from their Grand Hotel Cape May wedding was their first dance which included a dip! They had secretly had taken dance lessons and had practiced but nobody knew and their song “Fly Me to the Moon” by Frank Sinatra was a surprise too. The band performance made it so magical for Kat and James.
Any advice for future couple’s planning?
“Do not go crazy looking at venues! Pick a max of 3-5 and pick a date you want. Being “too” flexible can make it more stressful.”
Now that these two are married and back from their Hawaiian honeymoon, they plan to continue with their travels. They love traveling and hope to continue to see new places and explore different cultures together. One of their goals as a couple is to see more of the US and visit all 52 national parks someday! So far they have visited The Grand Canyon, Great Sands, Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone and Grand Tetons, Glacier and Shanandoah, VA. Kathleen and James love visiting new places and seeing new sites. This common interest is one of many reasons they are looking forward to spending their lives with each other.
They have also adopted the newest member of their family, Barnaby Breuninger, a rescue dog stranded by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. They love their family and life together and can’t wait for the many happy years ahead.
Photography: Susan Hennessey Photography
Ceremony: St. John of God Church
Reception Venue: Grand Hotel of Cape May
Wedding Dress: The Bridal Boutique – Allure Bridals
Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal
Groom & Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Wearhouse
Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Avo’s Elegant Jewelry, Emerson NJ
Invitations: David’s Bridal
Hair & Makeup: MADiFACE HAIR and MAKEUP
Florist: Karen Fowler Floral Design
Cake: A Piece of Cake
Videographer: Sea Isle Films
Band: The Big House Band
Trolley: The Great American Trolley Company
Thank you to Kat and James for allowing me to photograph their Cape May wedding!
Are you planing a Grand Hotel Cape May wedding? Click here to view all my favorite weddings and sessions I have photographed in Cape May, my absolute favorite place in New Jersey!