ICONA Windrift Wedding | Avalon, NJ | Emily & Gary

On June 12th, I photographed Emily and Gary’s ICONA Windrift wedding in Avalon, NJ. Emily and Gary described their Jersey Shore wedding as beachy, authentic, honest and romantic. They wanted the day to be uniquely them with personal vows and speakers during the ceremony and with their music choices. They wanted everyone to feel their love in a real way and between all the tears from them and their guests, they accomplished this!  While they had many traditional aspects to their wedding, they certainly made it their own – from Gary’s black and white checkered Vans and bow tie to the sign in snowboard as their guest book to the bridesmaids wearing Emily’s favorite color of yellow and in her favorite shoe, Birkenstock’s! They also had the luckiest weather of the year! It rained all morning and the forecast said there would be severe scattered thunderstorms, large wind gusts and hail but we experienced none of that and my happy couple ended up with the sunniest afternoon for their beach ceremony.

Gary and Emily went to the same college and knew of each other but never really got to know one another until a few years later. One night, they both went to the same concert, Emily was there to see the opener and Gary was there to see the headliner. Emily’s friend went to get a drink between sets and while waiting for her she turned around and saw Gary. They started talking, realized they were into the same music and started going to shows together and the rest was history! Their first real date was a Beartooth concert. They met up in New York City, had lunch, met the band, went backstage, then stayed for the concert and went out afterwards. The concert was awesome and they had so much fun exploring the city after. Once Emily and Gary had decided to date, they had been hanging out for almost a year and after their first official date, Emily knew that Gary was her forever guy.

The proposal from Emily: Gary proposed on the last day of my yearly family vacation in Long Beach Island, NJ in July of 2020. He kept pestering me to go on a walk on the beach when all I wanted to do was spend time with my family. And then it hit me…he’s going to propose. So we went for a walk and he was being weird so I’m convinced he’s going propose. We stop to look out at the ocean and he’s still being really weird and then my cousin runs over and starts talking about a work call she just got off of. I was so embarrassed that I even thought he was going to propose. We start walking back to the house and my cousin gets another phone call and runs off. Gary stops me then falls behind me and says “I think a bird pooped on your back” and I was like “yeah right” and I see his shadow kneeling behind me. I turn around and start crying. I stood there for a while just crying. I don’t really remember what happened next. I obviously said yes, cried more, and then he turns me towards our house and his whole family was there along with mine and a big banner that said “congratulations”. As we were walking back to the house I finally remembered to actually look at the ring and it make me cry all over again because it was so beautiful. When we got home from vacation Gary planed a surprise engagement party with all of my friends because they couldn’t come to the shore. We pulled into our driveway and they were all there with decorations and we had the best day!

When Emily and Gary weren’t wedding planning, they love to go to concerts, ski and snowboard, hike, kayak, explore new places, spend time with their dog and just hang out together. They love hanging out on the couch and watching Marvel movies. They also love hosting parties and having friends and family over. Now that they are finished planning their ICONA Windrift wedding, their dreams for their marriage is to do it right. They never want to lose what makes their relationship them and they want to enjoy their time together and not get stuck in the day to day monotony. They want to have fun and build their life together while traveling before settling down and raising a family together.

Their advice for couple’s currently planning their weddings is to remember that it is not easy but it’s worth it. Take your time to plan, but also take your time to be with your partner and not talk about wedding stuff. Remember that a wedding is a celebration of love and companionship so make sure you’re practicing that while planning! Make lots of lists, ask for help and at the end of the day whatever gets done gets done and it will be perfect. It’s stressful and crazy and a lot but when the time comes its magic.

Emily and Gary were most looking forward to having all of their friends and family in one place since it only happens at weddings. My newlyweds had a romantic mini-moon in Cape May immediately following their ICONA Windrift wedding but are planning a three week honeymoon to Hawaii in the near future! Thank you to Emily and Gary for choosing me to photograph your ICONA Windrift wedding!

Contributing Vendors:
Photography: Susan Hennessey Photography

Venue: ICONA Windrift

Wedding Dress: Love Story Bride

Bride and Bridesmaid’s Shoes: Birkenstock

Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal

Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse

Groom & Groomsmen Shoes: Vans

Invitations: Life of the Party Details and Design

Hair & Makeup: Say I Do Hair & Makeup

Florist: Party with Mia

Cake: Chocolate Face Cupcake and Brownies

DJ: DiNardo Brothers Entertainment


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Susan Hennessey Photography is based in South Jersey with a studio in Moorestown, we serve all of New Jersey and the greater Philadelphia area.