South New Jersey wedding at The Grove at Centerton | Hilary and Bill | Pittsgrove, New Jersey


Hilary and Bill’s Wedding

Meet Hilary and Bill

The Grove at Centerton wedding. October 27, 2019. These two met on a dating app called Bumble. They knew they both were onto something good when they had their first date eating sushi and bonding over corny jokes. And the rest is history. Bill and Hilary got engaged in Hilary’s favorite place: Alexandria, Virginia. They ate at the Chart House and sat outside.  A storm approaching the area  Bill asked the waitress to take their picture and he pulled out a sign asking Hilary to marry him. She saw the sign, but didn’t see the question. She was definitely surprised once she realized what was going on, and there wasn’t a doubt in Hilary’s mind when she said yes!

Smithville Engagement Session

I met this beautiful couple back in May 2019. Their engagement session was at Smithville’s Historic Village. We got some beautiful shots that day and I was definitely looking forward to photographing their wedding day as well! When I asked what kind of wedding they were dreaming of they said, just a simple evening with family and friends. Hilary went a little more into detail saying how she wanted a country glam, Dolly Parton, Diana Ross vibe to her wedding. Classical with a modern twist.  And they did just that!

Getting Ready and the gorgeous details

The bride and groom got ready at The Grove at Centerton. They chose their wedding venue because it was the perfect combination of rustic and elegance. The fire place in the front room and the chandeliers created a dreamy and romantic ambiance to the venue. The venue gave Hillary a Chip and Joanna Gaines vibe…and it sold her in .20 seconds! To top it off the bridal suite was named Magnolia (like magnolia farms) and Magnolia is her great grandmother’s name. I think it was just meant to be.

How gorgeous is this bride? All of her wedding details…the bouquet, the dress, the color scheme..everything fit seamlessly together and it was beautiful. Hilary incorporated sunflowers into her and her bridesmaid’s bouquet as a nod to her mama since they are her favorite flower! This bride’s mama also made her dress! Hillary had dreamed of an off the shoulder mermaid dress and her mama made that happen. Hillary’s bridesmaid’s consisted of close friends and family. It was pouring rain that morning and it didn’t bother the couple at all! Hilary was prepared with her red rain boots. They were very fitting for the type of morning we had.

Great groomsmen and woman

Bill, his groomsmen, and his sister all looked perfect. The men all had little dinosaurs on their ties because Bill loved dinosaurs as a kid and Bill wore his grandfather’s shoes as a special tribute to him.  Bill’s groomsmen and grooms-woman consisted of his close friends and his sister!

A First Look

Bill and Hilary did decide on doing the first look. After Hilary read my blog post on first looks and talking it over she was convinced it would be perfect for their day. She realized that the first look she originally envisioned could be much longer and sweeter if it was just Bill and her instead of being in front of everyone during the ceremony.  It was a sweet moment for the two of them.

First look photographs will always be my favorite

You can’t recreate the feelings you see in these photos. The looks on their faces were priceless…mirroring so much love for each other! The original plans we had for the first look had to be adjusted due to the weather, but that didn’t effect the outcome. The rain stopped, the sun came out, we were surrounded by the bridal party and we got some awesome shots under the carport in front of their venue. Since the rain stopped and everyone agreed to get their feet a little wet we were able to get some of the photographs we originally envisioned before the weather had a mind of its own.

After a few photographs with the bridal party, we headed behind the venue to a tree covered path near the golf course. The rain enhanced the vibrant colors of fall, making the bride and groom pop in the photographs. We laughed when the wind blew and we got a little rain shower. ​Everyone was in good spirits and so ready to celebrate Bill and Hilary.

A beloved grandparents, a truck and a ladybug

While we were posing and getting the perfect shots, a little lady bug landed on Hilary and then flew to Bill’s finger.  It almost seemed like confirmation that Bill’s grandfather and Hilary’s grandmother were with us in that moment.

Before we headed back into the venue we took a couple of photos by Bill’s grandfather’s truck.  It meant a lot to them to have photos taken with the truck on their wedding day. Those photographs are some of my favorite. I am glad I was able to capture this special idea for them.

the right decision

​ I recently asked Hilary and Bill to look back on doing the first look. I wanted to know if they still thought it was the right decision.  They both agreed with each other, it was the best thing! They were more relaxed and really enjoyed the rest of the day.  And they didn’t have to worry about rushing for pictures after the ceremony.

The Ceremony

Once again due to the weather having a mind of its own we had a change of plans. The ceremony originally planned to be outside had to be moved indoors. However, that did not change how beautiful the ceremony was. The chandelier and the arch still created that classical look!

A Game of Thrones

Hilary’s dad walked her down the aisle to the Game of Thrones theme song. They loved that show and wanted to incorporate it into their wedding in sneaky little ways. Their vows were so sweet, sincere, and there were definitely some tears! They braided the ropes to signify their eternal bond, had their first kiss as newly weds, and then they were heading down the aisle with faces screaming pure joy.

The Cocktail hour and Reception

After the ceremony we went right into family photos. Thankfully we had some help from a family friend gathering everyone together! We snapped a few more photographs of the newlyweds and then headed into cocktail hour! Bill and Hilary had a chance to relax a little bit, have a drink, eat some food, and mingle before the reception started.

Can’t help falling in love

The couple shared their first dance to Can’t Help Falling in Love by Hailey Reinhart, with so much love in their eyes. Toasts from the best man, maid of honor, and Bill’s sister were funny and touching. Bill’s Aunt gave the blessing and both sets of parents welcomed everyone and shared funny stories they had of the two of them.

Everyone danced the night away, There wasn’t a moment that the dance floor was empty! So much love and laughter consumed the room. Bill and Hilary played the shoe game, and everyone was erupting with laughter at their answers. There were definitely tears during the father-daughter dance and mother-son dance. I would say that their reception was a roller coaster of feel-good emotions between not only Bill and Hilary but also every single one of their wedding guests.

Cake Cutting

They had a Game of Thrones themed cake cutting. When Bill came out in his fur coat (he found at a garage sale) there were gasps of awe as well as laughter heard among the wildlings… I mean guests. They cut the cake with Hilary’s father’s sword.

I had no clue what was going on, and later had to be schooled on Game of Thrones. But I could tell that this was special to them and something they share and bonded over. The cake feeding was all very sweet…up until the end. Hilary smashed some right on Bill! The Grove at Centerton wedding venue is a perfect place to celebrate.

Special Moments

A wedding day is filled with so many special moments. I got to witness a very special one, and I am glad I did. Bill’s grandmother was looking at her late husband’s photo on the remembrance table. She then reached out, touched his picture, and said she still missed him.  Be still my heart.

Another special moment I was able to capture was when ​Hillary was talking with one of her relatives and I caught her wiping away a tear off Hillary’s face.

Many reasons why I love photography so much is because I get the chance to tell a story with my camera lens.  Bill and Hilary will be able to look back at these photos and feel all the emotions and memories. I am so honored to do that for them.

End of the night photos

The reception came to an end with a huge group dance and a touching slow dance. It was such a beautiful day full of memories to last a lifetime. So much love shared between these two. I got my signature end of the night photographs with Bill and Hilary in front of the fireplace. They were so relaxed and happy. They look like Chip and Johanna in their living room! The Grove at Centerton Wedding was just beautiful.

When I spoke with Hilary and Bill recently I asked them if their day was everything they envisioned.  Bill got the girl so he had no complaints! Hilary said some of her plans fell through, things happened that shouldn’t have, and there definitely were some surprises, but it never took away from their day. She had an amazing time and

Congratulations and Thank You

I wish you two nothing, but the best. My heart knew you both were a special couple the day we walked around Smithville for your engagement session. I loved seeing your plans and dreams come to life and being a part of your special day. You both are so loved and definitely have some angels smiling down on you. As always I am honored to have photographed these memories for you. Thank you! I look forward to capturing the next chapter of your story. Have fun in Disney!

Advice from the Wedding Couple

Bill’s advice:  think of back-ups for everything!
Hilary’s advice: Have what you want! If you want to have a game themed wedding go for it. You want to have fun and smile. So pack your day with things that mean something to the two of you, even if no one else gets it. She also suggested to let go of the reins and enjoy because it really zips by.


The Vendors


Venue:  The Grove at Centerton, Pittsgrove, NJ

Officiant:  Weddings by Dave

DJ/Entertianment/Lighting:  BME Event Group

Wedding Dress: Handmade by Hilary’s Mom

Grooms Attire:  Boscov’s

Wedding Rings: Select Jewelers

Florist:  Lillie’s Florals

Wedding Cake: The Grove at Centeron’s baker, Dani

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