KellieAnne & Mark's Congress Hall Wedding
KellieAnne & Mark were one of the couples that I had the pleasure of working for an unusually long time due to the pandemic. With much of their family flying in from Ireland, a 2020 wedding was postponed for a year. We worked on save the dates and change the dates before we finally got to work on their wedding invitations and wedding day details. I had the pleasure of creating a watercolor illustration of the iconic Congress Hall in Cape May, New Jersey for this wedding. The illustration was featured in their wedding stationery along with fall watercolor florals and pumpkins. I loved getting to see how everything tied together through their wedding photos from Kaitlin Noel. Read on to learn more about this beautiful wedding and all of the thoughtful details that went into KellieAnne and Mark's day...
What did you want your wedding to feel like?
We were aiming for autumn elegance and decorated with sunflowers, white roses, pumpkins, fall berries, and acorns. Our palette included colors like burgundy, burnt orange, and gold. The bridesmaids wore a rich cabernet, and we chose a wooden monogram topper stained walnut for our wedding cake.
What was your inspiration for your wedding?
Mark and I love the beach… It's where we first met! Cape May and Wildwood hold a special place in both of our hearts.
As for our choice of venue, Congress Hall Hotel has an interesting history. Originally built in 1816, the resort was destroyed in Cape May’s Great Fire of 1878 and had to be rebuilt the following year. It is America’s first seaside resort and was a popular vacation spot for several US presidents. President Benjamin Harrison visited so often that he made it his official Summer White House.
Congress Hall is also a hot spot for supernatural activity with many reports of ghostly encounters — perfect for an autumn wedding in Victorian Cape May.
What made you choose a custom stationery designer to create your wedding invitation vision?
We wanted to support as many local vendors as we could and envisioned a personalized design for our invitations that really stood out. When we found the Stone Hill Paperie, Mark and I knew Amy’s style was exactly what we were looking for.
How did your stationery set the tone for your reception or wedding day?
Our wedding invitations were classy and unique. Many guests commented on how beautifully they turned out. The elegance of our signage and place cards set a refined tone, and Amy’s talent helped us create a truly personalized event.
The his & her drink signs were a notable favorite with guests. I think the bartenders were sick of making cranberry margaritas by the end of the night!
Take us back through your wedding day; share your wedding story.
It was a great day. There were moments of chaos — like when the groomsmen arrived at Congress Hall too early for pictures, so Mark and I almost saw each other before the wedding. Or when the wind nearly blew my veil off while I was walking into the church.
The forecast called for rain, but the weather held out in true fairy-tale fashion. We rented a wedding trolley for the day and had a bubble send-off after the ceremony. Cocktail hour was a blur of picture-taking, greetings, and congratulations.
Our reception was the best part! We entered to Beauty and a Beat by Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj. The toasts and speeches were particularly memorable. Everyone had a good time, and we couldn’t have been happier.
What was your first dance song?
Tennessee Whisky by Chris Stapleton
What was your favorite moment to see or create?
For about ten minutes during cocktail hour, Mark and I met with several of our vendors in the Congress Hall ballroom before they opened the doors for the reception. There was a feeling of quiet magic as we walked through the empty ballroom and saw the results of everyone’s planning and hard work.
There were tables draped in white linen and sprinkled with rose petals; charming autumn floral arrangements and wedding favors wrapped in burgundy ribbon; place card holders we’d spent hours spiking into mini pumpkins the night before. The attention to detail was breathtaking, and it was our favorite moment of the day.
How did you end the night? Did you have an after-party?
We rented a party bus for the night and had an after-party at Old City Pub in Wildwood. There was a DJ, sparklers, and late-night snacks.
What surprised you most about planning your wedding?
What surprised us most about planning our wedding was how many people wanted to help us make the day special — not only vendors, but also our family, friends, and neighbors.
Wedding planning in the age of COVID presented us with some significant challenges. We faced delays, cancellations, and restrictions around every corner. Despite all that, so many people pitched in to help us make our day an amazing one.
What advice would you give your friends getting married?
The day goes by so fast! Make time to eat your dinner and enjoy a piece of cake.
Our Wedding Team:
Flowers: Cape Winds Florist
Photographer: Kaitlin Noel & Co.
Videographer: New Pace Wedding Films
Venue & Catering: Congress Hall Hotel
Church: Our Lady Star of the Sea
Hair & Makeup: Accent on Beauty
Music: Animal House Band
Favors: The Original Fudge Kitchen
Transportation: Philadelphia Trolley Company
Rehearsal Dinner: The Lobster House