This is a story about how a community came together to bless an amazing couple.

I will start from the beginning, about 2 days ago.

I get a got a call from my sister Rachael. She wanted to know if I was available on Thursday (which was two days away!) because her friend was getting married at the courthouse, and needed family pictures done. She told me how her friend Erica decided to go to the courthouse to have a quick ceremony with her mother there because she wasn’t sure how much longer she’d be around. Her mother has gone through so much and is an incredibly strong woman, but she was getting more and more weak from the chemo and had been sent home to get comfortable. Cue the tears.

When Andy and I found all of this out, our hearts ached for Erica, Darrell, and their whole family. I looked at Andy and I said “If we are available on Thursday, who else might be?” Initially I thought that I could have a friend make Erica a bouquet to make her feel special in such a terrible time. After that, my idea had exploded.

I contacted my friends Josh and Jess from Pearl Event Planning and we got to work. We were trying to find vendors who would donate their time and service to make this family feel loved in one of the hardest times of their lives. The response that we got from the wedding professionals community was OVERWHELMING.

In just a few short hours we had a venue, flowers, and hair and makeup. This crazy little idea I had was finally happening. I called Erica to ask her what she thought about everything. Her response:

“Are you serious?! I don’t know what to say. Can I call you back??”

At least that’s what I heard through the tears, the happy tears.

Josh, Jess, and I were messaging back and forth non stop. Why stop at the ceremony? What else are a few good people able to do for Erica and Darrell? We were then able to get a caterer, a DJ, décor, cookies, video, and so many other little details in the next few hours. So many people coming together to do an awesome thing. All of this for free.

Erica called me on Wednesday morning:

“So uhm, before we cancel the courthouse meeting…I just want to make sure…is this for real?”

As I was reassuring her that this was all really happening I had to pinch myself. I could not wait to see her face when she walked in, and when Darrell saw her for the first time as she walked down the aisle. The aisle. Because now they had an aisle to walk down now. More tears.

The morning of the wedding was so exciting. I couldn’t wait to to see Erica’s face as she walked into the venue. She kept tearing up while her hair and makeup were getting done and we’d yell “Don’t mess up the makeup!” We laughed and giggled all morning. Erica’s mother was getting her makeup done and Erica told me that she’s probably never even had someone do her makeup before. I was so glad that they were able to feel a little pampered. Tears again. Erica was expecting to finish getting ready, pick up her fiancé, and head to the venue. When I told her that there was a Limo coming to get her and one for Darrell as well, she got so excited. I loved being able to surprise her all day long.

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While we were getting ready, Darrell, Andy, and all the other incredibly selfless volunteers were at the venue setting up. I got there right before Erica and was able to talk to Darrell while we were waiting for the ceremony to start. I knew then why everyone was telling me what a great couple they were and that they truly deserved the wonderful thing that was happening.

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Mitch the Minister had planned a wonderful ceremony and everyone was laughing, crying, and smiling the entire time. The way that Erica and Darrell looked at each other was incredible. You could feel the love fill the room.

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After the ceremony we headed outside for a few portraits, while the guests entered the reception space. Erica and Darrell joined their guest and had their first dance while everyone cheered them on. We started the amazing lunch prepared by Maureen and her team from Quality Plus Caterers. After everyone had finished eating I was able to give Erica and Darrell my last surprise. A “honeymoon in a basket”. It had a one night stay at a local hotel, $50 to Fridays, dinner at Outback Steakhouse, chocolate covered treats by Sweetzminis, Mr. and Mrs. Mugs from Parris Chic Boutique, and much much more. All donated to make them feel special while her proud mom looked on.

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After the reception, our team of amazing volunteers broke everything down and everyone was such a huge help. I can’t believe we pulled off such a special event in two days. All the vendors who donated their time and services were beyond generous and giving. I am so happy for Erica and Darrell and her amazing family. Andy and I have so enjoyed getting to them over the past few days.

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Thank you again to everyone involved and to Erica and Darrell for allowing us all to be a part of your special day!


Venue – Tc Cuthbertson, The Rose Garden, Hamilton NJ

Officiant – Mitch The Minister

Coordinators – Pearl Event Planning

Cake and Cupcakes – Kelly Zeichner

Videographer – Simply Shire

DJ – Raul, UltraFonk

Limo – Cat Limousine

Tray of Sweets – Katie Brown, DDS Goodies

Caterer – Maureen Nevins, Quality Plus Catering 

Florist – Carly is Inspired

Hair & Make-Up – Underground Artistry

Cookie Favors – Caitlin Lafonte, CupcaitsAndCakes

Flowers for the Arbor – Kerri Chilleri, Bloomer ‘n’ Things

Decor – Events to Perfection

Volunteers – Kelly Zeichner, Emma Zeichner, Noah Zeichner, Rachael Hammer, Lisa Pinaire, Erik Lydick

Donations – Earth Goddess, Necessities of the Heart, TGI Fridays, Outback Steakhouse, Parris Chique Boutique, Homewood Suites by Hilton, The One Eyed Turtle

Here are some of our venders and volunteers in action!

Interested in booking a wedding with us? Click here to contact us!

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