The Estate at Florentine Gardens wedding of Kevin & Peter|River Vale, New Jersey

Kevin & Peter can’t identify one particular “moment” when they knew they wanted to get married. They’ve been together for thirteen years, have lived together for more than ten, and have two adorable dogs they consider their kids. They spend holidays and birthdays with each others’ families and have worked together to establish a home. “We were practically married already, the only thing missing was an actual ceremony, solidifying our intentions to remain together forever,” they said. “The time was just right for a formal proposal and to host an event announcing our relationship plans to the world.”

Some words and wisdom and photos from the ceremony today, reception photos coming Wednesday!

What was the one thing you were most stressed about before the wedding and how did it turn out?
After planning our special day for nearly a year, we had just about everything all set for the wedding, except for the weather. Not having control over this aspect of the day gave us the most stress, especially since we so wanted an outside wedding. We kept an eye on the weather for days before the wedding, and what added to the stress was that each forecaster had a different forecast for the day.

Finally, the day arrived and the weather called for overcast skies, with rain in the afternoon. This worked for us as our wedding was at 11:30am. But as we were going through our final rehearsal, a light rain started falling. We had to decide what to do. Do we move inside or attempt an outdoor ceremony? We literally made the decision 10 minutes before the ceremony, and as luck would have it. The rain stopped and our ceremony was perfect.

groom and groom prep before Florentine Gardens same sex weddingring box and invitations for Estate at Florentine Gardens wedding ceremonygrooms prepare for their same sex wedding ceremony at Estate at Florentine Gardens in Bergen County NJ

What was your favorite part of the wedding day?
Looking back on the day, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly which part was our favorite. From the ceremony to the reception to the first dance, everything seemed to go as planned and was exactly as we envisioned our wedding day would be. If we had to pick one part that stands out for us, it would be the start of the ceremony.

It may seem odd to select this, but this was the most emotional part of the day for us. Walking down the aisle together, hand in hand, symbolized the start of a new chapter in our lives, and the act of embarking on this new chapter together had us feel love on a new level. Having all of our family and friends around us, supporting, encouraging and loving us, provided an emotional boost we weren’t expecting. At this point, the dream called “marrying my best friend” became a reality and it set the stage for the rest of the day.

Estate at Florentine Gardens same-sex wedding in black and whitegorgeous setting for gay wedding at Estate at Florentine Gardens, New Jerseygrooms say vows at New Jersey gay wedding at Estate at Florentine Gardensgroom and groom hold hands down the aisle during Estate at Florentine Gardens weddin

Now that you’re married, and you’ve been through planning a wedding together, what advice would you give to other couples who are just starting the process?
Start the planning early. Half the fun of your big day is planning it together. If you start early, you can take your time and enjoy the entire process. If you wait too long, the time crunch will cause stress and the planning wont be enjoyable. We started planning about 1 year before our wedding. We made a list of things to do, and took time each week to do something on the list. When the wedding day came, everything had been taken care of and we were stress-free. As an added benefit, going through the planning process together in a relaxed state brought us even closer together. Sit back, and enjoy the journey.

wedding party phots at Estate at Florentine Gardensgroom and groom portraits on grounds of Estate at Florentine Gardens

wedding party phots at Estate at Florentine Gardensgroom and groom portraits on grounds of Estate at Florentine Gardens

How does it feel different being married?
It’s funny, people keep asking us this and we haven’t come up with a unique way to answer it. We have been together for 13 years, so we had been living as a married couple would for over a decade. If anything, our wedding was a way to promise that we would always be there for each other, and to openly share our intent with all or our friends and family members. Its hard to explain, but the act of saying “I Do” in front of your loved ones, intensifies the love you have for each other. So if anything, it feels like our love has grown somehow.

black and white grooms portrait at Estate at Florentine Gardens

Venue: The Estate at Florentine Gardens – River Vale, New Jersey
Suits: Men’s Wearhouse
Cake: Palermo’s Bakery – Little Ferry, New Jersey
Flowers: Bill O’Shea’s Florist – Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey
Invitations: You’re So Invited – Westwood, New Jersey
Venue Coordinator: Denise Downing
Officiant: Matthew M. Morales
Band/DJ: Sal Travis Entertainment – River Vale, New Jersey

New Jersey wedding photographer: Leslie Barbaro