Ingles Verde Amarelo

Weddings, Jersey style: College sweethearts host lavish country club celebration

Jessica Hampson and Anthony Amalfe have long been a part of each other's lives.

The couple met more than a decade ago, during their freshman year at Stockton College, when they lived in the same dormitory.

"Getting to know AJ, I realized what a great person he was. He is kind, he thinks of other people and he was always supportive of me," Hampson, 29, said. "He could always make me laugh."

Throughout their college career they shared secrets, memories and even the same friends, Hampson said.

Since 2007, they'd been a couple.

Last Friday, the college sweethearts shared yet another milestone when they exchanged vows at St. Genevieve Church in Elizabeth.

The venue

Hampson, who is a registered nurse at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Amalfe, the regional sales manager for his family's automotive parts company, held their wedding reception at the Westmount Country Club in Woodland Park.

"Once we walked into the Westmount, we just knew we were done looking and had found our perfect venue. There is not one thing we didn't like," Hampson said of the site, which has drawn highly favorable reviews and

The newlyweds described the lavish venue as modern, classy, elegant and fun.

"There are fireplaces, spectacular views of Garrett Mountain and even an enclosed outdoor heated porch just in case you have bad weather but still want that outdoor feel," Hampson said.

Another selling point of the country club is its experience in hosting large parties. Amalfe, who was born in Colonia, and his bride, a Cranford native, had 275 guests at their reception.


Jessica Hampson and Anthony Amalfe saved by choosing to marry on a Friday in March. They did so in order to avoid having to cut their guest list.

Their wedding date

Amalfe and Hampson married on a Friday as a cost-saving measure. This was the most affordable time for them to wed as prices go up after Easter, the couple said.

"While we both wanted to get married on a Saturday in April or May, we made this sacrifice so that we could have the wedding of our dreams without having to cut the guest list," Hampson said.

What they splurged on

Amalfe and Hampson spent several months in search of a photographer.

"After the wedding, all you have is your memories and photographs and we really didn't want to skimp out on that," Amalfe, 28, said.

They hired John Bacolo of Gabelli Studio, whose work they'd admired.

"I had been researching wedding photographers for a while and it seemed that every photo I loved was shot by John," Hampson said.


Jessica Hampson and Anthony Amalfe saved by opting for low center pieces at their wedding reception instead of tall ones.

Where they saved

In addition to the lower per person rate for their Friday wedding reception, Hampson and Amalfe saved by opting for low center pieces instead of tall ones.

"I really don't like when you can't see the person sitting across from you anyway," Hampson said.

She also opted for baby's breath for the church ceremony which is a cheaper alternative to flowers. Pedestals Floral Decorators created beautiful flower arrangements with an expensive and elegant look at an affordable price, Hampson said.


Jessica Hampson and Anthony Amalfe were in awe of each other at their wedding ceremony. (Photo Credit: bridesmaid dresses)

How they made their wedding special

Friday, March 27 was also Hampson's 29th birthday.

"This wasn't originally planned and I wasn't really thrilled with the idea at first," Hampson said.

As the wedding day neared however, she embraced it.

"I will always be thankful for that. It really was the best birthday present that I could ever receive," she said of marrying "the love of her life" and celebrating with those closet to them both.

Hampson also had a picture of her late grandmother tied to her bouquet so that as she walked down the aisle, she would be reminded of her.

"It's been very hard for me dealing with her passing as we were very close. It was hard for me as I walked down the aisle because I knew I would be looking for her," Hampson said. "But I knew she was there in spirit."

Amalfe paid homage to his father — a cancer survivor — by making a donation to the American Cancer Society in lieu of wedding favors. It was a gesture he believed his guests would appreciate.

"It meant the world to me that my father was at my wedding," Amalfe said.


The Elizabeth Fire Department paid homage to Jessica Hampson's late grandfather, a former Elizabeth firefighter. (Photo Credit: John Bacolo, Gabelli Studio)

Most memorable moments

The newlyweds were in awe of each other at their wedding ceremony.

"When the church doors opened and I saw Jessica for the first time on our wedding day, it was a moment I will never forget. She looked so stunningly beautiful," Amalfe said.

"I felt pure happiness and all my nerves disappeared. I couldn't wait to kiss her."

Seeing her husband for the first time in church brought Hampson feelings of happiness and ease, too.

"He looked so handsome in his tux," she said.

And as the couple exited the Elizabeth church, another memorable moment awaited.

"The Elizabeth Fire Department was there with the exact firetruck my grandfather used to drive when he was a dedicated Elizabeth firefighter," Hampson said. "It was a great tribute to my grandfather's memory."

As they took photos by the truck, the clouds parted and the couple felt the warmth of the sun beam down.

"I felt like it was my grandfather's way of saying he was there," Hampson said.

See more at vintage bridesmaid dresses

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