LBI “Tall Ship” Contest Winners To Be Married This Saturday

New Jersey couple Sandy Lanier and Jim Harding will be married in Long Beach Island on Saturday, July 23rd on the deck of New Jersey’s official “Tall Ship,” the A.J. Meerwald. Public invited to witness this LBI wedding ceremony at 1:00pm from the dock in Beach Haven, NJ.

Sandy Lanier and Jim Harding from Mt. Arlington, NJ are this year's LBI wedding contest winners!

Sandy Lanier and Jim Harding from Mt. Arlington, NJ are this year's LBI wedding contest winners!

Sandy Lanier and Jim Harding of Mount Arlington, NJ, former Jefferson Township High School classmates who reconnected over 20 years later, will be married on July 23, 2011 aboard New Jersey’s official Tall Ship, the A.J. Meerwald in Beach Haven. They were chosen as winners of the third annual “Tie The Knot on the Tall Ship” contest, sponsored by the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce, New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism, Reclam The Bay, Schooner A.J. Meerwald, Museum of NJ Maritime History and NJWedding.com. Various local wedding service providers also have offered their products and services for this special occasion.

 

“When Sandy and Jim were chosen as finalists in the contest and I began to correspond with Sandy, it was clear that they had a special love story to share” said Erik Kent, Co-Publisher of NJWedding.com. Sandy and Jim grew up and went to high school in Jefferson Township together. After high school, Jim joined the Navy and then moved to North Carolina, subsequently losing touch with Sandy and eventually spending part of his military career in Iraq. Sandy and Jim went on to marry other people and start their own families. About a year ago, after both having become divorced, they reconnected on Facebook, which led to email and phone calls and then meeting up again.

Matching puzzle rings are of special significance to Sandy & Jim's long-term relationship.

Matching puzzle rings are of special significance to Sandy & Jim's long-term relationship.

After spending more time with each other and with their families, as well as using Facebook to keep in touch regularly, it became clear to both Sandy and Jim that they wanted to move forward with their relationship. In January 2011, for Sandy’s birthday, Jim came for a visit and proposed marriage with matching puzzle rings, Celtic Knot ones, knowing of Sandy’s Irish heritage. He moved to New Jersey in February and his son moved here in May. Regarding making plans for their wedding, Jim chose his favorite number (7), and his grandfather’s favorite number (23), so a combination of the two lead to the wedding date of July 23. With Jim’s Navy history and both their love of the water, they had originally planned for a small ceremony along the Jersey shore. Sandy had spent her childhood at her grandparent’s shore house in Manahawkin, so LBI was a perfect fit!

Now that Sandy and Jim have been chosen as the winners, their wedding ceremony service will be performed by Deborah C. Whitcraft, a wedding officiant and former mayor of Beach Haven, NJ. Approximately 80 guests will be allowed on the ship’s deck, and another 100 guests may congregate on the wharf to witness the marriage ceremony. Photography for the wedding ceremony will be provided by David Toth Photographers, up to 40 invitations will be created by Stephanie Somodi – Designing Your Most Inviting Day, video coverage of the event will be provided by J & S Video Services, wedding ceremony flowers will be arranged by Camille’s Floral Designs and wedding planning and consulting services will be provided by The Finishing Touch. These wedding professionals and LBI chamber members will work together to help make the day memorable for this couple.

Over the past few years, Long Beach Island has become well-known as a “wedding destination” in New Jersey, especially with the addition of several new wedding locations and service providers. The Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce, under the direction of Lori Pepenella, Destination Marketing Director, has successfully produced the Wedding Road Show on LBI over the past three years, attracting hundreds of brides and their families from NJ and throughout the tri-state area to for a one-day tour of the region’s venues and services.

The A.J. Meerwald in Barnegat Bay on LBI (photo by David Toth Photographers)

The A.J. Meerwald in Barnegat Bay on LBI (photo by David Toth Photographers)

The public is invited to witness the wedding ceremony aboard the A.J. Meerwald on Saturday, July 23rd at 1:00pm.  New Jersey’s official “Tall Ship” is docked in Beach Haven, NJ (Center Street and the Bay) from July 20th through July 24th, and visitors may take a deck tour, go for a two-hour sail, or participate in a 4-hour eco/heritage event on and around the A.J. Meerwald on July 23rd. For additional information about the history of the A.J. Meerwald and opportunities to visit, check out the web site at http://www.bayshorediscovery.org.

For additional information about the “Tie The Knot on the Tall Ship” contest, along with photos and video of past contest winners, visit http://www.njwedding.com/lbi.

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One Response to LBI “Tall Ship” Contest Winners To Be Married This Saturday

  1. This is a great story! What a really great option for a wedding, too!

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