A Romantic, Garden-Inspired Wedding at Crossed Keys Inn in Andover, New Jersey

Alissa Coslit (34 and a registered nurse) and Christian Gabel's (36 and a pharmacist) Crossed Keys Inn wedding venue in Andover, New Jersey, was more

Alissa Coslit (34 and a registered nurse) and Christian Gabel's (36 and a pharmacist) Crossed Keys Inn wedding venue in Andover, New Jersey, was more than just their setting. They turned its lush grounds and charming stone cottage into their romantic inspiration. Complete with a wooden cart drink station, overflowing centerpieces and a flower-covered wedding cake, the entire celebration felt like a walk in a chic garden. The cottage marked their ceremony space as each guest gathered his or her program fan from a gardening cart. Fresh flowers inside galvanized pails covered the center, while dispensers of fresh lemonade and iced tea decorated the back. Every detail added to the summer fete with a refreshing taste or a natural design. After the couple said their “I dos,” their venue-inspired party moved to a tented reception with organic centerpieces from Event Designs by Katherine. Wooden breakaway boxes of hydrangeas, roses and dahlias marked each one in pastel hues. Matching wooden table numbers highlighted each one with a rustic look. Alissa and Chris's cake, however, took the day’s motif to another level. Already surrounded by mason jars, vases and pails of flowers, each tier had more dahlias and cosmos on its side. Every flower reflected the Crossed Keys Inn. Brae Howard Photography captured all their peach, white and neutral details, below.

Rachel Holt, the couple’s friend and a graphic designer, made the entire invitation suite. Each card had a standout calligraphy in pink and peach on a white background. A matching classic blush or metallic silver envelope with an understated damask pattern held it in place. Their card for the rehearsal dinner, however, switched out the suite’s romantic look for a modern display and bold fonts. (Now that's a fun way to get guests' attention.)
Her five bridesmaids looked ready for summer in pastel peach Donna Morgan dresses. While they all picked out the same floor-length look from Nordstrom, the women had free rein to choose whatever neckline and nude shoes they liked. Their classic rose and hydrangea bouquets as well as peach earrings tied the looks together. “My niece, who is 13 years old, was a junior bridesmaid but wore the same dress and accessories as the others,” Alissa says.
“We stumbled upon Crossed Keys Inn while searching for venues. It was breathtaking,” Alissa says. “We fell in love. I even cried! I couldn’t picture us getting married at any other place.” Before the ceremony, Alissa and Chris spent a few moments alone for a sweet first look among their favorite landscape.
Alissa knew she wanted a bouquet with dahlias to match their venue’s garden. “I showed my ideas to Event Designs by Katherine and they designed the most beautiful bouquet,” she says. She paired her lace-covered dress with an overflowing arrangement of orange and pink roses, pink lisianthus, Queen Anne’s lace, white dahlias, seeded eucalyptus, dusty miller, pink astilbes and white roses.
Various treats for guests covered their welcome table at the ceremony. On top of fan programs and lush arrangements in galvanized buckets, the couple had a complete drink station with lemonade and iced tea. An antique cart stand added to the natural, garden atmosphere.
Instead of adding decor to the ceremony space, Alissa and Chris let the Crossed Keys Inn’s stone cottage in Andover, New Jersey, serve as their backdrop. Just hanging arrangements of white hydrangeas and pastel roses lined the aisle as the couple exchanged vows. They celebrated with a non-denominational service that included a rose and unity glass ceremony. “We each poured our individual vase of ground glass into a larger vase of glass,” Alissa says. "On our one-year anniversary, we are going to use it to create a personalized piece of art at a local glass-blowing studio.”
After sharing a kiss in their nondenominational ceremony, Alissa and Chris started a joyful recessional. Guests watched from white chairs as the coupled walked down their grass-lined aisle. Arrangements from Event Designs by Katherine with white hydrangeas, peach roses and pink astilbes hung from shepherd's hooks marked their path.
Instead of flower girls, Alissa and Chris opted for two junior bridesmaids. Each one of their nieces walked down the aisle in a classic white halter-strap dress and peach sash. While one carried a bouquet, matching the bridesmaids, the other had her own distinct accent. She started her recessional with shabby-chic sign that read:  “And they lived happily ever after.”
The ceremony program added to the decor with a simple design. Highlighted with leaf-inspired accents and wrapped in twine to match the setting, it detailed the day’s events and every member of the wedding party in alternating navy and mauve font. One sweet detail we love: Their entire itinerary was summed up in three sentences and wrapped around a heart.
Each member of their wedding party channeled the summer season with light-colored looks. The bridesmaids sported floor-length peach Donna Morgan dresses with their favorite necklines and matching rose-accented bouquets. The groomsmen suited up in light gray Tommy Hilfiger looks from Macy’s. Their peach satin ties and matching boutonnieres brought out the romantic color.
Chris highlighted their romantic summer wedding with a dapper look of his own. He walked beside Alissa in a classic gray Tommy Hilfiger suit with a white shirt, matching pocket square and plaid peach tie. His peach rose boutonniere matched her bouquet with a fresh touch.
These were not the typical escort cards. Nestled on a vintage pine hutch, guests found their table numbers listed on a custom mason jar cup. Complete with a handle and chevron straw, the jars served as their wedding favor and an added cup for the night. In fact, Alissa and Chris pointed them to get the party started with a “Grab your jar and head to the bar” sign.
Given their garden setting, the couple also wanted some natural flair at their reception at Crossed Keys Inn in Andover, New Jersey. They marked each table with a freestanding wooden-block table number. Every number stood out in a bold white font against the lush dahlia, rose and hydrangea centerpieces.
While the majority of their decor was white and burlap, they brought out some color with the lighting design. Along with Edison lightbulbs, Alissa and Chris suspended rows of peach, white and neutral paper lanterns from the ceiling. The ribbed design on each one matched the draped fabric along their tent.
“Because of the beautiful gardens and grounds surrounding the reception tent at Crossed Keys Inn, I didn’t want the centerpieces to be too extravagant,” Alissa says. They paired each burlap runner with a chic wooden breakaway box of pink dahlias, white hydrangeas, pink astilbes, pink and orange roses and white lisianthus. Each flower added a welcome burst of color against the neutral and white reception.
Their sweetheart table served a mini version of each guest's seating. White linens, a burlap runner and breakaway vase filled with lush pastel florals matched every other table. But it stood out from the mix with more ornate glass champagne flutes and two customized mason jars with wooden “Mr.” and “Mrs.” accents.
“Chris brews his own beer and wanted to create something special for the wedding,” Alissa says. “He brewed three beers: White Wedding Wheat was an American white wheat ale fermented on watermelon juice. Hoppily Ever After was an IPA. For Richer or Porter was a chocolate oatmeal porter.” Each one had a distinct label with the couple’s names and the beer's description.
Alissa and Chris’s cake fit their garden venue to a T with tons of flowers. Each buttercream-frosted layer had bunches of purple or white dahlias, purple cosmos, white hydrangeas, dusty miller and pink spray roses nestled on one side. The bold flowers matched their natural venue as well as the lush flowers throughout their reception. Guests who wanted a different treat also had the option of seasonal sorbet, warm chocolate chip cookies with milk and roasted s’mores.
Alissa and Chris knew they didn’t want anything too popular or trendy for their first dance. It just had to represent them. They twirled around the tented dance floor to  “Someone Like You” by Van Morrison. “While listening to different songs, we really liked this one and the lyrics,” Alissa says. “We took dance lessons at Fred Astaire in Westfield, New Jersey, and choreographed a dance to it.”