August 25, 2020

Madison Beach Hotel, Madison

Photography by Bryan Avigne Photography

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Julia Rotella and Nick Ferrigno are high school sweethearts who met on the bus on their way to Masuk High School in Monroe at the start of the 2010-11 school year. They quickly became the best of friends and were “inseparable” that whole year, remembers Julia — but they were just friends. Sure, the handsome junior had asked the bright-eyed sophomore out on numerous occasions, but, worried about placing their friendship in jeopardy, “I always turned him down,” says Julia, who admits that “everyone knew we were going to end up together, except me.” Finally, she says, “Nick gave up” — prompting his friend Julia to come to her senses (smart man) and on Aug. 25, 2011, they went on their first official date. Nine years later, on Aug. 25, 2020, they eloped and were married on the waterfront at the Madison Beach Hotel. 

Julia likes to call theirs the “ultimate love story,” — and who doesn’t love one of those?

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Nonetheless, like most love stories, there were some bumps along the way. When the happy couple got engaged, “I had the wedding planned in like a month,” Julia says. In fact, the bride-to-be completely “engulfed” herself in the whole process. “I got lost in this new world of weddings,” Julia remembers. Wedding trends, wedding etiquette, all the little details … “I loved every minute of it.” So much so that once her own wedding was set (or so she thought) Julia started her own planning biz (Julia Noelle Weddings & Events) on the side — a move that would prove fortuitous when a “bump” they never saw coming by the name of COVID-19 forced the couple to call off the wedding they had planned for July 2020 at the Glastonbury Boathouse, move the celebration a full year to August 2021 and decide to elope. 

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“We just didn’t want to wait any longer,” Julia says. “I wanted to call Nick my husband.” So, yes, changes had to be made, but “I actually enjoyed the fact that I had the chance to re-plan,” Julia says. Because it would be an elopement, the vision was for something “whimsical and romantic,” for just the two of them. Julia even ordered a flowing new dress, which Nick himself helped button her into before vows were exchanged. “Nick and I grew up together,” Julia says. “He’s seen me at my worst. He’s seen me at my best. The fact that he was the one to help me get ready for this next phase of our lives was very symbolic.”

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In retrospect, the change of plans was “kind of a blessing,” Julia admits. “I feel like a lot of times a wedding ends up being more about the party and less about the intimacy and unity of the couple. We will still get to celebrate with our family and friends next year, but our elopement was just the two of us celebrating us,” and that “we will remember forever.”

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Officiant: Christina Avigne

Planner: Julia Noelle Weddings & Events

Dress designer: StylishBrideAccs (Etsy)

Shoes: David’s Bridal

Accessories: Crystal Corridor (Etsy)

Jewelry: Ferko’s Fine Jewelry, New Jersey

Florist: Julia Noelle Weddings & Events

Makeup: The Beauty Nova, Torrington

Hair: Salon Le Rae, Wallingford

Invitations: SmartPress / Julia Noelle Weddings & Events