Ever since Susan Douglas and Adam Ansorge first met in 1997, the town of Red Bank has been the scenic backdrop to their relationship. It was
where, over the last two decades, the couple would go on dates, break up, make up, work, live, and fall in love. So it made sense that the place they
held so dear should figure prominently in their October 2016 wedding, and form the bedrock on which they would build their future.
They chose the Elks Lodge #233 on West Front Street as their wedding venue, just down the block from Riverview Medical Center where Adam was born. “From the street, you can’t imagine how beautiful this waterfront location is,” says Susan. “One of the big things I loved about being at the Elks was that it felt like being home,“ adds Adam. “Just being in town in this fabulous facility with its history and tradition and local energy made me feel safe and loved and close to home. The funny thing is I didn’t know that much about the Elks but once I did, there wasn’t a second choice.”
Along with the warm nostalgia of the Elks Lodge and its beautiful setting, the no-frills, do-it-yourself simplicity of the rental package had enormous appeal. Use of the hall, backyard and patio are included, along with tables, chairs and volunteer servers who are members of the Elks, but food,
flowers, music, decorations and décor are not. For Adam and Susan, the creative possibility was the icing on the wedding cake.
The 2016 Red Bank Wedding Walk last March provided inspiration for the couple who had decided on a woodland theme for their wedding. With the help of willing family and friends, they decorated the reception space with firefly lights, paper lanterns, terrarium centerpieces and table numbers
made from crosscut tree bark and gold-painted forest-animal figurines. Front St. Trattoria across the street brought in the work-party/rehearsal-night dinner. The wedding “cutting cake”—a coconut-chocolate-caramel confection by The Vintage Cake, Red Bank—was iced and finished to
look like bark from a birch tree. Guests were treated to cupcakes in five flavors from a towering display prepared by Sugarush bakery on West Front Street.
Susan used clay and fabric reserved from her bridal-gown alterations to handcraft a whimsical bride-and-groom cake topper designed to look like her and Adam. The junior bridesmaids, nieces of the bride, wore flower-wreath headpieces and fairy-style dresses sewn by Susan and her friend
Bridgette. Even the guests’ favors fit the theme: jars of honey from the Lockhart apiary, close family friends, with labels designed by the groom who is an artist and animator.
The bride choose special items that were significant to her life and love story with Adam in following the “something old, something new” tradition. A charm bracelet passed down from her deceased mom was her “something old.” Among the bracelet’s gold hearts, Susan added a special filigreed
charm purchased from Nat’s Jewelers on Broad Street, with a secret compartment to hold some of her mother’s cremains. “It was a way to have her with me on my wedding day,” she says. For the “blue” element, Susan wore blue suede wedges with Wonder Woman socks—a nod to both her
newfound sense of empowerment after starting a fitness regimen at a local gym, and to her mom’s dark hair and superwoman strength through treatment. (After the ceremony, the bride ditched the heels for a pair of silver high-top Converse sneakers with blue satin laces.)
In a ceremony on the Lodge’s sprawling lawn overlooking the Navesink River, Susan and Adam exchanged rings purchased from Nat’s Jewelers. After the vows, the wedding party headed to Riverside Gardens Park for photos before joining their guests for the reception.
For Mr. and Mrs. Adam Ansorge of Red Bank, every detail of their wedding day was personalized to reflect their own unique and artsy style...and to tell the story of the special love they have for each other and their town. After their honeymoon, they went home to Red Bank where they live.