New Jersey couple Charli and Gibran say "I Do" in a classy and fun affair!

Bride: Charli Penn, 28
Gibran Watkins, 30
Occupations: Penn, digital marketing manager; Watkins, retail store manager
Homebase: New Jersey
Wedding Date: October 17, 2010
Wedding Location: Ceremony & Reception – The Stonehouse at Stirling Ridge; Warren, New Jersey

I Love Your Smile New Jersey natives Charli and Gibran met through a mutual friend back in 2004. “We were kinda set up on a blind date,” explains Charli. The pair hit it off and began seeing each other shortly after. “She was so beautiful and smart. But her smile was my favorite thing about her,” admits Gibran.

Yearning for Your Love About a year into their courtship, Charli headed out west to California for graduate school and Gibran stayed in Jersey. As expected, the long distance proved to be a strain on the young couple. “On Valentine’s Day, Gibran surprised me and moved out there!” recalls Charli. “He transferred his job and everything,” she adds with pride. “I couldn’t function properly without her in my world. I missed her so much it hurt,” reveals Gibran. He adds, “She makes me better.”

Growing Pains The couple was happy to share the same time zone again but before long they faced another set of challenges. “Gibran is a Jersey boy; he hated Cali,” says Charli. She adds, “I was busy concentrating on school and we fought a lot. It was really tough.” Thank goodness their love was tougher. Charli graduated and returned home with Gibran — their relationship stronger and both wiser about what it takes to make their love work.

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All images (excluding honeymoon pic) by Di Bezi Photography

View the couple’s hilarious wedding trailer here.

All I Want for Christmas is You T’was the night before Christmas 2009, and Gibran suggested that he and Charli open their gifts a little early. A clueless Charli obliged and shortly after, her sweetie asked her to be his wife. Charli of course happily agreed. “I started screaming like a crazy person!” she recalls with a laugh. Gibran now reveals, “I should have asked her years ago but I wanted to make sure she would say yes.”

Our Fairytale Beginning It is no surprise that the couple chose to wed in the Garden State; their beloved hometown. Their best childhood friends were included in the bridal party and the colors of their chic affair were black, white and purple. “The theme of our wedding was romance,” informs Charli who adds that her inspiration for the overall design was the couple’s damask shower curtain. A wonderful time was had by all: guests enjoyed the heartfelt outdoor ceremony and moved indoors for plenty of delicious food, desserts, drinks and dancing. As the couple looks to their future together Gibran shares, “As time goes by I look forward to us starting a family and getting happier and happier!”

Charli’s Money-Saving Tips for Future Brides:

Get Credit for Your Credit “Obtain a special debit card just for wedding related expenses when you get engaged,” advises Charli. She adds, “The miles/points will really add up and you can use all you accumulate for your honeymoon!”

Learn to Repurpose Recycle flowers from the ceremony, to your cocktail hour, to your reception. I even repurposed candles from my bridal shower for the reception,” Charli says.

For Sale? The savvy newlywed urges future brides to use the Web to get more return on investment from bridal-related items after jumping the broom. “Consider selling these items on eBay after the wedding,” she shares.

Check out Charli’s musings on life as a new wife over at Man, Wife & Dog, her candidly funny blog about married life.

Take a look at past Tie the Knot Tuesday features here.

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