Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Swiftie for a Day: My Peek at the Wedding of the Summer - Jack Antonoff and Margararet Qualley Get Married on Long Beach Island With Taylor Swift and A Bevy of Celebs In Attendance - With VIdeo

By Suzanne Ordas Curry #Suzee

It was shaping up to be a perfect summer weekend at the Jersey Shore, and I was headed to my favorite place along this wondrous coastline of beachtowns, Long Beach Island.

Long Beach Island, or "LBI" as it's known to it's fans, is a 9 mile barrier island closer to the southern tip Jersey. You can see Atlantic City from the south shore and Seaside (home of "Jersey Shore") from the north end. There's only one bridge that gets you on and off the island, the only other way is by boat.

Being a true Jersey Girl, born and bred, and being in the entertainment industry, I already had a source telling me that something "BIG" was happening on our little island. Word was that an A-list celebrity who lives on the island (we do have several, though we are NOT the Hamptons) was having his wedding somewhere on the island on Saturday, with the rehearsal dinner the night before. 

I also got notice of who it was... Jack Antonoff and his fiance Margaret Qualley. Jack is huge in the music business.  Aside from being in the band Bleachers, he's known for being a producer/songwriter and longtime friend of Taylor Swift. He's also a big fan of LBI, I've seen him on newscasts raving about it and all the special memories he had on the island spending summers there at his family's house. On one segment, he stated that the local amusement park, Fantasy Island "was his Disney World."

So if you don't know many Jersey peeps, the fact is that people that live in Jersey LOVE their beaches. And most people have their favorites. Jack's was LBI, so it's no surprise that it's where he wanted to get married. I am stating this because so many people that weekend commented on this "surprising" choice for his nuptials. Not surprising to this Jersey Girl.

I arrived on the island on Friday evening and immediately drove over to the restaurant where I had heard that Jack and his fiance were supposed to be. Apparently word had already gotten out. No surprise there. It just takes one little Swiftie on social. The streets were full of girls and bicycles.. because how else would teen girls get there? 

By the time I got to The Black Whale Restaurant, Taylor had already left and there were images on social media of her fans really, really close up to the windows of the restaurant trying to get a glimpse. It wasn't a very good image nor what life is usually like on this quiet island. But, when I got there the people were excited but calm, just mulling about talking about the event on this island that was slowly becoming the event of the summer.

I heard that the wedding was the next day and that it would be at Bird and Betty's and Parker's Garage. These are two very popular restaurants located on the bayside of the island in the heart of busy Beach Haven. Bird and Betty's was already in the news often. Lots of Jersey well-known have frequented it and Stranger Things Gaten Mattarazzo worked there one summer. A few weeks prior, Kevin Jonas, another fan of LBI and true Jersey Boy, had also frequented this beachy dining establishment. I also found out when the bride and groom were supposedly leaving thier beach house.

Watch the Video HERE:

So, with nothing else to do that day I decided to venture out and see what was going on. I've covered many celebrity events, so I knew what to look for. I brought water, crackers, my fully-charged phone and a back-up charger.  

I got to the area a bit too early, but it paid off. I met some older women who were looksee-ers but nothing was going on except for prep so they eventually left. While I was there, I watched them load the beverages into Parker's Garage - lots of water-based beverages. I saw the florist adding greenery outside and bringing arrangements inside. I saw food being brough over to Bird and Betty's (lots of fried stuff). I would not say that the restaurants were 'transformed" for this event. They are beachy restaurants with the vibe of LBI. The main difference I saw was the greenery privacy bushes that were added to the outdoor areas of both restaurants.

But then, around 2pm, little by little, as if by someone had waved a magic wand, the Swifties started showing up. Now, I don't consider myself a Swiftie but I do appreciate her music. I taught piano for a while and all the little girls I taught wanted to learn the Fearless album songs. My dauhther - in law, however is a HUGE Swiftie who had just seen her in Philly and I wanted to get some photos and videos for her. I can say now my mission was accomplished.

So as I said, the Swifties started swooping in. And they were so cute! So many little girls giggling with excitement and holding signs. The younger ones, and even some of the teenage girls were accompanied by their mothers and sometimes even their grandmothers! I ended up standing next to a multi-generational family from New York. I asked the young girl what her favorite song was. I did not realize this would take awhile. She recited the names of each album exactly what song(s) she
liked the best from each of them. #trueswiftie.

By about 4pm, two intersecting streets were swarming with Swifties. Knowing what happened the night prior, the police had everything under control. We were told to stand behind a certain line on the street, which was only about a few hundred feet from the entrance to both restaurants. Then we were told, if "we cross that line we will have to go all the way to the telephone pole at the end of the street. So, the Swifties took note, if they crossed the line they would be banished from the kingdom.

I was only 1-2-or 3 people away from the front line, as I had said I got there early. I was really hot and my battery was already more than half gone. I knew this would be a problem. And it turned out it wasn't just a problem for me but for everyone else.

By now, the island sun had already been melting the Swifties. One pre-teen near me passed out. Kudos to the Beach Haven Ambulance Squad for coming within minutes and taking her away. I felt so bad that she might be missing Taylor.

Soon the path to see Jack, his fiance and Taylor came light. The cars were coming down the street between the two restaurants, letting people off on the passenger side of the cars. So when they walked into the entrance we could get a glimpse of them. Then the vehicles swung around the end of the block (which was the end of the restaurant) and up the other street which was the other side of the restaurant to leave. Note - many of us locals knew what this meant, that people might be going in a back entrance. They closed down both of those streets for the day. Another note - on top of this, there was the annual fishing tournament going on bayside right across from both restaurants, so the area was as busy as a New York City Street during the holidays. 

The crowd was getting excited now.  Black SUV's, small cars, busses, limos.... cars started pulling up and dropping people off. With each passenger that dismounted a vehicle, the phones were up and running. Someone would figure out pretty quickly if it was a celeb and if not, phones would come down. Moms were giving instructions to "shut your phone off now" because batteries were running low! 

My phone was on red and my charger didn't work. I called my husband, he walked over and the police escorted him to where I was standing to hand me a charger... but then escorted him back by the telephone. 

I have to give a lot of credit to Jack and his wife for having a system like that that provided the fans a way to see some of the wedding guests. This does not always happen with celebrity events so kudos to the bride and groom and planners who were cognizant of the crowd. 

We saw many of the guests come in, notably Lana Del Ray, but it was hard to figure out who they were. We saw the bride come in but she was appropriately hidden from view with a type of shield and flanked by the servers in black. Then it got quiet. No more drop offs. 


It got quiet. There was mumbling. I could sense the disappointment. One girl has said she couldn't get tickets to see her in concert, and this would alleviate the disappointment if she could see just a glimpse of her this one time. As I said I am not a Swiftie, but I was thinking of my days when David Cassidy was King.  I was thinking of her and all these other little girls. 

It just didn't make sense that no one had seen her come in. And the festivities had obviously begun.  The older people, us wise ones, who'd been around the block a few times (pun intended).. knew what had happened. She must have slipped in the back Jack (pun intended). 

Then sure enough, someone in the crowd got the feed on social with a pic of her going in the back door. It was everyone's worst nightmare. But, us older ones, well we got it. There was no way of knowing how the crowd would react, and this was not her wedding. The proper thing to do was to just be a guest and that's what she did. 

Some people had left once they knew she was already in. But most of them didn't. After all, we knew the guests would have to get to the restaurant across the street, and there was a walkway in plain sight between the two. Would we be able to see them? Or would they go out the back door, hope in a car and go in the back door of the other restaurant?

About 20 minutes later, something magical happened. The doors of Bird and Betty's opened. Wide open. Something was about to happen.  There were noises.. the cackle of a crowd of party goers could be heard from where we were standing across the street. Could it be.. could all the wedding guests be stepping out onto the street right before our eyes to get to  the the reception?

YES!!! All of a suddent he crowd went wild!. Allof the beautifully-dressed guests were stepping onto the pavement to walk across the street. Phones were out! Video was on! People were shouting out names. Lana Del Ray, Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum, Al   (mother of the bride), Zoey Kravitz..and then....

I do not know how these Swifties knew it or saw it unless they have a special Swiftie Sixth Sense or a super telescopic lens, but before she was even in plain sight (and I was at the front of the crowd) the hush came because they knew she would be walking out. I still don't know how they saw her in that dark, crowded doorway but they knew she was about to grace the pavement.


It was so cute to see all these super Swiftie fans get so excited about seeing her, Taylor Swift, who is a role model as a singer, businesswoman and explainer of life to all her little fans. Kudos to Taylor for walking just a little slower so the fans could see her. 

I sent my video over to my daughter-in-law - who consequently sent it out to all of her friends. Mission accomplished.

I went back home after I got the video. Well, first I stopped and had a fish sandwich at the Black Whale, the restaurant Taylor had been at the night prior. The streets were full of people - and Ubers, something you don't see too often on LBI. Sitting outside on the porch of the restaurant with my fish sandwich, I could overhear so many of the conversations and almost all of them revolved around the wedding. Even the dads were boasting about how they were stuck in the traffic or got a glimpse of her.

Though on social media there were complaints about the wedding and the fervor it created on the island or the disruption it caused, I would rather look on the bridght side. I read that businesses at the locall stores were up. LBI got over 5 minutes of airtime alone on TMZ....LOL citing that "Taylor Swift shuts down island"( not quite but it TMZ loves their headlines) and also made almost every newscast in the tri-state area.

But most of all, Jack and his bride got to have the most magical, wedding of their dreams. They could have gotten married anywhere in the world, and they chose LBI. 

That says a lot about him and his bride and his family and friends.  A true Jersey boy true to his roots. Kudos to Jack, congrats to both of them and thanks to both of them for letting us LBI locals share in your special day.

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