Real wedding: Kate + Michael

Kate sent me her wedding a few weeks ago, and I’m happy to finally get to post it!  It looks like one of those weddings that you’d be so psyched that you just got invited!

I’ve been meaning to send you a few photos of our wedding, held last summer (July 5, 2008) at our house in Vermont, for ages. Michael and I live in Brooklyn and are fiercely devoted to our borough (he owns a company called Neighborhoodies, and I work at Brooklyn Botanic Garden), but our 1823 home in Vermont– Fern Hill– is where our hearts live. We built our wedding from the ground up with friends and family: making the food, putting together the flowers, designing and printing the paper goods, making playlists, and more. The wedding wasn’t only a carnival of love, but a proud productive moment for me, Michael, and our loved ones!

There are so many stories to share. I’ll try to structure some around the photos attached: we had the ceremony on a small hill overlooking a brook, the same spot where Michael proposed in June of 2007. Our officiant was my best friend (and maid of honor’s) mother, who led a Jewish-inflected ceremony that became very emotional for many of our guests, particularly when Michael read an excerpt he chose from Whitman’s “Song of the Open Road.” The end of the ceremony– when he smashed the glass– was pure joy,  and we took off running down the hill in a totally strange & unplanned & and wonderful expression of delight!

We worked with a dear friend on creating the dinner menu, which used ingredients almost exclusively from Vermont purveyors. Another friend brought a quart of his famous salad dressing, and yet another drove up our favorite vegan whoopie pies from a bakery in Bethlehem, PA! My ivory lace dress was vintage in perfect condition (and I traded hundreds of dollars in alterations with a wonderful woman I met on Indiebride), and so was Michael’s three-piece navy suit, which came from Rue St. Denis in the East Village. The peony season in Vermont is only about three weeks, but luckily we fell right in the middle of it and bought 125 peonies from a nearby farm in shades of pink and white to arrange alongside soy votives in mason jars and simple glass vases over some old cotton lace I picked up at tag sales around town. My MOH hand-wrote all the place cards and table names, which were the names of New York Times sections (which Michael and I can’t function during the day without reading).

Our photographer, Heather Waraksa, and her second shooter Mike blew us away with their ease, skill, creativity, friendliness and, of course, the quality of the shots. I already have sent too many (and they’re out of order!), but we shot this amazingly cool series at night with sparklers (it was the day after July 4, after all), and some of the portraits they did were mindblowingly gorgeous.

[images by Heather Waraksa]

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Modern beach invite

The ladies of Mélangerie sent me this wonderfully modern beach invite and program they designed for a couple getting married in St. Maarten (umm, jealous??)  I love how they captured the essence of a beach wedding without going overboard.

LANA & STEVE’S BEACH WEDDING PAPERIE

Lana & Steve were married on a beach in St. Maarten during the Spring of 2009. Their invitation was inspired by the sea, but also reflected the couple’s modern taste and the formality of their wedding ceremony. Each wedding event is indicated on a separate card joined together by a coordinating band. When assembled, Lana & Steve’s invitation references the ocean’s tide.

We also created programs fashioned as fans, a sea shell inspired guest book, and wavy, calligraphic escort cards & table numbers to accent the day’s festivities.

[images from Mélangerie]

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Real wedding: Carrie + Jonathan

September 27, 2008
Oratory Church of St. Boniface in Brooklyn
Bubby’s in DUMBO

Theme: Jon and I are both journalists and truly love the city, particularly Brooklyn, where we make our home. So we thought our wedding would be the perfect opportunity to showcase the borough for our friends and loved ones. Crafts — particularly needlework — are also a huge part of my life, so I wanted to imbue our wedding with lots of personal, handmade touches. Most of all, we really wanted to the day to be a celebration and feel like us — down-to-earth, even silly, but full of heart.

Setting: For our ceremony, we feel really lucky to have discovered the Oratory, which is tucked into a block in downtown Brooklyn. It’s a small, cozy Catholic church that strives to make everyone feel welcome. It was the perfect place to exchange our vows. For our reception, we very quickly settled on Bubby’s in DUMBO. The views are simply unbeatable, particularly during the cocktail hour. (Plus, we really wanted a fun, accessible menu — and you don’t get much more fun than fried chicken, pecan-crusted salmon and macaroni and cheese.)

Decor: We chose the color combination of chocolate and aqua — or “chocqua,” as we affectionately call it — early in the process, and I let it guide the rest of our design decisions. I had been toying with the idea of having our guests throw pompoms at us since I saw the idea in Martha Stewart Weddings, so when I saw these invitations by the White Aisle, everything came together. I got the invites, table numbers and escort cards in this motif, which reminded me of pompoms. My mom, mother-in-law and I made hundreds of “chocqua” pompoms (my made 400 herself!), which were thrown at us and also used to decorate the table. I also tied pompoms to a little card at each place setting, explaining that we would make a donation in lieu of favors. A lot of guests took the pompoms home with them, and we have a vase displaying the leftovers.

I didn’t want any artificial aqua flowers, so Carmine at Flowers by Emil used off-white spider mums — which reminded me of pompoms — and brown lotus pods for my bouquet and the centerpieces. (My bouquet also
had orange unique roses, just to add a little more color). Aqua table runners and “chocqua” lanterns bought on ebay brought everything together.

Dresses: My dress was by Mikaella and made of Chantilly lace, the same fabric that my beloved grandmother wore when she was married. While the lace is old-fashioned, the neckline is frayed and ragged, giving
it a more modern look. I wanted to be kind to my wedding party since traveling to New York is pricey enough, so they chose any J. Crew dress in espresso. Jon bought his suit at Brooks Brothers. I struggled to find ties for the men that brought all the colors together and finally found them — in Australia. But they were so inexpensive that we basically just paid shipping.

Photography: Jennifer Shea was our main photographer, with Stephen Strutt as the second shooter. They were so understanding and flexible and fun — it was misting all day, nearly ruining our chances of
taking pictures under the bridges. Anyone who says rain is good luck on your wedding day is lying. But it cleared just long enough for us to race over to the park after the ceremony, and they were such
professionals about it. Even though my hair fell because of the humidity, I’m glad we took the risk. (And luckily, I found four aqua umbrellas two days before the wedding at a hardware store on Court St.
— the employee gave me a discount because we were getting married!) The dance floor pictures are totally priceless! I also really have to credit Christine Viola of Exquisite Affairs Productions, who basically saved me from a hundred panic attacks.

Ceremony: We really cared about creating a ceremony that represented us. We spent a lot of time finding Bible readings that would speak to all of our guests, including one that mentions crafts (Proverbs 31 —
“She obtains wool and flax And makes cloth with skillful hands“) and chose the Gospel reading about Zaccheus, a childhood favorite of mine because I’m short. We also wrote our own vows, which is unusual for
Catholic weddings, as well as several smaller parts of the ceremony.

Music: For our ceremony, we really loved the idea of strings for most of the Mass, but this required a lot of extra work. Hire Conservatory Alumni worked with us to personalize the service and transcribe music
traditionally played on other instruments. I walked down to the aisle to “Anne’s Theme” from “Anne of Green Gables,” which sounded so beautiful in strings. And for our processional, they played an
instrumental version of U2’s “Beautiful Day.” It was just perfect. For our reception, we used the Downtown Band from Hank Lane, who were a total blast.

Personal touches:
I knew immediately that I would knit and crochet shawls for my bridesmaids, which was a wonderful way to really relax and focus on our friendships before the wedding. I picked a different pattern for each of my girls, crocheting two and knitting two. For the groomsmen and our dads, I sewed boutonnières out of different “chocqua” fabrics, so each one was unique. People told us not to bother with programs,
but I always love reading about different traditions and following along with the service when I’m at weddings. I designed them myself, had them printed locally and included personal stories about us and our wedding party, as well as this poem by ee cummings. I also made a cake topper that looks alarmingly like us.

What I couldn’t make myself, I bought on Etsy.com because I really wanted to support independent artists. Myra at Twigs and Honey made my hairpiece, but I ended up swapping the center flower out and adding
one that matched our colors more. I bought cute flower earrings from Luxe Deluxe, and our ring holder, which was engraved with the same ee cummings poem, was from Palomas Nest. (Sadly, this got lost at the
reception!) I wore my mother’s pearl bracelet and carried my grandmother’s vintage handkerchief; Jon wore his grandfather’s cufflinks. And we bought our rings at Clay Pot in Park Slope.

[images by Jennifer Shea]

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Real wedding: Carly + Ari

Yay for Brooklyn weddings!

CEREMONY

We chose the Brooklyn Bridge Park for our ceremony. We set up our chuppah and our wedding party on the pebble beach and our guests were seated on the steps leading down to the beach (complete with bottles of water – lovingly labeled by our friends – and mats to sit on). Ari’s best friend officiated; he and Ari wrote the ceremony together.

CEREMONY MUSICIANS

Brooklyn-Queens Conservatory of Music musicians, led by guitarist Ron Jackson, played at the ceremony – “Your Hand in Mine,” by Explosions in the Sky while everyone in the wedding, including Ari and his parents, walked down the aisle, and The Beatles’ “Here, There and Everywhere,” when I walked down the aisle.

RECEPTION

Our dear friend and wedding planner, Viva Max Kaley (who was full of great ideas and immensely helpful to us and without whom our wedding wouldn’t have been the same) recommended reBar in Dumbo, just a short walk from the park, and we were thrilled with it. It’s a great space with a lot of character, which is great because you don’t have to go crazy designing a look. We had an afternoon cocktail party reception as opposed to a formal sit-down dinner; the atmosphere was fun and relaxed and exactly what we were looking for. As people walked in we served lemonade in mason jars with flags stirrers in each one that said A <3 C, each flag handmade by one of my best friends.

RECEPTION MUSIC

Jonathan Sklute was our DJ and he was fabulous. We gave him a list of songs that we liked and he was super easy to work with. We were happy to see everyone on the dance floor.

CAKE/DESSERT

We decided on cupcakes and a mini cake for us to cut – one of my friends made the cupcakes (frosted in rainbow colors) and her mom made the cake, both of which were amazing. We got our adorable owl topper from the talented and super nice Lauren Bradshaw. We also served ice cream sandwiches at the end of the party – we got them from One Girl Cookie in Brooklyn and they were a big hit.

FAVORS

We used local vendors wherever possible and were thrilled to discover Brooklyn Cookie on this very blog. Their Brooklyn Bridge Cookie was perfect and delicious.

PHOTOGRAPHY/VIDEOGRAPHY

Charlotte Jenks Lewis was our photographer and she and her videographer did an amazing job. They were so nice to work with and captured everything beautifully. We’ve gotten great feedback from everyone who has seen our photos and video and we love looking at them ourselves.

FLOWERS

Viva Max Kaley recommended Hatch Creative Studio and they were amazing. They were so much fun to work with and came up with the most beautiful and unique designs. I wasn’t sure what I wanted but they listened to my thoughts and took it from there and their flowers were gorgeous. The groom and groomsmen wore buttons on their lapels as boutonnieres instead of flowers. Barb at Hatch came up with this idea and we loved it. The groomsmen wore buttons that said Carly <3 Ari Brooklyn, NY and the date, and Ari’s button said I Love Carly. They were perfect.

INVITATIONS

Our invitations were Kate Spade, ordered through Kate’s Paperie. They were kelly green on white and felt fresh and summery, which was exactly what we were looking for.

DRESS

My dress (and veil) came from The White Gown in Brooklyn and my bridesmaids wore navy dresses with pink sashes from Coren Moore.

SHOES

I wore the Kate Spade ‘Gilee’ slingback heel – they were a sort of metallic gold fabric. I decided to go with these instead of white because I know I’ll wear them again.

HAIR/MAKEUP

Dora Peterson of Roy Teeluck Salon did my hair and Keri Berman did my makeup – they are both a pleasure to work with and amazing at what they do.

[images by Charlotte Jenks Lewis]

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