[images by Candice Cusic]
Lisa sent me these photos of her very cool wedding and I was more than happy to share them with all of you! I thought we’d start with the super cool invitations and then cover the event later in the day. She’s done a very thorough writeup, so I’ll leave it to her. More photos at 1pm!
Todd and I wanted a wedding that was fun and would incorporate elements that were especially meaningful to both of us — creativity, humor, a sense of intimacy, and as many friends and family as we could squeeze into one space. We had guests of many different backgrounds and ages, and we wanted them all to enjoy themselves and be comfortable while still honoring our own personal values and tastes. We planned the wedding ourselves, rather blindly, which was occasionally tough but rewarding. In the end, the event was a mixture of traditional and non-traditional elements, produced by vendors whom we often had a personal (or at least local) connection, which made the whole thing feel like our own planning was assisted by a strong community effort. It was a lot of fun, and even if things had gone less smoothly it would have been impossible not enjoy myself, being surrounded by so many people I like.
VENUE: We chose the Montauk Club in Park Slope, Brooklyn, for its location, and for its lovely vintage details. We both liked that the venue had a lot of character and history, and although there were some very ornate touches, it didn’t feel too fancy or stiff. The club has a warm but forgotten feel to it, like it had been dusted off and restored just in time for our event. We also appreciated that the layout of the venue enabled us to easily hold the ceremony and reception in the same building, and that the majority of our guests would not have to get on a plane just to attend our wedding.
CEREMONY: We asked my father (a minister) to officiate, and co-wrote the ceremony with him. The service was pretty balanced — it reflected our values and paid respects to our interfaith backgrounds. We didn’t have a traditional wedding party, but we asked family members and friends to read passages representing seven blessings that we hope to have in our marriage (such as trust, laughter, friendship, etc.). (The passages ranged from Woody Allen to Sylvia Plath to Gabriel Garcia Marquez.) We each composed love letters to read to one other, and my father wrote a short piece imparting his wisdom to us.
MUSIC: Having good music at our wedding was a huge priority, as music has always held an important place in our lives. Our friend’s bluegrass band played both the processional and recessional; during the processional, when Todd and I walked down the aisle together, they played a beautiful instrumental piece they actually composed specifically for our wedding. For the recessional, they played an instrumental bluegrass version of the song “Melt with You” by Modern English.
There was also a musical interlude during the ceremony, performed by our friends Pete and Anna. Their song, “Momentum”, is one we’ve both loved for years. It was pretty moving to hear Pete and Anna play it for our wedding day, and extra thrill to be able to introduce their music to all our friends and family.
Our friend Sean deejayed our reception, and did a great job keeping people in the middle of the dance floor, with lots of old funk and soul, new wave, etc.
RECEPTION: We had a cocktail hour immediately following the ceremony, and a reception following that. Another great thing about the Montauk Club is that it doesn’t need a lot of extra decoration. Our florist added lots of flowers and candles, we added vintage frames with old family wedding photos in them (one on each guest table), and our invitation designer made cards for the tables — that’s all we really needed. During the reception, people gave great toasts (for this occasion, we were lucky to have some close friends who are also comedy writers); swing danced to a song by the Andrew Sisters; served seasonal food (catered by our venue); and offered guests a candy bar (my new husband is kind of a candy fiend) and a photo booth. When it was finally time to leave the wedding venue, many of us kept the evening going at a nearby bar called Union Hall.
CAKE: We decided to serve multiple cakes in a variety of flavors, from a Red Hook, Brooklyn bakery called Baked. The cakes looked and tasted great, plus it was a surprisingly affordable alternative to a traditional wedding cake. For the cake-cutting ceremony, we had a miniature polka-dotted two-tiered cake (also from Baked), topped with cute little wooden figures that Todd hand-painted in our likenesses.
PHOTO BOOTH: We’d originally planned to rent a traditional photo booth — the kind that prints black and white photo strips — but space constraints required us to find an alternative solution. We settled on digital photobooth from usnaps.com instead. (It was more of a photo ‘pillar,’ rather than a booth, which is how it saved us room.) Usnaps offers several different options for backdrop colors and fabrics, but we chose to provide our own, from a damask fabric we found in the garment district. Even though the sleek-looking, white booth didn’t match the decor of the Montauk Club as well as a traditional booth would have, it turned out to be a better option for us. Because the photos were digital, everyone was able to see and share all of their photo booth pictures almost immediately. Getting the photo booth was one of the best things we did for our wedding; we’re both really glad to have all these extra pictures of our friends and family. Also, it was a lot of fun; our guests were very creative with it. (Even our shy nephew, who covered his face like an angry celebrity whenever our human photographer approached.)
INVITATIONS: Our friend Tim O’Donnell designed our invitations and all our other printed materials for us. We love how all of the elements worked together, and we got a ton of great feedback.
DRESS & SUIT: My dress was made for me at Blue, in East Village. The color was inspired by a dress Michelle Williams once wore to the Oscars; the rest was shaped by Christina (the designer at Blue), my friend Stef, and me, sort of by trial and error. I was really pleased with the end result.
Todd’s English-cut pinstriped suit came from Paul Smith.
ACCESSORIES: I found my necklace at RePop, a vintage furniture store in Brooklyn, and my earrings and bracelet belonged to my great-grandmother. (My grandparents let me keep them as part of my wedding gift.) My veil came from an Etsy shop called Something Bold, and my shoes, which were more than 80 years old, came from ebay for $30. I bought them before I was engaged, and I had no idea when I’d ever wear them.
Todd bought some vintage cufflinks on ebay, but had to ditch them at the last minute (his shirt didn’t accept cufflinks), and he bought some brown cap-toed shoes from Allen-Edmonds.
HAIR & MAKEUP: My friend and longtime hairdresser Luisa (at Fringe Salon in the Lower East Side) did a fantastic job on my hair, and my friend Elizabeth Crockett made my face look its best.
FLOWERS: This was a difficult area for us, as neither of us know much about flowers. We were only certain of the colors we wanted, and that we hoped to include a lot of texture. (Using berries and fruits, and so on). Nicolette Owen did an amazing job. She handed me one of the prettiest bouquets I’ve seen, and she made boutinneres for everyone else associated with the wedding. Normally I don’t feel all that strongly about flowers, either way, but I felt real love for these things. I have no idea how she managed to do all that on her own.
FAVORS: In addition to the photo booth and candy bar, we made mix CDs which were inserted inside recycled cardboard CD sleeves along with the wedding program, so everyone received one at the door before our ceremony. Unfortunately, the venue forgot to leave out the plastic bags we’d purchased for the candy bar, so I guess everyone had to eat the candy on the spot, unless they used their pockets. (These tiny mishaps are the kinds of things that are supposed to freak out brides, I think.)
PHOTOGRAPHY: My online friend and Chicago Tribune photojournalist Candice C. Cusic did a wonderful job and was great to work with. It was nice finally meeting her in person, although I can’t say for sure what her face looks like, other than a Canon SLR camera. She worked tremendously hard and did a fantastic job capturing the day.
VIDEOGRAPHY: We hired a cinematographer named Ed David to shoot our wedding day. His stuff is beautifully shot and very unobtrusive, and we liked getting to know him. We’re excited to see the footage once it’s ready.
[images by Lisa Whiteman]