Real wedding: Jillian + Joe

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What an amazing venue 501 Union is, with the perfect lighting for indoor weddings, and the utterly chic, minimal styling for this couple.  Its so lush, it makes me wish we had Spring back!!

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lush pink bouquet

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green and white boutonniere

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ceremony at 501 union

501 union ceremony

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green garlands

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typographic escort cards

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cake cutting

1st dance

From the bride:

When we first started wedding planning, we immediately agreed on two things – that our wedding should feel like a big party, and that it should feel like us. It’s why we spun every wedding tradition into something that felt fun, relaxed and personal. We also knew that we wanted to get married in New York. It’s where most of our family and friends live so it just made sense.

We found 501 Union after taking a tour of the Green Building, their sister venue across the street. The Green Building was lovely, but 501 Union had more of the glamorous, yet fun atmosphere we wanted. The space was perfect for our 120 guests, but can definitely accommodate a lot more.

We chose to do a first look and all of our family photos before the wedding – something I really recommend doing, so that you can enjoy your cocktail hour with your guests. I was hesitant at first, because I didn’t know if I wanted to ruin the surprise of Joe seeing me for the first time coming down the aisle, but I’m actually very  glad we did it this way. The day goes by quickly, and this gave us an extra moment together before the madness of the wedding began. And really,if anything, it made us both a lot more relaxed for the ceremony – which can be an intense thing, if you’re not used to being the center of 100+ people’s attention.

We chose not to have a bridal party, because we wanted all of our guests to feel special, and to reduce costs for us and our friends.

Instead of cake, we had donuts from Peter Pan – a shop in Greenpoint we visit way too often, or not often enough depending on how you look at it. :)

With the help of our awesome officiant, Hope Mirlis, we invented our own unity ceremony – the making of the Manhattan – instead of the traditional mixing of the wines. Despite reservations about mixing a cocktail during your wedding ceremony, this was a huge hit. It felt very personal to us, because we enjoy a cocktails, and it was a refreshing surprise for guests to see something different for a unity ceremony. It also helped lighten up our ceremony and keep it fun.

I have to give a shout out to our caterer, Butcher Bar, from Astoria. Hands down the best BBQ in New York, and they were a fantastic caterer that customized our menu, and really went above and beyond to make our day special.
Our DJ did a great job considering we wanted a lot of different types of music. For our cocktail hour, he played all of our favorite classic rock – music we love, but can’t really dance to. We hence dubbed it “Rocktail Hour.” For dinner he played a mix of our favorite classics from Marvin Gaye, Etta James, Ottis Redding and more. The dance party really got started when he moved through some 70’s disco, 80’s dance hits, and then a smattering of 90’s hip hop and R&B. Did we play Space Jam at our wedding? Yes.
One of my favorite moments from our wedding was when our good friend read a poem she wrote for us. When we first met with her to go through the first draft of the poem, we were both in tears. It never needed another draft. It was already perfect.

If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably here because you’re planning your own wedding and want some inspiration and advice. My best advice is to throw all of the wedding “must dos” out the window from day one, and just plan an event that celebrates the two of you and the people you love in any way you want. Don’t feel like you have to do something because you saw it on Pinterest, and don’t feel like you can’t do something because someone else already did it at their wedding. We didn’t have a photo booth. We didn’t have a 6 course meal with monogrammed napkins. We didn’t have a marching band or a design your own mint julep bar. Not that there are anything wrong with those things. Those things are awesome. We just did what we wanted, tried not to compare our wedding to anyone elses, and everyone had an amazing time! Because that’s the thing. Your guests are there to celebrate with you, eat, drink, dance, and be happyKeep that in mind as you plan.

Speaking of planning, try not to get stuck in decision-making limbo. Planning goes so much more smoothly if you just lock down decisions efficiently and early. If it feels right, lock it down! If it doesn’t, move on. The more things you get in place, the easier it is to envision the day, and the less you have to wonder about as it draws closer and closer. We had a year to plan, and in hindsight, it probably could have taken less time if we were more confident in our decision making.

Also, hire a day-of coordinator. This will make everything so much easier. You don’t want to be looking at the clock on the dance floor, wondering if it’s cake cutting time. That’s what a day-of coordinator is for.

Lastly, and not many people tell you this, but now that we’re on the other side of the planning, it feels really really good! Our wedding was one of the best days of our lives, but now that it’s over, we’re free to start focusing on what’s next. And knowing that we can do that with each other is the best feeling.

VENDORS
Venue: 501 Union
Caterer: Butcher Bar
Photographer: Sandy Soohoo
Donuts: Peter Pan
Day-Of Coordinator: Alexandra Townsend
Officiant: Hope Mirlis
Dress: Theia, from Lovely Bride NYC
Suit: JCrew
Makeup – Kaori Soda

[images from  Jacob Arthur Studio]

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Real wedding: Laura + Keith

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How adorable is this wedding at The Green Building?  It’s got one of my favorite palettes, green, white and black!

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bouquet and boutonniere

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modern green centerpiece

black and white table setting

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food truck wedding

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food truck wedding

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VENDORS

Photographer: Khaki Bedford Photography
Venue:  The Green Building
Staff:  Contessa Events
Day of Coordinator:  Shani Matthews
Flowers:  Harlem Flower Loft
Food Truck:  Milk Truck
Food Truck:  Mexicue
Food Truck:  Coolhaus
Rentals:  Broadway Party Rentals
Dress: Papilio
Bridal Shoes: Irregular Choice
Bridesmaid Dresses:  Lazaro
Hair and Makeup:  Cindy Andrews
Groom/Groomsmen Fashion: Vera Wang
Rings:  Iannelli Diamonds
DJ: Top Notch Music Productions

[images from Khaki Bedford]

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Real wedding: Kyong + Andrew

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Hard to imagine a more chic wedding!  From the brides dress to the bridal party, and right down to the fringed ceiling at the reception, its perfection!

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bride & groom portraits

chic bouquet

chic bridal party

outdoor ceremony

first kiss 

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tassel reception decor   

copper centerpieces  

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copper & succulent centerpieces

ceiling tassels

ribbon backdrop

wedding group shot

cutting the cake

 From the bride:

The most difficult part in planning our wedding was finding a venue within our budget. We searched everywhere in LA, Palm Springs (where we got engaged), we even flirted briefly with the idea of Mexico, one of our favorite weekend getaways. We finally found this hidden gem in an industrial stretch of town east of the Silverlake reservoir, The Elysian. It was a former artist’s residence and studio, so the indoors had a clean, modern, minimal look. But then it opened into a spacious and rustic outdoor area and garden. We really liked the indoor/outdoor element, and the space was ideal for a small, intimate wedding. After we we found the venue and our lovely and efficient wedding coordinator, Kayla Ton, everything – the design aesthetic, food choices, program – flowed from there.
Pizza being one of our favorite foods, we hired Urban Oven to do our dinner and dessert. Urban Oven runs a food truck with a mobile wood fired pizza oven! Scott, the owner, created a rustic, family style Italian menu of cured meats and cheeses, salads, grilled vegetables, and artisanal pizzas. Dessert was a buffet of brownies, cookies, and mini pies. We had the amazingly talented Jamie from Rad and In Love as our photographer. She has such a warm, calm presence. She was unobtrusive but took so many beautiful shots and really captured the feel of each moment, and she’s just a cool gal. Yorikobo Photo kept the party going with their modern, space age photo booth and props.
The rest of the wedding was handled by our brilliant coordinator, Kayla, and our incredibly generous and creative friends. Our dear friend and groomsman, Phil, offered to DJ and he lugged crates of records all the way from New York. All of the signage and graphics were done by our New York graphic designer friend, Laurie Fink. Our friend Ashley Tearston, who owns a special events company here in Los Angeles, Floracopia, took care of ALL decor, florals, and furniture rentals. She has incredible taste and tons of experience, and she really helped guide the look and feel of the space and ceremony (plus, she was doing everything while newly pregnant!). Drew, my husband, tackled a couple of DIY projects and built the ceremony arbor and the light installation. And a close family friend, Claire, officiated the marriage ceremony. She has known Drew since he was a young boy, and her words and presence made the ceremony so personal and special.  We also had a group of friends organize and prepare a casual brunch at our house the next morning, knowing that we would be too tired to get it done ourselves. It was really nice to see our guests after the ceremony, hanging out in our yard and swapping funny anecdotes from the night before.
I don’t have a single favorite memory of the wedding, but some snapshot moments that make me smile – all of my sisters and I in the bridal suite at the Figueroa Hotel, gossiping and getting our hair and makeup done; walking down the aisle with my father, looking at husband to be, surrounded by faces from all of my years in life; having a quiet moment with Drew down by the Los Angeles River right after the ceremony, absorbing it all in and then seeing two ducks swim by! (a good luck wedding symbol in Korean culture); dancing to Sam Cooke’s “Bring it on Home to Me” and feeling so in love with my man and thinking how I lucked out because he loves to dance; and having our guests over for brunch the next day, where we could have quality time with everyone before they flew back home and hear about all of the wedding details we missed!
Some advice I would give to brides: It is true when brides say it goes by SO quickly. So luxuriate in and try to enjoy every little moment instead of worrying about the details, from the time you get up in the morning and get ready with your bridesmaids, to the ceremony and reception. You plan for months and it is over in what feel like minutes.
Also, trust your team! Honestly, before I got engaged, I really did not have specific ideas of what I wanted my wedding to look like (I thought I would elope in some exotic locale). And I was not the type of bride that was going to be up all night sewing table runners and going DIY crazy. Once the wedding planning got rolling, we just hired people whose work we loved and trusted. We gave them a few ideas about what we envisioned for the evening, and they took it from there, and it turned out awesome. It was definitely less stressful for us to not micromanage and just have time to enjoy the process. Friends also extended their help and expertise, and we took it. Oh, and hire a coordinator if you can!

VENDORS

Venue: The Elysian
Planner: Kayla Vie
Photographer: Rad + In Love
The officiant, DJ, and MC were friends
Floral: Floracopia
Rentals: Classic Party Rentals
Food + Dessert: Urban Oven
Valet: Valet of the Dolls
Photobooth: YoroKobi

[images from Rad + In Love]

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Real wedding: Laura + Jordan

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What better way to do a wedding than with a pink dress and a simple City Hall ceremony?  Top it off with a rooftop dinner at the NoMad Hotel with friends and family (who came all the way from Australia no less!), and its pretty perfect to me.

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city hall wedding

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pink wedding dress

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[images from Brklyn View Photography]
Brklyn View Photography is a member of Brooklyn Bride’s preferred vendor listings

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