Real wedding: Raquel + Xavier









Intro

Xavier and I married civilly three years ago but since we are both religious we had longed to marry through the Catholic Church. We thought about many options, but ended up deciding to have an intimate and casual afternoon affair, with about 85 guests. Our eight year anniversary was coming up so we thought why not get married on the day of our anniversary since this year it was conveniently falling on a Saturday. The problem was that it left us with one month to plan the entire wedding. Luckily, Xavier’s sister, Natalie, and her best friend, Indira, were starting an event planning and décor business so they were able to make our dream into a reality…without them I’m sure it wouldn’t have been possible.

Theme

It all started with selecting a venue. Natalie & Indira recommended a restaurant located in Brooklyn called MyMoon and described it as the perfect place for an intimate wedding. When Xavier and I went to look at the space, we simply fell in love with its urban ambiance and its exquisite Turkish cuisine. MyMoon definitely set the tone for the NYC theme we chose which made our wedding a truly memorable experience. My event planners suggested deep hues of purple that would perfectly complement the browns and oranges of MyMoon’s décor. We also wanted to pay homage to a theme that was close to our hearts. While my godmother is a breast cancer survivor, Xavier’s aunt had recently lost her battle to breast cancer and we decided to incorporate pink in their honor and in honor of all those women who have battled and keep battling this disease.

Stationary

Natalie & Indira designed and created the wedding stationary suite. The wedding invitation was a square card in an antique blush color with purple font and a matching blush colored envelope. The wedding information was printed on the right side of the card and layers of purple raffia decorated the left side for a simple and elegant look. They also created a RSVP card, program for the wedding ceremony and place card that complemented the invitations and gave a stylish representation of our affair.

Ceremony & Reception Site

The ceremony was held at Mt. Carmel St. Anthony Church in Yonkers, New York since we wanted to be married by the Deacon there who holds a special place in our hearts. The church is distinguished by its ornate interior and detailed stain glass windows. The afternoon reception took place in the Mediterranean restaurant, MyMoon, located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Having been the former boiler room of an old factory, elements of the neighborhood’s industrial past added to the NYC feel that we wanted our guests to experience. Its bare brick walls and exposed pipes definitely made it an incredibly unique venue.

Gown & Attire

Several months before the wedding, I spotted a gorgeous, off white dress at BCBG Max Azria. With its sequined bodice and beautifully layered skirt of tiered lace, I thought it was the perfect dress for the small and simple affair Xavier and I envisioned having one day so I decided on purchasing it and saving it until that day came. Since our wedding was during the early afternoon, I opted for wearing a soft updo with an antique haircomb and my mother’s vintage pearl necklace and matching earrings along with my grandmother’s wedding band who unfortunately could not be with us to celebrate. Xavier wore a sand-colored, Perry Ellis three-piece suit that complemented my vintage inspired gown. The bridesmaids wore eggplant colored dresses by Calvin Klein while the groomsmen wore dark brown, Oscar de la Renta suits with matching ties that kept with the deep purple color scheme.

Decor

MyMoon needed very little decoration since we wanted to keep the industrial feel that exuded from it – but we still wanted to give the reception our own personal touch. Natalie & Indira designed small flower arrangements to be placed on top of the bare wooden tables. MyMoon provided the place settings with its corresponding menu and ivory linens; each favor, which also served as a seating card, was set on top of each plate. Tables were named after NYC landscapes; with names written in deep red ink, black and white postcards with images of different city sights were placed at each table. For the seating arrangements, Natalie & Indira created 8″x11″ cards with each table name followed by the guests that were assigned to each specific table. Each card was inserted into a wooden frame; all frames were tied together with a purple colored string and the entire montage, surrounded by flower petals, covered a long table that was placed right at the entrance of the restaurant. Tall floral arrangements surrounded different areas of the restaurant including that of the guestbook table which was placed towards the front of the venue. Our guestbook, a coffee table book of black and white photos of NYC, sat open on a picture of the Brooklyn Bridge where we invited guests to join us in adding to our NYC memories.

Flowers

The first thing I told Natalie & Indira when we were brainstorming the décor was that I wanted different, non-traditional flowers. They created beautiful and modern arrangements of burgundy coxcombs and dahlias, with hints of sparsa, in clear glass vases of varying sizes and shapes that were lined with burgundy banana leaves. The bridesmaids’ bouquets were composed of black calla lilies and burgundy dahlias and then tied with a purple wired, taffeta ribbon. My bouquet was short and crafted with ivory roses and white ranunculus all tied together with an ivory taffeta ribbon adding the perfect detail to the romantic style of my dress.

Cake

We wanted to stay away from the traditional tiered cake. We wanted something fun and different that reflected our personalities and the relaxed feel of our wedding. Natalie suggested an Italian bakery, Anna Artuso’s Pastry Shop, and we ended up deciding on red velvet, carrot and vanilla cupcakes with butter cream frosting in various shades of pink. To add a little spark, the cupcakes were sprinkled with a hint of sparkling sugar on top. They were placed on a white, wooden cupcake stand that Indira covered with leaves dyed in a burgundy color. I loved how the cake idea turned out and our guests really enjoyed the simplicity of having individual and delicious cupcakes.

Music

We decided to keep it simple and play music from our very own Ipod; Xavier made a smooth playlist that complemented the relaxed atmosphere. The music ranged from some of our favorite English artists such as Corinne Bailey Ray, Babyface and oldies like the Beatles to Spanish artists such as Juan Luis Guerra who played as we swayed to our first dance.

Favors

We wanted to give our guests something meaningful and special. Since both Xavier and I have been touched by breast cancer, we decided to honor our loved ones by pinning our guests with the emblematic pink ribbons. For favors, Xavier and I joined in the Pink Envelope Project and made a donation to the Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation on behalf of each guest. Natalie & Indira inserted the pink favor cards into small straw bags and tied them with purple string; the same string was then used to tie printed labels with each person’s name thus doubling as a place card and adding to the creative flair of the event.

Photography

We were very anxious when it came down to choosing a photographer since after the wedding is over, pictures and memories are all that remain. Natalie contacted Robert Sukrachand on our behalf, after having met him from her own wedding consultation and after seeing his work, my anxiety quickly dissipated. Apart from paying attention to the small details that made our wedding special, Robert truly captured the essence of all the emotional and memorable moments utilizing a documentary style. The portrait session, which took place at an old, abandoned lot in Brooklyn while raindrops were falling, really exemplified the photographer’s talent. Against a backdrop of bricks and cement, each photo tells its very own story and brings forth the joy that everyone felt on our wedding day.

[images by Robert Sukrachand]

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Real wedding: Julia + Matt














Jennifer Causey recently shot the fabulous wedding of illustrator Julia Rothman, and was nice enough to send me some of the pictures! I love the mismatched bridesmaids dresses, the table numbers, EVERYTHING!

[images by Jennifer Causey]

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Real wedding: Anna + Sean









Anna and her husband Sean are one creative couple…I think their wedding speaks for itself!

CEREMONY & RECEPTION SITE: Sean and I got married in a field in front of a cabin outside of Seattle that has been in my family for generations. My great-great-great grandfather owned the land between the cabin and what is now Kayak Park. Over the years all the land was sold, but my great grandmother was eventually able to buy back a small portion of the property where the cabin now sits. I spent many childhood summers there picking apples, camping in the field with cousins, swimming and building elaborate sand/driftwood forts down at the beach, so it was a very meaningful spot for us to have our ceremony and reception. My parents and grandparents put so much love and time into the cabin – painting the trim, collecting driftwood to build the arbor we were married under, and landscaping the field with flowers that matched our wedding colors – yellow, orange, and red. We were married by the same pastor who married my parents – an old family friend whose daughter I grew up with.

INVITATIONS: Sean and I have our own design company, Sub-Studio (

http://store.sub-studio.com/custom/custom.html), where we design hand-screened paper goods. We knew we wanted to design as many elements as possible for the wedding. We set the tone for our outdoor, destination wedding (my family was local, but Sean’s family and most of our friends flew in from the New York area), with a playful suitcase motif save the date. The invitation that followed was more refined and elegant and was designed around a leaf motif to refer to the outdoor ceremony/reception. A red thread wrapped around the invite to imply a branch, which also became a way to tie all of the different pieces of the invitation together. The same red thread showed up again in the binding of our programs.

GOWN: I bought my wedding dress from the Bridal Garden in NYC (http://www.bridalgarden.org/), a not-for-profit bridal boutique that sells deeply discounted designer wedding gowns. All proceeds from the Bridal Garden go to the Sheltering Arms Children’s Service (an organization dedicated to the education of New York City children). My gown was by Melissa Sweet – I was instantly attracted to its simplicity and the delicate bead work. I wore a very simple veil that was made for me by one of the seamstresses at the Bridal Garden.

ACCESSORIES:

I kept my jewelry very minimal and wore a pair of earrings that I made from faceted citrine drops. I made matching earrings and necklaces for my bridesmaids. My shoes were classic, creme pumps by Bandolino that I got from DSW. They had a slight wooden heel which was great for walking around in the grass all evening, since you couldn’t see the dirt.

HAIR AND MAKEUP: The lovely Erin Skipley of Bellatrix Studio (http://www.bellatrixstudio.com/) did the hair and makeup of myself and my bridesmaids. I normally wear no makeup at all, and Erin was able to find just the right mix of natural and dramatic.

BRIDESMAID DRESSES: My bridesmaids wore dresses from Ann Taylor Loft. The dresses were creme, with a simple, dark navy (almost black) graphic of a plant running vertically along the mid section of the dress. It was hard to convince my ladies to wear white (they were afraid the white would call too much attention to themselves), but ultimately we (especially me!) loved how it turned out.

FORMAL WEAR: We didn’t ask the groomsmen to buy specific suits for the wedding, so long as they were black. They wore yellow pocket squares and ties to match my bridesmaids’ flowers and Sean had a red pocket square and tie that matched my bouquet. Sean had custom Converse slip-ons made for himself and for the groomsmen. All of the shoes were black – Sean’s shoes had red stitching and his groomsmen’s had yellow stitching.

CEREMONY PROGRAMS: We designed our programs around our invitations with a simplified leaf design. The program cover was printed with red that matched the detail of the invitations, and they were bound with the same red thread as the invitations.

FLOWERS: My mom found our florist, Amy (khryshaze@aol.com), who lived just a few minutes away from the cabin and had a sign for fresh flowers in front of her house. We described our vision to her and she made it happen. Because we were having an outdoor wedding we wanted the flowers to pop against the green backdrop, so we went with yellow, red, and orange arrangements, using a mix of dahlias, gladiolas, lilies, cosmos, and gerber daisies. For the most part, each arrangement was kept to shades of one of the three colors. We didn’t want the arrangements to obstruct the view of the guests, so we kept them small and had several centerpieces on each table. Amy provided simple, white vases for the arrangements.

CATERING: Chef Bertron (http://www.chefbert.com/) was our caterer.

The cabin is located about an hour north of Seattle, so before the ceremony we had a cocktail hour and served hors d’oeuvres, to give people time to arrive and relax. For dinner Chef Bert served grilled, fresh Alaskan salmon, spring mixed greens, garlic mashed potatoes, grilled baby corn with chili and Parmesan cheese and fresh sour dough bread. One bonus with Chef Bert – he will come to your home and cook your proposed wedding menu (for a party of six – it’s his version of a tasting). Because we were planning our wedding from across the country, we didn’t get to take advantage of this great service, but I was able to convince my cousin and his wife to sacrifice an evening to help us out.

MUSIC: We hired the Pacific Brass Quintet (http://www.pacificbrassquintet.com/) to play for 2 1/2 hours which covered the cocktail hour, the ceremony, and most of dinner. They played a great selection of jazz music. Afterwards, we had an iPod, curated by Sean, that provided the music to dance to. On our RSVP, we had asked each guest to request a song, and included all of the requests in the iPod mix. Our first dance was to Etta James’ “Sunday Kind of Love”, the song that Sean had asked me to dance to by the reflection pool at Lincoln Center before proposing. I love that song.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Between our photographer, Summerhouse Photography (

kmgiordano@gmail.com), and our artistic friends (the photos shown here are a mix from all of these people), I was so pleased with the photos of our wedding. Kristin was great – she has a candid style that we loved and she was a pleasure to work with. We also had two Polaroid cameras that our guests used to sign our guest book with and also to take photos with throughout the evening. As you can imagine, the photos got more and more funny as the night progressed!

CAKE: Sean and I are both cupcake people, so we opted not to have a traditional wedding cake but to have cupcakes made instead by Haggen (http://www.haggen.com/), iced in our wedding colors. My mom had a larger cupcake made up for us to cut and feed to each other. Our cake toppers were a little Lego bride and groom that I found on Ebay.

FAVORS: We made prints for each guest as the favor, and designed a print that incorporated the cabin and the location of the stars on our wedding night. We screenprinted it with metallic dark navy ink onto a pale blue paper. We strung the favors on a makeshift clothes line, along with each guest’s table card.

The evening ended with a big bonfire and s’mores. It was the perfect way to finish celebrating.

[images from Summerhouse Photography]

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Real wedding: Anna + Nathan part 1









Annabel from Belathée Photography sent me this amazing wedding from down in Florida…Anna Melcon is an incredibly talented artist and put together a lot of wonderfully handmade and personal touches. Here’s what she had to say about the day! [ps…Anna found Annabel through Brooklyn Bride! Full circle baby! I love it!]

Nathan and I planned our wedding in 3 ½ months (why not?) and had nearly 200 guests. It was a hectic time but I had so much fun and wouldn’t have changed a thing. I’m a graphic designer and illustrator so I really enjoyed having the opportunity to make so much stuff for the wedding myself.

THEME: The first thing we decided was to have a traditional mariachi band play at the wedding and that ended up setting the theme and tone of the day. We had a mix of traditional Mexican elements with organic and folk styles (I had to fit in animals). Somehow it all fit together and it was both festive and unique to our styles and it lent itself well to the laid back, casual and fun atmosphere that we were going for.

INVITATIONS: I illustrated and designed the invitations. It was a fold out little poster with an illustration on one side and all of the wedding info on the other. I also created a website to complement it for the RSVP (which made it so easy) and other information for guests.

CEREMONY & RECEPTION SITE: Both the ceremony and the reception were held outdoors at a beautiful little cottage set on a secluded 160 acres in Central Florida. The ceremony took place in front of the house in the brick courtyard and the reception immediately followed in back of the house overlooking the lake. The cottage, which was incredibly unique and built by hand, was the perfect size to hold the cake, guest book, and to serve food from.

PROGRAMS: Our wedding was outside in the middle of July in Florida so I decided to make the programs hand fans (it may have been cruel not to). On one side of the fan I illustrated the faces of the wedding party and our families and on the other I wrote out what was happening at the wedding. I printed out each side on my home printer and had a cutting and gluing party to attach them to popsicle sticks.

GOWN & ATTIRE: My dress was from J.Crew. I wanted something simple, understated yet unique, and comfortable. J.Crew was one of the first places I looked and I loved the dress I tried on immediately. My mom and I made the hairpiece I wore out of a re-worked silk flower and pieces of lace that we added beading to. The bridesmaids also wore dresses from J.Crew in a kelly green color and the guys wore shirts and vests from Urban Outfitters.

CENTERPIECES: The centerpieces were my favorite things to make. My idea was so make mini forests in the middle of each table using tissue paper, glass jars and branches. It ended up working out great and was so easy and cheap. I found the jars from uline.com (for only $3 a jar!), ordered the colored tissue paper, and hunted down branches from around the neighborhood. I made tissue paper flowers, affixed them to the branches and placed them in jars with paper grass at the bottom. I also painted a few animals and cut them out of paper and placed them at the bottom to finish the ‘scene.’

FLOWERS: The only fresh flowers I had were for the wedding party and myself and were mainly a mix of orchids, ferns, and dahlias. My bouquet used white orchids and mixed greens and it was based off of a photo I found. The bridesmaids had a bit more color with coral and yellow dahlias.

CAKE: I loved how the cake turned out so much. When I found out how much wedding cakes cost I was tempted to find an alternative but I’m really glad that I swallowed the shock and decided to go with one. The bakery I used, Bake Me a Cake, did a fantastic job. I brought them a few sketches of the ideas I had, gave them my wedding invitation, and photos of the centerpieces and this is what came out! It was perfect.

PINATAS: When we decided on the mariachi band and other Mexican touches I naturally had to incorporate piñatas. I knew that I wasn’t really into the idea of a formal cake cutting (and couldn’t bear to cut into such a pretty thing) so we decided to have a piñata hitting instead of the cake cutting. Nathan and I were blindfolded, spun around, and went at our respective piñatas as the mariachi band played and the guys who ran the place surprised us with mini fireworks. It was so much fun.

MUSIC: The mariachi band was all we needed. They were amazing and were the highlight of the wedding. They played for both the ceremony and the reception the 8 of them were dressed to perfection in their traditional attire.

FAVORS: We created a little fruit stand to give away fruit as our favors. I originally wanted to give away Florida oranges but since they were out of season we decided on the next best thing, Georgia peaches. We had a local vendor that drives them down from Georgia every week bring us extra crates the week of the wedding. Guests could pick their fruit and put them in brown paper ‘apple bags’ that I stamped with our names and wedding date.

[images from Belathée Photography]

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