I’m so jealous that Anna and Lib got to ride the ever-elusive Carousel in DUMBO….we took our wedding photos in many of the same spots down there but that was the ONE that was closed
Anna & Liberty
September 19th, 2008
SmackMellon Studios, BROOKLYN, New York
Lib and I had a GREAT time planning our wedding. For us, getting married was just declaring publicly what we have known for a really long time, that we love each other deeply and are meant to be together. We are a pretty non-trad couple and we wanted everything about the day to reflect our style. Every thing we did had meaning and symbolism for us, we made it all count! We knew we wanted a short, but very meaningful and spiritual ceremony and then…throw a huge, awesome party to celebrate with all the people we love! We had a very diverse crowd – backgrounds, age ranges, country of origin – so we wanted to make sure we everyone felt included and part of the party, in every aspect. We chose to use local businesses and artists as much as possible. The quality of their work and dedication far surpassed anything we’ve ever seen. We had the best day of our lives and when I think back, all I do is smile, the room was completely full of love – it was amazing!
Ceremony & Reception Site
We had our ceremony and reception at Smack Mellon in Brooklyn (www.smackmellon.org/rent.html) – we loved the venue from the second we saw it. I really wanted a blank canvas for the wedding so we could set things up exactly as we wanted it to be. The space is located between the foot of the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges in DUMBO and the views are spectacular. It brings the feeling of old Brooklyn, together with the new – and since Lib and I are both born Brooklynites, and so proud of it, we felt it fit perfectly.
Karen Mordechai (www.karenmordechai.com) of Brooklyn. I found Karen through a post on Brooklyn Bride! I thought her photos were fantastic, so I called her immediately and booked the date. She met with Liberty and I and we were on our way. She is talented, calm, sweet and extremely professional. Karen shoots in more of a photo-journalistic style – and that’s what we wanted – someone who could go with the flow. She honored all our requests and was genuinely concerned that we be satisfied and happy. Karen totally surprised us when she told us she obtained permission for us to take pics on the beautiful antique carousel in DUMBO – something Liberty really wanted to do!
Always a Bridesmaid (www.alwaysabridesmaid.us)
Possibilities are endless when you rent a raw space, and so is the list of things you have to do to make it all work out. Since the venue comes with, well, 4 walls and a bathroom, we were really going to need help coordinating the days leading up the wedding and the day of. Xochitl and Mayra were the unbelievable! They went above and beyond what they signed on to do, and the day went off without a hitch (at least none that I know of)! They have a terrific relationships with their past and current vendors and knew exactly what to do when they were faced with new challenges. Liberty and I enjoyed every second, they kept everything organized and on track, and were absolutely graceful and amazing and lovely. Liberty and I don’t know what we would have done without them, and we cannot say enough about them and the amount of joy they brought to our day.
Our Amazing Ceremony
My sister was my maid of honor and Liberty’s nephew was his best man. My mother walked me down the “isle” to Israel Kamakawiwo’oles’ version of “Wonderful World.” Our officiate was Ali Berlin (www.aliberlin.com) who we feel blessed to know! She is an amazing, spiritual woman who is a life coach in San Francisco, CA. Liberty and I wrote our own vows and asked Ali to incorporate several themes into our service – including having our guests be a part of it. Ali asked all our guests to join hands and pledge to support us not only on that day, but throughout our marriage. Our ceremony was about 15 minutes, but every single word was meaningful! After Ali finished her beautiful ceremony, we recessed to “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles. There was hardly a dry eye in the house!
Invites, Cards, all things paper (and beyond)
All by Jessica and her staff at Artez’n on Atlantic Ave (www.artezn.com). We knew the vibe we wanted and Jessica caught on right away. We wanted to use a photo Liberty took of the Brooklyn Bridge, so she worked her design magic and made it into our “Save the Date” postcard. The invites, envelopes, place cards, table cards, menus and our thank you notes all keep in the same “Brooklyn LOVE” theme. We got so much positive feedback about them – some of our guests framed them! Jessica also put together our hotel bags which were Brooklyn themed and contained Brooklyn Soap, Brooklyn Fudge, Brooklyn maps, magnets, postcards…
Our talented friend Scott Bragin of Rhythm of the Night Entertainment (Brooklyn again!) ruled the turntables! Liberty is a musician and he and I met when I was working in the music business – so this was perhaps the most important part of our reception for us! Lib had stacks of song lists by the hour and after a few meetings with Scott, we knew it would be flawless. Our guests were pretty surprised that with a room full of musicians we chose to have a DJ. For us, it was a no brainer – we wanted our guests to dance, not play music all night (which is what happens when musicians and instruments are in the same room). Originally we didn’t want a “first dance” but so many people told us that we needed to get the party started by getting up there first, I’m glad we did! Lib dedicated, “Feels Like Home” to me and I dedicated “No One” to him. We played music during our cocktail hour by our musician friends who were in attendance, mixed in with Americana and Lounge and the rest of night covered everything from Funk and Soul to the Stones and Jane’s Addiction. Scott did an amazing job – the dance floor was always FULL – including all the musicians who kept going, “Oh – I love this song! (email@example.com). We closed the evening with The Beatles, “All You Need Is Love.” I would not change a single note played.
Steve Carapella, Three Brothers Butchers/Caraleo Catering – We are way into food and Lib has serious Italian roots, so we really wanted everything to be outstanding. It was. We worked with Steve who also helped us with rentals of staff, chairs, tables, linens, silverware – lots of planning and sampling (which was fun). They even brought in uplighting for us for the room. We didn’t want any “typical wedding food.” Our menu was completely custom created from our wishlist and they tweaked everything we wanted so that we could make it work in a space that does not allow open flames and has a limited kitchen. We added Brooklyn Wine (www.redwhiteandbubbly.com) and Brooklyn Beer (www.brooklynbrewery.com) to our full bar, as well as several ‘non-alcoholic’ customized drinks for our guests – so they would have more than the same old soda and juice options.
We didn’t want a traditional wedding cake, so we brought in all of our favorite desserts, gigantic chocolate cream filled cupcakes (they look like the famous ones with the white squiggle on top – only twice the size) from Downtown Atlantic Bakery on Atlantic Avenue (www.downtownatlantic.com), trays of caramel bread pudding from 3 Brothers, all different flavors of delicious Junior’s Cheesecake (www.juniorscheesecake.com), cannolis, fruit and pastries and…what turned out to be the biggest hit of the night – and a surprise for Lib from me -a Mr Softee truck (www.mistersoftee.com)! We attached tickets to the back of everyone’s place card that they could turn in to the ice cream man for whatever they would like. In a matter of seconds, all the guests turned into a bunch of kids running out the door to get to the truck! It was terrific (and it is a great value)!
Flowers & Decor
We are all about the vintage and antique vibe and I wanted something really special for our centerpieces, so we spent months collecting vintage antique depression glass pitchers and glass sets from flea markets and antique shops – no two were the same. I printed out tons of pictures of flower arrangements and color schemes and brought them to Joe at Langdon Florist (212 962 4371). After being endlessly patient with me (I am clueless about flowers) we decided on arrangements that were antique looking and let the beauty of the glass shine. Joe filled each pitcher with flowers and the matching glasses were filled with tea lights and placed around the pitchers on each table. I bought tons of vintage amber juice glass sets and amber candleholders and we used them on the tables, window sills – everywhere! Joe also made a few large arrangements that we used for multiple purposes at venue (on the card table, as a backdrop for the ceremony, then the bar, then the buffet – you make the most of your budget that way) as well as the bouquet for my sis, boutonnières for Liberty and Eric and flowers for our parents. He went out of his way to make sure everything was perfect. Joe took our budget and showed us how to get the most out of it. At the end of the night, whomever had a purple ribbon tied to their chair, took the vintage pitcher and glass set home as their favor. Also, we set up 2 Polaroid cameras and sign in books for our guests to take pics, and write notes (lots of people snuck extra pics and took them home as mementos).
This was a very important part of the day for Lib and I and we wanted to make this happen in a way that was positive and happy.
I asked our photographer Karen for one posed shot – and one only! When my mom got married, her photographer took a few pics of her getting ready with my Nana in front of her vanity mirror. My nana passed when I was little, but we were very close. My mom still has that mirror, so she brought it to our apartment where Karen helped set it up in my bedroom, and we placed a photo of my nana and pop off to the side. My mom posed in the mirror with me, and I got a new version of her picture. Karen also took photos of the original Polaroid’s, which was a nice surprise to see when I got my pictures back! Also, I put my nana’s bedspread and a pretty little pillow she had on our so it’s in the background of all our “getting ready” shots.
During our ceremony, Ali spoke about those whom we wished could be with us, more specifically mentioning Liberty’s brother who passed away very young. She pointed out that he was there with us through his son Eric, Liberty’s best man. Ali also thanked my mother on my behalf, for being both my mom and my dad my whole life, and how much that means to me. The photos of nana and pop went on my mom’s table, as well as a few other photos. My cousin, Father Giles (who is 80!) is a Franciscan priest and he blessed our marriage and said grace prior to dinner, pulling all of our family members and guests together. I searched all over for a vintage locket that could hold multiple pics for a gift my sis (which I found on Etsy). I filled it with photos of all the generations of strong women in our family who we are descendants of. I wanted her to know that’s he is one of those strong women and that I love her not only as my sister, but as my best friend. I added my mom’s blue butterfly pin to my bouquet, as well as a locket (Etsy again) with pictures of my family who could not be with there with me, but were all definitely there in spirit!
Beauty & Attire
My hair was done by the talented Paul of PANYC Salon in NYC (www.panyconline.com). I’ve been going to him for about 10 years now and he never lets me down! Brooklyn make up artist Elizabeth Kamp was amazing! She not only did my make up, but also did my sister’s and mom’s. She is the calmest person in the world and she’s a great listener! Fellow redheads will understand this – she didn’t try to cover my freckles or cake on crazy amounts of makeup! Both Elizabeth and Paul offer amazing pricing for what they do. My dress is Jenny Packham, Liberty’s suit is John Varvatos.
My earrings were borrowed from my oldest friends, Jennifer Gandia of Greenwich Jewelers NYC (www.greenwichjewelers.com) I carried a purse that my sis got for me from a vintage shop specifically for this purpose – when I got engaged (5 years ago)! My sister’s jewelry is by Maleeka on Atlantic Ave (www.maleeka.com).
[images by Karen Mordechai]
Yay for Brooklyn weddings!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
My dress (and veil) came from The White Gown in Brooklyn and my bridesmaids wore navy dresses with pink sashes from Coren Moore.
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.
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]
Our wedding was November 8, 2008 in Central Park and unfortunately for us, it absolutely poured that day. When we were in the cab pulling up my husband was on the phone with our photographer who said there was probably no way he could take pictures for us since everything was outside. We had a pretty nontraditional wedding by inviting only our immediate families up here to NYC and getting married in Central Park. We went to dinner in the Lower East Side that night and then met up with friends for drinks that evening. It was intimate and perfect. The only issue is that we didn’t get any pictures done professionally. A couple weeks after the wedding we thought we picked a good day to do a photo shoot so we went for it. It was 30 degrees that day! We went in Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO. I wanted to share in case these were appropriate for your readers and given your blog title, I thought I’d pass along.
[images from Duhon Photography]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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]
This Saturday I spent a crazy amount of time eating cake. Why you ask? Because I was invited to the DUMBO loft of husband and wife team Mark Joseph Cakes for a tasting! The tasting for my own wedding cake left a little to be desired, so I was excited to see how it was really done, and Mark and Leslie did not disappoint. Their cakes are amazingly moist, the fillings are absolutely delicious, and the designs are as custom as you want them to be. Everything is made from scratch by Mark himself, so you’re getting exceptional quality for a great price. I got to mix and match many of their flavors, like pound cake with strawberry mousseline and chocolate ganache, or the southern red velvet cake with cream cheese and citrus buttercream [my favorite!!] You’ll be seeing plenty of their designs in bridal magazines over the next few months, so keep an eye out for them!
[images by Brooklyn Bride]
There are currently no upcoming events scheduled. Check for new events soon.
Browse previous events.