This goes to show that you dont need anything crazy fancy for your wedding, much less tons of guests! This couple pulled it off with a fancy limo, fabulous hotel room, a quiet church in lower Manhattan, and the photographers as witnesses.
I can still picture Ryan, 8 years old at our town’s little league field, pecking me on the lips for our first kiss and quickly riding away on his bicycle down a long, dirt road. Fast forward 22 years, on that same dirt road, the excitement and love that I felt as Ryan proposed on bended knee, in two feet of snow none the less!
As we began to plan our wedding day, we spent time weighing our options for location, guests, theme etc. After many years of discussion, almost four to be exact, one thing became clear, our wedding day needed to be just about the two of us in the city that we love. Our goal was to focus on the long lasting love and commitment we have shared and will continue to share with each other for years to come.
Once we decided that our wedding would only include the two of us, having timeless pictures that we could share with family that reflected the joy of the day became a priority. When I saw the gorgeous photographs on Trent Bailey’s website I knew he was the photographer for us. From start to finish he was patient, kind and enthusiastic about shooting our wedding day and we couldn’t have asked for better photographers (his wife Dara is great too)!
We are so happy that we chose to have such an intimate wedding and could not imagine having it any other way. My only piece of advice to other brides is to create a day that makes you and your hubby happy. Whether it is large, small, or something in between your joy and love are what matters most.
[images from Trent Bailey Photography]
VENUE: Once we got engaged in Scotland, the next challenge was figuring out where to get married. While London offered us a lot of opportunities, we decided to go for New York, my home town. We love going to concerts and saw that the Music Hall of Williamsburg was available for private events. We had a look around the space when it was empty and saw how much potential the venue offered us. We could have the ceremony and reception in the same place and still have enough room for a cocktail hour. It was perfect! We wanted the wedding to be an extension of us, an opportunity to share the music, food and place we love, and the Music Hall let us do all this. We were lucky to have an amazing space to start with and the flexibility to give it the look we wanted with our own chuppah (made by James and friends), string lights and bunting/flags. Little did we know, we had a vision for the space but didn’t fully appreciate it until the day. I was almost crying when I walked into the space on the wedding day and saw how beautifully James and his groomsmen transformed the space. Glen Miller was being played on the loud speaker and I truly felt like I had stepped into a Music Hall from another era.
INVITATIONS: James knew about them as he use to live around the corner from their workshop in London, which is tall and slender and chock full of printing presses. We loved the typography work they did with initials and quickly were able to design a simple but bold invitation for our wedding. The green we used in the invite would reappear throughout our wedding.
FOOD: Elizabeth, owner of Betty Brooklyn, was recommended to us by our DJs and we instantly liked her and her approach to food. She sources locally and cooks seasonally. We didn’t know what the weather would be like but thought comfort food, that lines your belly, was the way to go. She was also incredibly accommodating to make our menu accessible to the various family member’s food allergies including a mini gluten free, dairy free red velvet cake! The drinks were provided by the venue and they were kind to have cocktails of our choice, Blacks Russians and White Ladies, ready for guests after the ceremony.
DRESS: I did not have any vision in my mind as to what my dream wedding dress would look like. I found my wedding dress on my first day of looking. The girls at The White Gown take such good care of you. They understand your response/taste and find dresses to match this. They also have a great selection of dresses. The were also incredibly accommodating to fit my fittings in/around my dates in NYC and did some last minute alterations.
SHOES: I wanted to have pretty shoes that I could dance in. Couldn’t look much further than Repetto! Althought I was greatful to have some white sparkly Tom’s to change into at the end of the night.
HEADPIECE: I knew I didn’t want to wear a veil but wanted something to complete my outfit for the day. I thought I would wear my headpiece for the ceremony and then lose it but I ended wearing it the whole night!
BRIDESMAID: The had dresses in the exact green we used in our invitations so it felt like the right place to go for the dresses. The variety was great and could accommodate everyone’s style.
SUIT: While James didn’t wear a traditional morning suit, he did kit himself out like a proper English gentleman and got his suit, shoes and waistcoat all on Jermyn Street
RINGS: There’s an amazing antiques market near Bond Street in London called Grey’s Antiques Market. Both James and I found our wedding rings there in the same day.
MUSIC: Have a dance party with our friends and family was a number one priority. The enthusiasm from Abby and Tom for our space and vision was exactly what we wanted for the night.
FLOWERS: Saw Taylor’s designs in NY Magazine and found her arrangements playful but delicate at the same time, with an amazing eye for detail. She was great at sourcing the quirky flowers we were after and worked with the layout of the tables to fill the long ones with apothecary glass vases. The brown glass really played off the metal and industrial feel of the space.
FAVORS: We kept trying to find ways of combining the UK and NYC together and our favors offered a great opportunity. Found the ‘We are Happy to Serve You’ Greek coffee cups online (so NYC!) and then filled it with our favorite candy and tea from the UK. We used the favors to double as table cards using initial badges on shipping tags.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Sas was recommended to us and we could quickly see from her portfolio that she could capture truly amazing moments in time. We were keen to have a photographer who would capture everything but without us knowing they were there. She was exactly what we wanted. We look back at our photos from the night and feel like we are able to relive all the fun and happiness through her work. She also did an amazing job of tracking down some great spaces for our photos – mere minutes from the venue. I can’t speaking highly enough of her work, from portraits to action shots. She makes every photo unique and special.
Venue: Music Hall of Williamsburg
Invitations: Harrington and Squires
Food: Betty Brooklyn
Dress: The White Gown
Hairpiece: Colette Malouf
Bridesmaids: J Crew
Suit: Jermyn Street
Rings: Grey’s Antiques Market
Flowers: Fox Fodder Farm
Photography: Sasithon Photography
Portrait location: The Jungle
[images from Sasithon Photography]
Kenny and I love to travel so we definitely wanted to have a travel theme. We also both love oldies music and vintage, antique and mid-century architecture and décor, so wanted to infuse that style with our travel theme. That’s how we came up with a “Vintage Travel Theme.” Instead of table numbers, we had table destinations and named each table after a city we’ve been to. On each of the table destinations, we shared a short story of our trip at that destination. Many of our friends and family had also been present at some of the trips, so we also tried to make it personal by including them in the stories if they were at the particular trip. You will also see vintage maps, suitcases, and hot air balloons throughout the décor to tie in our style.
In 2003, I met Kenny at Cal Poly Pomona. He was a little too much of a party animal back then and although he asked me out on several dates I always denied him. Finally, in 2007, we re-connected and we both grew up a low. He was a Respiratory Therapist and I was a Marketing Director and this time I actually asked him out. The rest is history! On July 29, 2011 (4 years later) he proposed at the Diamond Center in Claremont. It was a 4 year anniversary and I thought we were just going to be “looking” at engagement rings, but turns out he had the ring months ago and proposed to me in the store and all our friends were hiding in the back and showed up as he got down on one knee.
On September 2, 2012, a little over a year after we got engaged, I married my best friend, Kenny. The day started with me and my bridesmaids getting beautified by my wonderful make-up artist and hairdresser friends. I was nervous all morning because Kenny and I decided to write our own vows, and I knew I was going to blubber like a baby. I calmed down with the help of my MOH’s and bridesmaids who loosened me up with champagne and as soon as they helped me slip into my beautiful wedding dress, the nerves started to go away. My whole life I dreamed of the perfect wedding dress, and my wish came true. The dress fit my personality perfectly. It was fun, unique and whimsical with the textured rosettes, a little glam with the beading on top, and chic with the sweetheart neck and A-Line/Trumpet Shape (originally an A-line but the seamstress took it in a bit to make it more of a trumpet shape). My birdcage veil and vintage brooch helped to tie my style in with my wedding décor, which was a vintage travel theme.
Kenny and I decided to do a first look at the hotel we were getting ready at. Tears welled in our eyes when we first saw each other. As corny as it sounds, it felt like a magical moment, like we were going on our first date again. We had never seen each other this way. By this way I mean not only our fabulous wedding outfits, but in a way that felt so sure, because we knew we were now soul mates and starting on a journey headed to forever. I knew he was the one when he proposed, but I guess I never felt how real it was until that moment.
After our first look, we took portrait pictures and pictures with our wedding party around Downtown Claremont, then with family at our wedding venue, Padua Hills Theater in Claremont. We got to take a peek at all the décor. Throughout our engagement, Kenny and I did a lot of DIY projects, creating most of our own wedding décor and paper goods and it was amazing seeing our vision come to life. The ceremony was short and sweet, but the best part was reading our own vows to each other. We both blubbered like a baby, although my husband tries to say he had “allergies.” Cocktail hour and the reception were held in the same venue and followed immediately.
When we were introduced we walked to the dance floor for our first dance, and I think everybody expected a romantic slow dance, but instead we did a fun dance to “The Way You Make me Feel” by Michael Jackson which mixed into “Dance Again” by Jennifer Lopez. The first part of our dance was like the famous MJ music video, where Kenny chased after me and I pretended to not be interested. We even had a fake slap as a joke. This was to mirror our relationship because Kenny had chased me for a long time before I decided to go on a date with him. The second part of the dance was “Dance Again” where we did a modern salsa so we could do a little ballroom too. Both Kenny and I joke around a lot and are very sarcastic, so it wouldn’t have been us to do a slow dance. This was a fun way to start the reception. We had a live band that played funk, soul, 70s, 80s, and today’s hits so all of our guests can enjoy the music and it looks like they did because so many people were on the dance floor all night.
It was an amazing night, and I’m so lucky nothing major went wrong. Wish we could do it all over again, because like most people say, the day goes by way too fast.
• Photographer: Mark Brooke Photography
• Videographer: 618 Studios
• Hair: Oanh Truong
• Make-Up: Rachelle Llanes & J.R. Tuason
• Paper Goods: Tessa Tina
• Venue & Catering: Chantrelle’s Find Catering at Padua Hills Theater in Claremont, CA
• Ceremony & Cocktail Hour Performer: Denny White
• Reception Band: Upstart
• DJ, Lighting & MC: Entertainment Express
• Flowers: RG Creations by Gina Lopez
• Wedding Cake: Goldilocks
• Photo Booth: Edzel Fuertez Photography
I knew our wedding was a success when the first thing Demond said the next morning was “can we do it all again?”. I could not have agreed more. The entire experience was more than we could have ever imagined, filled with so much love and happiness. We truly could not have done it without the support of our amazing family and friends…fortunately we know some pretty talented people to boot! We were on a major wedding budget so when it came time to start planning, we narrowed down to what we could actually afford then enlisted the help of several of our friends for everything else. We really wanted to keep it modern and fun so we tossed the traditions and really focused on things we would appreciate (i.e. food and music). One of my favorite memories from the evening is scarfing down a giant burrito in my wedding dress.
We didn’t spend a lot of time hunting for the perfect venue. The Jupiter Hotel was the second place we visited, and after meeting with their event coordinator we both knew that was it. They let us use the space however we saw fit and gave us the freedom to choose our own caterers. We already had our heart set on using our favorite food truck, Koi Fusion, so this was a huge plus in our book. We were fortunate enough to run across our florist and photographer through referrals, both of whom completely got the vibe we were going for. Once we got the “big stuff” out of the way everything else slowly fell into place. We tried to keep the planning process as stress free as possible with little celebrations when we crossed something off the list (this may or may not have been an excuse to crack a bottle of wine on a Tuesday).
I feel so fortunate to have had resources such as Pinterest and wedding blogs to search for inspiration (seriously, what did brides do before the internet?!) but there also came a time when I felt completely overwhelmed with all the ideas floating around. My advice to brides who are planning is to pick a few things that are really important to you and your vision and stick with it. You don’t need to do it all. When your day finally arrives, it’s so important to just let go and soak it all up, cause it goes by quick. Some of the best memories are the ones that aren’t planned — a surprise serenade by grandma during speeches, the giggle of our ring bearer during our first kiss as bride and groom, the sound of dads voice during our father-daughter dance. Embrace every moment because it’s really freaking awesome.
Photographer: Hazelwood Photo
Venue: The Jupiter Hotel
Catering: Koi Fusion
Cake: made by family member
Gelato: Bonta Natural Artison Gelato
Bridal dress: Maggie Sottero purchased at Bella Brides
Bouquet and boutonnieres: Solabee Flowers
Terrarium Centerpieces: DIY (all materials purchased at Solabee)
Chevron Table Runners rentals: Ultrapom
Groom Suit: Men’s Wherehouse
Ties/Bowties: Speak Louder (Etsy)
Guys shoes/pants: Nike Shoes & JCrew
Groomsmen ties from Etsy seller: Speak Louder
Gals shoes: Urban Outfitters
Invitations and programs: designed by Jessica Steiert (friend of bride) / printed through Zazzle
DJ: Street Dream Mobile DJ’s
Wedding Day Coordinator: Amy Davidson (friend of the bride and groom)
Officiant: Andrew Swalko (friend of groom)
[images from Hazelwood Photo]
What started out as an “engagement party” turned into the actual wedding, to the surprise of Alexis & Chris’s guests! The Wythe Hotel acted as the perfect backdrop, with a stunning suspended floral display by non-other than BB contributor Michelle Edgemont!
The guests of this awesome wedding at The Wythe hotel were under the impression that they were arriving for Alexis and Chris’s engagement party. Surprise! An hour into the party, their loved ones were let in on the secret – they were really there for a wedding. The faces on their guests were the best I’ve ever seen at a wedding. Surprised and full of love! A sweet and loving ceremony under a cascade of globe lights was followed by a shower of metallic star confetti, jello shots, ice cream sandwiches, a beat boxer, and a lot of Instax photos.
Inspired by the roaring parties of the 1920s, candle light in metallic glasses lit the room. Vintage couches, coffee tables, rugs, side tables, and lamps gave the industrial room at The Wythe Hotel a homey, lounge feeling. Wild flowers of purple thistle, burgundy peonies, fiddle head ferm, and magenta carnations were accented by green succulents and custom made ikat table runners. The showstopper of the room was a hanging floral installation above the bar constructed out of hundreds of magenta carnations. Throughout the night, a photographer dedicated to only Instax photos captured the speakeasy party turned wedding.
[images from Stacey Simpson for Levi Stolove Photography]
Levi Stolove & Kiss the Bride Films are members of Brooklyn Bride’s preferred vendor listings