Fast-forward to Part II. Nathaniel and I own a very old colonial home up in the hills of Litchfield County, CT. We found the house together while we were dating, and that is where he proposed. Because the house is in the midst of a large, lush green clearing, it made practical and romantic sense to have our wedding there. The plan was to hold a tented reception starting at 5 p.m. that Saturday, where all of our out-of-town guests would join us for a “country chic” wedding celebration.
Unlike Friday, Saturday was a meteorologic mess. Our vision for the whole evening shifted. I had imagined a second ceremony, with our families processing down our long driveway toward the crowd of guests gathered on our front lawn. I had met with Jenny Ebert, our incredibly talented photographer, to discuss capturing shots of dappled light and interestingly-cast shadows on everyone and everything. I had even considered having a hat made for the ceremony.
Instead, it was dark and damp and sprinkled all day. At 6 o’clock (we were running late), as the last luminary was lit along the driveway to announce our entrance, there was a rumble up above. Just as our van pulled into the top of the driveway (carrying me, the bride, and our two families. Nathaniel was already there entertaining our guests), the skies opened up and proceeded to dump water for the next 8 hours. Thank goodness for our beautiful tent.
As opposed to any sort of graceful entrance, I had to RUN from the van into the tent, under the shelter of 4 umbrellas (thank you, Mom and Dad). My ivory (Amsale) gown was hoisted up around my knees and my blue (Marc Jacobs) heels were soaked through. And there I was met by my handsome groom, dressed in his dapper pinstripe suit (Ralph Lauren- and no tie!) Nothing could have possibly ruined that moment. It was a blast. It made for a very dramatic entrance, and guests cheered and laughed at the whole spectacle.
Nathaniel and I exchanged the vows that we had written to each other, and then he shocked everyone by serenading me with, “My One and Only Love,” once everyone was seated at their tables. Though I had begged him to sing (he has a voice that makes you weak in the knees), he had refused saying he was too embarrassed. It was the best wedding gift I could have asked for.
Because we’re both in creative professions, we tapped into the many resources of our astonishingly talented friends for the party. A friend of Nathaniel’s sang our first song (David Liang of the Shanghai Restoration Project), and accompanied him while he sang to me. Two former graphic design colleagues of mine arranged the seating cards, strung between two birch poles. One of them is now studying fashion design, so she hand-made abstract flower pins for guests to wear on their lapels. My current business partner (Ashley Rosebrook of Rosebrook hats) did the table layout, using different types of ferns, mint julep cups and votive candles, instead of flowers.
We hired a band for the first half of the night, and asked them to exclusively play music from the Big Band era, so the older half of our guests could groove on the dance floor for a bit. The evening had a very “Gatsby” vibe, until our DJ, Michael Smith, took over. The whole energy level and volume went from cozy, swinging and romantic to jumping, shouting…and, well, breaking the dance floor. We actually DID break the band-stand somewhere in the midst of the night, as the younger portion of our guests (and some older, including my father) partied and danced until after 2 a.m. The moral of our story is that rain can not only create “wet knots that are harder to untie,” but a spectacularly fun atmosphere for a wedding.
[Maureen just launched a new site with her business partner called Pinhole Press, so check it out!]
Jenny Ebert recently sent me the fab wedding of Maureen and Nathaniel, 2 incredibly talented people who just HAPPENED to have 2 weddings in 2 totally different styles. I’ll let Maureen tell you about it…
Though technically, Nathaniel and I had one actual wedding… we sort of had two.
We were married on a Friday night in June this past summer, at the gorgeous Church of Our Saviour on Park Avenue. Our closest local (New York) friends came to witness the ceremony, so it was small and intimate. Thematically our wedding(s) didn’t really have a theme or a color scheme, other than to embrace the surrounding elements at each event. So, Friday night was about chic modernity, with a bit of “sparkle,” to emulate the twinkling lights of New York City. The 8 bridesmaids wore their own dresses— the only criteria being that they either be champagne or pale gold. Nathaniel’s dark grey suit was custom-made and his entourage wore matching ties and charcoal suits, as well.
I wore my Mother’s dress, which was thrilling for both of us. I worked with a local designer, Gregory Nato (who recently launched his own line of bridal dresses called “Fancy“) Because my parents were married in December, my mom’s gown was heavy and long. Very full-coverage. So Gregory and I met numerous times and he totally re-shaped the dress. It was cut to the knee, and he re-built the whole top, including a low-cut back with about 5 of her original buttons. He even cut the train, so I had a short train going down the aisle! I removed it after the ceremony. My shoes were Guiseppe Vanotti, adding some definite sparkle there, as well.
We dined afterward on the roof of 60 Thompson along with our wedding party/spouses and our immediate families. It was a crystal clear evening and everything twinkled as we hoped it would. Our guests enjoyed the spectacular views of New York while they ate a casual but exquisite meal, catered by Kittichai. Overall, the evening was contemporary in look and feel, and everything we possibly could have hoped for in our wedding.
Stay tuned for pictures from the second wedding this afternoon…
Jenny always sends me the best weddings! This one took place in Red Hook, which I think might be a first for me, so I was excited to see how cool everything turned out! Jess gives all the juicy details below…
Chris and I were married on September 12, which, as near either of us can guess, just about marked our twelfth year together. We met in college in Indiana, where I’m from. Since then, we followed each other to Texas and then to New York, and have grown together and supported each other through various crazy plans, impoverished states, graduate degrees, and a couple of different careers. Now I am a lawyer in the city, and this year, Chris completed his PhD and got an assistant professor position here. It’s been a big year, and a good year to get married!
We have lived in Brooklyn since 2001 and most of the people we wanted to celebrate with us live here, so we never considered getting married anywhere else. Brooklyn is home! We got engaged on October 2008, but didn’t really start planning until mid-to-late Spring. We wanted to have our favorite people there, and to plan a ceremony and party that fit us – warm, low-key, and classy. We *think* our wedding was those things – but we *know* that almost everybody (including us) cried at the ceremony, that the dance floor was packed at the party, and that it was the happiest day of our lives (so far).
Ceremony: Louis J. Valentino, Jr. Pier in Red Hook. We chose it because it is an intimate, secular spot and a “real place” that we can visit on our anniversaries (or anytime).
Reception: Botanica. Gorgeous, close to the pier, with amazing crafted cocktails and the perfect size for our 80 guests.
Officiant: Lisel Burns, Clergy Leader Emerita from the Brooklyn Ethical Culture Society.
Wedding Party: We asked friends and family to be involved in and help with our ceremony, and had planning help from several good friends whom I also invited to hang out with me as I got ready for the wedding, but no matching dresses or having to stand in a row in front of everybody at the ceremony. Chris’ two brothers were his de facto groomsmen.
Photographer:Jenny Jimenez. Jenny’s photography is beautiful without being overprocessed, photojournalistic but also creative. And her subjects all look so comfortable, her warmth just comes right through her lens. She is Seattle-based, but as it turned out she was open to coming to New York for a visit in early September since she has family nearby. Jenny captured beautifully every important moment, made us and our guests look fabulous, and took a lot of care in scouting some amazing locations and shots ahead of time. And she’s a great dancer!
As far as we were concerned, those were the big things. Here are the rest:
Dress: Nicole Miller. (Okay, now that I visit your archives, I see that my dress was uberpopular this year, hahaha. One thing I love about it though is that it sort of looks different on everybody!)
Shoes: Oscar de la Renta
Chris’ suit: Custom, from L&S Men’s Clothing in Midtown.
Flowers / decorations: Nicolette Camille Floral Design
Alterations: Susan Ruddie / The Wedding Dresser. Not only was her work incredible (I’m only 5’1” and my dress was not, it required some major surgery!), but she makes house calls, at least in Brooklyn. I am a terrible klutz, so the idea of traveling with my dress was terrifying. Susan even delivered it to the hotel so that I would not have to schlep it anywhere.
Music: Our friend Mike played acoustic guitar before and after the ceremony. Our other friend Mike was our DJ.
Coordination: We did not officially hire a coordinator, but Christine Viola of Exquisite Affairs Productions had worked and befriended a dear friend of mine, and she offered herself to answer a lot of our dumb questions (“Where should we stand during the ceremony?” “Are balloons a stupid decoration?” “Do we have enough tables and chairs?”) and held our hands through some last-minute issues that came up. She gave great guidance and was always positive and patient. If she had not already been booked on our wedding day, we would have hired her in a flash.
Other personal touches: As a small surprise, I had Chris’ grandfather’s watch restored and gave it to him before the ceremony. I had also found on Etsy some vintage linen hankies embroidered with our initials, knowing we’re both huge saps and would need them.
I have too many hobbies and a blog to document some of them, the major one being knitting, but I viewed our wedding as a little bit of an opportunity to try a new one – Gocco. Each Gocco project is documented, including lessons learned and resources, at Fig and Plum:
Coasters & CD Covers: http://www.figandplum.com/archives/000913.html
And um, I also knitted a shrug: http://www.figandplum.com/archives/000908.html
I asked Chris whether he had anything to add, and he said that the parts he remembers the most from our day are the elements we knew we wanted from the very beginning (those “big things” above), even though we obviously had a lot of other things to think about later. I feel the same way.
Balloon garland…why didn’t I think of that??
[images from Jenny Jiménez Photography]
How beautiful is this wedding? There’s such great little details (like the paint tubes as escort cards) that are just absolutely perfect!
The most important part of our wedding was to gather our family from across the country and show them a good time. The key to that is great food, plenty to drink and a killer band! We chose The King Plow Art Center because of it’s industrial vibe and the inspiring selection of art in the gallery room. We choose W Scott Chester Photography because we knew they could creatively capture the energy of the party and the personalities of our friends and family. With the help of our coordinator Suzanne Reinhardt from Magnolia Events and Bold American Catering and Decor, we designed our wedding in classic black and white with splashes of bold colors to play off the amazing artwork. We kept the centerpieces low to the tables, and used canvas’ on mini easels as table numbers and oil paint tubes as seating cards. The bridesmaids and myself each had custom hair accessories made by House of Telsa, a boutique found on Etsy.com. The groomsmen wore suites, each with a different purple tie given to them by David and he wore a pink tie (the first gift I gave to him years ago). Using the same fabric as my birdcage veil by House of Telsa, I had a custom belt made for the ceremony, I also had custom pockets and a sweetheart neckline added to my Melissa Sweet dress. The reception started with a Georgia Peach Sweet Tea Cocktail Hour with music by DJ Fluff and light hors d’oeuvres in the gallery. For the rest of the night Hitman, a blues band from Savannah, rocked out and themed food stations consisting of fall flavors, southern classics and a stir fry noodle bar were set up around the gallery. The wedding cake by Matty Cakes was decorated with crystal dress trim and was tiered in pumpkin cake and carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. The amazing night ended with a sparkler exit!
Cool can’t even begin to describe this wedding that photographer Jennifer MacFarlane sent over last week…all tradition was thrown out the door for a totally unique event! I’ll let her tell you more…
The vendors were all friends and friends of the family. Russ is a photographer from Staten Island and Heather is a dancer from Queens. The ceremony and receptions took place at the NYC Fire Museum.Another highlight, which you can see in the photos, is when Russ broke the glass and brought the whole chupah down on the officiant….which made for one of the funniest photos of my career!
The highlight of the night was Russ and Heathers 1st dance which started with a choreographed dance to “I had the time of my life” from Dirty Dancing, mid song the record scratched and to the reggae dancehall favorite “Lyrical Gangsta” then to Heavy D’s “Now that we’ve found love”. Each second the dance moves getting saucier and sillier…which set a precedent for the rest of the night!
Our cake topper was custom designed by my cousin’s girlfriend, Crystal Hanehan
Heather’s ceremony dress, pink/gold, is by Phillip Lim and the reception dress, teal leopard, is Nanette Lepore.
Heather had a custom hairpiece by Etsy artist Myra Callan of Twigs&Honey
Catering and decorations including flowers were by Chez Vous. The proprietor and chef of Chez Vous is a close family friend, Ettore Mazzei.
[images from Jennifer MacFarlane]
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