Kate sent me her wedding a few weeks ago, and I’m happy to finally get to post it! It looks like one of those weddings that you’d be so psyched that you just got invited!
I’ve been meaning to send you a few photos of our wedding, held last summer (July 5, 2008) at our house in Vermont, for ages. Michael and I live in Brooklyn and are fiercely devoted to our borough (he owns a company called Neighborhoodies, and I work at Brooklyn Botanic Garden), but our 1823 home in Vermont– Fern Hill– is where our hearts live. We built our wedding from the ground up with friends and family: making the food, putting together the flowers, designing and printing the paper goods, making playlists, and more. The wedding wasn’t only a carnival of love, but a proud productive moment for me, Michael, and our loved ones!
There are so many stories to share. I’ll try to structure some around the photos attached: we had the ceremony on a small hill overlooking a brook, the same spot where Michael proposed in June of 2007. Our officiant was my best friend (and maid of honor’s) mother, who led a Jewish-inflected ceremony that became very emotional for many of our guests, particularly when Michael read an excerpt he chose from Whitman’s “Song of the Open Road.” The end of the ceremony– when he smashed the glass– was pure joy, and we took off running down the hill in a totally strange & unplanned & and wonderful expression of delight!
We worked with a dear friend on creating the dinner menu, which used ingredients almost exclusively from Vermont purveyors. Another friend brought a quart of his famous salad dressing, and yet another drove up our favorite vegan whoopie pies from a bakery in Bethlehem, PA! My ivory lace dress was vintage in perfect condition (and I traded hundreds of dollars in alterations with a wonderful woman I met on Indiebride), and so was Michael’s three-piece navy suit, which came from Rue St. Denis in the East Village. The peony season in Vermont is only about three weeks, but luckily we fell right in the middle of it and bought 125 peonies from a nearby farm in shades of pink and white to arrange alongside soy votives in mason jars and simple glass vases over some old cotton lace I picked up at tag sales around town. My MOH hand-wrote all the place cards and table names, which were the names of New York Times sections (which Michael and I can’t function during the day without reading).
Our photographer, Heather Waraksa, and her second shooter Mike blew us away with their ease, skill, creativity, friendliness and, of course, the quality of the shots. I already have sent too many (and they’re out of order!), but we shot this amazingly cool series at night with sparklers (it was the day after July 4, after all), and some of the portraits they did were mindblowingly gorgeous.
[images by Heather Waraksa]
ABOUT US AND THE WEDDING
Matthew and I met at his sneaker and clothing shop, District, in our hometown of Alameda during the summer of 2005. As I browsed through his new store, his attempts at customer service and flirting came off rude and egotistical. Although it wasn’t a great first impression, I felt an immediate connection, but kept my distance after we learned that my cousin was a good friend of his. Two weeks later, Matt’s business partner and my cousin’s friend, invited me to join them as a buyer at a major Las Vegas Convention. My cousin had his reservations, but thought it would be a great opportunity for us to get to know each other. Who could pass up a free trip to Las Vegas, right? Matt asked me to lunch a few days before the trip so that we could get acquainted. We became instant friends and have been inseparable ever since.
After a couple years of dating and while on a winter vacation in New York City, we spent New Year’s Eve 2007 at a Chris Rock performance inside Madison Square Garden. At the stroke of midnight, Matt turned to me and said, “Babe, I’m not going anywhere,” a direct quote from the show. My reaction was, “What? That’s Chris Rock’s line!” He pulled out the box, opened it upside down and held a beautiful cushion cut solitaire in his trembling hands. While I burst into tears, Matt patiently said, “So, what’s your answer?” Although he didn’t officially ask, I cried out, “Yes!”
We were motivated to find a modern and clean venue that could represent our styles and personalities. After a month long search, we approached the new Yoshi’s Jazz Club and Restaurant in San Francisco with the idea of their first wedding and they were sold. The venue was made for our event: we held the ceremony in the jazz club, cocktail hour in the bar and lounge on the main floor and upstairs, moved into the dining room for dinner and back into the jazz club for cake, dessert and dancing!
After we booked Yoshi’s, we searched for local businesses that could provide us with the perfect service. Half way through my first day of wedding dress shopping, I tried on one dress that took everyone’s breath away. When I found out it was designed by Junko Yoshioka, it was the perfect sign and then, the perfect dress. Another light went off in my head when we realized that we could ask a family friend, Rev. Michael Yoshii, to officiate the ceremony. We were definitely on the right track with Yoshi’s, Yoshioka and Yoshii.
Because District and shoes played such a fun symbol in our relationship, we found it to be the perfect theme to tie us and our wedding celebration together. I was first inspired to create a cake unlike any other. Why not stack some shoeboxes on top of each other and top the cake off with replicas of our actual wedding shoes? Matt’s new white patent leather croc Vans and my silver sedaraby’s by Manolo Blahnik did the trick. After finding a local cake artist, Debbie Does Cakes, to help us embellish our dream cake, the theme took off. I soon reached out to a friend with a local design business, Passing Notes. Abbie helped us create shoe print invitations embedded with our initials, programs tied with a custom made shoelace, personalized shoehorns that guided our 200 guests to their table cities and our shoelace logo, which we projected onto the walls of Yoshi’s jazz club. Matt and I also displayed the logo alongside our photo on Yoshi’s outdoor marquee and even hand painted our logo on our aisle runner. The logo also added a personal touch to our out of town and wedding party gift bags.
Our purple theme was vibrant throughout the event with strapless Ralph Lauren bridesmaid dresses, purple bowties and argyle socks for the groomsmen. Purple orchids were submersed in tall vases filled with white stones and purple water. Different shades of purple and white orchids were also chosen for the boutonnières and bouquets provided by our local florist, Mints.
Our Uncle blessed the ceremony with his solo guitar, which included six Beatles songs, and a friend personalized our cocktail hour with his DJ beats. Yoshi’s provided the ambiance with jazz hits as we seated our guests at communal tables to serve the Japanese family style menu:
1st course: sendai miso soup, edamame, kakiage
2nd course: spicy geisha roll, sarusa roll, japanese roll
3rd course: gindara black cod, creekstone farm black angus ribeye
4th course: chocolate mousse bon bons and wedding cake
Debbie Does Cakes Shoe Cake: lemon cake with raspberry and vanilla filling
Sugar Danny’s Sheet cake: double layered devils food cake and almond cake
The night went off with a bang as we performed our self choreographed first dance to Estelle’s, American Boy. We cut the shoe cake, served the bon bons and danced the night away to top hits by the band, D’Groove.
Two days after the best day of our lives, we honeymooned in Nadi, Fiji and explored parts of
New Zealand that involved the Franz Josef glacier, bungy jumping, white water rafting and a helicopter ride over Milford Sound.
We’re still enjoying the coverage of our big day and get to relive it through our photographers, Joel Flory and Jon Encarncacion, and videographers, Travis and Curtis from Curtis Nemetz Productions.
Check out more images on Joel’s blog…
[images from Joel Flory]
September 27, 2008
Oratory Church of St. Boniface in Brooklyn
Bubby’s in DUMBO
Theme: Jon and I are both journalists and truly love the city, particularly Brooklyn, where we make our home. So we thought our wedding would be the perfect opportunity to showcase the borough for our friends and loved ones. Crafts — particularly needlework — are also a huge part of my life, so I wanted to imbue our wedding with lots of personal, handmade touches. Most of all, we really wanted to the day to be a celebration and feel like us — down-to-earth, even silly, but full of heart.
Setting: For our ceremony, we feel really lucky to have discovered the Oratory, which is tucked into a block in downtown Brooklyn. It’s a small, cozy Catholic church that strives to make everyone feel welcome. It was the perfect place to exchange our vows. For our reception, we very quickly settled on Bubby’s in DUMBO. The views are simply unbeatable, particularly during the cocktail hour. (Plus, we really wanted a fun, accessible menu — and you don’t get much more fun than fried chicken, pecan-crusted salmon and macaroni and cheese.)
Decor: We chose the color combination of chocolate and aqua — or “chocqua,” as we affectionately call it — early in the process, and I let it guide the rest of our design decisions. I had been toying with the idea of having our guests throw pompoms at us since I saw the idea in Martha Stewart Weddings, so when I saw these invitations by the White Aisle, everything came together. I got the invites, table numbers and escort cards in this motif, which reminded me of pompoms. My mom, mother-in-law and I made hundreds of “chocqua” pompoms (my made 400 herself!), which were thrown at us and also used to decorate the table. I also tied pompoms to a little card at each place setting, explaining that we would make a donation in lieu of favors. A lot of guests took the pompoms home with them, and we have a vase displaying the leftovers.
I didn’t want any artificial aqua flowers, so Carmine at Flowers by Emil used off-white spider mums — which reminded me of pompoms — and brown lotus pods for my bouquet and the centerpieces. (My bouquet also
had orange unique roses, just to add a little more color). Aqua table runners and “chocqua” lanterns bought on ebay brought everything together.
Dresses: My dress was by Mikaella and made of Chantilly lace, the same fabric that my beloved grandmother wore when she was married. While the lace is old-fashioned, the neckline is frayed and ragged, giving
it a more modern look. I wanted to be kind to my wedding party since traveling to New York is pricey enough, so they chose any J. Crew dress in espresso. Jon bought his suit at Brooks Brothers. I struggled to find ties for the men that brought all the colors together and finally found them — in Australia. But they were so inexpensive that we basically just paid shipping.
Photography: Jennifer Shea was our main photographer, with Stephen Strutt as the second shooter. They were so understanding and flexible and fun — it was misting all day, nearly ruining our chances of
taking pictures under the bridges. Anyone who says rain is good luck on your wedding day is lying. But it cleared just long enough for us to race over to the park after the ceremony, and they were such
professionals about it. Even though my hair fell because of the humidity, I’m glad we took the risk. (And luckily, I found four aqua umbrellas two days before the wedding at a hardware store on Court St.
– the employee gave me a discount because we were getting married!) The dance floor pictures are totally priceless! I also really have to credit Christine Viola of Exquisite Affairs Productions, who basically saved me from a hundred panic attacks.
Ceremony: We really cared about creating a ceremony that represented us. We spent a lot of time finding Bible readings that would speak to all of our guests, including one that mentions crafts (Proverbs 31 –
“She obtains wool and flax And makes cloth with skillful hands“) and chose the Gospel reading about Zaccheus, a childhood favorite of mine because I’m short. We also wrote our own vows, which is unusual for
Catholic weddings, as well as several smaller parts of the ceremony.
Music: For our ceremony, we really loved the idea of strings for most of the Mass, but this required a lot of extra work. Hire Conservatory Alumni worked with us to personalize the service and transcribe music
traditionally played on other instruments. I walked down to the aisle to “Anne’s Theme” from “Anne of Green Gables,” which sounded so beautiful in strings. And for our processional, they played an
instrumental version of U2’s “Beautiful Day.” It was just perfect. For our reception, we used the Downtown Band from Hank Lane, who were a total blast.
I knew immediately that I would knit and crochet shawls for my bridesmaids, which was a wonderful way to really relax and focus on our friendships before the wedding. I picked a different pattern for each of my girls, crocheting two and knitting two. For the groomsmen and our dads, I sewed boutonnières out of different “chocqua” fabrics, so each one was unique. People told us not to bother with programs,
but I always love reading about different traditions and following along with the service when I’m at weddings. I designed them myself, had them printed locally and included personal stories about us and our wedding party, as well as this poem by ee cummings. I also made a cake topper that looks alarmingly like us.
What I couldn’t make myself, I bought on Etsy.com because I really wanted to support independent artists. Myra at Twigs and Honey made my hairpiece, but I ended up swapping the center flower out and adding
one that matched our colors more. I bought cute flower earrings from Luxe Deluxe, and our ring holder, which was engraved with the same ee cummings poem, was from Palomas Nest. (Sadly, this got lost at the
reception!) I wore my mother’s pearl bracelet and carried my grandmother’s vintage handkerchief; Jon wore his grandfather’s cufflinks. And we bought our rings at Clay Pot in Park Slope.
[images by Jennifer Shea]
Lara & Jerome met within a fairly international group of friends. Lara was known as the “American Girl” and Jerome was the “French Guy”. They first met at a fall party where Jerome spilled a drink on her and they hit it off from there. They joked about being future roommates that night and a year and a half later they were engaged on a beach at sunset where Lara said “Oui” (yes, in French).
Their wedding day was a reflection of their personalities organic, colorful, easy-going, but still refined. They got married in the conservatory so they could bring the outside in and be surround by the feeling of nature. Their décor was pops of orange, yellow and cream flowers with pale green eucalyptus leaves to keep it sophisticated. The center pieces also included curly willow branches that hung 6² orange lanterns with led lights to give a warm glow to the room at night. The cake played off the bark/organic theme. Each layer was wrapped with individual 5″ tall chocolate shavings that looked like twigs.
They also wanted to make sure they included little touches of French here and there to pay tribute to Jerome. For instance their favors were wrapped in orange boxes with yellow ribbons. Inside they had French chocolates and candied almonds surrounding a French dessert called Canneli de Bordeaux.
After dinner guests were encouraged to take Polaroid camera’s and a gold frame and take pictures. This was an interesting way of doing a Photo Booth with all the hassle of setting one up.
In the end Lara & Jerome wanted an intimate relaxed evening wedding, where it wouldn¹t matter if the weather was unpredictable. The conservatory at The Royal Park Hotel was perfect and allowed so much of the outdoors into the space during the ceremony/reception. The guest were still be able to go outside during cocktail hour to enjoy the sunset and then move inside to enjoy the stars during dinner and dancing.
[images by Aruna B. Photography]
Cool wedding eh? Not enough people tie those metal cans to their cars anymore….I think we should bring it back!
[images by John Rozier]