A Warm, Intimate Brooklyn Wedding
Tell us your love story! How did you meet?
On the internet! Al found Kat on OkCupid but Kat asked Al out first.
What about the proposal?
Al: We had been talking about getting married sometime in the future more and more when I got sent to DC for work over the summer. Being away for an extended period made me realize that I was ready to marry Kat and wanted to do it relatively soon. Plus the fall is our favorite season and has lots of important dates for us so I thought it would be a good time to propose. She started sharing rings with me and I asked her to go shopping with her best friend Blair so I could get an idea of what she wanted. Little did I know…
Kat: While I was shopping for myself with my best friend Blair, I was also getting Al’s ring made. I decided that I would propose on her birthday so she wouldn’t expect it. They said the ring would be ready before her birthday but suddenly it was the week of her birthday and the jeweler said the ring wouldn’t be ready until the evening of her birthday! I couldn’t let my plans get thwarted so I asked if I could get it the day before. They were closed on Wednesday but ft Tuesday evening would be possible. I’m at work on Tuesday and get a call from the store saying they are closing early; there was no way that I’d make it in time so I ask if they can drop the ring off with our doorman (which they do) and arrange for the doorman not to put it in the system so Al doesn’t know that there’s a package. While all this is going on…
Al: The day after I get home from DC I went to Elleven to get Kat’s ring made. She showed me a picture of one she loved at the store and that Nassim would know what to do. He said it would be ready in 2-3 weeks and that was perfect. I thought about proposing to Kat on my birthday since she wouldn’t expect it but I nixed that idea in favor of doing it on our annual “fall fun day” when we do autumnal activities like apple picking. Plus the weekend before my birthday we were talking about getting engaged and Kat was like “noooo, it’s too soon” so I thought to myself, okay, no rush on the ring, I’ll hold onto it until it’s time and if she proposes first I’ll have my ring handy so I can propose right back. On my birthday they call me to say it’s ready and I’m like great, I’ll just pick it up after work next week.
Kat: I had to tell her it was too soon to throw her off the scent! Otherwise she would for sure have been on to me or beat me to it. We go to Sparks Steak House for Al’s birthday and have a great steak dinner with lots of wonderful wine. I planned a series of small gifts for Al to open when we got home, the last being the ring. I’m not good with “the words” so I wrote her a card that said it all, or so I thought...
Al: We get home and I start opening my gifts and read my card. I open the last gift and it’s a little box inside of a huge box. I open the box and there’s a ring box inside. I open the box and see the ring and I look at Kat and I ask her “which finger does it go on?” She said “your ring finger, you dummy, will you marry me?” and I said yes of course and we hug and kiss and revel in our happiness. But I start to panic because her ring isn’t ready yet and I wanted her to have her ring too. I quickly grab a ring that I used to wear and give it to her to wear until her ring is ready.
Kat: Al is hard to surprise but I wanted the surprises to continue so for Friday night I booked us a room at the Ludlow hotel as a mini-engagement-moon surprise.
Al: And I am so surprised and shocked and blown away yet again! We relax and enjoy the weekend. On Sunday, I “sneak away” to get Kat’s ring on we go for one of our walks along the Brooklyn Promenade. Kat knew it was coming but it was still nice to have my moment of telling her how much she means to me and give her her ring.
When did you know that you were meant to be with each other?
Al: I knew pretty early on that Kat was super special and that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. She is extremely caring and thoughtful and has a knack to know what I need even if I don’t know I need it and she always calms me down or cheers me up when I need it. She takes care of me in ways that I would never for myself. She truly is my partner, my buddy, my better half, and my partner in crime. It’s just easy being with her. Our conversations are never boring, we can talk about anything and everything, and even while doing mundane tasks (hello, laundry!) we somehow always seem to have a good time. She makes my life so much better in so many ways.
Kat: I had all the preconceived notions of what my life should look like and what kind of person I should be with. In my experience, it’s almost impossible to reconcile your real life with ideas like this, so I had really struggled with it for a while. But while Alison was in DC for the summer, I realized that I have a partner in life who makes me absolutely and unconditionally happy, and whose unwavering support and devotion is always there. Screw what life was supposed to look like, how could I give that up?
Going into the wedding planning, what did you definitely know?
We wanted to get married in Brooklyn and we wanted the wedding and the venue, food, etc. to reflect us and our life together. We’ve both been to a handful of weddings of all different types - from those experiences, we knew we wanted more of a party than a ceremonious affair. Most importantly we wanted it to be joyous.
What surprised you during planning? What was easy, what was difficult?
I think wedding planning just takes over your life no matter what. It’s like a second job. For weeks at a time we had vendor meetings and venue tours every night. Also, Kat used to be an event planner and she foolishly thought this would help in wedding planning. Not so - unlike event planning, when you’re working on your own wedding every decision is an emotional one with no right answer!
Is there anything you wish you knew while you were planning your wedding that you know now?
We already knew you can’t make everyone happy, but the majority of the people who come to your wedding (if you’re lucky, all of them) will just be happy that you’re happy! Seriously.
Any advice for couples planning weddings now? Anything you would have done differently or anything you’d like to add?
Find a place to go every week to wedding plan NOT in your apartment. Every Sunday we would go to one of our favorite local pubs and get some beers and wings and sit and wedding plan for a few hours. We found that we were more productive when we did this and allowed our home to be a somewhat more of a wedding-planning-stress-free zone. Find vendors you like and trust, and let them do their jobs and take if off your plate! They know more about what they’re doing and what needs to be done than you do. Interview as many as you think you need, so that when you choose one they have your trust to execute whatever the vision is with minimal oversight. It saved us a lot of headache - we put ourselves in the hands of vendors we trusted and did our best not to micromanage or spam them with follow up emails.
We are both super type-a planners so we went back and forth on a day-of coordinator until recently married friends said we had to have one - we were skeptical, but in hindsight we could not agree more. Franny helped us iron out things during the planning process that we forgot/overlooked/didn’t even think about and then day-of she was there taking care of everything. We 100% recommend a day of coordinator (and Franny) to anyone getting married. And fight for that weird or random thing you want in your wedding that no one else gets. Kat is a plant lady and Al tolerates the plants - our favorite plant shop had a big jar of mini dinosaurs at the checkout, so every plant Kat got, Al got a dinosaur to put in it. We both wanted to be involved in the flowers, so we talked to our florist and put mini dinosaurs hidden throughout all the florals and an AMAZING diorama scene behind the bar. It was a tough sell and difficult to explain to people before the wedding, but one of our favorite parts.
What was your favorite part of your wedding day?
Al: All of it? Is that an answer? We bucked tradition and stayed at our apartment together the night before the wedding. Kat wanted to do her regular Saturday morning pilates class (which I thought was a little crazy) and then we met at Bien Cuit for coffee and pastries. It was really nice to have some time together before the craziness of the day started that we could just be together to do our thing. Also, during the dancing/party part Kat grabbed me and asked me to come downstairs (we had a two floor venue) to just be with her for a minute. It was nice to have a moment together and talk. Slowly our friends and family started coming down as well and we were able to just have great conversations and fun with everyone.
Kat The flowers! Oh man - I am a plant lady to the max, and our florist was a wizard and a magician, as well as just a delightful person. Liv took our idea of rich colors and old master paintings, added dinosaurs, and created this amazing floating garden and lush florals everywhere that were a reflection of BOTH our tastes. I also really liked our vows - we were stressing about writing our own (ugh! another thing on the never ending Wedding To Do list), when we found some pre-written that we really liked and just tweaked them a little for ourselves. It was perfect.
- Location | Catering: Maison May Dekalb
- Photography: Carole Cohen
- Florals: Liv Florally
- Paper Goods: Minted
- Music: Phonograph DJ Mac
- Hair - Al: Sarah Rappolt
- Hair - Kat: Glamsquad
- Makeup - Kat: Caroline Baribeau
- Officiant | Day-Of Coordinator: Franny Civitano
- Attire: Bindle & Keep
- & Randy Fenoli from Glamour Closet
- Jewelry: Elleven
- Photo Booth: Oh Snap Smile
- Dance Lessons: Stephanie Shapiro at You Should Be Dancing