Getting married is the BEST.
I think I told every person at our reception that I loved them -- every single one.
Getting married is quite the enterprise and there were dozens of people working at our wedding -- bartending, serving and organizing. And I loved every one of them. Not to mention all the friends and family. That is truly the oddest and most overwhelming sensation -- to stand in room with 150+ people and know and love every one. To have every person in that room be hurtling well wishes in your direction. It is the most joyous occasion.
Jen and I are so grateful for the experience, the sacrifices, and the generosity. We are still brimming with joy from the day.
Here are some final thoughts on the details.
Jen and I decided early on that we didn’t really care about “florals.” We decided to save money here. We ordered succulents online and potted hundreds of them in my mom’s backyard. My mom bought potted marigolds from the garden depot, Jen’s mom made a floral arch with clippings and daisies, and on the day-of, Allison (our day-of coordinator/angel) bought an assortment of greens and tulips from Trader Joe’s. Nothing too fancy. The result was bright and green and exactly what we wanted. I stopped at a bodega on the morning of my wedding and bought an assortment of bright flowers and greens and made my flower crown while drinking mimosas with my bridesmaids. Easy peasy!
Originally, Jen and I thought we’d be easy and simply ask our Maids of Honor to stand with us. It’s a weird tradition, right? The whole barrage of friends in matching dresses and suits? Well, that went out the window. We ended up having epic bridal parties and could not have been more thrilled. We asked our sixteen attendants to choose a floral to wear: dresses, jumpsuits, suits, ties, shirts, whatever. It was so fun to see how these melange of flowers worked so well together and we were delighted to get to spend more time with our best friends prepping.
I’ll be honest, I went a little crazy with the DIY. I wanted everything to be in my handwriting, made programs, giant plywood menus, illustrated bridesmaid guides, reserved signs, washi-tape flags, oversized confetti, temporary tattoos with our likenesses. It was a lot and a few days before the wedding I was a bit of a mess. I wouldn’t change any of this, but it’s a lot to take on. AND my favorite DIY piece ended up being the one I didn’t make: our amazing floral backdrop for the photobooth was made by Gina Paola.
Something Blue and Other Traditions:
Jen and I both wore blue suede shoes-- for tradition and also Elvis. We both wore something old, something borrowed and something new-- and the kicker-- sixpence in both our shoes! We thought a lot about tradition when we were planning our wedding. There’s so much to consider, so many gender norms, and a lot of pressure to make thoughtful decisions: who is walking who down the aisle? First dances? What to do with an odd numbers of bridesmaids? Wearing white!?! Jen and I choose ones that were fun and meaningful to us.
Hors d’eouvres for Hours:
We did not have a sit down dinner. Honestly, we didn’t want to have to deal with making a seating chart, something that would inevitably be complained about by guests. We had a cocktail-style reception where small bites were served throughout the night. We had one station with crudite and what not, but other than that -- it was bite-sized reubens, tortas and cucumber sandwiches being passed throughout the night. This was recommended as a money saving option and it was -- you don’t have to rent dishes and silverware -- but we couldn’t recommend it more highly. Our caterer, Steven Brown, made a huge variety of delicious food and was super open to our “sandwich-theme.” No one had an assigned seat (truthfully, we didn’t even have enough chairs for everyone) and was encouraged to mix, mingle, and most importantly, DANCE!
This was Jen’s idea and I was skeptical. It is a tradition in all the weddings held where Jen grew up (upstate New York). People line up to dance with the brides, attendants collect a dollar and allow 25-45 seconds of dance time per person. Our DJ (DJ Mikey Palms) played a wild medley and we got face-time with nearly everyone. Throughout the night, you’re thrown around from toasts to pictures, to cake-cutting, and it was so nice to be able to spend a few seconds with each guest, one-on-one.
My mom made our cake. It’s my grandmother’s recipe and it was served at my parent’s wedding. I thought we’d just have a small cake to cut and smoosh in Jen’s face and that would be it, but my mom insisted that we needed enough cake for everyone. It was delicious and massive and we are still eating it. We also had two custom ice cream flavors made. I am the Creative Director at Ample Hills Creamery (homemade ice cream shop in Brooklyn) and the chefs churned and gifted two tubs of “Jen” and “Lauren” flavors. Oatmeal stout dark chocolate with peanut butter pretzels for Jen and, for me, a Moscow Mule blueberry sorbet with candied ginger. I ate one bite of cake off Jen’s fork and didn’t even see the ice cream, but people were raving about it. Honestly, you’re too busy to eat or drink, but it’s not for you and leftovers are a good problem to have. (NOTE: For our rehearsal dinner, our Maids of Honor made a bleeding (red velvet) armadillo cake: a nod to Steel Magnolias! That is also in our freezer for our “one year.”)
…are the best. Our DJ had the amazing idea of giving each person making a speech an at-bat song: Robyn, Reel Big Fish, Garbage and Mariah Carey, respectively. I publicly sobbed for twenty minutes while having my picture taken. Again, wouldn’t change a thing. At the end of the night, after eating that one piece of cake, I gave a short toast to the gathered guests. Jen and I thought it was important to take this rare and amazing opportunity to say thank you:
"During this whole process-- falling in love, getting engaged, and now-- getting married-- there have been VERY few things where Jen and I have felt “different,” felt “other,” felt “less”-- and that is such a rare and amazing privilege -- that today had very little to do with us being gay, but everything to do with us and our families. We want you to know that we are so grateful for your choice to love us -- in spite of, because of, and most of all, because it doesn’t matter. I think I made our wedding program while listening to the Supreme Court oral argument about marriage equality. It’s an awesome time to be at a gay wedding. Thank you for being a part of ours."
1. Hire a day-of coordinator. It may seem like an unnecessary expense. You can definitely get married without one. But for us, Allison was everything. Allison made it possible for us not to worry about flowers or timing or vendor contacts. I felt like I was just floating on a cloud of elation all day, simply moving from person to person, from photo to photo-- we didn’t have to make any decisions that day, Allison and our wonderful photographer, Jen Brister, made all the decisions for us. We were simply pointed in a direction and told to smile. (We didn’t need to be told.) We didn’t look at our watches or phone or wallets all day. And not having that stress was everything.
2. Hire people you want to be there. Your photographer and makeup artist will be around you and your family for hours on your wedding day. You want to be around people you love and make you glow.
3. Call in all the favors. Friends helped us with everything -- the photobooth, the wine, the kegs, the invitations, playing our ceremony music. We are so grateful for their generosity and in the end, our wedding reflected their talents and these wonderful friendships.
4. DELEGATE. This cannot be stressed enough. Family and friends want to be included and they want to help. This does not mean turning into the famed “bridezilla” that so many television shows are centered on; this means having a clear idea of what you want, recognizing that you, personally, may not absolutely need to do it yourself, and giving specific instructions. Those washi flags mentioned above? Yeah, we didn’t have time to finish making all of them ourselves. Jen dropped off a shoebox full of sticks, washi tape, scissors and some examples, along with some prosecco, and some of her family and wedding party sat around chatting and drinking and making these flags.
5. Piggy-backing on the delegating advice: CHOOSE YOUR BATTLES! You can spend so much time and energy worrying about people’s shoes, dance steps, and inane details. If it’s important to someone else - do it. This is not just a compromise between you and your partner, but a giant collaborative effort, and some people really care about certain parts. Let it go, it’s all going to be perfect.
6. Hashtag and Photo booth: Do it. It was so wonderful to scroll through everyone’s pictures the next day. Our Bosco Booth sent everyone pictures that night. You have to wait a few weeks to get the fancy photos. We loved seeing everyone’s candids and floral-filled gifs immediately. #fivethirty530
7. Say “thank you.”
We loved getting married. We love being married. And we are so grateful to Kate and H&H Weddings for showcasing our experience.
Lauren & Jen
- Photography By Story & Gold Weddings
- Floral Backdrop By Gina Paola Design
- Catering By Steven Brown Caterers
- DJ By DJ Mikey Palms
- Ice Cream By Ample Hills
- Makeup By damali nyc
- Makeup By Whitney Bibeau
- Venue By The Picnic House in Prospect Park
- Photo Booth By The Bosco
- Illustrations By Lauren Kaelin
- Ceremony Music By Alex Lewis & Phillippe Bronchtein