H&H Weddings

fashion & décor

Everything

Cropped

Mer Title_key Brittni

Real Wedding
gallery Oct 12 2015
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_portrait Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
View full gallery View full post
details

New York City Sweethearts

Remember Mer & Brittni's Engagement Shoot?! We thought we had fallen hard then, but when this gorgeous, intimate wedding showed up in our inbox, we couldn't wait to share it! 

From the stunning blooms, to their chic ensembles, these brides wowed us every step of the way! There is some serious inspiration in this fête & we are loving it.

Click through the images for lots of lust-worthy details! 

Title_key
Vendors
Tagged: fall fashion, fall inspiration, fashion, steph grant photography, outdoor wedding, brides
end
Connect with us
Cropped

Chad Title_key Matt

Styled Shoot
gallery Oct 7 2015
Placeholder_portrait Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_portrait Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_portrait Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_portrait Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_portrait Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_portrait Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_portrait Gallery_button Pinit_button
View full gallery View full post
details

Calistoga Cuties

As a potential venue inspiration for the same sex couples looking to wed, A Monique Affair assembled a team of fabulous creative partners and headed for Napa Valley. With the mission of highlighting the beauty and elegance of the Northern Bay area, A Monique Affair chose to the showcase the majestic grounds of the Solage Resort and Spa located at Silverado Trail deep in the heart of Calistoga.

Featuring the gorgeous couple, native to the Bay Area, A Monique Affair made this photo shoot a personal experience for both the models and the creative team who came together to create an amazing experience and some beautiful images.

The creative mind of Chanda Eddens-Daniels helped direct the team and it was her creative eye that brought it all together in the end. Using subtle bases and stylish textures combined with bold colors and the bright California sunshine, A Monique Affair brought this pretty photo shoot to life. Continuous encouragement to each partner to pull out all of the stops when creating their look for this event allowed the photographers, Rachel and Chloe to capture the whole experience of the day. Sheela, of Sarah’s Garden, introduced a beautiful selection of arrangements in both bold colors and traditional touches to make the tablescapes and vignettes stand out and inspire. The floral arrangements combined with vintage and contemporary props rented from both Pleasanton Rentals and Bright Event Rentals, provided the perfect polish to tie the entire look together.

Once the wedding stationery, created by Carrie and Nikki at Creative DNA, was incorporated into the tables, we were ready to shoot. The models were styled in a combination of looks provided by Cirkl, with Santa Rosa’s Wine Country Bride. The models were topped off with creative hair and make-up styling by Oakland’s own Angela Womack for a classic look. And of course we can’t forget the decadent wedding cake, created by Oakland’s own Marla Erojo, owner of Cakes Made by ME, it brought the entire photo shoot together!

Title_key
Vendors
Tagged: spring fashion, spring décor, summer fashion, summer décor, spring florals, spring inspiration, summer florals, summer inspiration, a monique affair, summer, spring, solage hotels & spa, chloe jackman photography, rachel capil photography, bright event rentals, pleasanton party rentals, creative dna, cakes made by m.e., sarah's garden, angela womack, wine country bride
end
Cropped

Philip Title_key Heath

Styled Shoot
gallery Sep 28 2015
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_portrait Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
View full gallery View full post
details

An Elegant Four Seasons Shoot

This styled shoot of two gorgeous grooms, Brad and Tom (a real couple), was planned amidst the elegant backdrop of the Presidential Suite at the Four Seasons, San Francisco and the bright twinkling lights of the city. The idea was to showcase an intimate affair that occurred when the sun had already set. I mean, honestly, how many sessions happen when its dark outside. But, we rose to the challenge, and created something truly unique and truly inspirational. The details were kept crisp and elegant, perfectly in tandem with the style of the venue, and the handsome couple. We had a running theme of silver grey with deep red (almost marsala) panning through the main table and dessert table. And very masculine and structured flowers via the maroon calla lilies.  A wonderful roster of vendors came together to bring this vision to life, including custom wedding rings by luxury jewelry designer,  Vittoria d’Aste-Surcouf. We wanted to create a visual inspiration for a same sex wedding that was equal parts elegant and creative. And, we hoped to have created a few inspirational looks for any same sex couple looking for gorgeous ideas for their own intimate wedding.  

Title_key
Vendors
Tagged: fall décor, winter décor, fall inspiration, winter inspiration, grooms, classic party rentals, gay wedding, shhivika chauhan, nicole perez, everything but the wedding dress, sarah hanna, vas bijoux, a spoonful of sugar cakes, selix formalwear, bella figura, green petal designs, four seasons san francisco, a day like no other
end
Cropped

Bryan Title_key Chris

Real Wedding
gallery Sep 9 2015
Placeholder_portrait Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_portrait Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_portrait Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_portrait Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
View full gallery View full post
details

Proud As Peacocks

Our first day set the tone for our lives together. Expect the unexpected.

After thinking Bryan stood me up for our date (at a sushi restaurant in North Florida) I got a phone call as I pulled out of the parking lot. It was Bryan telling me he “didn’t think he was going to make it to dinner. He was pretty sure his car was totaled.” Bryan had been in a (3 time) roll-over accident avoiding a deer that ran out onto the highway and his car was completely destroyed, yet he was okay-literally every hair still in place. I asked if he was okay and he started to cry and said he was sorry to miss the date. He didn’t have family or anyone to call to come and get him on the side of the road so I volunteered to go pick him up. We met in the flattering headlights of a sheriff’s patrol car complete with red and blue flashing lights on the side of a dark country highway. It was too late for dinner so we went and got Waffle House take out (the only thing open) and we sat up all night talking about life and how crazy this first date had turned out to be. We joked that this would make an amazing story for our children one day. I helped Bryan find a rental car the next day and take care of insurance business and drove him home and dropped him off. He texted a few hours later asking for a second chance at a first date that night and we have been together ever since.

Within weeks we knew this was the one. I am a former Broadway performer and now teacher and he was an up and coming television news journalist. We knew our public persona and living under the microscope because of our careers would be an issue and we wanted to make a unified effort to show we were a committed team and were both in it for the long run.

Bryan proposed to me 11 days after he met me. Yes! Even we thought we were crazy. It was more about the commitment. When we chose a new car for him he called and asked me to look at a particular car and tell him if I thought it was safe enough for child car seats. He has always been the one making a valiant effort for commitment to me and our family. I am the wild and fun artist and he the sensible, family man. And it has always worked. We wanted to wait until marriage became legal in the state of Florida because it was important for our family and friends to witness a personal AND legal commitment where we lived.

Three years later the window opened. We were not sure how long it would last, so we decided to jump. We had assumed it would happen in 2015 and had begun planning a big family wedding but when we were told the door would crack open at least for a moment on January 6th,we took a chance. We, once again, were flipping out. Our team of amazing people and friends- Kehrin Hassan from Jet Set Wed, Matt Steeves and Fallon Long from  Matt Steeves Photography, and Debra Mehrberg of DM Paper Designs not only agreed to style and shoot our wedding  “on the fly” but they overwhelmed us by being our support team during an emotional and possibly very tense time. With only days to prepare, they all sprang into action as we quickly flew in our minister, Donna Littlepage, from Birmingham, Alabama and braced ourselves for the first day of legal marriage in Collier County, Florida. We applied for the license with the help of the Collier County Clerk’s Office and enrolled in couples’ online marriage counseling and completed the course over a few nights and a few bottles of wine.

The day of the wedding could not have been more amazing.  The sun was shining in Naples and Kehrin, Fallon, and Matt met us at our home before sunrise with hot Starbucks coffee and calming, good vibes of friendship which set the celebratory tone for the day. Not knowing whether to expect protesters or a sudden judicial stay on the ruling for same-sex marriage had tensions heightened as we arrived in our caravan to the courthouse.  All of our friends and family wore the colors of the peacock – an idea we had planned for our November wedding going along with our love of blues, purples, and greens. It also symbolized our pride in the day and the concept of “proud as a peacock”.  We dressed in black and white because we wanted to symbolize that our union was now as clear as black and white in the eyes of the law.

We were surrounded in a parking deck by friends and family and our “team” and met increased security and several media outlets on the steps of the courthouse for this monumental day.  Submitting all the information at the courthouse is all a blur. From applause to laughter and then a brief, private ceremony in the clerk’s office chapel (they waived our fees!) we felt supported by those closest to us and now protected by the laws of the state we call home. There were tears, more applause, and the celebration from everyone in the courthouse as we became the first same sex couple to apply and legally be married in Collier County. We followed with a gorgeous brunch with our entire glam squad, friends, and family on Naples Third Avenue and then had a private stroll to reflect on what the day had meant to us and to our state and country. People stopped us to congratulate us or gave us thumbs up as they drove by. The waiter at brunch asked to take our photo. For one day we felt special doing just what everyone else does.

Looking back, I’m so thankful Bryan flipped for me on our first date.  We’ve been tumbling through this journey ever since.  It has opened doors to endless possibilities in life and friendship and has set the tone for how we want to spend the rest of days; expecting the unexpected.

Title_key
Vendors
Tagged: summer décor, summer inspiration, grooms, florida, brunch, gay wedding, matt steeves photography
end
Cropped

Alex Title_key Kaydee

Real Wedding
gallery Sep 7 2015
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_portrait Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_portrait Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
View full gallery View full post
details

Classic Chicago Ceremony

From Kaydee...

When Alex and I met, it was a strange coincidence. I was living near her parents in the suburbs, and she was living in the city near my sister. Soon enough, we were inseparable: visiting new restaurants, getting to know each others' families, and hanging out with both circles of friends.

Fast forward two years. We were standing on a median in the middle of Michigan Avenue, in front of the old water tower and Alex proposed.

When we started planning the festivities, we knew we wanted a classic feeling to the venue. Think Old Hollywood or Classic Chicago. Our styles have always been a blend of antique and modern looks, and the Warwick Allerton Hotel had just that. We saw several venues over the course of a few weeks and just didn't feel anything special. We walked into the Allerton and knew right then that this was the place; a beautiful view (aforementioned engagement median included), glamorous chandeliers, old Chicago history, delicious food, and room for our guests to dance the night away 23 stories above the city with panoramic views.

We really wanted to be able to sit with and talk to our bridal party and their dates at the table. The incredible events team accommodated our 21-person head table with a giant U-shaped setup.

Beau Buttacavoli, the event coordinator for the Allerton was a huge help for us. Beau helped to keep all of the women, two brides and two moms, in sync during the planning process. Beau brought together each one of our visions to pull off an incredible night. The entire team at the Allerton was well trained and on point during the entire event, from the rehearsal to the morning after the wedding. The team made our day really special and stress-free.

The Allerton works with BomBon for wedding cakes. We have very different and strong opinions when it comes to cake so BomBon let us pick 4 of our favorite flavors and made a mini cake for each guest to enjoy the night of. Each cake was expertly decorated like a small piece of art. We did have a big cake for cutting because, well, we both believe you can never have too much cake.

Our DJ, Josh Law, was incredible and helped to keep the night flowing according to our timetable. The decor was inspired by the Allerton's existing features, but enhanced to fit our vision by Raymond Joseph with RJ Designs. Raymond brought in hundreds of candles and red roses to make the space warm and romantic. One of our guests favorites was the photo-booth set up through Still & Motion Media, and they were more than willing to accommodate our last minute addition to the wedding. Still & Motion Media gave us copies of each of the photo strips which was so fun to go through the morning after. 

Title_key
Vendors
Tagged: fall fashion, winter décor, fall inspiration, winter inspiration, erin hoyt photography, chicago, brides, warwick allterton hotel, bombon cake, rj designs, still & motion media
end
Cropped

Ashley Title_key Sam

Real Wedding
gallery Aug 24 2015
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_portrait Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_portrait Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_portrait Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
View full gallery View full post
details

Connecticut Romance

Ashley & Sam know how to make our little hearts go pitter-patter! This lush, romantic setting is SO swoon-worthy! 

From the brides...

We met unexpectedly. Neither of us was looking for a relationship and we both went to the bar where we met that night, reluctantly.

After Ashley’s friend noticed her staring in my direction she insisted they approach my group to talk. The group conversation quickly turned to a one on one between Ashley and I. We soon found out that we had many things in common including where we grew up. The hours went by quickly and our friends left us. When we finally realized the time I asked for Ashley’s number and we said goodbye.

The following week I thought about her often and persistently asked her to hang out. I reached out every day until she caved. It would be safe to say we fell in love shortly after that during adventures in Astoria, in TriBeCa, and in Brooklyn between the hours 12am and sunrise.

Ashley and I, being in our early twenties at the time, were different people than we are now, yet our values and goals in life were always the same. As time progressed so did we. We grew together and formed an unbreakable bond.

I knew I wanted to propose to Ashley for a long time. I told her I’d one day make her my wife only a few weeks into our relationship. Five years later, I kept the ring in the safe at work and plotted the perfect way to ask.

The proposal happened during a trip to California. I had booked two nights at the beautiful Calistoga Ranch that Ashley was unaware of. When we pulled up to the grounds Ashley was completely shocked. After spending the afternoon in a heated pool, overlooking Napa Valley while drinking a bottle of cabernet, we headed to dinner. Our meal went quickly and I tried my best to act as normal as possible. Everything had to be timed just right for my plan.

While Ashley went to use the bathroom I alerted the maître d’ to get everything started.

When she came back, I convinced her to go for a walk to look at the California stars, and begrudgingly, without putting on her comfy clothes first, Ashley followed. I led her through the pool gates, down a path and into the vineyard. As we walked through a candlelit row of vines down from the hill, a solo guitarist was playing our song. I led Ashley to the rose petal covered stone patio that overlooked the vineyard as he followed us singing. I got down on one knee and proposed there under the stars.

The wedding took place on the lawn of the rustic Connecticut venue, The Barns at Wesleyan Hills. Surrounded by lush green grass and weeping willow trees, Ashley and I shared an intimate ceremony with our closest friends and family. We “tied the knot” during an ancient hand fasting ritual where ribbon was tied around both our hands as they were blessed. We were serenaded by our friend singing Patty Griffin’s Heavenly Day with acoustic guitar. Even the ceremony reading was unique as it was a poem I wrote for Ashley years prior read by another great friend.

Ashley had a vision and I stood by to watch the magic come together. From the seating cards made with rustic keys hung from a flower adorned fence, to a cake created to look like a wooden barrel the entire barn boasted our theme. The day was perfect. The support and love from our friends and family was overwhelming. It was truly the best day of our lives.

Title_key
Tagged: summer fashion, summer décor, spring inspiration, summer florals, summer inspiration, wedding dress alternatives, outdoor wedding, we laugh we love photography, brides, lesbian wedding
end
#TBT
gallery Aug 20 2015
details

Tomorrow, we turn 2 and we couldn't be more thrilled. We'll be celebrating with champagne & cake. Also, we are wondering if business years are like people years...is this the terrible 2's? Either way, we wanted to spend this #tbt looking back at our very first post. Ever. It seems like it was a decade ago!

Relive this stunning wedding & help us celebrate!

Title_key
Tagged: summer fashion, summer décor, mademoiselle fiona photography, summer florals, summer inspiration, #tbt, summer
end
Cropped

Colleen Title_key Mary

Real Wedding
gallery Aug 17 2015
Placeholder_portrait Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_portrait Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_portrait Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
View full gallery View full post
details

Tell us your love story!

We met several years ago when we were in our 20's through Colleen’s sister Beth and my sister-in-law, Tara. Colleen was always involved and it wasn’t our time. We reconnected when we were 30, post Colleen’s breakup of several years. I knew that we would be together forever. Colleen wanted a wing man, but what she got was my heart.

Tell us about the proposal!

Mary popped the question on the street after a delicious meal at ABC Kitchen one December night. Then we stayed at the NOMAD hotel and met our family the next day.

When did you know that you were meant to be with each other?

A few dates in, it felt more serious and we both felt differently. We knew there was no turning back.

Tell us about your big day…

We married on 11/1/2013 at the Liberty Warehouse in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Perfect day, perfect ceremony officiated by Kimberly Kirkley.

Going into the wedding planning, what did you definitely know?

We knew that we did not want it to be traditional, that we wanted to write our own vows and that we wanted to get married in Brooklyn (Mary is from Brooklyn).

What surprised you during planning?

Picking the venue and band was easy. The Liberty Warehouse captured everything we wanted for our wedding day. Trying to manage the guest list to be small and intimate was the biggest challenge.

Is there anything you wish you knew while you were planning your wedding that you know now?

To keep it simple and go with your gut feeling.

Any advice for couples planning weddings now?

We wish we would have kept the guest list smaller. We loved having a band and would recommend it to everyone.

Anything thing else you would like to add?

Stick to your convictions and don’t let others influence any decisions, it is your day.

What was your favorite part of your wedding day?

Walking down the aisle to meet Colleen and dancing to I Want To Dance With Somebody.    

Title_key
Vendors
Tagged: fashion, fall fashion, fall décor, winter fashion, fashion for every season, fall inspiration, justine bursoni photography, brookyln, the liberty warehouse, brides, vintage
end
Cropped

Ryan Title_key Cale

Styled Shoot
gallery Aug 12 2015
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_portrait Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_portrait Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_portrait Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_portrait Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_portrait Gallery_button Pinit_button
View full gallery View full post
details

The Perfect Blend

We all love coffee right? But who would have imagined a styled shoot based on "the perfect blend" at a coffeehouse?! Totally genius, right? We thought so. When this team of pros sent this shoot our way, we couldn't help but squeal! Can we talk about those paper goods by Avo Ink?! Brilliant!

From Sonja, the photographer...

A little bit about the shoot:

With the inspiration for our styled shoot being "Our Love is Brewing" we envisioned a morning ceremony with a brunch-time feel for the reception, bikes + pies, coffee + mimosas. We went a bit retro with the decor, incorporating pieces from Ryan and Cale's own home and meaningful items from their relationship in our shoot (hello, puffin!).

The books, the typewriter, the golden unicorn, the porcelain duck, a framed poem from their eighth anniversary - all things from their home brought to our shoot to give it life and meaning.  While planning this shoot we were looking for a couple to model, and we went with Ryan and Cale because they are friends of mine, they are stylish, and also because they are used to me following them around with a camera.

Ryan and I have been friends since high school, and I've known Cale since they were first dating, so when, a few days before the shoot, I received a text with a picture of them picking up their marriage license together I couldn't contain my excitement!!

This was actually going to be a celebration of their real marriage!  We went ahead with the styled shoot that we had been planning, but Ryan and Cale picked out their rings the day before, and had a private ceremony just the two of them earlier in the day.

The shoot was laid back and fun, reflecting the couple perfectly, and after we finished up we went out for drinks to celebrate the beautiful newlyweds!

A little bit about the couple:

Ryan and Cale met each other in Colorado after Cale moved here from Alaska in 2003. They have been in love for 12 years, inspiring everyone they meet with their generous hearts and warm personalities. They have moved all around the front range and recently settled in Old Town Fort Collins with their dog Melrose and cat Tiffani. Things Ryan loves: old-timey novels, small knick-knacks, puffins, and he loves 19th century women's poetry. Things Cale loves: baking, coffee, animals, and he has a passion for individuals with special needs. They are both heavily involved in the community, always giving of their time and talents, and are enjoying the excitement of being newly married! 

Title_key
Vendors
Tagged: fall fashion, fall décor, fall inspiration, styled shoot, grooms, colorado, sonja k photography , jolly events, finishing touches, avo ink, zuzu's bakeshop, dora grace
end
Cropped

Gary Title_key Charles

Real Wedding
gallery Jul 20 2015
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_portrait Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_portrait Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_landscape Gallery_button Pinit_button
Placeholder_portrait Gallery_button Pinit_button
View full gallery View full post
details

Brooklyn Boys

Tell us your love story!

We met when I (Charles)was visiting New York for the weekend, back in 2007. I was living in San Francisco at the time. My friends and I had tickets to see Margaret Cho at the Zipper Theater, but dinner finished early, so my friend suggested going to a nearby bar, Barrage, to have a drink. It was pretty early for a bar, so there weren’t too many people. We needed an extra chair and there happened to be one at the table where Gary was sitting with a friend. I went up, asked if it was OK if we took it, he said yes. When I sat back down with my friends, I happened to look his way, saw him looking at me, and I thought, he’s cute! I remember his smile. After a minute of us looking at each other and not really doing anything about it, my friend Kevin, a little exasperated, said, “Would you just go over and say hi already? He’s been looking at you since we walked in.” (Gary contends that the eye contact was mutual) So I did, and when I got to his table, Gary looked at me with this playful/wry look and said, “So, here to steal another chair?” I said, no, I wanted to see if I could join them. He eagerly said yes, please do, and then we (including his friend Jason) talked for an hour or so. A very fast hour. My other friend came up to us, told me we needed to make our way to the theater, so we exchanged phone numbers. And that commenced a series of non-stop texting that led to our meeting--just the two of us--a few nights later and then more texting and calling once I returned to SF. I was back in NY to visit and stay with Gary within three weeks. We spent the next 6 months traveling back and forth between SF and NYC. We saw each other every 2-3 weeks (racking up a lot of frequent flyer miles) and Skyped each other almost every day.

Tell us about the proposal!

It was June 26, 2014. The day that the Supreme Court was giving its verdict on the Windsor case. Gary is a political nut, so he follows MSNBC, all the blogs, knows everything about the House, the Senate, governors, etc. I can never follow politics, I can never remember names or offices. But this particular week, and on that particular day, I was following the news very closely, and when the news came out that the Supreme Court favored Windsor--clearing the way for federal recognition of gay marriage--we were obviously thrilled. At home from work, we watched the news programs on MSNBC. We rarely do that; usually, over dinner, we watch something like “Top Chef” or “Project Runway”, something light we’ve DVR’d earlier in the week. Tonight was different. After eating, we made our way to the couch and were watching Rachel Maddow. And suddenly, it hit me: I wanted us to be engaged on this historic day. Never mind I hadn’t done anything to prepare (like a ring, or a speech), or that we hadn’t talked about marriage in years. We’d talked about it before as something we wanted to do but not until it was legal on a federal level. Now it was, and I felt convinced we had to do it now. So I asked Gary if he would marry me. I think he thought I was being theoretical, he answered “yes” in a such an unemotional way. So I said to him something to the effect of, “I mean, I am asking you to marry me.  Will you marry me?” And he said yes again. He was really taken aback.   Something to know about Gary: he’s impossible to surprise. I am easily surprised, which is why he’s been able to plan surprises for me for birthdays and things like that, because I’m gullible and suspect nothing. Gary is always thinking several steps ahead. When we watch mysteries or thrillers, he knows who did it within minutes, whereas I haven’t even thought about it. The only way I can surprise him is if I don’t know what’s about to happen either.

When did you know that you were meant to be with each other?

Charles: We did long-distance--SF/NY--for six months, and by that point, we knew we wanted to live together. We would have been happy living in either one, but it was a lot easier for me to move and find a job in NY than it would have been for him to come to SF. So it took another six months before I could make all my arrangements to move. I drove in my car across the country, with Gary meeting me in Omaha, to drive together the rest of the way. I can’t think of a specific day or moment when I knew we were meant to be together, but by the time I left my SF apartment, I knew this was going to be it. Gary and I weren’t old, but we weren’t young kids. We’d been around, so we knew what felt serious. And this did.

Gary: I can’t pinpoint an exact moment that “I knew” but I have a general idea.  After a couple of years in my apartment, we decided to look for more space. We ultimately bought a house that turned out to be a gut renovation. It was a very stressful and time consuming project. At any point during the three year process, one of us would be freaking out about some aspect of the renovation, while the other would be a calming and grounding force. At some point during those three years I realized how wonderfully suited we are for each other, with enough in common to connect us, but with enough difference to balance the other. It is not something I think I would have recognized at a younger age. It also helped that all of my friends absolutely adore him.

Tell us about your big day…

Magic. It was the culmination of a weekend of festivity. It was a Sunday late afternoon wedding, so starting the middle of the week leading up to it, our families and out of town friends began to arrive. On Friday, Gary and I had dinner separately with our extended families; Saturday morning we hosted anyone who wanted to come for coffee and light brunch, and Saturday night we had the rehearsal dinner where our parents met for the first time. It was a big build-up. Sunday morning, Gary and I just relaxed and went to a local restaurant that we go to every weekend for brunch. It’s like “Cheers”; everyone knows our name there, we have the same waiter every time. We had a normal brunch, just the two of us, then came home, and started getting ready for Jacqueline to arrive at 2pm. I felt nerves, but good nerves, the sense of something exciting to come. Jacqueline was great; she spent an hour with us in our home, taking pictures of our house and of us getting ready, and looking back, I think it helped us get in the “wedding mode” and ready for the attention we were about to receive. And did we. We got to the site about an hour before the ceremony, did some family photos as the guests began to arrive. Melissa, our planner, had us go to a little room with family members who were going to be in the ceremony. Then, she had us get into our ready positions just outside the courtyard entrance to the Green Building. Once the music cue for the ceremony went on, things took off. Everyone always told us that the wedding goes by so fast you don’t have time to eat or think, and it’s true! Once Gary and I made our vows, things accelerated. It wasn’t a blur, because I felt like I was present at every moment. But it was non-stop and exhilerating. Everything was amazing from the flowers, to the music, to the Koolhaus ice cream truck that pulled up late in the evening. t was a perfect party and a great reflection of our personalities. We had arranged for a Photo Booth for a four hour period, and Melissa came by us toward the end and made sure Gary and I got a picture in there. We were the last people to take pictures, and it made me realize just how fast things had gone. I couldn’t believe it was already 10pm, which was the time we’d told the caterer and the DJ things would be done by. (Melissa asked our DJ, Duane, and Jacqueline if they wouldn’t mind staying an extra half hour, and they were so generous about it.)

Going into the wedding planning, what did you definitely know?

We always joke that Gary is a planner at heart. He likes a plan. Not even 24 hours of engagement bliss had elapsed after the proposal that he said to me he’d already researched places to have a ceremony and we had to act fast because those places were booking up!   We knew we wanted to have the wedding in Brooklyn, and we knew we wanted the Mister Sunday (afternoon dance parties thrown by Mister Saturday Night) crew to be the DJs. Everything else, we were open to. We knew nothing about catering, about flowers, about decorations. Gary quickly found out about the Green Building, which appealed right away because it’s close to our house and close the Mr. Sunday parties which (until that summer) had been just a few blocks away, on an abandoned lot on the Gowanus. So, we had booked the music and the venue before we even had our wedding planner. Everything else was a bit of a mystery for us. 

What surprised you during planning? What was easy, what was difficult?

When we got engaged, we’d just three months earlier moved into our house, which had been a gut renovation and took three years. It had been a nightmare of logistics but also decisions: what kind of light fixtures, how many, what color paint (there are hundreds of shades of white, I learned). Gary is far better than I am at filtering through and making a few selections. I need to have 3-4 options at most given to me, and then I can tell you which I like the best. We had the help of Melissa to guide us through it, but since we wanted this wedding to reflect on our lifestyles and personalities, she wasn’t in a position to make every decision for us as we wanted to be involved. So if you have the same problem I do, just be prepared: there are decisions to make. I took the advice of another friend who was also planning a wedding (but six months in advance of ours), someone prone to over-planning and getting neurotic about it. She warned me against feeling I had to meet lots of vendors in a specific category; she said it was OK if I only met one and went with it, if I felt good. So Jacqueline at Readyluck was a good example. We had looked at the websites of various photographers that Melissa suggested, and Melissa had reached out to arrange meetings with a few. We met Jacqueline first after another one had to cancel and reschedule. There was a particular album of Jacqueline on her webpage that I loved, so for me I just wanted to meet her and see if we got along.  Gary pretty much deferred to me on picking the photographer.) We met, liked her a lot, and so I told Melissa we were going with her, so we could cancel all the other meetings. And she did great! I think the month prior to our wedding--late April/early May--we’d hit wedding planning fatigue. Even though all the vendors were pretty much in place, there were still some things to change (like one vendor not having the specific table/chair or something like that). We were frankly tired of it all.

Is there anything you wish you knew while you were planning your wedding that you know now?

Well, there are some people who probably don’t have this problem, but our wedding was not dissimilar from our house in this respect: it cost a lot more than we originally planned!

Any advice for couples planning weddings now? Anything you would have done differently?

Just some random thoughts:

  • As I mention above, you don’t have to meet a ton of people in every category (catering, flowers, etc). Most of the vendors we went with, we only met one in person. All of them were fantastic.
  • On that same note: there is no one perfect wedding option that is out there you should be straining for. There are lots of great options out there, and if you don’t stress out too much, it will end up becoming perfect.  
  • Don’t feel locked into convention or what everybody else has done. There are truly no rules. For example, we didn’t want a first dance, so we just turned it over to the DJ after we thanked everyone and let the party begin. Likewise, neither of us are wild about cake, so we had lots of little desserts passed on the dance floor and to the tables and then had an ice cream truck show up late in the evening and everyone piled out into the street.  
  • Photobooth for people to take playful photos: WORTH IT. Do it!!!! And pay for the option to have an album made on the spot for guests to sign. Those pictures are priceless, and it was great having an album right away that we could look at.
  • Having Melissa get everything together for us and handle it all seamlessly on the day of: so worth it. I know some people don’t hire a planner and have friends/family do it. It’s a serious responsibility with a lot of stress for that person (and I would imagine possibly for the couple, if that person doesn’t handle stress well). Our wedding site was the kind of place where you have to arrange everything, so this was much more of a big deal than a wedding venue where all the catering and supplies are handled in-house.
  • For people who are worried about having a Sunday afternoon/evening ceremony (we were worried about it) because the next day is a workday: relax. The people you care about most will definitely fly in and come for it.

What was your favorite part of the day?

Hard to pick favorites, but the toasts given to us--by three friends and one unexpected by Charles’ father--were lovely. That was the one point I wish someone had videorecorded the event. We also loved the few minutes that our planner carved out for us alone in a side room with a cocktail and some of the appetizers just to absorb the moment together before we reemerged as a married couple.        

Title_key
Vendors
Tagged: spring fashion, spring décor, summer fashion, summer décor, spring inspiration, summer inspiration, readyluck photography, grooms, brookyln, the green building
end
Back to top