This lovely intimate wedding gives me a warm glow. A blend of up close and personal photography and a lovely couple gives this wedding a beautiful quality. Obviously Kim and Greg were very comfortable being photographed and it shows!! Some couples are a little shy when it comes to having a photographer stick their lens in their faces but this couple show exactly how it should be done…..relaxed and in love with one another…..MY FAV photographer Yun Gen Yang took care of the rest.
Kim walks us through their wedding day….. Greg was born in Long Island, NY, and I was born in Brooklyn, NY. We’ve lived together in Manhattan since 2008. We were married in the neighborhood memorial garden near our apartment in New York. Now that it’s common knowledge, we can tell people the truth about how we met - we met online! I introduced myself to Greg on Friendster back in 2003 with a kind of six degrees of separation (we still can’t figure out how we knew the same people as none of our friends really knew each other back then!) But when we first started dating, we’d tell people – mostly our family – that we met at NYU in a fencing class! Totally not true, but a fun story that people thought was cute. Our mom’s both would have freaked out if they knew their then-college-aged children were ‘meeting people online’. From the beginning we knew we wanted to spend the morning of the ceremony together, so we invited our wedding party over to help us make a morning of it. We all had breakfast, made our bouquets, and got dressed together in our apartment.
We had artfully avoided the whole marriage thing… and I find myself telling people that we are very independent and a bit commitment-phobic but that’s not entirely true. The truth is we are very independent and also both young at heart. We never really knew if we’d be ready to grow up and get married – we decided on becoming partners as a middle ground – but as with the best things, we found ourselves being ‘ready’ without even trying. Greg proposed to me. He’d been dog sitting at his mom’s house on long island, as he often does, and he invited me to come over for the long weekend of Columbus day. When he dog sits I sometimes do and sometimes don’t visit him – mostly I don’t. That weekend I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do the long train ride and he was worried I wasn’t going to come over after all but I decided to last minute. We also often go to the beach at night since it’s nice and quiet.
Well, that night I was tired and a bit cranky, and again Greg kinda had to convince me to go out and we headed to the beach. We hung out for about half and hour, walking along the boardwalk, then we snuck onto the sand to chase some sandpipers. At one point I was walking ahead of him and then noticed he wasn’t behind me, and as I turn around, I noticed he was on one knee in the sand. Sometimes, I’m inappropriately oblivious. I see the poor man literally on bended knee in the cold, wet sand and I say “What are you doing down there?” At this, he smiles, because it’s a very typical response of me, and he patiently waits and says nothing. I continue to just not get it, and keep asking “Seriously, what are you doing?”
When it dawns on me that maybe he’s actually popping the question – I keep torturing him and ask “Wait, why are you doing this?!?” He then asks me to marry him, and I keep not believing it and asking “Why?” and “Are you sure?” etc. After a few minutes, he gives me a look as if to say “My God, woman, just answer the question!” Of course I say yes, but am still kinda not believing it. He still doesn’t let me live that down!
As it goes, Greg is my opposite; I plan everything (I’m a project manager by occupation) and he doesn’t plan anything. He told me he decided to propose almost on a whim a few days beforehand. He had gone ring shopping in town and bought me a very sweet cocktail ring, which is what he proposed with. At the time, he wasn’t working so as soon as he gave me the ring he started telling me that it was ‘temporary’ but I loved it! It’s blue and green cloisonne enamel, because it is a cocktail ring I don’t wear it often. Later on, he asked his mother and she agreed to pass on her engagement ring to me (a simple and lovely 1ct. solitaire), it was Greg’s grandmother’s wedding ring, and I now wear that one all the time.
We settled on a year long engagement to give us time to plan and save up! At first we asked our families – my mom and two younger sisters, his mother and older brother to help with finding venues and vendors. Later on we asked a few friends to pitch in as our bridal party – the idea being they’d help us pick out our outfits and throw us bachelor and bachelorette parties, but we mostly did everything on our own. I love magazines, so I did rush out and buy a few magazines and even wedding planning books after we got engaged. They were fun to look at, but I didn’t find any revolutionary ideas that I used for our wedding. I created a few virtual scrapbooks to help me decide on the color scheme and overall theme for the day; I posted them to our wedding blog and asked our friends and family for their ideas and opinions. I even started a facebook page to help my bridal party stay up to date with my latest crazy inspirations.
The Dress…I was surprised that my dress was not in my top 5 priorities. I was much more concerned about the photography, location, crafts, etc. I was going to get my dress from David’s Bridal, but during Thanksgiving weekend at my mom’s place she convinced me to try on a white formal dress she had worn on a cruise. It fit me nicely and I liked the simple style, so I went shopping for some new trim and had it altered. Picking your dress always makes you feel comfortable, but because I was able to alter the design to my exact liking and then tailor it to fit me perfectly, I felt amazing! The grecian style was great because, while I’m never really a weight watcher, I didn’t have to worry about gaining or losing a bit of weight. It was also fun, because I tend to ‘cover up’ my cleavage but my dress was very low cut for me – since it fit me perfectly I didn’t feel self conscious at all.
I spent the Thanksgiving weekend with my mom and sisters on long island, where a good amount of time was spent talking shop about Greg and my wedding. A few weeks before, my mom had offered me one of her dresses to keep as my wedding dress. It was a nice gesture but i didn’t put much stock into the idea. But when I slipped on the dress in the five minutes before other guests started arriving I didn’t expect much… But! The dress fit so well that I had to pull my mom and sisters into the room to check me out. I knew it was “the dress” when they all sighed in unison (we all have similar voices so it sounded great!) Not exactly vintage, but it means so much that I wore a dress my mother wore in a happy time for her. Before finding my dress at my mom’s, I’d gone to David’s Bridal – a retail chain in the US – with my sisters to figure out what style of dress I’d like. My sisters and I aren’t super girly but there were definitely alot of sighs and ‘awws’ when they saw me in ‘the white dress’ for the first time.
Venue….We’d been looking for different ceremony venue’s for months, but between our limited budget, popular date, and expensive hometown, we had relatively few choices. We had decided to get married in a historic house in Brooklyn, but when we heard they’d be doing construction on the grounds and couldn’t tell us exactly when, we panicked. Luckily, we’d just moved to our new neighborhood and found out that the garden across the street belonged to the city parks foundation. The garden was a memorial for a police officer who died in service during 9/11. We filed a permit, became friendly with the park volunteers and were able to have our ceremony in the garden.We organized the ceremony such that all of the wedding party would walk down the path on their own, followed by Greg and I. There was a 5 minute period where Greg and the party were all outside and waiting to walk down, but I was alone in the lobby of our building as they waited. I was nervous, but not terribly so, and I felt like I just wanted to run outside and get the show started! When I met up with Greg at the garden entrance, I was totally giddy and excited – the party was about to start! Greg and I decided to walk ourselves down the aisle to symbolise our independence and our choice to become partners. At one point, we parted ways down the path – more symbolism, and joined back up to finish the walk to the pagoda where we would have the ceremony.
Our vows…. We kind of waited last minute to write our vows – we wrote them the week before the wedding, and only shared them at the very last minute. My friend who is an officiant helped us by meeting with us nearly 8 months before the wedding to help us think about what we wanted to ceremony to feel like, if we wanted to include our guests, etc. And she even gave us a few examples of other couples vows and wedding day ‘scripts’. So we had been thinking about what we wanted to do and say for a while before we actually wrote our vows. We read them to each other a few days before to make sure everything flowed nicely, but we didn’t ‘rehearse’ together. Which was nice because the first time I heard Greg read the vows – while I knew what he’d say, the way he read the vows was truly a surprise.
Neither of us are religious though we were both raised as Roman Catholic. We knew we wanted a simple, short ceremony that included our guests and bridal party. I have a friend who I know through my craft circle who officiates ceremonies and she was so helpful in our planning the actual ceremony. With her help we crafted a ceremony that included our guests and focused on what we wanted the day to center around: friendship and adventure. We asked the musicians who sometimes play at our local farmers market to perform during our ceremony. We walked to the pagoda to my favorite song, “Girl from Ipanema” and after we exchanged our vows we processed out to Greg’s favourite song “Fly me to the moon”. Then we had cookies and cider in the garden as we mingled with our guests with lovely live jazz being played.
Oddly enough a minor tornado touched down in the garden a few months before the wedding! Luckily for us and the garden only a few trees were removed and the volunteers were amazing in re-landscaping the space. The day of the wedding couldn’t have been nicer – we didn’t have a contingency plan for rain or extreme cold, other than telling our guests to wear jackets and we’d have umbrella’s on hand. I’d even knitted a wrap for myself in case it was cold. But we were lucky to have a lovely 65 degree day in the middle of October!
I love color and it was hard for me to pick a theme until we knew for sure we were getting married in October. The season didn’t help me pick the colors, actually the season helped me say ‘I don’t want *these* colors’. It’s easier for me to pick using the process of elimination since I really am a colorful dresser/ decorator. I’ve always like teal and get lots of compliments when I wear that shade, and Greg – while he will tell you he doesn’t have a favorite color – does have a lot of orange in his past. So teal and orange was the leader in the schemes I was considering. Because we were having a fall wedding I didn’t want it to become all about leaves and pumpkins, I really liked the idea of teal and orange because it would feel very fresh and vibrant even as the colder weather was settling in.
Invitations…..Well! That was one of the best parts! Greg is an artsy person – he’s a printmaker, bookbinder and framer; and I’m pretty crafty – I used to be a graphic designer and I love to knit and sew. From the very beginning we knew we were going to design and make our own invitations. I designed them, Greg printed and assembled them. We blogged about the process here: http://www.kreyoli.com/hitched/?p=383 (VERY COOL TO SEE THIS PROCESS – GO CHECK IT OUT!) It was difficult to decide on upon a theme… as I mentioned, I’m crafty, I love color, and I like to blog so I was changing my mind almost weekly about the style and feel that I wanted for the wedding. I read too many wonderful wedding blogs and saw so many inspiring ideas that I went overboard. Even knowing I wanted a crafty wedding with lots of DIY touches didn’t make it easier, because everything I saw seemed like a ‘good idea’ for our wedding.
Bridesmaids… My sisters and good friend were my bridesmaids, and while at one point I thought they’d all have matching outfits, because of the DIY, patchwork feel of the wedding and partly to save money for them, we decided that they’d each wear one of the wedding colors (teal, orange or green) and have similar style of dresses (short, 50′s era cocktail dresses). It was great because they each got to accessorize their outfits to match their personalities. The groom’s party had it even better, from the beginning Greg said he didn’t really want them to match, and I agreed, so they each got to do their own thing! His older brother was his best man, and his best friends from grade school (who happens to a be a girl) and grad school were in his party.
Flowers….I decided to DIY the flowers after meeting with a few florists. It was partly a money saving move, but mostly because I really love flowers and was uncomfortable with not knowing *exactly* what the bouquet would look like. I’d done my homework and knew what flowers should be in season in October, but many florists were careful to let me know that they’d try hard, but couldn’t gaurantee the flowers I wanted would be available. I crossed my fingers and visited the NYC flower district several times over the summer before the wedding and got very friendly with the vendors. I wanted deep fushia coxcomb, bright yellow caspedia, orange, white and fushia dahlias, some wax flowers and not much else. I was so ecstatic the Friday before the wedding when I went to the flower district, and surprise surprise, ALL of the flowers I wanted were in season! My bridesmaids and I made the bouquets together the morning of the wedding, and I’d bought enough for us to make simple table settings for the ceremony and reception. I even had enough left over to make a dried bouquet out of the coxcomb, caspedia and wax flowers.
Reception…Covo Lounge, Manhattan, NYC
We rented private vans to take our guests to the lounge after our ceremony; we wanted them to hang out and have a drink or two before we showed up. Greg and I got to ‘make an entrance’ and then we had drinks and appetizers with guests – pretty simple! We created a photo slideshow to play on the Flat screen tvs and had ‘iPod’ dj playlist of our favorite songs. We knew from the beginning we didn’t want a formal sit down dinner reception, so we had some appetizers served for guests to snack on along with a wine and beer open bar. It was more of a ‘NYC bar party’ than a traditional wedding reception. We jumped on the cupcake bandwagon – neither of us like fondant and we wanted the reception to be super casual. Our baker was awesome, too! After we selected three flavors – red velvet, lemon, and chocolate – and showed her a few arrangements that we liked, she delivered them to the reception and set them up for us using our DIY flower arrangments and our custom cake toppers.
The bar had lots of character, so we only needed minimal decoration. I made origami paper pinwheels and re-purposed glass vases to decorate the end tables. I also made a few simple flower arrangements to place on the bar – along with the cupcake table and our photo slide show, that was all the venue decor we needed. Our invite advised guests to ‘dress to impress and party hard’ – we loved that everyone totally followed that advice. I was just as excited by my friends fashions as they were about my dress and greg’s suit! One of our guests made her own amazing gold dress and another wore a lovely fascinator straight from a London boutique! I think people were excited about the colorful and bold waist and bodice of my dress – when I mentioned that I had it custom altered the reaction was ‘of course you did!’
Dance……We walked into the reception venue and danced to the White Stripes cover of ‘We are going to be friends’ – we’d been listening to it fairly frequently during the year of planning. It was a nice way to paint our wedding as a relationship based on friendship just as much as romantic love. The storyline – two young kids who meet at school and become fast friends – felt very right as we’re really just big kids sometimes.
Thank you Greg & Kim for sharing your FABULOUS wedding with us – my heart is glowing warm!!! May you both have a wonderful and colourful life together!
Many Thanks: Yun Gen Yang www.yangphoto.com