Brooklyn Botanic Garden Wedding from Maggie Harkov Photography
September 17, 2012
Tri State
CasualGarden Weddings

It's no secret that we are a tad bit obsessed (read: a lot obsessed) with Brooklyn weddings here on SMP.  So, when the uber-talented Maggie Harkov sent this drop-dead gorgeous Brooklyn Botanic Garden affair our way, well.  Let's just say we did a happy dance like you have never seen.  Because, not only is this a wedding that is chock-full of all caps PRETTY, it's moment after moment of sweeter than sweet details (I'm looking at you, lavender) and sooo much love, you'll spend your entire day smiling.  Care to join me for a swoon-fest in the gallery?  Click here for more.

Click here for the FULL wedding!

And a sweet film from Well Spun Weddings to brighten your day even more.  Enjoy!

From the Bride... Arle and I knew almost immediately that the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens was the perfect setting for our wedding. We both envisioned an outdoor ceremony that was somewhat traditional but also relaxed.  A large weeping willow tree was the perfect backdrop for our ceremony, and in case of rain, a nearby greenhouse would have provided an excellent backup location. Nothing could be more beautiful than having cocktails near the lily ponds at sunset and then watching dusk turn to evening through the stunning glass dome of the Palm House.

Our wedding was really about culture and family.  My mother is Greek and my father is Jewish; Arle is Dominican and Cuban. Family traveled to Brooklyn from as far away as Greece and the Dominican Republic to be with us. We wanted to incorporate traditions from both of our cultures into our day. During the ceremony, we did the "Stephana" or crowning ceremony and included Spanish translations in our program. The first dance at the reception was a traditional Greek dance with throwing of money (to represent wealth for the new couple), followed by being lifted on chairs during the hora (in the Jewish tradition), followed by a salsa/merengue. My mother and her sisters baked traditional Greek pastries that were given out for dessert, and gave out koufeta (jordan almonds) in traditional pouches of five to represent happiness, health, wealth, children and long life for the new couple. Our favor was a DIY bottle of Greek olive oil with a label reading "Thank you" in Greek, Spanish and English.

A few weeks before the wedding, we hosted a "Greek night" at my parents' house, where we taught our non-Greek friends and family how to do the traditional dances. One of my favorite parts of the wedding was seeing everyone — Greeks and non-Greeks — holding hands, dancing the traditional dances together. Also, seeing my in-laws go up in the chairs during the hora was a moment I will never forget. Maggie Harkov's photos captured every guest laughing and smiling during these wonderful moments. Arle and I joked that the theme of our wedding was "look good/feel good," knowing that this was the best way to ensure a fun party. The bridesmaids and groomsman were "instructed" to wear whatever they wanted — no color, length, or style required. We had some guests in tuxedos and some in jeans. It was more important to us that everyone feel comfortable and have fun than to enforce a specific dress code.

Like everyone will tell you, the day goes by incredibly quickly. Don't forget to be present in the moment, look around and have some fun! Your wedding day is the day you join your life with your partner's, so if the flowers wilt or your dress gets dirty, try to keep your sense of humor about it and remember why you are really there in the first place — to celebrate your love and your marriage!

Wedding Photography: Maggie Harkov Photography / Wedding Venue: Brooklyn Botanic Garden in Brooklyn, New York / Floral Design: Joe's Florist of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn / Wedding Cinematography: Well Spun Weddings / Catering: CharlesSallyCharles Catering at The Palm House / Wedding Stationery: Monique Lhuillier / Band + DJ: Alpha / Wedding Dress: Alvina Valenta / Bride's Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Bride's Jewelry: Borrowed / Bride's Veil: Tia Mazza, Custom-Made from a Family Friend / Hair: Jill Hammelman  / Makeup: Sharon Becker of SB Beauty / Men's Suits + Ties: Custom via Alton Lane / Groom’s Socks: Calvin Klein / Groom's Shoes: Cole Haan / Bridesmaids' Dresses: Their Choice