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See Why We Love This Completely Non-Traditional NYC Wedding

When the floral designer behind Maiden Kind became a bride, she and her love knew a city celebration was in order. But rather than elope, they chose the next best thing – a wedding inspired by an intimate dinner party. They scaled down the guest list, reined in the details and focused on the love, plain and simple. D’Arcy Benincosa captured each and every moment you’ll adore, epic first look included.

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Seasons
Summer
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HotelOutdoor
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Al Fresco

From The Bride…When Nick and I got engaged, we knew immediately that we wanted our wedding to air on the smaller side. Intimacy felt really important to us and we wanted to be able to really focus on one another. We also knew that a New York City location was a must, since we met in our East Village apartment building and consider NYC our home. We began planning a 75 person wedding which we thought was small wedding. But we found ourselves quickly loosing sight of what was important to us- each other. It became too much about the details and making everything perfect. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a big wedding and all of its details- I’m a wedding florist after all! But when it came down to planning my own wedding, I realized it just wasn’t for me. After considering eloping, we came to the conclusion that it was absolutely essential to be surrounded and witnessed by our immediate families. An intimate dinner party was in order.

The Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn had always been my dream venue. But with our original 75 people, their ballroom would have been too large. But in the end it worked perfectly! We rented one of their suites overlooking the Manhattan skyline for our ceremony and dinner. It was truly the best location and setup. The Wythe was incredible to work with and it really felt like a wedding…Just a tiny one! Plus their wine selection and menus were amazing. 

Since we didn’t have a bridal party, we didn’t really think too much about color palette too much. We drew slightly from the environment, as we knew there would be the Wythe’s signature blue and white toile wallpaper, hopefully a sunset over Manhattan and lots of brick!  We bought Nick’s suit first and wanted it to be something that he’d wear countless times. We chose a blue suit with very subtle pinstripe. I also felt that since our wedding was going to be intimate, I would want to be comfortable and non-fuss. I actually didn’t spend too much time on dress hunting. I went to J.Crew and then spotted my Rosa Clara in a magazine and went on a mission to find it.  It had the sophisticated, urban appeal that I was after and I didn’t have to worry about extra tricep presses since it had long sleeves! For jewelry I wore my mother’s gold locket that she actually wore on her wedding day. It houses a baby picture of me and my sister. So that felt really special. If I have a daughter someday, I hope she’s want to wear something of mine on her wedding day. I also carried my grandmother’s handkerchief with me. It was beautiful and absolutely essential. 

My mom, mother-in-law and sister helped me do the florals and it was truly the most fun!! We didn’t have a palette in mind when we arrived at the flower market. But we ended up choosing colors that mirrored my Mociun engagement ring. Everyone always asks, “did you find it stressful to be the bride and the florist?!” It wasn’t stressful…But that’s probably because I wasn’t flowering for a full-sized wedding! If that were the case, I would have hired out!  

One thing we did splurge on were photos. Photography is really important to both of us and we wanted someone to capture the emotional aspects of our day. D’Arcy Benincosa was a perfect match for us and we were so glad we flew her out from Utah for our day. She also shot our engagement photos, they are fabulous! 

My favorite part of our wedding was the ring warming ceremony during our ceremony. We played a beautiful piece of music by Andrew Bird and our rings were passed amongst our family members. They each held our rings for a moment while they infused them with love and well wishes for our future. It was so moving, I highly recommend it if you’re thinking about a small wedding. 

We didn’t offer traditional favors. But we did bring gifts for our parents. As a way to thank them for getting us to this point in our lives. Nick and I were both born in 1985 and I’ve travelled to The Loire Valley in France with my family, so we gifted them each of bottle of 1985 Chinon. They loved the thoughtful gesture…And the wine too. 

We were on the fence about having a wedding cake,as we hadn’t seen anything that really spoke to us. We would have been satisfied with desserts from the Wythe. But I’m sure glad we opted for cake because it was one of the most fun things we planned! I honestly don’t remember exactly how this came about…but at the time I was “internet pals” with the incredible food blogger Molly Yeh – who is known for her cakes with marzipan cutouts. We got to chatting about her coaching me to bake my own wedding cake and it turned out that she was actually in town a few weeks before our wedding. So I chose her recipe for chocolate tahini cake with tahini buttercream frosting and I baked the layers before she arrived. Then we assembled and decorated it together in my Brooklyn kitchen. Well, she did most of the decorating while I tried to soak up as much cake knowledge as possible. I am obsessed with pigs, and if I was ever going to have a wedding cake it would have to feature two piggies in love (dream cake)! Plus, it added a really playful element to our evening! 

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Photography: D'Arcy Benincosa Photography | Floral Design: Maiden Kind | Wedding Dress: Rosa Clara | Cake: Molly Yeh | Bride's Shoes: Manolo Blahnik | Makeup: Natalie Livingston | Hair: Troy Beard | Groom's Attire: Suit Supply | Venue: Wythe Hotel

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See the Cutest (Furry) Ring Bearer Who Walked Down the Aisle

Pup lovers rejoice because this fur baby turned ring bearer is the cutest thing you’ll see all day. Mabelle, the couple’s shar-pei carried the rings down the aisle and took this Brooklyn wedding to a new level of fun. Sophie Kawalek captured and we’re hanging out here in the gallery.

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Spring
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Park

From Sophie Kawalek PhotographyFrom the minute I met Rachel & Patrick, I knew their wedding was going to be amazing. Both artists, they set out to create an event filled with gorgeous sunlight, an incredible ceremony + reception space in the heart of Brooklyn, and whimsical yet modern details – including a vintage-inspired Sue Wong dress and fresh greenery by Pamela Cravens throughout the event.

Rachel and Patrick planned the entire thing themselves, hand selecting each vendor to compliment their unique day. It was filled with touches of intimacy, as the couple read each other handwritten love letters during their first look, heard speeches from multiple close friends, and had the bride’s brother walk their shar-pei, Mabelle, down the aisle to deliver their wedding rings.

Everything was inspired by a lush and modern palette of white, classic navy, and fresh green – from the stunning vintage-inspired emerald velvet bridesmaids dresses to the eucalyptus and bay leaf garlands running the length of each dining table, to the bouquets – primarily greenery, with soft white flowers.

The ceremony was led by Patrick’s childhood reverend, who had traveled from Savannah, Georgia, to be part of the event. Interspersed with singing and guitar played by one of the groom’s close friends, it was filled with light and emotion as the couple exchanged beautiful custom rings and read short vows.

Rachel, a bride of Chinese descent, changed twice from her elegant white dress to something more traditional and spent her reception in two stunning red and gold cheongsams that her mother helped select for the big day. The night ended with cake decorated with rows of fresh blossoms by The Movable Feast and dancing for family & friends.

Photography: Sophie Kawalek Photography | Cinematography: Nick Collingwood Vintage | Floral Design: The Flower Girls | Wedding Dress: Sue Wong | Bride's Shoes: Adrianna Papell | Rings: Barkev's | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Amazon | DJ: Kyle Wukasch | Groom's Attire: H&M | Groomsmen Attire: H&M | Officiant: Reverend Brad Waller | Venue: Prospect Park Boathouse | Catering + Cake: Movable Feast Catering | Cheongsam: Sylvia Boutique | Hair Accessories: Avigail Adam Jewelry

P.S. More Sweet Pups Who Stole the Show

10 Pups That Stole The Engagement Show
View Slideshow
10 Pups That Stole The Engagement Show
View Slideshow

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This Online Editor Planned the Ultimate Offline Celebration

Most Brides and Grooms plan an after party to keep the celebration going all night. But if you ask me, what this Bride (an editor at Real Simple) and Groom chose to do is so much more fun! After their New York City-inspired I Dos (apple escort cards and a Momofuku Milk Bar cake), they headed to the adjacent bowling alley, where the party continued, Jenny Packham wedding dress and all. See all the fun from Sarah Tew Photography and Crown Street Productions in The Vault!

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Fall
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Modern

From The Bride…I met John in a bar while we were both journalism graduate students at Northwestern University. We were friends for a few months, but we didn’t start dating until two days before I moved to London for an internship. We spent that summer exchanging emails, and he finally came to visit me over Labor Day. That kicked off two years of long distance dating—I moved to New York City to pursue a career in journalism, and he stayed in Chicago to work for a start-up that had formed out of his graduate school work. Finally, in September 2011, John moved to NYC.

We both love the city— it’s where we live and work, and it’s the first city we lived in together. It’s where we cemented our relationship and where we got engaged in November 2014, on a bridge in Central Park that we love. We knew even before we got engaged that we wanted to celebrate our wedding in NYC. I felt strongly about choosing a venue that showcased the city, and I fell in love with Current at Chelsea Piers when it was still just a construction site. I loved how it juxtaposed the natural beauty of the Hudson River with the sparkling lights of the city, plus it promised a sleek, modern design with a showstopper of a ceiling. It felt like our favorite parts of the city mashed together, and, as West Siders, the idea of having a wedding on the Hudson River was especially appealing.

Visiting Current in the months before our wedding and watching it morph from a construction site to a venue made it feel like our project. I wanted the space to look both lush and urban. The first element I knew I wanted was a floating Chuppah, with candles and flowers (which Atlas Floral Decorators brought from my imagination to life). I’m Jewish and John is Catholic, so this modern take on the traditional felt like just the right centerpiece for our ceremony.

While the big picture of planning was, of course, important, I really wanted the small details to bring everything together. A few of my favorites: We used apples as escort cards, with paper “leaves” pinned to the top (a nod to the fall season and, of course, the Big Apple). We both love playing games, so we used Jenga pieces as a guest book, asking people sign their names and include their best advice or a memory (we’ve loved playing our custom game in the months after the wedding). And as a journalist, paper details are extremely important to me, so I worked with a designer on a custom, graphical program and a playful menu for the tables.

Rather than having one big centerpiece on the tables, we used several flower vessels, with lots of candles, for visual interest and different points of entry for the eye. I tried to keep the focus on rich, fall colors, with touches of metallic silver. Abigail Kirsch is known for having lots of food, and they did not disappoint. From the inventive appetizers (mac and cheese cupcakes! pumpkin soup shooters!) all the way to the pizza and pretzel cart on departure, our guests left stuffed. We also love visiting Momofuku Milk Bar on the Upper West Side, so choosing their apple pie wedding cake was one of our easiest decisions.

On the day of the wedding, we took photos at The Highline—one more great example of the natural meeting the modern. Our mutual friend, Angela, became ordained for the occasion—she brought us together more than six years ago in graduate school, so it only felt appropriate that she bring us together in this official way. Everyone warned me that the ceremony would be a blur, but for me it was one of the clearest memories from the day—we delivered our own vows and we each had one of our siblings give a reading, which was especially meaningful. Afterward, we danced all night to Element Music’s Radio Underground—my family and friends are big dancers, so finding the right music was a must. And, because we weren’t ready for the party to end, we finished the night by bowling (yes, in my wedding dress) at Bowlmor in Chelsea Piers.

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Photography: Sarah Tew Photography | Cinematography: Crown Street Productions | Floral Design: Atlas Floral Decorators | Wedding Dress: Jenny Packham | Cake: Momofuku Milk Bar | Invitations: Minted | Bride's Shoes: Manolo Blahnik | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Adrianna Papell | Catering: Abigail Kirsch | Hair + Makeup: Paul Labrecque | Band: Element Music | Favors: Personal Wine | Ties: Burberry | Groom's Attire: Black By Vera Wang | Groomsmen Attire: Black By Vera Wang | Officiant: Angela Kwan | Venue: Current NYC | Cake Topper: The Knot Shop | Calligraphy + Chalkboard Signs: Kurtz McKinnon Creative LLC | Chair Sign: Etsy | Cocktail Hour Napkins: Wedding Paper Divas | Hair Accessories: Jenny Packham | Hangers: Etsy | Head Table Place Cards: Etsy | Table Numbers: Etsy

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