I think the best way to describe what it was like when Aaron and I met is that it felt like we had come home to one another. It may seem crazy, but we both knew we were going to marry each other after only two weeks. We managed to wait a year and a half before Aaron “officially” proposed, but we were permanent from the beginning.
I lost my job about six days before Aaron proposed, which was a really tough thing for me. I had a significant amount of time on my hands, which was a blessing in disguise. We decided to forgo the wedding planner, because if there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s planning. From the outset, we knew our wedding had to be in New York City. We’re definitely NY city people! We found The Foundry online and, not unlike other things in our life, knew it was the perfect place for us. It read like our dream apartment: landmarked building, exposed brick, beautiful light, courtyard, ivy-covered terraces, and a phenomenal view of the 59th Street Bridge. Plus, the staff was incredibly accommodating and professional – they were so relaxed and totally on point with everything, knew a lot of the vendors we were deciding on and offered us advice on whom they had worked well with in the past.
I think one of the most difficult things we came up against was trying to figure out a “theme” for our wedding. It was frustrating, because everything is grouped into “themes” in the wedding world: urban, casual, classic, country, elegant, etc, etc. We didn’t have a theme!! We’re not “theme” people. We have very particular taste that can’t be categorized neatly, so instead of making everything fit together, we focused on finding the best (within our budget) food, music and “aesthetic” – when you have the best, it doesn’t have to all look the same, each part makes sense on its own.
Above all else, my husband and I love to cook and entertain, so we decided that our wedding had to be, essentially, the best party we ever threw. I found our photographer, Karen Wise, online and was enamored by the vibrancy of her photos. I mean, just look at the colors! Also, the way she makes posed pictures look journalistic is fantastic.
It was rainy and cold the day of the wedding, so we ended up doing the photos inside, kind of like a photo shoot and I absolutely love the way they turned out. The photos from the wedding are phenomenal – super colorful shots, beautiful shadowy black and whites, just plain awesome.
We are big time foodies and people know that about us, so our caterer had to be really special. We went with Naturally Delicious in Brooklyn because they offered menus that were seasonal, simple but perfect and above all else, tasted GOOD. We had Shannon McCormick as our go-to woman for everything at Naturally Delicious and also hired Shannon to be our week-of and day-of coordinator, which made everything so easy. I cannot speak highly enough of the fantastic staff Naturally Delicious provided us.
We’re kind of lucky when it comes to music – Aaron, a.k.a. Ming, is a professional DJ and record producer, so we kind of had our pick of DJs. Aaron DEFINITELY didn’t want a band, which helped save a significant amount of money, so, keeping in the friends “theme” we hired $mall Change to DJ the wedding. We also asked our friend Michael Lynch, a.k.a. Big Mike (of American Idol fame) to sing as we walked down the aisle. Aaron and Mike are like “brothers from another mother” – they have worked with each other for several years and Michael and his wife Christa are regular fixtures at Aaron’s mother’s Thanksgiving feast (Mike makes a ridiculous mac-n-cheese), so it was extra special for us to have Mike perform.
Our Design Aesthetic …
We found a florist we really loved and let her do her thing. My mother was pretty vocal on florists, so we let her make the final call on Bridget Vizoso of THE DESIGNERS’ CO-OP. My two requirements were that one, there was not to be a single rose anywhere in the entire place; and two, COLOR. I described a “Bollywood meets NYC” color palette and Bridget graciously re-worded my vision to “gem tones”, which was precisely what I meant. Luscious, vibrant and unabashedly vivid was how I pictured the flowers, although I didn’t want anything traditional or obnoxious. And really, we just let Bridget work her magic. When we walked into the Foundry, Aaron and I were floored by the amazing job Bridget had done – there was bittersweet draped from the balconies and over our huppah, riotously colorful bouquets on the cocktail tables, votives hanging in the vines and candles everywhere… and that was just in the main room. In the tent where dinner was to be served, the tables were simply gorgeous. A mosaic of flowers covered the tables, paired with antiqued votives and gold candelabras; bright table clothes and napkins; swathes of pink, saffron and orange cloth hung across the tent with large Chinese paper lanterns lighting the room. It was really the perfect décor for the Foundry and, when paired with the food and the music, created the exact ambiance we were trying to achieve.
What I am most proud of looking back at that night is that our wedding really was a total reflection of our life as a couple. That wasn’t too hard to manage because we knew we couldn’t compromise on the fact that we wanted our wedding to be a celebration of the start of our marriage. For us, that meant bringing together everything that is good and beautiful in our lives and sharing the night with the people that mean the most to us and having a few well-placed personal touches. In our program, we wrote a little anecdote/personal joke about each person in our wedding party; our officiant was a judge that has known me since I was a baby in my crib; and of course, we had Big Mike singing “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz when Aaron came down the aisle and “Could This Be Love’” by Bob Marley when it was my turn. We also made bags of our “marathon granola” for our guests to take home with them at the end of night. Aaron and I were running the NYC marathon three weeks after our wedding and we had been eating this homemade granola throughout most of our training, so we thought it would be fun to share part of our training experience with our friends and family.
I chalk it up to two things that made the night so fantastic: we hired great vendors – really nice people who are excellent at what they do and we tried not to interfere (too much) in what they wanted to do; and we were adamant about keeping the wedding traditions to a minimum and making the night, above all else, a great party. People still tell us what a fun time they had at our wedding and looking back, I don’t think we would have changed a single thing. Aaron and I are still both in awe about what an amazing night it was for both of us – everything really was perfect.
Photography ~ Karen Wise, Floral ~ Bridget Vizoso, The Designer’s Co-Op, Wedding Coordinator – Shannon McCormick from Naturally Delicious Caterer, Dress Designer ~ Matthew Christopher from Gabriella New York Bridal Salon, Bridesmaids Dresses ~ J. Crew, Aaron’s Suit ~ Burberry, Hair & Makeup ~ Hatsumi Toshima, Officiant – Bruce L. Kaplan, DJ ~ Small Change, Special guest and friend of the couple, Michael Lynch a.k.a.”Big Mike” of American Idol was there too! He sang beautifully as the couple walked down the aisle