I think it goes without saying that I am kind of obsessed with love. It consumes my days and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Reading a description from a Bride like this beauty below that is simply overflowing with joy gets me all giddy inside, and the beautiful images from Kayla Adams that illustrates her gorgeous day just make me want to stand up and cheer. It’s perfectly beautiful and perfectly them, and it’s all sitting pretty right here.

From Kayla Adams… Rob and Dolly were married at the Desmond Tutu Conference Center in Manhattan last fall. Earlier that week though, they officially tied the knot at New York City Hall in front of the two friends that originally set them up years ago. Rob was part of the team that helped renovate City Hall a couple years ago, so the day was incredibly special for them being there. After the ceremony, we walked over to the Wedding Garden across the street, snapped a few photos, then met up in Brooklyn to take some portraits. Dolly grew up spending time with her family in Rockaway Beach (which is still recovering from the damage from Sandy), and we hit up all her favorite spots. In light of the hurricane, I know a lot of these spots are really special for her and her family.

From the Bride… After Rob and I got engaged, we started looking for venues practically right away. We were living in North Carolina at the time, and briefly thought about getting married there, but since most of our family and friends live in New York, it only made sense to celebrate close to the people we love.

One constraint we had was that we wanted to have an outdoor wedding (hard to do in New York City) and we came to realize that, surprisingly, we wanted a bigger wedding then we anticipated.  As we set out to plan a wedding in New York, we had a feeling in the back of our minds that the wedding planning could get away from us quickly, and we wanted to maintain a sense of connectedness and privacy for ourselves. We decided to have the best of both worlds and have both a traditional wedding, where we could hang out with everyone we care about and a private ceremony for us, at the City Clerk’s Marriage Bureau, two days before the traditional wedding. Our “City Hall” wedding was magical. We took the subway in the morning to the City Clerk’s office, blending in with commuters, feeling like we were keeping a huge secret.

At the City Clerk, we met our witnesses (the two friends who introduced us) and our photographer, the lovely and talented Kayla Adams.  While we were waiting for our number to be called we took some photos in the gorgeously renovated space, which was a lot of fun. While we were dating, Rob supervised the Bureau’s renovation, which gave the venue added meaning. The ambiance of the space was surreal. Couples in all shapes, colors, ages, sizes, and dress codes were there to make a commitment to one another. It felt like the Love DMV! When our number was called, we were lucky enough to get a sincere, New Yawk-accented clerk who had a huge stage presence. After we were married, we took a cab to have a celebratory lunch in Chinatown. The day was ours alone and it was fantastic.

Our traditional wedding took place at the Desmond Tutu Center in Chelsea. After seeing numerous venues in New York that fell short in some way, we found one we both loved for its gothic architecture, history, convenience, and gorgeous courtyard. Having our family and friends surrounding us outside under a canopy of trees during our ceremony was a powerful experience. I’m so glad we got to have part of our wedding outdoors. We had a great time at our traditional wedding and wouldn’t want to have done it any other way.

My unsolicited advice to couples is to sit down and think about what you want from your wedding.  Whatever that may look like, there may be a way to incorporate everyone and everything you want — either traditionally or not or both!

Wedding Photography: Kayla Adams | Wedding Venue: New York City Hall + Desmond Tutu Conference Center | Floral Design: Flowerful Events | Desserts: Margaret Palca Bakes + Venieros | Favors: Homemade chocolate butter crunch made by Bride’s Mom | Escort Card Board: DIY by Bride’s Mom | Menus, Programs, Direction Signs: DIY by the Groom | DJ: DJ EKO | Wedding Dress: Adele Wechsler from Veka Bridal Couture | City Hall Dress: Nordstrom | Groom’s Suit: Brooks Brothers | Groom’s Shoes: Allen Edmonds |Ties: Brooklyn Tailors  | Hair: Soon Beauty Lab | Makeup: Bride’s Mom