For as long as I can remember, libraries have been my happy place. So celebrating your nuptials amongst those incredible love stories and breathtaking history is, in my humble opinion, the best way ever to say “I do.” Case in point? This gorgeous gem of a day captured by Paul Francis Photography. It’s library chic, seriously romantic and all kinds of beautiful. See it all here.
From the Bride… From the second we got engaged, we knew that we would get married in NYC – it’s where we met, where we fell in love, and where we started our life together as a couple. As such, our venue was definitely on the top of our priority list; we wanted something that was quintessentially New York, yet not stuffy or pretentious. And, above all, no banquet halls! The New York Academy of Medicine fit all our criteria. We loved the building’s classic New York feel, the proximity to Central Park, and the stunning library, which became the backdrop for our reception. With my job as a magazine editor and Adam’s as a high school English teacher, the setting was a perfect fit. While we didn’t want to have a “themed” wedding, the book/library element became an overarching concept that we used in subtle things like save the dates and table numbers to lend cohesiveness to the whole day.
As we worked our way through the planning process, one “theme” did emerge: Avoid clichés! We wanted every element of the day to truly reflect us, and not just do things because it’s “what you do at a wedding.” We swapped a cake and cake cutting for a make your own Shake Shack custard station (one of our favorite things about NYC, and a big hit with our guests!), avoided unnecessary pomp and circumstance at all costs, and most importantly, put together the entire wedding ceremony ourselves, including a definition of marriage that we wrote as a couple. Having my younger brother officiate let us customize the ceremony completely and made the whole thing feel so much more personal. Incorporating my Ukrainian heritage into the wedding also put a unique and different spin on things. We wove traditional elements into the ceremony, had a “korovai” (Ukrainian wedding bread), and of course, made sure our guests got out on the dance floor for some traditional Ukrainian music.
As much as I want to be, I am NOT crafty. Despite all the adorable ideas I found on wedding blogs and websites, there was no way that I could be one of those DIY brides who handmade all the decor. Where I can DIY is in the kitchen, so I chose the put my personal touch on the wedding via food. I made homemade Chex Mix to put in our welcome bags, and (with some serious help from my dad and maid of honor) made individual jars of mixed berry jam for each guest as a wedding favor… which Adam then diligently packaged with custom labels that read “Love Preserved.”
At the end of the day, all of our efforts paid off. Our wedding turned out exactly as we had always intended it to be – an incredible party that reflected us, our love, and the incredible love of our family and friends.
Bridal Gown: Anna Maier ~ Ulla-Maija | Bridesmaids Dresses: Jenny Yoo | Catering: Sterling Affair | Ceremony Musician: Ben Pila | DJ: DJ Shakey | Dessert Station: Shake Shack | Florals: Urban Design Studio | Hair Stylists: Michael Gierl | Lighting: CitiView | Makeup Artist: Allie Smith | Photography: Paul Francis Photography | Portrait Location: Central Park | Reception: New York Academy of Medicine | Videography: Cord3 Films | Wedding Coordinators: Luxe Events