WEDDING DIARY: PART TWO

When we last left off in the Wedding Diary: Part One – Adam had just left our suite to get ready for the evening separately. My sister arrived, champagne, silk pajamas, hair and make-up tools in tow. We put on a ‘getting ready’ playlist and spent the next hour or so getting ourselves ready for the night ahead. My parents stopped by from down the hall to say hi, my two best friends from college came by and did their own hair and make-up there too before heading off to the venue – it was a revolving door of some of the people I love most. It was a fun period of the day but also in the moment, I was feeling the most stressed. The weather was tenuous at best and we’d just asked 30 of our closest family and friends to come to New York City and wait for us on a rooftop.

The vendors had begun to deliver things, the tables were being set.. really there was no turning back. Suddenly it was 5:00 PM – everyone was heading to the cocktail hour and Leandra, our incredible photographer was coming back to the Ludlow to capture a first look. For the first time since 7:00 AM, I was alone in the room, in my dress. Adam was 3 doors down the hall. Later we recounted that we’d both stood at the window, looking out over downtown and watched it begin to rain. And then we took a few deep breaths and came to meet each other.

Me, in a very simple silk slip dress – found for half price this summer from Reformation and hemmed at my local tailor, vintage paste stone earrings from Alexis Bittar (where I work) and a more walkable block heel sandal with just a touch of sparkle from Loeffler Randall – all brands that I wear and love regularly so I felt completely at ease in them. My hair let down from the morning’s bun to fall in retro waves and parted to the side. Lips bright red in Ruby Woo – the lipstick I wore constantly when I first moved to New York. An ivory mohair cardigan from French brand Sezane to drape over my shoulders in the chilly evening air. The inspiration was Carolyn Bessette at her wedding to JFK Jr. – a simple, timeless elegance + a touch of old hollywood glamour. Adam, in a silk tie neck shirt, wrapped twice, and a double breasted jacquard vest, vintage trousers and black patent loafers.

We were together, come what may. We had a few quiet moments to ourselves and then we were off, into a cab headed from the Lower East Side to Nolita – just as the rain began to stop again.

As we were making our way to the venue, our 30 guests were huddled inside – the bartender passing drinks down the staircase for a banded together makeshift happy hour that everyone was looking back on and laughing about already by the time we arrived. If you look closely you’ll see the place settings still upside down from when they set the tables only to have it start raining. Chairs wiped down before we got there and tablecloths and settings that were miraculously dry enough for us to sit less than 2 hours later.

My Dad met Adam and I downstairs, and then we were in the tiny stairwell leading up to the roof. My best friend Claire, who had spent months helping me expertly craft our wedding playlist and was so generously willing to hit ‘play’ was waiting at the top of the stairs and it was so nice seeing her first. Her being the one to give us our cue to walk.

What I remember: the opening chords of the Beach Boys’ ‘Don’t Worry Baby’ (the song we’d picked for him to walk out to) coming over the speakers, Adam turning the corner and hearing the tiny crowd erupt in cheers. My Dad giving me a steadying look, picking up the hem of my dress to keep it from touching the somewhat wet steps, the feel of his new wool suit against my bare arm. Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Secret Garden’ starting to play, how we made the turn out to the roof just as the music started to swell. How even with just 30 people I felt like I couldn’t quite meet anyone’s eyes until we made the turn and my childhood best friend Joanna came into focus, Adam beside her.

In a happy accident the microphones had been ruined in the earlier rain and so we could exchange our vows to one another quietly. We took our first dance to Smokey Robinson & The Miracles’ ‘You’ve Really Got a Hold On Me’ – a song that reminded us of the early days when we’d first met, both of us swearing we weren’t going to be together but finding it impossible to resist.

And then, as the lights began to go up in the city around us, string lights sparkling, we were free to breath. We greeted our guests, were handed drinks (a French75 for me, a Manhattan for Adam – our signature cocktails for the night) and wandered around the rooftop – never much more than an arm’s length away from one another. We’d pause and listen to a particular snippet of a song we love – mouthing the words to one another.

Every single guest had traveled to be there that night. Most from Pennsylvania but a few from further and it meant to world to have our 30 closest friends and family in this city where we’ve built a life together. My sister and Adam both gave a short toast, we sipped good champagne and then we served dinner from Rosemary’s – one of our favorite local restaurants. I’ve honestly never had a memorable meal at a wedding and so we thought – why try to cater steak? We could just serve great pasta from one of our favorite local restaurants and then whenever we feel like it, we can have the same meal we ate at our wedding.

Keeping in the spirit of sourcing things locally – we had a small lemon curd and olive oil cake made by From Lucie – a French bakery in the East Village (same thing, we can eat our wedding cake on every anniversary if we’d like) and trays of cookies from Bedford Cheese Shop that did our appetizer plates as well – they’re right around the corner from us in Gramercy.

We served coffee in classic NY blue paper coffee cups. I danced with my Dad to Sam Cooke’s ‘Nothing Can Change This Love’. The rest of us swept the dance floor. We played Amy Winehouse’s ‘Valerie’ for my dear friend from college Val as she twirled around. My cousin’s wife Raquel, whom I adore, hooted and hollered – a true country girl in NYC. One of our oldest friends Dave came around with a tray of tequila shots – no idea how he procured it. It was spectacular.

We laughed and danced and then.. like clockwork, it started to rain just as the party was meant to wrap up. We ran for cover downstairs. I changed into a white party dress from Staud and silver platform heels and a handful of us were off to the after party. Final finals (and then some) at The Flower Shop in the Lower East Side. It was a rain soaked blur of a late night adventure until finally I looked over at Adam and said.. let’s go home.

It wasn’t perfect.. nothing is. But it was really and truly ours. And if I had to do it again – aside from maybe getting a really beautiful sunset as our backdrop – I wouldn’t change a thing.

All photos by Leandra Creative Co.

WEDDING DIARY: PART ONE

There is a line in the 1999 movie Runaway Bride that has stuck with me since I was 12 years old. Julia Roberts character says “I hate big weddings with everybody staring. I would like to get married on a weekday while everybody is at work. And if I ride off into the sunset, I want my own horse.” It took me another 24 years to get there (and alas, we shared a cab) but in the end, Adam and I were married in City Hall, at 10AM on a grey Thursday – while everyone else in Manhattan was at work.

I’ve been meaning to share the wedding details with you all, and then one thing lead to another (work’s busy season, a few curveballs from life) and now we’re nearly to our two month anniversary. But I hope you’ll still indulge me. It’s going to come in two parts as the day was distinctly split that way.

But first, I’ll pick up where I last left off – at the engagement. When we first decided to get married I was hesitant to share the news at all (I think I waited about a month to do so publicly). I know that most people scream about their diamond rings from the rooftops, but ours wasn’t like that and I think it just felt so precious, so delicate – that I wasn’t sure I wanted it out there in the world. I’m glad I reconsidered because one of the most surprising things about this entire endeavor was the outpouring of well wishes from you all – extended family, old friends, internet acquaintances. So many people who I honestly wouldn’t have guessed thought of us at all, went out of their way to say that they were earnestly happy for us. It really was bolstering, especially since the 3 months leading up to the wedding day proved to be more challenging than I had anticipated. While almost all of it was out of our control (the death of two grandparents, work stress, a stomach ulcer and small hernia, family stuff, the stress of planning and organizing the wedding and the honeymoon very quickly) – that surrounding joy helped me to feel more celebratory in that engagement period when I chose not to have the traditional bridal shower, bachelorette, etc. Needless to say, by the time September 28th rolled around Adam and I were running on fumes, and I presume had checked the weather more times than most meteorologists in the tri-state area.

That being said, the morning of the wedding we woke up to a sweeping view of downtown Manhattan from a beautiful suite in the Ludlow Hotel, and all of that started to fade away. We’d visited the rooftop where we were set to hold the dinner reception the night before with my parents and sister and made the tenuous decision to stick to original plans despite scattered rain in the forecast. And so, with nothing more than a blind trust in what was to come, we began the day. Adam had, in signature fashion, forgotten the shirt that he was going to wear that morning at our apartment so he had to run back home, which left me to get ready alone in our room. What I remember: listening to our wedding playlist, the smallest ray of sunlight parting through the clouds, pinning my curls into a loose bun with a handful of bobby pins, kneeling on the carpet to make a bouquet out of flowers I’d bought the day before at the Union Square farmer’s market, wrapping it with lace from the sleeve of my Mom’s wedding dress and securing the lace with a blue crystal earring from my late Nan (my sister had the other sleeve and half pair on her wedding bouquet 9 years ago), stepping into those ivory lace Manolos.

Adam wore a vintage navy pinstripe 3-piece suit we’d found in a charity shop a few weeks prior and he had tailored. I wore an ivory wool button front dress from New York brand Lein, a subtle flared skirt and puffed sleeves its only “flourish”, aforementioned Manolos, small pearl earrings borrowed from my sister and a vintage satin navy handbag I found on Etsy the week before. For the morning at City Hall I wanted a nod to the 1940s-1960s (my favorite eras) but with a modern twist. Ultimately, I wanted us to look really timeless in the photos, and I’m so happy with how it came together.

We’d built a pretty tight itinerary for the day and so we met our immediate families in the lobby at 9:00AM sharp and got in cars headed for City Hall. We were allowed 4 witnesses, meaning our parents could join us inside while our siblings waited outside. My Dad signed our marriage license with us and in doing so, Adam officially took our last name. From there, we watched the ticker boards until our number (C017) was called. The thing I loved about getting married at City Hall is what I love about New York – there are a million intersecting stories at any given moment. Down the hall was a young bride in chunky black Prada loafers, white knee socks and a white mini dress. Next to us was a bride well into her second or third trimester in a form fitting ivory sweater dress – her and the groom both beaming with love. Behind us – a bride in a full length lace gown, her groom in a sharp suit. We all had our own versions of that day – but we all shared in the excitement of that morning together.

The ceremony itself was brief and straight to the point. I hadn’t looked up exactly what the officiant would say but was happily surprised that we did in fact get to say “I do”, exchange rings – Adam’s a simple black band, mine a tiny row of diamond baguettes – and have an official kiss at the end. The whole thing took no more than 5 minutes and was perfect to me.

We exited City Hall into a snow globe of white confetti (I’d ordered small poppers ahead of time and our family and our amazing photographer Leandra all got into place before we came out the doors) – which was one of my favorite moments of the day. We were officially married and everything after that was icing on the cake of it all.

We took photos on the steps of City Hall and then left with Leandra for photos in Washington Square Park – a place that feels very ‘us’. It’s our local park, the one we’ve been walking to most weekends for a decade, the one where we sat on a bench and decided to get married on a hot night in July while lightning bugs flickered around us. Partially because it was overcast and partially because it was a Thursday at 11AM we miraculously had the place almost to ourselves.. which never happens. We danced by the fountain, paused under the arch, and were generally just sort of swept along with happiness during that photo hour.

From there we dipped into Washington Mews – one of my favorite tucked away streets that you’ll likely recognize as we’ve taken plenty of blog photos there over the year. Again, it was blessedly empty so we could really just relax into the moment.

Our last shot of the morning was a recreation of one of Adam’s grandparent’s wedding photos. A small tribute to his Nana that we lost a few weeks earlier.

Afterwards, Leandra left for a break before returning later and Adam and I were alone. One of the things that was most important to me that day was that we actually get to spend as much of it together as possible. And so, on a corner of Washington Square Park, I changed into little lace ballet flats and we walked to pick up lunch. We stood in line, me holding a bouquet, him holding a cardboard ‘just married’ sign – ordering salads to go. Then we grabbed a cab and took them back to our hotel suite where we promptly changed into robes, ate lunch, talked about the morning, listened to our wedding playlist for that night and just reveled in it together for about an hour. It was one of the best parts of the day.

Then it was time for the shift to the second half of the day.. where time would begin to move much faster. Adam left to move to my sister’s hotel room with my brother in law, and my sister came to our room to start getting ready for the evening. The rest coming in part two!

A few photos from my own camera and iphone, but the majority are from Leandra Creative Co. – she was a dream to work with and we can’t recommend her enough!

LET’S CATCH UP 11.19.23

I’m officially in my annual Black Friday haaaze at work, but (as mentioned in my last post) trying desperately to maintain sanity and make the most of this special time of year. Sounds simple, right? I’ll let you know how it goes by December 31st.

ON MY MIND:

  • I’ve been tasked with desserts this Thanksgiving (largely because I can buy them and I presume my family must feel safest that way) but I am attempting to make at least one thing from scratch and it’s my Mom’s beloved pumpkin roll recipe. Wish me luck. For posterity, I might also go armed with this festive seasonal non-alcoholic punch that surely I can’t mess up.
  • The 3 albums I’ve had on repeat lately – all of them are fun, upbeat and the type of synth-y 80s inspired pop that is a particular sweet spot in my musical taste. First, the new Cannons album ‘Heartbeat Highway’ – zero skips on this one, but I particularly love Sweeter and Cry Baby. Next up ‘1989 Taylor’s Version’, naturally. Those vault songs are just crushing me in the best way, especially Is It Over Now and Slut! An anthem. Last but not least, ‘Sting’ from Emarosa – we saw them play at a tiny venue in the West Village last month and they had such great energy. Their cover of Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody is so fun and the song Cinnamon from the album mentioned is so good we put it on our wedding playlist.
  • Life has really thrown me some curveballs since we got back from our honeymoon and without getting into the details, it hasn’t been the easiest couple of months. Which has delayed my recap of our wedding day much more than I’d originally planned – I just haven’t had the bandwidth. But! It’s finally coming later this week – so stay tuned šŸ™‚

ON MY BOOKSHELF:

  • I’m way behind my reading goal for the year – 40 books read with a goal of 52. In an effort to give myself some extra grace (perpetual goal hitter that I like to be), I’m trying to just focusing on reading books I think I’ll love for the rest of the year. Tom Lake by Ann Patchett is still high on that list of hopefuls but I also just picked up a used copy of My Life in France by Julia Child that’s calling to me.
  • I wasn’t willing to shell out the money to buy the Britney Spears’ memoir myself, but my celeb-loving sister did and so I’m once again benefitting from her hand-me-downs. I started this yesterday and will probably finish this weekend. Pamela Anderson, Monica Lewinsky, Britney Spears.. these women were all of an era when the press/public made a mockery of them and I’m glad they’re all getting a moment to finally find their voices again.
  • I just finished Sloane Crosley’s essay collection I Was Told There’d Be Cake and while I thought some essays were stronger than others, overall it was a fun read full of sharp observations and relatable self-deprecation. I’d give it 3.5-4 stars.
  • As I always do – next weekend I’ll share my list of holiday reads! It’s one of my favorite posts of the year and one of my favorite December traditions. If you’re new here, I let my self revel in the literary equivalents of watching a Hallmark movie while sipping hot cocoa all month long. Last year’s post here.

IN MY CART:

  • I saw this plaid taffeta skirt at last week’s Talbots holiday party and immediately swooned. I’m placing my order ASAP as I’m always worried about sizes selling out.
  • I’m going to get one of our wedding photos (or maybe this one from our honeymoon) printed and put it in this sweet ceramic frame – will drop it in Adam’s stocking for Christmas!
  • I am really in need of a couple of new belts and it’s been strangely hard to find something I like in between cheap $30 options and $$$ designer options. So far I like this neutral one that has interesting but still understated gold hardware.
  • The way I cannot stop thinking about this mixed plaid fitted vest. It’s on sale but still pricey.. I’m keeping in my cart hoping that the Black Friday gods are good to me and it goes on further sale?
  • Totally different, but while we’re on the matter of vests – this fair isle option is much more budget friendly. I’d wear with a fitted black turtleneck and wide leg jeans.
  • A silly, small thing: I love these crystal accented socks – I’d wear with silver heels and a mini or cuffed jeans and loafers.
  • J.Crew’s cashmere sweaters rarely go on sale – I’m using the early Black Friday sale as my chance to pick up this cropped crewneck in a classic charcoal for just under $80.
  • Adam and I are finally crossing Waverly Inn off our New York restaurant bucket list with a reservation next Friday night and this long-sleeved rose print dress looks like just the thing to wear. Romantic and dressy enough with red lips and sheer black tights, but not over the top.

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ON LIFE: MEASURING TIME AND MANAGING STRESS

Time is a strange, stretching taffy sort of thing, isn’t it? As of writing this, we have about 6 1/2 weeks left in this year. In contrast, our wedding was 6 1/2 weeks ago. It feels like a blink and a lifetime. In a normal year, the weeks to come are my busiest, most stress-inducing, highest pressure of the year. But as you might know, this wasn’t a normal year for me. We planned a wedding in 12 weeks and have had about a 4-5 month stretch where, even if we hadn’t added that major milestone to the agenda, would have left me stretched pretty thin. I’ve become the taffy in this scenario I suppose.

And while my career of choice (Fashion E-commerce) tends to dictate that these next 6 1/2 weeks will feel like I’m careening towards the new year – it is in my best interest health wise (mentally and physically.. lest we all forget the stress induced stomach ulcer I had back in August) to dig in my heels so to speak. To make a dedicated effort to stubbornly reject the blink and you’ll miss it moment that exists between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I think this might seem counterintuitive but I’m doing this by filling up my calendar (it might in fact be ill-advised but what do you care, it’s my experiment). We’ll only get one holiday season as newlyweds, I want to look back and remember cozy December date nights, ice skating hand in hand in Central Park, picking out gifts that feel special. Likewise, I’ve made significant progress on some personal goals this year and I want to keep pushing. Sure work is busy – but it’s always going to be. I’m going to keep getting up early every morning to work-out, keep trudging through the depths of my novel’s first draft, keep putting money in the apartment fund. 6 1/2 weeks suddenly becomes an expanse before me.

I certainly don’t have all the answers, and I suspect that the dates on the calendar will continue to surprise me with their domino fall – but this year, I intend to not let it pull me completely apart.

Outfit from the lost France files – I hope you’ll continue to indulge me with these.

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MY OCTOBER TBR STACK

I mentioned in yesterday’s post but I think I read about 4 paragraphs in total between mid-September and now. And that’s okay.. but as someone who loves reading seasonally, I was starting to get very itchy that I was missing out on my Fall reads. Luckily, I’d pre-stacked some books in my TBR (to be read) and now that I’m back to some semblance of normal order – I’m diving right in. While I probably won’t get to all of these this season I plan on spending now through Thanksgiving working my way through as much of the below as I can.

The Invisible Hour by Alice Hoffman – My virtual book club this month and my current read. You know Hoffman from her popular Practical Magic series but she’s an acclaimed author outside of those. So far, I’m enjoying this bookish, possibly time traveling read? I’m about 80 pages in.

The Paris Mystery by Kirsty Manning Every once in awhile I’m in the mood for what they call a “cozy mystery” – there’s a bit of suspense, maybe a murder.. but not it’s not going to keep you up at night. I liked the sounds of this one and will be a nice call back to my recent time in Paris!

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab – I read and loved Schwab’s The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue a few years ago so was interested in reading something else by the author. This is the first in a series and I’m interested in giving this sweeping, dark magic saga a try.

The Witches of New York by Ami McKay – I do not know a thing about the plot of this book.- but quite frankly based on title and cover alone, I’ve wanted to read this one for years. Luckily, my New York book club picked this one for our Oct/Nov read so I finally am prioritizing it! Will report back.

Enchanted to Meet You by Meg Cabot – As work gets increasingly hectic during Q4 my reading mind starts to go slack and I love dipping into some fun, easy reading romcoms. This one sounded cute and that’s all I need it to be.

The Scandalous Confessions of Lydia Bennet Witch by Melinda Taub – My bookish bestie Claire picked this one up and I couldn’t resist doing the same. We get a different look at the Bennet family (of Pride & Prejudice fame) with a witchy remix. Count me in.

The Mad Women’s Ball by Victoria Mas – Another Paris setting, this time in 1880s Belle Epoque, with a gothic sounding twist. I’m going in fairly blind here too but its largely set in an asylum for women that society has deemed hysterical or otherwise crazy – so I think it will have a dark enough edge to feel just right for spooky season.

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