Today's brave wedding is simply breathtaking. Magical. In fact, when I first saw these photos with their bold colors, children playing, and joy in the air, I felt like I had arrived in Never Never Land. But the photos are not the only reason why I wanted to feature this wedding today.
The key to a brave wedding is self-awareness. Only after you are fully cognizant of your values, your world view, where you've been and how it's changed you, what your limits are, and who you want to be, can you begin to make brave choices. And that's what I love about today's wedding - the couple, Angela and Drew, built their wedding upon a solid foundation of self-awareness, integrity, and authenticity. But I'll let you see for yourself. Angela, take it away...
Drew and I were not wide-eyed kids looking to start a life together. We had been together for 7 years when he proposed (we met on Craigslist when he answered my ad for a roommate) and our daughter was 5 years old (you do the math!). We already had all the trappings of a marriage: a child, a mortgage and a dog. Getting married for us was not about starting something new, it was about celebrating what we had.
When planning our wedding, the most important thing for us was that it was personal and reflected our style and sense of humor. We had both been to beautiful, extravagant, and exotic weddings that were fabulous but not always very personal.
We belong to a community garden so it seemed like a logical place to have the ceremony since it was beautiful and met our budget restrictions (it was also a little Steve & Miranda, a la Sex and the City). We made a donation and contributed a lot of sweat equity, weeding and planting for weeks. We were touched by how our fellow garden members helped out and even dropped by on our big day to wish us well.
We asked Drew’s dad to be our officiant, courtesy of the Church of Spiritual Humanism. Since neither of us is religious, it did not make sense to ask a minister who knew nothing about us. Drew’s father wrote us beautiful vows that really reflected who we are and our life together so far.
We decided early on that we wanted to try to keep it local and support local businesses in the Brooklyn neighborhood that we love. Our wedding rings (Eleven Jewelry), flowers (The Orangerie) and cake (Nine Cakes) were acquired all within or close by our neighborhood. I found a violinist playing on the subway platform. I left her a dollar and a note asking her to play at our wedding. She could not do it but recommended an excellent musician friend who did. We found our photographer, Jessica Mahady, through a friend after I posted a plea on Facebook! She captured the intimacy of the day and the coolness of Brooklyn.
The one exception to the local rule was my dress, which like a few of the other brave brides, came from Dolly Couture. The inspiration during my dress search was a photo of my mother in a white party dress circa 1950. I loved, loved, loved my Milan dress. It was so beautifully made at half the price of some bridal dresses. It was exactly what I wanted. Now, if I can just figure out where I can wear it again.
Our reception dinner was in a carriage house in a local restaurant. Dinner was served family style which was great because you could try a little of all the dishes and we got to take home the leftovers! We had a couple of guests cancel at the last minute but were able to negotiate with the restaurant and got raw oysters (a personal favorite) in lieu of their dinners—a good example of taking a disappointment and turning it into a bonus.
As a bride & groom on a budget, we sacrificed some traditions like paper invitations—we used pingg.com and hired a car service instead of a limo. My advice to brides is that not everyone will approve of your choices but the people who are coming to your wedding love you—so they will forgive your untraditional ways and don’t invite anyone who won’t. You can cut corners without cutting style. Keep it simple. Keep it personal. One of the best compliments I received that day was when my sister said “the flowers are so Angela.”
My favorite part of the day was when Drew presented our daughter, Trinity, with a ring too—which she was not expecting. Her excitement and happiness during the day really made it special for us. After the wedding, she said to us that she was going to get married when her daughter was six too, so she could be the flower girl!
You definitely have to be brave to be true to yourself and not fall into the standard wedding trap emotions. Will I feel less of a bride if I don’t have a $1000+ flowing princess wedding dress, or the winery venue? Luckily, the answer was no.