There’s nothing like a little hometown pride – and what better to serve as inspiration for your Jewish wedding? Today’s bride and groom, Rebecca and Brandon, are both passionate Brooklynites – and they used their love of their home borough as inspiration for their big day.
Their venue, 501 Union, in Brooklyn neighborhood Gowanus, is SO industrial chic, and the couple complemented it with fun touches like a personalized map of Brooklyn on the back of their invitations (with key spots in the couple’s lives marked), mini Junior’s cheesecakes as favors, a Brooklyn-fabulous cocktail hour menu including lox on everything bagel chips, pastrami bites, and Coney Island hot dogs, and even a Coolhaus ice cream sandwich truck!
We’re also digging the urban jungle vibes Rebecca and Brandon went with for their florals – how fun is their chuppah?! Don’t miss it in Billye Donya Photography’s wonderful pics.
We’ll leave it to the bride, who looked utterly urban chic in Vera Wang…
How we met
Rebecca, the bride: We swiped right on Tinder, so obviously didn’t know much about each other before we met. For our first date, he suggested we meet after work near the Grand Army Plaza entrance to Prospect Park, since it was right in between our apartments, and grab a drink from there.
I had certain hesitations about meeting a random internet man at the park at dusk so I told a good handful of friends about the date, so they’d know what to tell the authorities if I never came back… Anyway, once I saw Brandon in his Canadian tuxedo (denim on denim, baby!), I knew I had nothing to worry about (;
We got married at 501 Union in Gowanus, Brooklyn. We both love our borough, which kind of morphed into the theme for our wedding. We looked at a handful of different places and settled on 501 Union for the dark industrial-chic feel of the space, awesome neighbourhood, and freedom to style the space the way we wanted. It doesn’t necessarily feel like a wedding venue, which is honestly what we loved about it.
NYC Meets Tropical Chic
We didn’t have an explicit theme, but definitely borrowed from the venue and its location for inspiration once we got started planning. We were really excited to get married in the borough where we both lived (separately and then together), fell in love and got engaged. We ran with that in our invitations (more on that below), our cocktail hour (lox on everything bagel chips, stacked pastrami bites, Coney Island dogs, …) and the mini Junior’s cheesecakes we gave away at the end of the night.
501 Union also screams “tropical chic” with its moody vibes, modern fixtures and black and white palm tree wallpaper, which really inspired our florals.
Shout out to our amazing wedding planner, Color Pop Events (aka Leah Weinberg), who brought all of our ideas together and introduced us to so many of our incredible vendors who helped pull it all off!
Our super-talented friend, Andrea Napchan of Andrea Napchan Designs, designed our invitation suite and absolutely knocked it out of the park. She took all of our random, stream-of-consciousness ideas and synthesized them into a one-of-a-kind finished product that we didn’t even know was possible.
The highlight was a map of Brooklyn included on the flipside of the invitation that marked all of our most sentimental spots (our first date, our first home, where we got engaged, where we got married).
Hair + Make-up
This might sound crazy to a lot of people, but I picked vendors I really liked and trusted and kind of left it up to them! My instructions were minimal – understated and flawless. And both Nancy at Creative Hair (who has been cutting my hair for a decade!) and Flynn at Makeup By Flynn delivered 1000%.
A Vera Wang Dress
Vera Wang from the Wedding Salon of Manhasset. Elegant, understated, and form-fittingly sexy. What else do you need?
Veil from Barron’s Bridal Boutique. My dress was simple in texture, so the beautiful custom lace veil was a great addition!
Charles David studded white slingbacks in a 2” heel. Cool and comfortable for dancing all night long!
The handsome groom
A gorgeous navy suit from The Black Tux, with a cheeky pop of hot pink in the socks. Handsome is an understatement!
I didn’t do a formal bridal party, though I invited about a dozen close friends and family to hang out and get ready with me in the bridal suite on the day-of. No special dress code.
My cousin, David, officiated our ceremony, which was really special. He’s kind of a goofball, so it definitely erred on the side of light-hearted and funny, with plenty of sentimentality woven throughout.
My favorite part of the ceremony was definitely when we each recited our own vows. We went back and forth between reciting our vows at the ceremony or doing ‘standard’ vows and saving our personalized vows for later, in private. In the end, it felt really meaningful to say them aloud in front of our friends and family, so I’m glad we did it!
Our wonderful friend and local artist, Megan Watters, hand-painted our ketubah for us (and signed it). We asked her to play off of our tropical florals, and she totally nailed it.
We more or less left it to our amazing floral team and I’m glad we did. A tropical paradise!
Our music choice
Brandon walked down the aisle to ‘Midnight Mile’ by the Rolling Stones and I chose ‘Vienna’ by Billy Joel. We exited the ceremony to ‘Too Late to Turn Back Now’ by Corenelius Brothers and Sister Rose… How fitting (:
A group of four very talented friends (I seem to have a lot of those!) surprised me with an a cappella rendition of ‘Kiss The Girl’ from The Little Mermaid (a song they used to sing in chorus when we were in grade school together!).
I had barely recovered from the shock when my husband then jumped in for a song with the band on the guitar and vocals (‘Twist and Shout’ by The Beatles). Let me be clear that he is not a musician nor had he even casually strummed a guitar in probably a decade. He practiced in secret for months whenever I left the house, which made it that much more freaking adorable and amazing!
I absolutely loved my bouquet and the florals in general. Petals + Roots really knocked it out of the park and gave us that ‘urban jungle’ vibe – lush, textured greens and big tropical flowers. I added a charm from my late dad’s necklace to my bouquet, which helped me feel like he was part of the day.
Photographer and videographer
We chose Ryon/Lockhart Photography as our photographer. We were drawn to them for their moody photojournalistic style. We’re not too big into posed shots, so it was important to us to choose a photographer that would make us feel comfortable and capture lots of great candids. We knew from our engagement shoot with Sarah that Ryon/Lockhart was what we were looking for.
When Sarah found out she was expecting her first baby right around our wedding date, she lined up Billye of Billye Donya Photography to take our day-of photos. Billye, like Sarah, made us feel completely at ease and captured the most amazing shots on our big day!
For video, we used Juliana Cardoso of Ink + Film Studio. Along the same lines of Ryon/Lockhart and Billye Donya, her style is really candid and authentic. And, well, the finished product speaks for itself. Amazing!
Food and cake
Purslane catered our wedding and it was DELICIOUS. We chose American-Italian family style (Caesar salad, chicken marsala, rigatoni ala vodka, broccolini….mmm…..), and it was fun to have a big tasty spread to share on those beautiful long wooden tables at 501 Union.
Forget the cake – we brought in a Coolhaus ice cream sandwich truck. We have been big Coolhaus fans for a long time, so this was such a highlight for us!!
We used The Brooklyn Sound from Hank Lane. I don’t think I left the dancefloor the whole night unless someone dragged me off of it. They were incredible. We also elected not to bring a stage into the venue, so the band was really in the mix with the guests, which brought great energy.
Mini cheesecakes from Junior’s!
We took a road trip through Northern Spain. We started in Barcelona, made our way to San Sebastian and then drove from there to Rioja and on to Madrid. My husband is in the hospitality industry and we are both very much into food, so San Sebastian has been on our list for a very long time and it did not disappoint, nor did the amazing wineries in the Rioja wine region (Campo Viejo, Marques de Murrieta, to name a couple highlights).
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding
Do something that feels authentic to you as a couple (which might mean drowning out a lot of other opinions, both solicited and unsolicited).
REBECCA & BRANDON’S LITTLE WHITE BOOK
Photography – Ryon/Lockhart Photography and Billye Donya Photography
Videography – Ink + Film Studio
Band – Hank Lane, The Brooklyn Sound
Wedding planner – Color Pop Events
Venue – 501 Union
Bride’s dress – Vera Wang, found and fitted at Wedding Salon of Manhasset
Bride’s shoes – Charles David
Bride’s accessories – Veil from Barron’s Bridal Boutique
Groom’s attire – The Black Tux
Hair – Creative Hair
Makeup – Makeup By Flynn
Flowers – Petals + Roots
Catering – Purslane
Dessert – Coolhaus
Ketubah – Megan Watters
Stationery/Invitation – Andrea Napchan Designs
Officiant – Our cousin, David
Cheesecake favours – Junior’s
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