This may well be one of the coolest and most stylishly decorated venues that I have ever laid my wedding blogger eyes upon! Yes, Gaby and Mike found a venue that reflected the look and feel that they were after – a warehouse venue with original brick walls, cavernous ceilings, crystal chandeliers, whimsical art work (including loads of original Andy Warhol’s), decadent furniture and dramatic lighting. This wedding is full of fun and creativity, but one of the stand-out ideas for me was the ‘Vodka Social’. Since the groom is Russian, different flavoured vodkas flowed throughout this wedding and we are talking some really *awesome* flavours such as ginger, spiced pear, raspberry, caramel, tiramisu and horseradish! More on that later on. First of all let me hand you over to our lovely bride on how and why she chose the venue. VENUE Gaby, The Bride: Mike and I had several important non-negotiable items as we started our wedding planning, and one of them was the venue. The venue sets the tone and influences the look-and-feel of the wedding, and is the backdrop for the ceremony, cocktail hour and reception. It’s where we’ll take a majority of our photos, and where our friends and family will celebrate the most special and important symbol of our love and commitment to one another. We knew we wanted something unique, spacious, modern and truly unforgettable for our wedding. We wanted it to be a reflection of us and our taste, and most importantly, we wanted to infuse our vision in the space…rather than the vision of the space taking over the wedding. We’ve been to so many weddings in hotel ballrooms, where the look is always the same: cream colored walls, gold neo-baroque sconces and floral or damask-patterned carpets. While there’s nothing wrong with that, we wanted something unlike anything we’ve seen before. We wanted something modern and sexy, but also understated and simple. We also knew we had our work cut out for us as many venues in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul areas have exclusive relationships with vendors, making it very difficult to work with the vendors we had already picked out and meet our Kosher food requirement. We looked at no less than two dozen venues and called at least another dozen more…and each time, we came back to ARIA at the Jeune Lune. It was a favourite of ours from the start. In fact, I had my heart set on the Jeune Lune even before we were engaged! While celebrating the 2011-2012 New Year, Mike and I and a few friends went to a New Year’s party hosted at the Jeune Lune. It was the venue’s inaugural debut from being a theatre to becoming a premier venue hall in the Theatre District of downtown Minneapolis. I remember walking in to the Jeune Lune and being completely mesmerized by the space! I leaned in to Mike and whispered in his ear: “This would be the perfect spot for a wedding.”
Today’s bride, Robin, has the most exquisite bridal style. As her wonderful wedding photographer, Piper Watson, puts it, “a mix of old school classy gal and modern minx”. Her stunning black and white ensemble is achingly chic and in fact, the couple’s whole event manages to be simultaneously stylish and elegant, yet warm and homely.
In their own words, Robin and Joe say they had a very non-traditional wedding by design. They truly wanted the feel of a of an informal dinner party, where two people happen to be getting married. They didn’t have many of the traditional wedding staples – only 45 guests, no flowers, bridesmaids, or first dance – and this gave the evening a truly intimate, unique and personal feel.
Their wedding report is a joint effort written by both the bride and groom, and the beautiful set of images produced by the lovely Piper Watson, will ensure that all those fantastic memories stay fresh and vibrant for many years to come.
AN INTIMATE VENUE + BLACK & WHITE COLOUR SCHEME
Robin the bride and Joe the groom: Ultimately, we wanted our wedding to feel like a dinner party (with a ceremony beforehand) for our closest family and friends. It was very modern and a bit whimsical; it was really a perfect reflection of our sensibilities and who we are as a couple.
The ceremony was held at Joe’s cousins’ (Martha and Bob) house in Washington, DC. She and her family have an amazing house that had been fully redesigned. Martha is an interior decorator and it shows! The reception was at Elizabeth’s on L, a converted town house in downtown DC which added to the intimate feel we were going for.
Our colour scheme was black and white (to match Robin’s dress) and green as an accent colour.
HAIR + MAKE-UP
Robin and Joe’s long time stylist, Gregg, did the hair for Joe, Robin, Joe’s sister Rachel, and Robin’s mother Ann. Robin had a really unique hair style at the time and only her stylist was good enough to style her hair. Robin’s makeup was done by a woman named Keisha from beautiful.flawless.face makeup. She was fantastic! Robin wanted to look like a more glamorous version of herself, but still look relatively natural. She made Robin look like herself, only better and also did the makeup for Ann and Rachel, who looked fantastic as well.
A Greek and a Jewish wedding? Can it get much better than that?! Well in the case of this beauty, it does. Not only do we get the best of both cultures and traditions, it is literally oozing, hell, I’d even say *overflowing*, in style and creativity.
First off, Crystall and Ryan are one seriously hot couple. I’m talking hot with a capital ‘H’ guys, and I just know you’ll agree once you clap eyes on all the imagery below. Then there’s the fusion of the best Jewish and Greek traditions, plus the theme of music running through all the festivities, and on a fashion note, our lovely bride, Crystall wore not one but TWO fabulous dresses: a spectacular customised Oscar de la Renta for the ceremony, and a breathtaking Jenny Packham for the reception. I know — I must admit to being a teeny weeny bit green-eyed over this fact.
The backbone of Crystall and Ryan’s W-day is a certain symbolic willow tree in the Brooklyn Botanical Garden that was central in the early days of their relationship. The same tree went on to survive merciless Hurricane Sandy and the couple decided that this tree would form the framework of their chuppah.
I won’t delay you any further; let’s hear about this beautifully intertwined Jewish / Greek wedding day in the bride’s words. She infuses lots of lovely detail — you’ll feel as if you were right there at her wedding.
Crystall, the Bride: The summer that Ryan and I met, we spent a perfect afternoon wandering the grounds of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. It was the same day that Ryan moved from Manhattan to Brooklyn, closer to where I was. We celebrated sitting under a large weeping willow tree, holding hands and completely in love. We had no way of knowing then that just 3 years later, we would be saying “I do” in that very spot in front of that same tree.
Very soon after getting engaged, we chose to marry in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, a place that means so much to us. We wanted our guests to experience the sweeping 52-acre garden in an intimate way and truly be a part of the journey that led us full circle right back to that weeping willow tree.
Despite having a very traditional Jewish Orthodox Wedding, they still wanted to play around on the margins, and incorporate as many of their own details into their W-day as they could.
One of the creative elements I love most is their invitations which Juliana designed herself. She incorporated the most delicious intertwined Hebrew calligraphy and combined it with an english font inspired by Elie’s favourite brand of scotch! Their invitation suite also included a map highlighting milestones in their relationship and had lots of lovely production finishes like a letterpress finish and a wax seal on each envelope.
I also love their idea of ‘donation’ favours where in place of traditional favours they made a contribution to a charity close to their hearts, and placed small notes at each plate with a picture of themselves, explaining the donation.
Juliana and Elie were set up on a blind date by Juliana’s roommate, Rena, who had gone to high school with Elie. Rena thought that Elie might be a good person for Juliana to meet, and she was evidently right! Let’s hear all about the couple’s special day from the lovely bride herself…
A GLAMOROUS VENUE
Juliana the Bride: Our wedding was at the The Roosevelt Hotel in New York City. Since our wedding was in February, we wanted the location to still be accessible in the event of inclement weather. We loved the Roosevelt as soon as we walked through it; it was the first of the many venues we’d looked at that we could actually envision ourselves getting married in. They had many distinct rooms available, and a fantastic balcony / hallway between the tish room and where the badeken was. Elie being danced down that hallway was one of my favourite moments of the wedding. As one of my friends remarked on her video of the badeken: “That was epic”.
This is a great example of a wedding that shows what you can achieve if you put a bit of time and effort in to doing something, and that a wedding doesn’t have to cost an absolute fortune! With the sun shining and your best friends and family around you, it’s easy to remember that the best things in life are free…cheesy but true.
Freya and Tim are both farmers – Tim is a 6th generation farmer in rural southern Minnesota and Freya is an organic farmer by profession and runs her own small produce business. Agriculture, food, and the outdoors is the core of who they are and being a totally ‘smashing’ couple and essentially being truly authentic to themselves, these elements came through beautifully and personally in their relaxed outdoor wedding.
A HOMEMADE, HANDMADE OUTDOOR WEDDING
Freya, The Bride: Our wedding was in Ketchum, Idaho and we held the ceremony and reception in Ketchum Rotary Park along the Bigwood river, the river upon which I grew up and love dearly. Tim and I didn’t really go for a theme or colour scheme. Everything was very simple and natural and the whole event was homemade and handmade – DIY style – very relaxed, like an afternoon picnic. We had lots of games like bean bag toss, ladder golf, hula hoops, bubbles, etc and these were played by both adult (and little) kids!
We had directional signs, chalkboards and such, all made by my husband. There was not much need for more decoration than that as it was such a beautiful venue.
MY OWN BRIDAL STYLE
I knew I wanted to be comfortable and feel like myself, not all made-up and princess-like. After trying on too many “cupcake” dresses, I found the “mini-cupcake” and loved it. I paired the dress with Canadian-made handcrafted Boulet western boots, that were a gift from my husband a few months before we got engaged. He knows I love my boots, and the collection keeps growing.
In terms of jewellery, I wore my mothers, sisters, late-grandmothers and my pearl bracelets. It meant a lot to me to have all those women with me under the chuppah….