I’ve been throwing the word ‘whirlwind’ around a lot lately, but goodness these past few weeks have really been one! I’ve strolled around the streets of Manhattan, danced with a disco ball, made custom lipsticks, got a crazy Japanese glitter manicure, found my perfect wrist candy, had a coughing fit live on the internet, hosted a lunch date with our past students, eaten a tub of popcorn larger than my head, posed on velvet couches on city block corners and got locked on a rooftop… and that was just in the first few days!
We did two Blogcademy classes on this trip and I’ll be blogging all about the Minneapolis adventures soon, but today it’s all about my favourite city in the whole wide world – New Yaaawk!
We held our class at the amazing Rent Patina in Brooklyn, the most glorious white walled loft space filled to the brim with vintage furniture, knick knacks and oddities. I’d never been over the bridge before (except when a taxi driver got lost one time but that’s a story for another day) so it was super fun to explore a brand new neighbourhood. As we walked in on day one we were overcome with awe and wonder at all the pretty things to look at!
Alison and Michael were married at The Green Building in Brooklyn. They got together after chance meeting at Kate’s Paperie in New York, a Craigslist ‘Lost Connection’ that actually worked and a long online relationship. After finally getting together and then getting engaged they planned the wedding in just three short months.
“When planning the wedding I became charmed by the idea of parlour weddings, the way folks used to do it before the Big Business of weddings”, Alison explained. “So we wanted to create the look and feel of a living room for ours. We wanted to take items from each of our apartments and create a cozy and personal space where we could gather our nearest and dearest to watch us make this amazing commitment.”
“I loved the fact that most of the décor was made up of items from our own homes and items we’ve collected over the years. We didn’t have a whole lot of time to plan the wedding so spending countless hours on Pinterest looking for ideas just wasn’t a possibility. I had to go with my instincts and make quick decisions. We first nailed down the venue and date and caterer, but then the rest of the details came together in the last month. I know most people may think we’re crazy to have done it so quickly, but we’re thrilled with how it turned out. We didn’t have time to over-think it. It was very much a reflection of who we are both as individuals and as a couple.”
With a penchant for all things glamorous and retro, it was no wonder that Angie & Brian had the wedding that they did. The bride, a burlesque dancer, and the groom, a jazz trumpet player for Lady Gaga, wanted a day that truly reflected the things that they love. They didn’t just want to plan a wedding – they wanted to put on a show! The wedding was held at Grand Prospect Hall, Brooklyn.
“We approached the wedding like we approach organizing our shows”, began the bride, “we didn’t let the whole ‘wedding insanity’ creep into our brains and I think we were both born with the Rock n Roll spirit in our blood! Our theme was just us. We wanted to reflect our personalities in the wedding and really just create a great party that would make our parent’s and family happy and comfortable while also entertaining our showbiz pals. Our big band was a mix of Brian’s musician pals, our centerpieces and backdrop was created by a designer I use to do show sets for me and my gowns were from my costume designer. We really stayed inside our show business/ night-life circle as much as we could and I think that helped to keep our wedding ‘vibe’ so representative of us.”
What could be more fun than a backyard BBQ, a ceremony in Central Park and a pizza party?! Well that’s exactly what Jared & Nakia chose to do for their New York wedding. Unusually though, this couple opted for their casual BBQ reception to take place the night before their ceremony, in the groom’s brother’s back garden. Then the following day, after the ceremony, they went off – just the two of them – for portraits and pizza!
The bride explains, “We decided to have a big family grill out for our reception for two reasons. First of all, we were very concerned with the traffic and parking issues with getting everyone to Central Park for the wedding, let alone then asking everyone to drive and try to park again at an NYC restaurant for a formal reception. Secondly, after looking into renting out a whole restaurant, or even just a large room at a restaurant, in the city on a Saturday, we realised the prices were astronomical. After talking it over, we instead decided that having a big family grill out as it was more reasonable in price and much more relaxed for our family and friends.”
“Then the next day, after the ceremony, we did a photo shoot in Central Park. It was amazing! After the photo shoot I was really hungry, so we got in the limo and found a pizzeria. And no I didn’t go back to the hotel to change beforehand. I went in my beautiful wedding dress and Jared went in his tuxedo. We sat down at a pizza shop on a corner and we enjoyed pizza while talking about how beautiful the wedding was. A couple in wedding attire sitting in a pizzeria draws a lot of attention but we didn’t mind because as New Yorkers not much surprises you!”
“We didn’t really have a traditional ‘theme’ as you can probably tell”, Nakia chuckled. “I guess if anything we had a family reunion sort of theme. Jared and I grew up together so both our families know each other already.”
Words can’t express how my heart ached for New York and the East Coast of America when I heard about all the tragedies surrounding one of the worst storms in 100 years. I read eye witness accounts from my friends and saw terrifying images of the flood waters rising in the streets that I had walked down just a few days before… And I know it sounds strange, weird even, but being a wedding blogger I also wondered what might have happened to any weddings that we’re planned around this time.
Is that an odd thing to think about? Maybe… But needless to say, I was overjoyed to read Laura & Rich’s story and to see how they still managed have the happiest day of their lives, despite the destruction and chaos around them.
“We were married at The Inn at Millrace Pond in New Jersey on 2nd November,” wrote the bride, “and it almost didn’t happen… We were very close to postponing the wedding because it was all so crazy after the hurricane. We were without electricity and running water at home and the Inn’s power was only restored two nights before the wedding date. I got a frantic phone call from Peggy, our florist, the day before to tell us that she had received a call from the Mayor telling her that he could see that the Inn was illuminated from his house and that our wedding could go ahead after all! I really loved how everyone pitched in to make the wedding happen, we felt very lucky. From friends and family carpooling and getting gas in the middle of the night, to Rich having to pick up the tuxedos on the morning of the wedding from another town, to all the girls getting ready by generator power.”
“I know this sounds crazy, but I really feel like The Blogcademy is going to be a massive game-changer for all three of us”, Gala said to Shauna & me the morning after the workshop, “and I really hate that phrase…”
But you know what, I think the girl might be onto something.
A heady mix of nerves, anticipation and excitement seeped through my trip to New York this month. Lisa & I had a few other things planned, but we knew our visit was concluding with the biggie. Organising this event was a labour of love and a project of passion – squillions of emails flew back and forth over the course of just a couple of short months while Gala, Shauna & I planned every last detail thousands of miles apart from each other.
A intensive weekend-long and strategy-based blogging workshop was something all three of us had dreamt about doing individually, but it was only when we realised we could do it together that the pieces of the puzzle started falling into place. We all have very different areas of interest and expertise surrounding the subject, and when we sat down and assessed what each of us could bring to an event like this it all just seemed to make sense.
“It was hands down one of the best things I’ve done to move my ideas forward in a really long time. The BEST. I think I may have a choir of mojo about to sing hallelujah. It got me thinking about how we get our mojos to sing…” Maree Forbes