Read on to hear from the bride, Becca about their special day!
Planning/Coordination: Amber Gustafson of Amber Events (special thanks to Nira, Misha, Karter, and Relindis)
Venue: Fred Harvey Room at Union StationPhotography: Studio CastilleroDJ: Red ShoeFlorist: Holly FloraMakeup: Susie ChhuorRentals: Premiere Party RentsCatering: Whoa NellyLighting: Aspect Lighting
Words from the bride, Becca:
Honestly, I think loving someone so hard that your heart almost explodes was probably the theme of ourwedding. Neil and I met in grad school. When you meet us, at first glance you will think we are so different. There's his naturally bleach blond, stick straight hair (YES IT'S NATURAL) and my huge, dark curly hair. There's also his quiet, calm demeanor and let's just say mine is more HIHOWAREYOUWHATAREYOUDOINGLETSBEFRIENDSYAY. He is many generations american, while my mom is from El Salvador and my dad's parents are from Austria and Poland. I am Jewish and Neil is not. Before Neil, I had barely ever met grandparents with American accents! We are both, however, Californian, which turns out to be a really big deal in terms of cultural affinity. We are both curious about the world, dedicated to our friends and family, eternally optimistic. We both love early 90s hip hop to the max, love cooking and entertaining, love reading and have exactly the same sense of humor. We both have awesome families. We also just love each other so hard.
So, after love explosion, I think melding cultures and celebrating life was probably the inspiration for our wedding. We live in Brooklyn but we knew that we wanted to be married in LA since both of our families are in Southern California. We had two criteria: 1) it has to be disability accessible 2) it has to be available until at least 1AM. Our family was coming from all over the world and we were ready to show them a PARTY. My mom is the one who came up with Union Station. What a romantic setting! We aimed for 6 months out because life is too short to wait and we were married 6 months to the day after our engagement. Our design aesthetic is basically mid-century modern meets Latin America. We love bright colors, we love art deco, but we also love simple, clean and uncluttered. My mom and dad went to this little town in El Salvador called Ataco where my Aunt's boyfriend is from to order the runners for our tables. They are bright and joyful. The women there made them, on a LOOM, for us. And at the end of the night, people took them home. Some of the vases on the tables were bamboos cut from my parents garden. Neil and I personally wrote out the escort cards for all of our guests.
We had a jewish ceremony conducted by an incredibly spiritual Rabbi. A huge part of our wedding was spending 4 months planning our ceremony with him. Instead of relying on traditional Ketubah texts, we wrote our own Ketubah based on our values and our goals for our marriage. It was such a meaningful experience for us as a couple. We had specific friends and family write blessings for us as part of the 7 blessings ritual. My best friend and her husband were the ceremony musicians. Everyone, including our parents, said they knew us better after that day then they did before. What else could you hope for?
We ate unbelievable food (seriously, people said it was the best food they ever had, not just at a wedding) by Beth and Stephanie at Whoa Nelly, everyone fell in love with Rico and Rachel as they danced with us, we had a 35 minute horah and a deliciously fun band for that, we didn't cake cut or first dance or any of that, but we danced for 5+ hours straight to an awesome DJ, only leaving at 2:30AM, after churros and popcorn.
It's not easy to blend cultures and keep your identity, but you can do it, I swear.
My most memorable moments:
*Getting ready leisurely with my friends and mom *Photo session with just us. It was magical to be together for a few hours and just soak each other in.
*The ketubah ceremony before the main wedding. The light was just out of this world. It was just our families and witnesses. Everyone gave impromptu toasts. That's when we truly married.
*When everyone stood up when I came down the aisle and then being surrounded by them the whole ceremony (the chairs were all the way around the huppah) *Hearing the love letters we wrote each other and the blessings our families wrote.
*DANCING OUR FACES OFF with everyone that we love in the world. I didn't leave the dance floor once. I didn't even see the dessert table!
Here are a few pieces of advice I would give:
1. Make all the key stakeholders (ESPECIALLY PARENTS) say what's important to them from the very beginning. Not EVERYTHING can be important to them...and you will have to remind them of that throughout the process (Becca's mom said decor and the wedding dress, for example). It was so healthy because it helped set boundaries.
2. When you don't want someone's opinion, don't ask for it.
3. Be yourself. We did it our way, both traditional and non-traditional and didn't get sucked into wedding hype (ex. escort cards don't need to be fancy; we did email RSVP).
4. Hire a (good) wedding coordinator: SERIOUSLY DO IT. There are so many things you won't think of that make a difference (PA system for ceremony? ahem). At least get someone day of. You really just shouldn't worry about any details that day. When people can't find their tables? Honestly, let someone else deal! + Find vendors who vibe with you.
5. Hand out awesome things on the dancefloor halfway through the night. It sounds cheesy, but maracas+sunglasses+glowsticks+blow up instruments = unadulterated joy. Amber told us this. She was so right.
6. Finally, I know this isn't right for everyone, but if you are open you to it, find a guide (religious leader or otherwise) to help challenge you and make you grow as a couple as you plan your ceremony. Your partnership and wedding will be better for it.