October 2008, Jesse popped the question, in our studio apartment in the West Village, N.Y.
Shortly after our engagement, we decided we wanted our wedding to take place the following September in Maine with around 200 of our friends and family. That being said, due to the economy and my new start-up business, Excel Rain Man, a spreadsheet consulting biz for folks who can’t deal with their spreadsheets, we were hesitant to put down deposits and formalize plans.
Fast-forward to April 2009. With the economy still in the dumps, my small business still in its infancy and our wedding still unplanned, our spreadsheets, in their infinite wisdom, told us that the big wedding in Maine was not in the cards — or our budget. So, it was then that we decided to change directions and instead plan a 50-person NYC wedding … and we would do it in 5 weeks!
When we sat down to conceptualize the plans for our metropolitan nuptials, we wanted to make sure to keep a couple of things in mind. First, we wanted to make sure that our wedding, while smaller in scale, was still full of personality and fit us as a couple.
Second, in the spirit of supporting local commerce and showing friends and family all of the little things that we love about this city, we made the conscious decision to use as many small local businesses as possible. After all, these are the shops, restaurants, people and places that make us love living here and we wanted our wedding to have that same feel.
It all started with the engagement ring… understanding my progressive upbringing, Jesse knew that finding the right ring would require a little teamwork. So, after checking out a few boutiques in Soho together, we walked into Marisa Perry’s store on Prince Street and met Marisa and her husband, Douglas. Immediately I was drawn to a truly unconventional and beautiful ring that Douglas designed and created. Jesse decided that no matter what, these were the people that would be able to create the right engagement ring. Jesse worked with Marisa and Douglas to create this spinning band that I love and affectionately refer to as “spindarella”.
For the wedding weekend, Jesse’s parents rented a very cool loft in downtown Manhattan as both a place to stay as well as hold a laid-back rehearsal dinner Friday night. Keeping with our small business theme, we brought on Mary Ellen Amato, who had recently started a catering business called Tailor Made to provide the food. We had met Mary a few years earlier when she was managing Jack’s Stir Brew in the West Village … so we naturally jumped at the opportunity to have her involved in our wedding!
Jack’s Stir Brew also happens to be our go-to coffee shop. We even take it on vacation with us… so we obviously ordered coffee and milk from Jack’s to have throughout the weekend. We were truly touched when Jack Mazzola turned our java order into a wedding present.
Since most of Jesse’s and my exercise is found in the form of walking through the city (or preferably a golf course) as well as practicing Yoga at the Kula Yoga Project in Tribeca, we knew that our perfect and inevitably harried wedding weekend would require some centering Namaste action! Thus, as a great wedding present, my sister arranged for us to have private yoga classes the day before our wedding, as well as the morning of our big day with some of our fave instructors (Nikki Vilella and Ocean Baity).
Our chill wedding ceremony was held at the Jefferson Market Garden, which is just a few doors down from our apartment, with all of the proceeds for using the garden going to charity.
After the ceremony, we all headed to our favorite restaurant in the West Village, Market Table, for the reception. Of all of the decisions made throughout this journey, choosing Market Table may have been one of the best — they just get it!
In terms of sweets, while we were originally hesitant to have a traditional wedding cake, a few days before getting hitched, it dawned on me… “I love Wedding Cake!” Enter One Girl Cookies of Brooklyn, who was able to make us an awesome little wedding cake as well as some delicious mini-cupcakes for our guests as well as the folks that were working at Market Table that evening.
At the end of the day, by involving many of our favorite local small business friends, we were able to stay true to our goals and create a wedding that truly represented our life together in New York. I wouldn’t change a thing.