Ryan and Crystall planned a glamorous wedding at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden that tied together their Jewish and Greek traditions and love of music (which they say brought them together!). Crystall shared so many wonderful details, we figured we'd let her take it from here. Are you ready for all this loveliness from Brookelyn Photography? So are we. So. Are. We.
From our bride, Crystall:
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.
The tree we stood beneath for our ceremony was a beautiful symbol for us of everything we value in our own relationship. The tree had recently withstood Hurricane Sandy and though some of the branches and leaves were destroyed in the storm, it remains strong and rooted in the ground. We chose to create a symbolic chuppah by gently draping this tree with 100ft of white fabric, an homage paid to Ryan’s Jewish faith. To us, this was the perfect representation of our wish for our future together: strong, grounded and able to take on any storm that comes our way.
Ryan and I both maintain extremely close family ties. It was important to both of us that our families be involved in our wedding process every step of the way. Ryan and I truly looked at our nuptials as a joining of our families and treated it as such. As a true symbol of that sentiment, Ryan chose my brother as his best man and I chose his sister as my maid of honor.
We also added the crowning or stefana ceremony to our wedding, a very important Greek tradition. The stefana ceremony is where the best man places gold crowns atop the bride and groom’s heads, connected by a single white ribbon to represent the union. After my brother placed the crowns on us, we were led around in 3 circles that represented our past, present and future (a modification we made) followed by the best man and the maid of honor, our siblings.
Our families stood up beside us at the altar, which is something customary in both Jewish and Greek cultures. Feeling the happy and supportive energy of both families standing up there with us put us instantly at ease, we’ve never felt so connected as we did in that moment when we all became a family. I know some couples feel that nothing changes after a wedding, but for us, in that moment, it did.
It was truly thanks to them that we were able to have the wedding of our dreams. They were a source of endless love and support throughout the entire wedding process, accepting us for who we are as people and what we mean to each other. They allowed us to create a day that was special to us as a couple. Combining different religions and cultures can be a difficult task, but with their help we were able to utilize and combine only the cultural and religious traditions that were meaningful to us. And it wasn’t just the big things, either. Every little moment was important for them too – right down to my mom helping me put my dress on!
Music is what brought Ryan and I together. It is an integral part of the story of how we met and is a big part of our lives. Ryan is also an incredibly talented musician, so we tried to infuse that love and lifestyle in the details of our wedding. A white guitar replaced our guestbook and was placed next to a bowl of custom messaged white guitar picks, a little gift from us to our friends and family. We also gave out traditional Greek favors (koufeta or sugar almonds) in a chocolate champagne flavor. They were enclosed in small glassine bags with a sticker closure asking guests to “Take Me home Tonight”, a nod to a song that Ryan and I both love.
Ryan and his groomsmen wore gold guitar pick cufflinks. Our chargers were old record albums we had spray-painted gold. The round menus that sat inside each plate were printed with one of our favorite music quotes with the menu on the opposite side. Attached to our place cards were small pin-back buttons with lyrics from our first dance song and the song I had walked down the aisle to earlier that day.
We had a musician, Jason Liebman, serenade our guests at the ceremony with acoustic versions of classic rock songs . As I made my way up the aisle with my father, he sang “Can’t Help Falling In Love With You” – the song Ryan’s parents first danced to at their own wedding. Jason later played some more modern rock tunes as everyone enjoyed dinner. We danced our first dance to an acoustic version of Smashing Pumpkins “Tonight, Tonight” performed by a close friend. And of course, Ryan took the stage to serenade me with a song he had written for me that morning!
Our vision for the decor was clean and simple, a nod to the lush garden that surrounded us. There was no need to over decorate and distract from the beauty of the gardens themselves. The concept was to use lively garden greens and simple bridal whites, arranged so to look as if they had been picked just that moment and put paroxetine sale into a vase. We chose different patterned and sized cut glass vases compare prednisone and methylprednisolone throughout to emphasize that idea of freshly cut florals. We wanted to see the stems to truly emphasize that natural and organic feel.
Garlands of greenery were prevalent throughout; they were draped behind the ceremony chairs, they decorated the outdoor bar and hung over our escort boards. They also ran the length of the long banquet tables in our glass-paneled reception room, winding around white pillar candles of different heights and pocketed with large white peony blooms. The organic decor was a perfect blend to the hall set within the gardens that was reminiscent of a greenhouse.
To pull together the natural garden feel, a massive hanging chandelier made entirely of greens and bursts of white florals hung over the center of the room. It was a beautiful and elaborate center point whose height allowed it to be visually stunning while not distracting from the action below.
The one thing that made all the difference in the success of our wedding day was our amazing vendors. They were truly the glue that held everything together. We were so blessed to have worked with such amazing people that truly love and have a passion for what they do. We were lucky enough to have a florist who was willing to pull together a floral chandelier in the 11th hour. It is rare that a photo or even video captures the genuine beauty and emotion of a moment. Our photographer and videographer were true artists, giving us perfect memories of our day.
The phenomenal designer Sam of Samuelle Couture redesigned the bodice of my dress. She layered delicate tulle and hand-sewn appliques to a bodice she completely rebuilt to fit me perfectly. The final result of her handiwork was a dress more beautiful than anything I could have ever imagined. And since it had been customized, it was also something unique to me that no one else will ever have. Our wedding planner, Christine of Exquisite Affairs Productions, was nothing short of superwoman. She made sure every detail was taken care of before, during and even after the wedding. Her expert planning allowed me to have such a beautiful day with no stresses or worries and just a lot of happiness and laughter. If there were any last minute disasters, I had no idea. I was able to actually take the advice so many try to give and so many fail to follow: Just slow down and enjoy the day.
Vendors: Photography: Brookelyn Photography // Ceremony & Reception: The Palm House, Brooklyn Botanic Garden // Getting Ready Hotel: Wythe Hotel // Cinematography: NY Filmworks // Wedding Planner: Exquisite Affairs Productions // Event Designer: We Create & Co // Florist: Flowers By Emil // Officiant: Rev. Jeddah Vailakis // Invitations: Ali Reza Malik // DJ: 74 Events, DJ Gaza // Guitarist: Jason Liebman // Wedding Dress: Oscar de la Renta // Dress Customization: Samuelle Couture // Reception Dress: Jenny Packham // Bride's Shoes: Christian Dior // Groom's Suit: Hugo Boss // Hair & Makeup: House of Makeup // Bridesmaids Dresses: Adrianna Papell // Flower Girls: Dainty Girl's Tutus