I find it difficult to put into words just how much I love this wedding. There’s something to be said for two members of the arts and performers marrying — as photographer Sarah Collins of Love Katie + Sarah says, “It’s the people who are used to being watched, that think they’ll have it all under control who often crumble the most in a ceremony.” Francesca and Matt’s day was full of emotion, creative touches, and an abundance of love that’s nearly infectious.
From the bride, Francesca: Matt and I wanted an intimate, and nurturing event that fostered authentic meaningful connection between our guests, many of whom were meeting for the first time! Matt’s family is from LA, mine is from New York, and we had family friends traveling in from as far as the UK. We wanted to celebrate in a cocoon of our nearest and dearest. This feeling extended into the style – our lounge was made up of chairs and floor pillows my mother gave us as a wedding gift, On a family visit, Matt and I found a gorgeous Kantha Quilt at one of our favorite shops in Tarrytown (Nine Streets NY) that was later used as a backdrop for the ceremony. Candlelight, Persian rug runners, tassel garlands blowing in the wind, and lush florals all helped to create this secret garden, bohemian, backyard-wedding-in-the-city that we hoped would make our guests feel completely at home.
Bouquet recipe: Peonies, garden roses, ranunculus, magnolia, laurel, eucalyptus.
We wanted our evening bathed in warmth, and light, unmanicured but thoughtfully curated with personal elements. A total garden cocoon full of vibrant touches of color, with a bouyant, carefree energy. A centering, connective space for Matt and I to exchange our vows and for us all to celebrate some LOVE! The color scheme was inspired by my floral crown; I loved the saturated, celebratory pinks, and raspberry tones. So much of the wedding was done with our own hands, and the hands of dear friends and family. I designed, hand-illustrated and calligraphied the invitation suite, programs, signage, menu and had them reproduced using a local printer near my hometown in Mt. Kisco. I built the escort board from a gold frame sourced at BlickArt Supply, fish eye hooks, raffia and twine, watercoloring and handwriting each tag. A total labor of love but absolutely worth it! For our gift to the guests, Matt’s mother made kumquat marmalade jam from the tree Matt’s dad had planted in his childhood home’s backyard, and we packaged them in brown paper, and hand written tags. My dear friend Susan sang accompanied by her bandmates on the guitar/banjo and fiddle. Matt is a huge lover of astrology, so we placed horoscope books in little nooks for guests to enjoy. The wedding cake was made by Helene Godin, a dear friend and owner of our favorite local bakery and the tablecloth that dressed our dessert table belonged to my great grandmother.
As New Yorkers, a primary mode of transportation is walking so we thought it would be lovely to leave our guests hand in hand and walk through the streets of Brooklyn back to our Airbnb. I changed into a sweet jumpsuit, threw on a pair of Dieppa Restrepo oxfords and Matt and I attached “Just Married” garlands to our backs before leaving the venue. As we strolled, we continued our wedding celebration with our larger city community with sweet strangers wishing us well as we passed… The list goes on and ON! It took a village!
Any advice for couples planning their weddings now? You are not alone! Draw on your talents and the talents of your community to help you bring together the personal elements of your big day. It is not only budget friendly, but it will make your wedding feel uniquely yours; stamped with the love of your nearest and dearest. I loved serving our dinner family style. There was nothing lovelier than watching our guests pass plates, serve each other, and have a giggle in between. It helped to gel everyone beautifully. Matt and I are both artists and were keen to work within our budget. Don’t be shy to talk with your vendors very honestly about your spending limits. They may be willing to work around charging tax, if you offer to pay in cash. If you have friends and family who are willing to help deliver vessels at the end of the night, vendors may hold their breakdown charges. Totally something to think about, when narrowing down your team of collaborators! Hire a day-of coordinator!! We asked our dear friend, Karli, who had an incredible knack for organization and detail to work with us. Karli and I worked together for two months before the wedding, building a binder of vendor contacts, floor plans, prop lists, and a timeline. As a result, during the wedding weekend I was able to pass the reins off to her knowing that Matt, myself and my immediate family and friends would be able to be 100 percent present. She was a complete lifesaver.
Don’t miss the wedding film from Birdhouse Films:
Matt and I fell in love over music. and I trusted no one (not even myself!) with the task of creating a playlist for the evening more than him. When our guests RSVP’d we asked them what their favorite love songs were. Matt intertwined some of their favorites with ours; Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, Andrew Bird, Luke Temple, Bowerbirds, Aretha Franklin, Sam Cooke, Beirut, and Nina Simone.
Processional: “RE: Stacks,” Bon Iver; “Somebody to Love,” Valerie June
Recessional: “Obvious Child,” Paul Simon
First Dance: “Now You Know,” Anais Mitchell
Family Dance: “All You Need is Love,” The Beatles; “Happy,” Pharrell Williams
From the photographer, Sarah of Love Katie + Sarah: Matt and Francesca contacted me to shoot their wedding a little over a year ago. When I got the email, I was of course in Melbourne and the thought of being flown to shoot an international wedding in NYC was of course both overwhelmingly exciting and also scary. You know if it goes well it’s going to be the greatest experience ever, but there’s also a part of your brain just thinking “What if I get mugged or the airport scanners somehow erase the photos off my memory cards?!!” It was officially the loveliest predicament I’ve ever been in, and was so so unexpected to be asked. I honestly could not have asked for a greater wedding. It was intimate, colourful, bold, full of emotion – and so much FUN – and held on possibly the most perfect summer’s day that a bride, groom and photographer could hope for. I always feel like I can tell the vibe of a wedding from the second I walk into the ‘getting ready’ part of the day. It’s so strange, but after shooting for so many years, if there’s a stressed kind of vibe in the morning, there’s a stressed vibe all day and even into the reception. I walked in to both Matt and Francesca’s apartments and it was just so serene and warm. Everyone was smiling and just enjoying every moment, and it was like “YES! This is going to be a good one!!! I am SO happy I get to do this!!” We all felt so good about the day ahead, and just kept looking at each other with total disbelief that everything felt so so perfect. When I got to Frankie’s Spuntino and saw the setup and all the details I knew it would photograph like a dream. Everything just worked and felt so right for the couple. I really feel as though I can’t ever top this wedding, it was definitely a career highlight!
Wedding Location: Brooklyn, NY / Photographer: Love Katie + Sarah / Planning and Styling: Bride / Floral Design: KatFlower and Rawan Rihani of Stone Fox Bride / Venue and Caterer: Frankies Spuntino / Wedding Dress: The Flower Bride “Boheme Dress” / Bridal Veil and Crown: Rawan Rihani Stone Fox Bride / Wedding Shoes: Club Nico / Hair: Family Friend / Makeup: The Bride / Bridesmaid and Flower Girl Dresses: Watermead Boutique and Vintage / Groom’s Suit and Shoes: J. Crew / Rings: Kathryn Bentley Engagement Ring, and wedding bands were by Bario Neal / Wedding Cake: Chocolate Cocounut Cake and Almond Cookies by By the Way Bakery, Organic Carrot Cake by Red Barn Bakery / Musicians: Susan Goodwillie, Ian Unterman, and Cormac Bluestone of The Grand / Party Favors: Judy Damico and Aimee Crouse of Mason Jar Creations / Party Favors: Temporary Tattooes by Tattly, Animal Masks by NinnApouladaki of Etsy, Tassel Garlands by Studio Mucci of Etsy, Wedding Party Crackers: Nan Happ / Wedding Invitations, Programs, and Signage: Bride / Videographer: Birdhouse Films / Transportation: Uber