Sarah and I met in the summer of 2015. Sarah's sister is close with a friend of mine and through serendipity we ended up at the beach together a few times that summer with a group of people. I noticed her right away, she was quiet and I found her sort of mysterious. We chatted those first few encounters, but it wasn't until Halloween that year when I made my move on her, dressed as Slash from Guns N Roses, on the dance floor at a party. I got her number from my friend, with her sister's approval, and texted her. We had our first date a few weeks later.
How and why did you pick your wedding venue?
Upstate New York is a special place for us because one of the first getaways Sarah and I had together was to the Catskills. Sarah's mom found the Basilica and I fell in love with it immediately. We felt the raw industrial space juxtaposed with the laid back feel of Hudson, NY really represented us as a couple.
What did you wear? Was any of the accessories or jewelry significant? Were you conflicted about wearing or not wearing certain things?
From the beginning Sarah and I both knew we didn't want to wear white. My best friend and “bridesman”, Stephen, lead me to a lovely blush floral gown by Marchesa Notte. Sarah's mom and sister helped her find a classic black Halston dress with a grey to white gradiant detail. We both wore diamond jewelry from our grandmothers. My necklace and earrings were reset by one of Sarah's bridesmaids, jewelry designer Maggie Semrau. She also custom designed and made our wedding rings.
What special elements did you include in your wedding day? Were they symbolic in any way?
One of my bridesmaids, set designer Bette Adams, helped us with the décor for the wedding. Sarah works in the restaurant industry and with natural wine, so she suggested that we use wine bottles as vases for flowers on the tables.
Our first kiss was under a disco ball, so Sarah and I wanted to include that element in a couple of ways. We asked our bridesmaids to wear metallic silver or gold to be walking representations. The guests fired off gold glitter canons at the end of the ceremony as we walked down the aisle. And, of course, there were multiple disco balls of varying sizes above the dance floor!
Also we had a memorial table because Sarah and I both lost our fathers, with framed photographs of each of our dads, candles, and vases for our wedding bouquets.
What did you splurge on?
We splurged on photography and flowers for the chuppah. I work in the photo industry, so selecting the right wedding photographer was one of the most important decisions for me. Sarah and I wanted some aspects of the ceremony to reflect our Jewish heritage. Our coordinator gave us the idea to have a floating chuppah and it took quite a bit of flora, but it looked amazing and was well worth it.
What did you save on?
Using wine bottles instead of vases on the tables was a major save. Sarah and I, along with a little help from our friends, collected about 150 bottles then removed all the labels and cleaned them by hand for our florist. We also saved a little by using our connections. Sarah went through a wine distributor she works with to get us a good price on natural wine for the reception.
Chellise Michael Photography
Thanks to our couples, for the past 9 years we have been documenting the best damn weddings in NYC, Brooklyn, Upstate New York, and beyond. We enjoy being the “anti” of wedding photographers because we refuse to force our couples into doing cheesy things like dramatically pose on a spiraling staircase, jump in the air (is this still happening?), or kiss each other with a veil placed over both heads — please no. We feel extremely lucky to work with like-minded couples that see past the trends, rebel against the norm, and do things their own way.