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Real Wedding | Ava + Jess

Tell us a little about yourselves!

We met in college but started dating shortly after graduating. Together, we have built a partnership centered around our shared values of abundance, transparency, and creativity.

I, Ava, am an elementary school art teacher at a Brooklyn public school. I care deeply about co-creating liberatory spaces for students to understand themselves, connect to each other, and imagine better worlds through art. Jess works in environmental sustainability and is passionate about transforming our food system to work better for people and the planet.

Why did you decide to get married where you did?

We chose to have our wedding in Brooklyn, where we live, because of the importance of our home community to our lives. In evaluating venues, we wanted to support an organization that aligned with our values as well as provide a unique and non-traditional wedding experience. With Jess’s passion for urban agriculture and community food, he was already familiar with Brooklyn Grange as a model for how food production in cities can be.

On top of that, the Brooklyn Grange Sunset Park location is an unexpected and gorgeous space with a rare view of the water and city and a unique blend of the natural and urban landscape. Once we toured the venue, we instantly knew it was where our wedding needed to be.

How many guests did you have?

We had 130 guests.

What was your budget?

We had a flexible budget and were able to afford vendors who we believed in and could help us execute our celebration with immense care and expertise.

Tell us about your outfits.

I knew from the beginning that I did not want to wear white. I wanted what I wore to embody my personality and aesthetic — playful, imaginative, and non-conforming. After exploring different options, I was ultimately drawn to a purple and red dress from Carolina Herrera’s Fall Winter 2022 ready-to- wear collection. I loved how the dress allowed for a variety of silhouettes from chic to futuristic. I even worked with a seamstress to convert the original floor length of the dress into a mini dress to create an equally festive and dramatic high-low look.

For my second outfit, I wanted to echo the design details of Jess’s suit with an Alexander McQueen flowery corset and skirt that had a suit jacket design. Ava’s dress decision left an opening for me, Jess, to rethink conventions for myself and embrace my femininity through claiming the traditional bridal

look. I wore an all white Alexander McQueen suit with a hand beaded floral pattern on the lapel. I found the suit in Paris while celebrating my Mom’s 60th birthday.

What was the most important aspect for you, in terms of planning your wedding?

For us, the planning process was about exploring new possibilities for how our love and partnership could be celebrated with our community. This meant questioning traditional wedding conventions and making decisions with authentic intention. It was important for us to be critical of what might be expected of us and move in directions that felt aligned with who we were regardless of whether or not we were disrupting the status quo.

Were there any elements that were important for you to incorporate?

Art and collaboration was a major theme that we integrated into our wedding. For our wedding invitations, we took Polaroid photos around our neighborhood and sent one to each of their guests. Before the start of the ceremony, all guests were prompted to write or draw a wish for the couple and place it in an envelope for us to open later. For the escort cards, We painted a canvas together and cut it up into organic shapes, handwriting each of our guests’ names. We also set up a watercolor painting station during the reception for each guest to make a mark on a big piece of paper, forming a visual guest book. Finally, Ava designed a wedding logo that incorporated the flowers and plants from the Brooklyn Grange with Jess and Ava’s names. When searching for vendors, we prioritized people who connected to the creative process of their craft. For our registry, we asked guests to donate to arts, education, and food justice organizations we value, as well as to an art fund to buy pieces for our home.

Any tips for couples getting married?

Try not to lose yourself in the process. There are many reasons for stress and overwhelm that can distract you from your center. Stay connected to your partner and your collective values and desires! It takes a team to throw down a wedding and the tone you set as clients of vendors will create the energy you feel on your wedding day. Building trusting, respectful, and creative relationships with vendors will help you manifest a joyful atmosphere for your event.

Are there any vendors that you would like to tell us a little more about?

We feel so thrilled by each of our vendors and how they worked in harmony with one another to help us create a truly special celebration. We particularly developed a wonderful relationship with florist Ahna Han. From our first meeting with Ahna, we were blown away by her professionalism, creativity, and attention to detail. Not only did she fully respect and understand our creative vision, but she also engaged us in a collaborative partnership throughout the entire planning process. The care that she put into co-designing our vision was fully matched by her implementation, which was above and beyond what we ever could’ve hoped for. From the ceiling installation, to the tablescapes and chuppah, Ahna created the magical rooftop farm chic wedding aesthetic of our dreams.

We also want to shout out our caterer, STE Events. They make incredible food, full stop. Six months later, we still have friends and family who tell us about specific dishes they had on our wedding night, like the soft shell crab toast, that they will never forget. It can be rare to remember or even enjoy wedding food—STE will quite possibly make your guests the best meal they ever had.

Photographer: Chellise Michael Photography @chellisemichaelphotography | Flora: Ahna Han @ahna_han | Ceremony + Reception Location: Brooklyn Grange @brooklyngrange | Celebrant: Rebekah Erev @rebekaherevstudio | Jazz Musicians: Wayne Tucker @wayneeverest | DJ: Lukas Walters @lukiekabuki | Planner: Dawn Mauberret Events @dawnmauberret | Hire: Broadway Rentals @broadwaypartyrentals | HMUA: Willow House Beauty | Catering + Beverages: STE Events @ste_events | Dessert: Four and Twenty Blackbird @fourandtwentyblackbird + Bite Donuts @biteminidonuts | Stationery: DIY  | Ava's Ceremony Dress + Shoes: Carolina Herrera @carolinaherrera | Ava's Party Dress: Alexander McQueen @alexandermcqueen | Jess' Suit + Shoes: Alexander McQueen @alexandermcqueen | Engagement Ring: Spur Jewelry @spurjewelry | Wedding Rings: Spur Jewelry @spurjewelry + Goldpoint @goldpointbk | Ava’s Sunglasses: Vintage @casertaeye


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