Tell us a little about yourselves!
We met four and a half years ago in San Francisco at Ritual Coffee on Valencia Street. I needed to use the restroom and noticed Joel sitting near me, so I asked him to watch my things for me. We ended up talking for an hour about books, philosophy, art, and music. That night, I invited him to see a cover of John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme at The Chapel. Three months later, we moved in together. Joel’s an artist and quickly filled our Oakland loft with paintings. He got invited to show some of his art in NYC – while visiting, we promised each other we’d find a way to live in New York in the future. After a brief stint in London for my graduate program in behavioral economics, we showed up to our sublet in Brooklyn with just our suitcases.
In September 2019, we got engaged in front of de Kooning’s Door to the River at the Whitney. Joel’s from New Mexico and I grew up in Colorado, but NYC feels like home to us.
Why did you decide to get married where you did?
Originally, we had planned to get married near Santa Fe, New Mexico - Joel’s home state and a place where we have a deep artistic connection. As the pandemic continued, we embraced the idea of an intimate ceremony + celebration in the place we’ve called home for the past several years. We wanted it to feel like a romantic dream - French New Wave meets Old Hollywood, minimal, architectural, lovers wandering about the streets of New York City. We kept calling it an “at-home elopement” - a way to communicate our commitment to each other and the city we live in. We were struggling to choose a new venue until we had cocktails at Bemelmans following one of my gown fittings. One of our best friends was in town for the fitting so we wanted to do something special to celebrate with her. As we were sitting in the lounge, we found ourselves smiling at each other - we knew, this is the place! Right before the city shut down, we saw David Byrne's American Utopia live on Broadway. That night, Joel sketched ‘This Must Be the Place’ with a bouquet and that simple design became the imagery for our stationery. Our musician Andrew Louis played “This Must Be the Place” when we kissed.
How many guests did you have?
We had eight of our family and friends with us on September 9, 2021 in Suite 1509 at The Carlyle Hotel.
Tell us about your outfits.
Our very first wedding outfit inspiration photo was Bianca Jagger and Mick Jagger walking through the crowd outside St. Tropez’s town hall – I absolutely love her Yves Saint Laurent Le Smoking jacket and we both love the romance of their wedding. I don’t often wear blazers, but I love a collared shirt. Joel sketched a few concepts for me incorporating a collar into a gown. No one does the classic button-front shirt better than Carolina Herrera so one afternoon we stopped by their flagship store on Madison Avenue. I told Rachel, their bridal specialist, who’s wonderful, what I was looking for and she tracked down the one remaining sample from their Bridal Spring 2017 collection. The atelier made the very last gown of this design for our wedding. My gown felt like “me”, which was also the best compliment to hear from our family and friends.
Joel pulled inspiration for his suit tailoring from Jean-Luc Godard films and found the perfect match in an A.P.C . suit – it felt effortlessly cool. He borrowed the idea for his crossover bow tie from Elvis Presley’s wedding, which both he and my stepdad (our celebrant) wore. We loved how the bow-shaped tassels on his dress shoes spoke to my gown.
What was the most important aspect for you, in terms of planning your wedding?
We wanted our ceremony + celebration to be honest, intentional, and beautiful. We embraced the intimacy to focus only on the things that inspired us. We wanted to have fun planning the wedding and give ourselves the opportunity to enjoy every moment day-of. We also valued having an archive that we could treasure forever. We had so much fun walking around with our incredible photographer, Samm Blake. She so gorgeously captured our vision – film-inspired natural moments, NYC and The Carlyle as the backdrop, our love front-and-center.
Were there any elements that were important for you to incorporate?
It was immensely special for us to have my stepdad as our celebrant. We wrote our original ceremony script together – it was very important to us that the language we used to commit to each other felt honest. I absolutely needed my mom by my side and Joel asked his brother to be his best man. We asked our friends to each perform a reading to honor our vows – they read an Alain Badiou quote about love being a tenacious adventure, a Rainer Maria Rilke quote that began with, “….a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of his solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust,” and a lovely Mary Oliver poem called “Not Anyone Who Says”. The entire ceremony was unique to us, intimate, and unbelievably special.
Any tips for couples getting married, particularly during Covid?
We are so glad we didn’t continue to delay our wedding – we embraced our circumstances, and it was more beautiful than we could have imagined. There are so many family members and friends we would have wanted to celebrate with, if it weren’t for the pandemic. My aunt sent me “something borrowed” to keep in my pocket during our ceremony and some words of wisdom to have in our marriage. One of my best friends sent me “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a penny in your shoe” and a three-page handwritten letter, which absolutely brought me to tears. Many of our friends sent flowers, champagne, treats, and the most heartfelt letters. Having their presence with us on our wedding day meant everything. If you can find ways to involve your loved ones who can’t be with you, we highly recommend it!
Are there any vendors that you would like to tell us a little more about?
We’re incredibly grateful for the way Samm Blake captured our wedding – her eye and her aesthetic are so elegant. Given we had such an intimate wedding, it means so much to us to share photos with our loved ones. Fox Fodder Farm is an amazing floral design studio in our neighborhood and they so fabulously executed on our vision for minimal, modern, and (dis)order. My mom tied one of my grandma’s rings to my bouquet, which made it even more special. Amy Yip from Yip.Studio is the artistic genius who made our matcha cake with passionfruit curd – she’s talented and such a joy. Our cake was definitely the highlight! Our ceremony wouldn’t have been the same without our musician, Andrew Louis. His music really set the mood for our ceremony – he played “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis for the procession and many of our favorites from Patsy Cline to Van Morrison to Neil Young to Gillian Welch to Frank Sinatra during our champagne toast. Alexa Rae Johnson did makeup for my mom and I and she made us both feel so naturally gorgeous. She’s a true artist and has the kindest spirit.
Photographer : Samm Blake @sammblake | Ceremony Location : The Carlyle Hotel Suite 1509 @rosewoodthecarlyle | Cocktail Location : Bemelmans Bar @bemelmansbar | Dinner Location : Cosme @cosmenyc | Styling + Planning : by the couple | Celebrant : Bride’s Stepdad | Cake : Yip.Studio by Amy Yip @yip.studio_ | Flora : Fox Fodder Farm @foxfodderfarm | Guitarist : Andrew Louis @andrewlouisguitar | Hair : Adriana Papaleo @adriana_papaleo | Makeup : Alexa Rae Johnson @alexaraemakeup_ | Stationery Design : by the Groom @joel_baca_ | Gown Designer : Carolina Herrera @carolinaherrera | Bride’s Shoes : Bottega Veneta | Suit Designer : A.P.C .@apc_paris | Groom’s Shoes : Ralph Lauren Purple Label @ralphlauren | Bride’s Earrings : Completedworks ‘Peaceful Coexistence’ (gift from the Bride’s Mom) @completedworks | Bride’s Engagement Ring : Custom Design by Simon Ardem @simonardem.nyc | Bride’s Wedding Band : Mociun @mociun | Groom’s Watch : Vintage OMEGA Geneve (gift from the Bride) | Groom’s Wedding Band : Custom Design by Perry @perry.jewelry