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Lauren Tempera had shared her love of cooking and entertaining with a coworker, who asked if she could set her up with a pal, Jake Brown. Lauren, Jake, the coworker, and the coworker’s boyfriend set out on a double date in New York City, ending up at Gramercy Tavern for cocktails and dinner. Jake tried to impress Lauren with his bitters- and tinctures-making, while Lauren tried to take the heat off of embarrassing stories about Jake with a few of her own. At the end of the night, Jake put his jacket over Lauren’s shoulders to keep her warm, and walked her to a taxi.
Five nerve-racking days later, Jake, who had been swamped with work, e-mailed Lauren for a second datethis time for just the two of them. The rest was history.
Jake had hinted that a ring would be coming by the end of the year, but when mid-November rolled around, there was no sign of a proposal. Lauren had been traveling for work before Thanksgiving, and while she was away, unbeknownst to her, Jake had picked up the ring. Upon returning late on a Sunday night, Lauren paused before entering their apartment, wondering if Jake would be waiting on bended knee. When he wasn’t, she chalked up her thoughts to watching too many romantic movies and let it go.
As Lauren was still jet-lagged on Monday, Jake volunteered to make oyster stew for her for dinner, using the simple but indulgent celebration of her return home as a guise. Oysters had always been a special part of their relationship since they ate them on their first date, so he shucked and cleaned them, and set the ring in a shell. He pointed out to Lauren that one of the oysters looked a little strange and asked if she would come check it out. She looked up from her vegetable chopping to see the surprise.
Just over one year later, on November 15, 2014, the Brooklyn-based duo got cooking on their dream wedding at Basilica Hudson in the Hudson Valley of New York, with 130 loved ones, on a cold and crisp (but sunny) day.
With craft cocktails, comfort food, and rustic décor as the cornerstones for their soirée, and a palette inspired by their cocktail and entertaining company, Red & Brown, they threw a one-of-a-kind event.
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Lauren and Jake crafted their own invites, using free fonts and rubber stamps made from drawings done by the groom.
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Basilica Hudson—a former train wheel foundry and glue factory that was turned into an event space in 2010—was chosen as the locale for the celebration. Jake found the venue via an article on the burgeoning weekend getaway scene in the Hudson Valley. After one visit, the couple fell in love with the spot and the possibilities it offered.
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The First Look
“Seeing Lauren in her dress, hair, and makeup for the first time was just breathtaking,” Jake says of their first look in front of their venue. “Everything clicked at that moment, and I realized that I was about to be with my best friend and partner in crime for the rest of my life.”
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Lauren chose the third dress she tried on—an A-line lace Maggie Sottero gown with a crystal jacket—at Lotus Bridal in Brooklyn. She picked up a veil at the bridal salon, and paired it with a vintage headpiece she scored from Etsy vendor Gatsby House. Earrings borrowed from her mom and a pearl bracelet borrowed from her grandmother completed her look.
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The Bridal Bouquet
Lauren and her friend Rachael Weiner of Stripes & Florals picked out the blooms for the bouquet together at the flower market. The clutch was crafted using orange ranunculus (the bride’s favorite), seeded eucalyptus, astrantia, and as a nod to the bride’s culinary background, some sprigs of sage. She tied a gold wishbone pin that Jake had found in an antiques shop and given her on their first Christmas together to the ribbons around the flowers’ stems.
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The Bridal Party
Lauren and Jake’s friends (and the brother of the groom) made up the bridal party. The gals wore red Lela Rose dresses, and the guys wore their own gray suits, paired with the same shirt and bow tie as the groom.
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The Bridesmaids’ Bouquets
The bridesmaids carried all-white nosegays made up of astrantia, seeded eucalyptus, and wintry white berries.
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The groomsmen, ushers, fathers, and godfathers adorned their lapels with boutonnieres of seeded eucalyptus, white berries, and pine.
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Guests were greeted with local hot apple cider in paper cups rubber-stamped with Jake’s illustration of the wedding venue. A playlist made up of songs couples in attendance had danced to at their own weddings and other favorite love songs played prior to the ceremony.
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The Ceremony Setting
The service took place in the north hall of the venue, where a collection of mismatched chairs was set out for guests to sit in.
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The bride and groom fashioned their own programs, sticking with the same fonts and colors used in their stationery. The programs were fastened together with red-and-white baker’s twine tied in a bow.
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The Wedding Rings
Jake designed the engagement ring with Marc Duneier of Clyde Duneier. For their wedding bands, Lauren chose a thin gold band with 15 citrine stones to mark the wedding day (since citrine is November’s stone and they were wed on the 15th day of the month). Jake chose a silver rounded-edge band. Friend and jeweler Gina Kim of Regina Kim Jewelry made both bands.
The rings were transported down the aisle in the same oyster shell that Jake used when proposing to Lauren.
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After their godparents, parents, and attendants walked in to “She’s a Rainbow” by the Rolling Stones, Lauren’s father, Jeff, escorted her down the aisle as Elvis Presley’s “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” played.
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Garlands of pine boughs and tea lights in short jars flanked the aisle.
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The midafternoon ceremony included the readings of Bob Dylan’s “Wedding Song” and Roy Croft’s “I Love You.” After exchanging vows they wrote themselves as they stood between two birch branches, the pair kissed and recessed to “I Love You (For Sentimental Reasons)” by Sam Cooke—a song the bride and groom often sing to one another.
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A Silly Exit
Upon exiting the ceremony, everyone received confetti poppers in the shape of an old Champagne bottle—similar to the ones the couple remembers using on New Year’s Eve as kids. “We are old souls and liked the fun, vintage feel of them,” Lauren says. “When we walked out, everyone cheered and popped the bottles. It was such a special moment. It finally felt complete and that we were really the Browns.”
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A Grand Group Shot
“We were so humbled to be surrounded by all of our loved ones, and wanted at least one shot of everyone who attended the wedding,” Lauren says of this group pic, snapped by their photographer Keira Lemonis.
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Following the ceremony, cocktail hour took place in the main hall, where a couch, retro jukebox, and high-top tables were set out. Food included duck confit nuggets with quince, mini muffaletta sandwiches, risotto balls with kale pesto, raw Island Creek oysters on the half shell, mini brisket patty melts, tomato soup, caramelized onion tarts, and a cheese table set with assorted local cheeses, chicken liver paté, and breads from Bonfiglio & Bread.
The seasonal comfort food helped tell the story of the couple, through their travels and favorite things. Jazz, swing, and big-band songs played as guests sipped on a selection of signature cocktails created by the newlyweds: a classic martini, a maple-walnut Old Fashioned, the Red Heron, and one dubbed “Fall in Jalisco.”
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Three long rows of banquet tables filled the main hall. Golden table linens covered them, and plates were set atop ivory napkins. A 36-inch ivory balloon anchored each individual table.
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The Table Numbers
The oversized balloons were tied to whiskey decanters with butcher’s twine, and table numbers rested against the bottles.
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To tip guests off to the format of the meal and the casual setting, the couple used this clever wording: “We’re all family here, so dinner will be served as such (family-style that is).” Everything was presented on big platters that were passed around the tables—making it feel like a big family dinner. On the menu: buttermilk fried chicken and waffles served with maple syrup and hot sauce, macaroni and cheese with roasted squash and goat’s milk cheddar, and a slaw of apple, celery root, and fennel. Lauren, who loves the perfect wine pairing, suggested Kung Fu Girl Riesling, and a bottle of it was placed at each table.
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Using mini Bonne Maman jam jars, a hammer, and a nail, Lauren crafted salt and pepper shakers for the tables, in keeping with the mix of high and low décor.
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The First Dance
Frank Sinatra’s “All the Way” was chosen for the pair’s first dance tune. “We love every lyric of the song,” Lauren says. “It represents our love for one another completely.”
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The Wedding Cake
The cake was covered with buttercream and piped with swags and dots in a classic pattern. It was topped with the same bride and groom figurines used at Lauren’s grandparents’ wedding more than 60 years prior to their own celebration. Inside were layers of black walnut cake with bourbon maple cream cheese frosting, which according to the bride, tasted like the best fall breakfast ever.
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What’s a party without a piñata? The last-minute addition (in the shape of a pony) was stuffed with retro mini chocolate liquor bottles and Ring Pops. Guests young and old took a swing.
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The Photo Booth
A photo booth was set up in the old rail cart room off of the main reception area. It boasted an oversized moon for guests to pose with—made by Jake’s dad, Bernie. Spotlights used for construction were hung from the ceiling and a commercial-style stand held the couple’s iPad in place, which was used in tandem with the Pocketbooth app instead of a traditional camera.
With their thank-you notes, the couple included photos of the guests.
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Photography: Keira Lemonis
Location: Basilica Hudson
Event Planning: Jeanne Stark of Hudson Valley Ceremonies
Catering and Cake: The Farmer’s Wife
Flowers: Rachael Weiner of Stripes & Florals
Videography: Nu-Vue Cinema
Officiant: Father John Thompson of St. John in The Wilderness Church
Music: DJ Ali Spins Vinyl
Rentals: Columbia Tent Rental
Hair and Makeup: La Tua Bella
Transportation: First Student Buses
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