This summer celebration included a one-of-a-kind greenery wall, a brunch buffet, and an ice cream truck.
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One morning in March 2016, Hillary (the restaurant editor for Eater) was working from home, as she often does, rewriting a particularly challenging story. Mike, her boyfriend of five years, was sitting on the couch before he left for work (as a content specialist for Elevate), when he told her to check her email. She opened a message from him to find a playlist entitled, "Hill, will you marry me." "When I looked up from my computer, he was on one knee with the ring," Hillary recalls. "This Must Be the Place," one of their favorite songs by Talking Heads, was playing. "I said yes." They had to head to work, but met back up for dinner, where the restaurant poured them Champagne and the celebrating continued.
Though Hillary and Mike lived in San Francisco at the time of their engagement, they decided to head back east to tie the knot in Brooklyn, where many friends and family resided, and where they lived previously. Nearly six years to the day of when they met online in 2011, they made it official. On July 22, 2017, with 89 friends and family, they tied the knot and had an afternoon reception. Hillary and Mike stood in front of a beautiful living wallpaper at 501 Union as they said, "I do." Natural light filled the modern venue, which was decorated with earthy-green hues and vibrant pops of coral, magenta, and lilac. Meaningful music, a decadent brunch, and a visit from the ice cream truck made for a warm, relaxed (and delicious) summer wedding.
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Katie Fischer Design printed the couple's save-the-dates and invitations, featuring tropical green graphics and a clean, modern font. Hillary and Mike worked with Katie to design a custom monogram using their first initials, which appeared on paper products before and during the wedding.
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Hillary and Mike tied the knot in Brooklyn at 501 Union, a renovated event space that was previously home to a classic car restoration shop. The bride says she and Mike chose the venue because of its elegant, yet relaxed atmosphere. "It had just the right feel," she says. Though industrial at first glance, the venue's interior had a chic, earthy vibe, with living wallpaper, natural light, and high ceilings.
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A Fashionable First Look
Hillary and Mike's first look was on the rooftop of The William Vale, a modern boutique hotel in Brooklyn. Hillary wore the Blush by Hayley Paige "Halo" gown, which she found at The White Gown in New York City. She was drawn to the ivory lace and tulle number because of its soft and romantic look, and also the unique neckline. "From far away it looks like a basic V, but up close, the flowers actually created a unique shape," Hillary says.
Mike sported a blue, custom-made suit by Indochino and lace-up shoes.
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During their first look, the couple exchanged notes they wrote for one another. "Love letters to get our minds into the right place for the wedding day: Remember that even with the pictures and the running around, the main event was getting married to our favorite person," Hillary says.
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Hillary knew she wanted a cascading bouquet, and thanks to Rye Workshop, she got just that. With white orchids, king protea, blush bride protea, pink gomphrena, white lily, and clematis vine trailing down to the floor, the bouquet added to the lush aesthetic and warm feel of the celebration.
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The couple's first purchase at Brilliant Earth was Hillary's engagement ring, which the couple chose together. Mike says he had a blast shopping with her, and since his future wife was very particular about jewelry, he was relieved knowing Hillary loved the ring they chose together. They returned to get their wedding bands.
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The ceremony took place in the garden room of 501 Union. "The daytime setting and the easy-going structure felt really unique to us," Hillary says. As natural light poured in from the high, glass ceilings, the couple stood before a white-brick wall with an installation of montisera and palm leaves.
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Hillary and Mike said, "I do" in a late-morning ceremony they describe as a beautiful reflection of their relationship. They worked closely with their officiant, Hope Mirlis of A More Perfect Union, to make it feel authentic to them as a couple. Mike's parents escorted him down the aisle, as Handel's "Largo" played for the first processional. The groom's favorite moment of the day, "watching Hillary walk down the aisle in her gorgeous wedding gown," came next, as "Cello Suite No. 1" by Bach played.
"When I think back on the wedding, my mind goes right to our vows," Hillary says. "Just being up there together—just us, getting married."
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Sealed with a Kiss
The maid of honor read an edited version of a short essay entitled, "You have to be tough to make it." Hillary is Jewish, so the ceremony concluded with Mike stomping on the glass.
The newlyweds led the way to cocktail hour, as the DJ played "One Life Stand" by Hot Chip.
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Following the ceremony, guests headed to the cocktail lounge at 501 Union for brunch beginnings, including cold agua frescas, specialty cocktails, and a yogurt and granola bar. Everyman Espresso made an appearance with a satellite espresso bar (Mike is coffee-obsessed).
"We wanted our guests to be able to progress from lighter bites and food that felt a bit more like breakfast in cocktail hour to more substantial lunch options as the reception progressed," Hillary says—after all, if was just after noon. Haven's Kitchen prepared an array of passed bites—uni toast, avocado toast, beet-cured salmon with roe, endive spears with bacon jam, and egg frittata—beautiful in presentation and taste. After about an hour, the celebration moved to the main room for the reception.
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During cocktail hour, metallic vases with vividly colorful flowers and foliage were placed on the bar.
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The tropical color palette that was used throughout the ceremony wedding was then carried into the reception, with greens and whites as the foundation for the décor. The black chairs kept it all grounded. Colorful floral arrangements in metallic vases added an additional pop of color in the modern venue.
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As family and friends entered the main room of 501 Union, they were greeted with a mouth-watering brunch spread, conveniently accessible from both sides of the table. "We wanted it to feel like you were at a great restaurant, talking with all your favorite people, having amazing food, and listening to all your favorite songs," the bride says.
Through a collaborative effort between the couple's wedding planner, Pink Bowtie Events, Rye Workshop, Haven's Kitchen, and 74 Events, the couple achieved their vision. Guests enjoyed fried chicken and biscuits with Mike's Hot Honey and butter, a variety of sandwich options, side salads, and an assortment of donuts displayed on a buffet with a large arrangement of vibrant flowers. The DJ played some of the songs from the playlist Mike proposed with, as guests ate and mingled.
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Hillary and Mike had their first dance to the very song that Mike used to propose—"This Must Be the Place", by Talking Heads. The bride says the DJ played everything from Patsy Cline, to Beach House, to Morrissey, creating the "restaurant with a shockingly perfect playlist" vibe she and Mike wanted.
Hillary and her father danced to Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water." The mother-son dance was to "Stand By Me" by Ben E. King. There were a few toasts given during the reception, but after the parent dances, the boogying was done and it was on to the sweet treats!
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Baked created the lemon-drop cake with buttercream icing. "We wanted something light and refreshing for a hot summer day," the bride says. The table linen strayed from the green used elsewhere, going with pink instead. The newlyweds cut the confection as the DJ spun, "Be My Baby" by The Ronettes.
The couple had another treat in store for their guests, though, with the arrival of a summer favorite—the ice cream truck!
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The celebration ended at 4:30 p.m. on a sweet note, as guests ordered cups, cones, and sundaes from a Van Leeuwen Ice Cream truck. "It was great to have on such a hot day," Hillary says. The couple also handed out to-go bags of cookies from Haven's Kitchen as favors.
After their sweet summer wedding, the newlyweds headed back to California for a mini-moon, pleased with how their special day played out. "Don't be afraid to have the wedding you want," the bride advises. "We wanted something elegant and relaxed, and we didn't let friends or family talk us out of our daytime vision. We also knew we wanted fried chicken!"
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Photography, Brklyn View Photography
Event planning, Pink Bowtie Events
Catering, Haven's Kitchen
Flowers, Rye Workshop
Officiant, A More Perfect Union
Stationery, Katie Fischer Design
Music, 74 Events
Hair, Styles on B
Engagement ring/wedding bands: Brilliant Earth
Groom's suit, Indochino
Honey, Mike's Hot Honey
Ice cream truck, Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream
Specialty coffee, Everyman Espresso
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