Laura & Michael's blue winter wedding in Brooklyn

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Photos by Konrad Brattke

The Offbeat Bride: Laura, Business Manager

Her offbeat partner: Michael, TV Producer

Date and location of wedding: reBar, Brooklyn, NY — December 8, 2013

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Our wedding philosophy was that if you give people food, booze, and some good music to dance to, they'll have a good time. We also wanted to keep the planning as stress-free as possible. We started by finding a venue that did a lot of the work for us, reBar (now closed with significant scandal) in Brooklyn. They provided the space, the food, the bar, the DJ, flowers, and candles — plus, it was open seating. If we'd wanted to, we could have limited our involvement to inviting people, finding an officiant, and showing up!

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With so much taken care of for us, we were able to do some fun side projects. I handmade my bouquet and Michael's boutonniere. Michael created a website for us, including a slideshow of our awkward teenage pictures. My mom planted and grew 100+ succulents, and my sister made "L&M" flags to stick in the pots. The plants did double duty as decor/favors. We didn't have bridesmaids or groomsmen, and I did my own hair and makeup. We tried not to over-think things.

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131208_LauraMichael_0322Tell us about the ceremony:
We wanted to keep our ceremony short, not too sentimental, and secular — but it was important to some family members that the ceremony include the Jewish tradition of breaking a glass. We struggled with how to include it in a way we were comfortable with, but finally thought of a way to frame it so it was more about tradition than religion. We passed the idea by the interested parties to make sure no one would be offended, and luckily, they thought it was hilarious. Here's what we had our officiant say:

Today, Laura and Michael's families come together on this chilly December morning here in Brooklyn. Almost forty years ago, Michael's parents exchanged vows in a Philadelphia synagogue on a snowy March evening. And a few years later, Laura's parents were married in a backyard on a sunny August morning, had a potluck, and played croquet.

To celebrate the families that have helped shape them, to honor tradition , and because smashing things is fun, Michael will now perform the Jewish custom of breaking a glass – but he will do it with a croquet mallet.

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Our biggest challenge:
It turns out, if you take a standard wedding ceremony and remove everything trite, sentimental, or religious, you wind up with a blank document. It was a huge struggle to build the right words from scratch, and we were still making tweaks the night before. But people laughed in the right places, got teary when I got teary, and if anyone didn't like it… well, they only had to suffer through it for four-and-a-half minutes!

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My favorite moment:
My sister and her boyfriend prepared a ukelele/harmonica duet of the Magnetic Fields "Book of Love," and both of our fathers gave lovely toasts. We loved those moments.

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My funniest moment:
Years ago, Michael made a "Cake Inspector" shirt for one of his high school friends. As soon as our wedding cake rolled out, this friend unbuttoned his shirt and struck a pose: he'd come prepared. Luckily, the cake passed inspection.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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  1. Beautiful wedding!! you can not go wrong with blue, love your whole winter wedding outfits. I see you lucked out on no heavy snow or snow storm to deal with. Here in Ohio we get them as early as November! Congratulations!!

    3 agree
  2. OBB, you might not be aware of this, but reBar closed suddenly a couple weeks ago. The owner was in the midst of a criminal investigation, and he walked away with over $150,000 in deposits from couples getting married at reBar, screwing over a BUNCH of couples who were supposed to get married there in the coming weeks and months. (here's a link: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/dumbo-hot-spot-owner-hot-water-article-1.1789876) The owner's now been arrested.

    Anyway, I know reBar was an OBB vendor (although their website is dead, so the links in their vendor profile don't work anymore), so I just wanted brides reading this to know that reBar's no longer an option for them/anyone. 🙁

    This looks like a beautiful wedding, congratulations Laura & Michael!

    13 agree
    • I was just reading an article about that! Looks like the owner has had a slight issue with paying his taxes. Too bad, because they employees (see a couple of comments down) sound like the loveliest of lovely people.

  3. Thank you for sharing your beautiful wedding! This is, in broad strokes, similar to what my boyfriend and I have talked about doing. So, I was very excited to read this. Congratulations!

  4. This is INDEED a beautiful wedding.

    I'm a displaced ReBar bride.
    My fiancé and I had scheduled a February wedding at ReBar for 2015 that will never happen. Thank you Tara for your comment.

    Brides, get wedding insurance! Please!

    6 agree
    • I was just about to post this article too! Props to the former employees for trying their hardest to make a great day for those disappointed couples!

      2 agree
    • Another displaced reBar bride here. The employees have been incredibly amazing. They worked for free after losing their jobs and not getting paid because they wanted to make sure that the couples getting married the weekend after the closing had the weddings they deserved (and the place closed on a Friday). They've also helped us all get in contact with one another so that we can help each other out.

      There's a fundraising campaign going on to help them. Please give whatever you can: https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/4km4/support-the-rebar-employees

      1 agrees
  5. LOVE the croquet mallet and glass breaking detail. What a loving, wonderful way to acknowledge and celebrate both your families while still staying true to your secular desires. I love seeing that sort of give-and-take that parents will keep with them forever.

    2 agree
  6. "Cake Inspector" – hilarious!

    Very classy and fun, and I love how you both dealt with the traditions of the mallet and the glass. Hats off to your families for being so awesome.

    1 agrees
  7. I am in a unhealthy amount of love with your wedding dress! And your whole wedding is lovely!

  8. I love this wedding! I also love that the bride and groom are name twinsies with me an my fiance!

  9. Come on. The owner of the venue featured in this story shut down the location and STOLE tens of thousands of dollars from hundreds of couples (who will likely NEVER get their money back), and this happened weeks ago and is all over the news in NY, and you STILL decided to run this particular wedding story? And all you did was note that it is "now closed"? Is that because reBar was an OBB vendor? Pretty freaking tasteless, you guys. I would expect a lot better from a site that usually claims to have a lot more integrity.

    • Hey, Comeon! I'm totally with you that we could have handled this better in terms of how we addressed the venue's closure. I've edited the post to link to one of the NY news articles you've mentioned.

      When we heard the news about reBar shutting down, we opted to feature this wedding anyway — because it's still an awesome wedding of an awesome offbeat couple. The cuteness that is Laura and Michael didn't deserve to get hidden just because their venue owner was apparently craptastic.

      Also, biz real talk: We don't have anything to gain by publishing this
 honestly, if anything, reBar being a former advertiser makes us look pretty bad by association. If we were motivated by self-interest, we wouldn't have posted the wedding at all
 but we didn't feel like it was right to punish Laura and Michael for a rogue vendor.

      10 agree

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