Offbeat partner: Anjelica, Senior Art Director at an Advertising Agency & Freelance Illustrator
Offbeat partner: Joaquim, Transportation Analyst
Date and location of wedding: T Studio, An industrial gallery with a brick terrace in Astoria, Queens, NY — September 3, 2017
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
The overall theme was Unity Through Art. I am an artist, and both my husband and I come from a long line of professional artists and grew up immersed in fine art culture. So, we decided to celebrate our wedding in the form of an art exhibit. We held an art gala that showcased the collective artwork of our closest family and friends.
My husband was born and raised in Paris by a Brazilian mother and a Jewish father. I am Italian-American. We collected the artwork of our family members from all over the globe! We wanted our wedding to not only represent OUR unity but to also unify our families in a visual way that could transcend language barriers. So we embraced our vast cultural and creative diversities through [the universal language of art. Each artist from our family has a beautifully unique style, ranging from abstract to photo realism; all of which lived together harmoniously.
There was also a local component of our wedding. We love our neighborhood. It was important that we represent Astoria. We kept it as locally sourced as possible. We hired Aloria Cakes, we sourced local breweries, we booked the Paper Factory Hotel, and arranged for our pictures to be taken at the Welling Court Mural Project — which tied together our theme of art and neighborhood.
The day following the wedding, we opened our art show up to the public so that locals could wander in and view art for free. We called it the "Unity Thru Art Show."
Tell us about the ceremony:
Even though Joaquim was brought up under two faiths, neither he nor I conform to a particular religion. We did not want a religious ceremony with any pomp or pageantry. We are pretty practical people so we wanted a very short ceremony. Part of the reason we chose our venue is because it had a gorgeous brick terrace attached to the gallery space. We held the ceremony on the terrace. Since the ceremony was so short we did standing room only (which was also a good way to save money on chair rentals).
We personalized the ceremony by having our best friend get ordained to marry us. We also had Joaquim’s college friend play acoustic guitar for the procession. As a surprise for me, since I am a big Michael Jackson fan, they worked on an acoustic version of “Human Nature” for when I walked down the aisle.
It was supposed to storm the day of the wedding. I had ordered 50 clear umbrellas months before — just in case! However, we lucked out and the rain had stopped just in time for our ceremony. Right as Joaquim and I began reading the vows we wrote for each other, the clouds parted and a ray of sunshine beamed right over us. We looked up and smiled at each other in disbelief. It was a perfect moment; a moment that was quickly shattered when an air vent made a huge loud noise. But everyone laughed and it broke the tension.
Tell us about your reception:
We made a guest list of 50, to create an intimate gallery setting. We asked that all guests wear black so the paintings would pop. After the ceremony, guests entered the main area for “Gallery Hour,” where they enjoyed wine, cheese, and of course, ART. It gave our guests something to discuss, a chance to compliment each other, and in the case of a language barrier, something to bond over silently. We’re proud to have brought together this artwork from all over the world that would never exist in the same room if it weren’t for this occasion.
For centerpieces, we took the antique books from my father’s bookcase, which signified his writing career. The French lavender represented Joaquim’s nationality and a familiar childhood scent. Even the Mason jars were straight from our kitchen. All other decorations I illustrated myself, including the coasters with our portraits, the wine labels, the stickers, and all of the signage.
Dinner was buffet-style catered by various friends and family members. We served Italian, Brazilian, and Israeli cuisine which represented the majority of the nationalities in the room.
What was your most important lesson learned?
Something we discovered, is that people are weird about weddings. When we told people the idea for our wedding, we received a range of reactions from “That’s amazing!” to “That’s stupid. No one cares about art.” It infuriated us that people could be SO closed-minded. They acted as if they were entitled to the traditional wedding experience because that's what they are used to. It was disheartening. But, ultimately, I’m glad we stuck to our vision because it was perfect FOR US — which is the whole point, and a lot of couples can lose sight of that if they let negative comments get to them.
I've spoken to many married couples who complain that they were at their parent’s mercy for most of the planning/payment, which resulted in a big, impersonal to-do. We funded our wedding ourselves, so extravagance wasn’t even an option. But, we agreed if we were to spend money, we wanted it to be a labor of love that we crafted together. We didn’t want to feel like we wasted money on something that wasn’t reflective of our personalities.
It didn’t matter that it wasn’t a huge glamorous reception, because the beauty was in its sentiment.
- Photographer: Oh, Karina Photography
- Venue: T.Studio
- Bridal Makeup: Aracely
- Bridal Hairstyling: Dina at Pembley
- Day-of Wedding Coordination A.OK
- Assistant Coordinator: Stephanie Gatton Events
- Cake: Aloria Cakes