Real Wedding | Jenna & Michael

I’ve looked at these wedding pictures for over 2 hours straight now and I STILL can’t get over the flowers. They are simply stunning.  And an amazing backdrop for this beautiful New York wedding.

Jenna & Michael | May 8 2010 | New York, New York

How he proposed
Michael and I were planning on hosting a holiday party at our apartment. I was busy in the kitchen preparing hors d’oeuvres when Michael asked me to take a break and come dance. I hesitated at first: “but I’m covered in goat cheese and still need to make the meatballs!” but conceded when Michael put on our song. We started dancing, and Michael said, “I was thinking we should change the theme of the party.” I asked, “what do you mean?” Michael replied, “Instead of a holiday party, what do you think about having an engagement party!?” At that moment, Michael took out the ring and got down on one knee. Between tears and laughter, I said yes. When the guests arrived, they were just as surprised as I had been! It was the best party ever.

The moment Jenna will never forget
Michael was waiting with his groomsmen and parents on Park Avenue waiting to “see me for the first time.” I was walking up Park Avenue with my bridesmaids and mom. The guys made Michael turn his back to me, and as I approached, they started clapping, first slowly, then really fast when I was almost directly behind him. Finally when I was no more than a step away, they started cheering and clapping and told him to turn around, which he did; when he saw me, he starting crying. We hugged, both crying, our parents crying, everyone was in tears because we were so happy and so excited! I will remember that feeling forever.

The ceremony
Our ceremony was held at 583 Park, a venue space in Manhattan. Our Rabbi had known Michael most of his life – he had officiated Michael’s bar mitzvah 15 years prior! Before the ceremony, our entire wedding party and closest relatives gathered to witness us sign our Ketubah (marriage contract) which had been designed by my uncle. Our parents and grandparents wished us blessings and words of advice to take with us throughout our marriage. For the ceremony, we had a simple piano player play alternative songs that held deep meaning for us, such as Coldplay and Ben Folds Five. Our chuppah was like our own, beautiful garden of eden. Pale pink and white cherry blossom vines wrapped around its poles and draped across the frame. Our parents, maid of honor and man of honor stood with us under the chuppah as we recited the same vows that had been recited by our people for generations.

The reception
583 Park is an incredible space – it was previously used as a Christian Science Church, and has an enormous, domed coffered ceiling with a gorgeous crystal chandelier in the center and a floor to ceiling gold organ in the front of the room. Our 8-piece band, Michael Hart of Hank Lane, rocked out on the 3 ft-high stage in front of the organ and played everything from “Party in the U.S.A” by Miley Cyrus to “Stronger by Kanye West. Our dance floor was enormous, but packed the entire time! Since the ceiling of the space was incredibly high, we played with the height of the centerpieces. We had arrangements of coral peonies, vibrant pink and white hydrangeas, and country roses in oranges and coral as well. They glowed in their tall glass vases, with tea lights sparkling at the bases.

Splurges and Savings
My dress was by far my biggest splurge. It was twice as much as I expected to pay! But I fell in love with it, and so did my parents. I saved on my jewelry – I  actually wasn’t planning on wearing anything except my ring and a pair of fake diamond-drop earrings. At the last minute when I was getting ready, my mom asked me if I wanted to wear her diamond tennis bracelet! I was so surprised and so happy. We also saved by making our own gift bags for the out of town guests that were staying in the hotel. My husband and mother-in-law spent a whole day walking around times square and buying little chotchkes (I Love NY shot glasses, postcards, pencils with the NYC subway map on them, etc) and put them in decorated bags.

What made her wedding dress “The One”
I must have tried on at least 40 dresses. I think I looked for almost 4 months. It was tough because I really wanted my mom to see everything, and she had to come in from Boston to New York every time I wanted to try on a dress! I was looking for something specific and totally indescribable at the same time – I wanted a dress that had modern as was as traditional elements to it, a reflection of the venue where the reception and ceremony were being held. When I tried on this dress, I felt like a modern bride, but also completely romantic and bohemian. It accentuated exactly the elements of my body that I wanted to show off, and was just so unique. It was also very light which would allow my to dance – one of my biggest priorities of the day! I knew it was way out of the budget that we had initially set, but even after trying on 20 more dresses, I couldn’t get it out of my head. This was the dress that I could completely picture Michael seeing me for the first time in, and just dying (which he did – he cried!).

Her for other brides
There will always be things you care about more than others. It’s okay to spend money on those things, just cut back in other areas. My husband (fiancé at the time) also did an incredible job of keeping my stress and anxiety in check. It’s a fantastic idea to step back often throughout the process and remind yourself what this whole thing is really about – in the end, no one will care who they sit next to or whether the chocolate truffle they take home at the end of the night is delicious or disgusting. They are just happy to be there celebrating such an incredible occasion with you. The best compliment we got on our wedding was when people told us how incredibly happy we looked, and how that energy just spilled over into everyone there. Make sure to enjoy yourself!!

Jenna’s Wedding Dress: Oscar de la Renta 82E29