I’m so delighted to get to share Ninon and Dan’s wedding with you. I’ve shared a number of reader weddings that used a Quaker-style wedding service, but this is the first honest-to-goodness traditional Quaker wedding I’ve had the privilege of sharing. As Ninon says, “Dan and I were married ‘Under the Care’ of Flushing Meeting, which is the real deal.” Their wedding is beautiful, and I’ve found that Ninon’s words have had particular resonance with me this week. As I’ve noticed my brain running off to obsess about things like “Oh, goodness, do we need ceremony decorations?” I keep coming back to the importance that Quakers put on simplicity. For me it’s been an important reminder that simplicity has i’s own beauty and its own value. And with that, I’ll let Ninon take it away:We married the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 29, 2008. One of my best friends said it was pretty smart getting married around a nationally mandated holiday of thanks. Dan and I quite agree! Our wedding was informed by both joy and loss. My mother, who passed away five years ago this May, was a big inspiration. Finding creative and non-morbid ways to include her spirit and love was important to me. Celebrating with family was central to us both. When you have suffered a loss, like the death a mother, really taking the time to savor and hold up an occasion of joy becomes a beautiful thing. Bringing our families and wonderful friends together to truly celebrate life and love was our main focus.Our wedding was held in Flushing, Queens. We had a traditional Quaker wedding ceremony at the historic Flushing Quaker Meetinghouse which dates back to 1694.The outside of the Meetinghouse was under construction, scaffolding surrounding the old wood building and everything. When I first found out, just three months before our wedding, that the scaffolding would be up I was heartbroken. A construction site was not what we had pictured when we set our date. But then it helped me embrace my motto for the wedding. “It’s not going to be perfect! It’s going to be amazing, but not perfect.” This motto kept me sane and kept me focused on the things that were really important – friends and family coming together to celebrate Dan’s and my love and union.We had the reception across the street at Flushing Town Hall, another historic site that is a working theatre. Dan and I are both actors, so it was perfect. Umm, I mean amazing!What made our wedding creative:
Our Save the Dates and our New Yorker inspired invitations were really fun. Our dear friend and creative soul mate, Paige Panzner-Kozek (firstname.lastname@example.org) helped us realize our literal take on the Save the Date (we sent actual dates, as in the dried fruit, all across the map). And she created a mini New Yorker magazine for our invitations.These both set a fun tone for our wedding and the response from our family and friends was amazing. We also incorporated fall in a lot of creative ways. Instead of vases for our centerpieces our florist used hollowed-out squash. The escort cards were die-cuts of pumpkins and leaves that I found online. My in-laws grew large pumpkins that we used to line the stage at the reception.
What made our wedding thrifty:
We got ready at home, good friends did my makeup and hair,we took the subway out to Flushing, my dress was a bridesmaid’s dress from Jenny Yoo (just done in white) and our DJs were recent college-grads who had worked at their university’s radio station – dance elves solidly outside the WIC. Dan wore his grandfather’s tux. It just needed slight alterations and it was a wonderful way to incorporate family and be a bit green as well. His “groomsmen” wore suits they already owned.
But, hands down the biggest thrift was my amazing brother, Chef Dan, who did our food. He hand cooked most of it, spent the days leading up (even Thanksgiving!) prepping it all himself and then had staff day-of to help. I told my brother early on, “I don’t want you to work my wedding.” But he wouldn’t have it any other way. He poured all his love for me and my husband into one of the best dinners we and our guests have ever had. It was the best wedding present we got!What made our wedding sane:
Our day-of coordinator Jessica Prunell. Now, I never thought I’d be a bride with a wedding coordinator! I’m a Quaker for god’s sake; we take simplicity very seriously. But I also did not want to run around like a chicken with my head cut off. I wanted to be in the moment which I knew, for me, meant getting professional help. We found the amazingly talented Jessica, who was organized, thorough, calm and truly worked so that we would have a wonderful and magical day. She was worth her weight in gold.My motto, “It’s not going to be perfect! It’s going to amazing, but not perfect,” was the linchpin of my sanity. And the Quaker wedding ceremony itself really grounded the day.With its moments of contemplative silence and meditation, Dan and I got to sink down and truly feel the moment. It was, dare I say, perfect.
And last, but certainly not least, A Practical Wedding helped me keep perspective on a daily basis. It even made me laugh when I was in the throws of obsessing about things that, in the end, did not matter. (Editors note: Awwwwwwww…)
Thank you to you both. May your lives together be long, and filled with as much love and intention as this first perfectly imperfect day of marriage. Cheers to you both!
All photos by Jenny Ebert