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Rachel & Rafael


Brooklyn restaurant wedding

* Rachel, Teacher & Rafael, Actor *

Rachel & Rafael | A Practical WeddingThroughout the year planning our wedding, I often thought about how I would feel at my wedding. I didn’t care much about the stuff. We specifically chose a restaurant that was beautiful on its own and wouldn’t need much decorating, and they had their own in-house DJ, florist, and baker, so we wouldn’t have to deal with a ton of outside vendors and decisions. People could not understand how I didn’t care about floral arrangements or big cakes or personalized napkins. We decided early on not to fall into that trap. We had to do what felt right and true to us. After the most important things to us were purchased or booked (delicious food, beautiful dress, great photographer), I was left with a lot of time to think and dream about how our wedding day would feel. What would our memories be like? Would it be as crazy and hectic as everyone says? Will I wake up that morning feeling so anxious that I can’t eat breakfast? Will I cry during the ceremony? To me, the most important parts of the wedding day couldn’t possibly be planned or even anticipated.

Rachel & Rafael | A Practical WeddingRachel & Rafael | A Practical Wedding

I woke up feeling super calm, happy, and excited. I spent the day in a hotel room with my bridesmaids getting ready, eating and chatting. I got dressed in the hotel room closet, with no light, and was barged in on by my adorably excited four-year-old ring-bearer. I took a taxi to the venue with my friends, and the first time my mother saw me as a bride she was sitting double-parked in my dad’s truck while the venue staff unloaded the arbor for our ceremony. We waved at each other. We navigated around the set of the new Spiderman movie that was being shot all around the vicinity of our venue for my bridal party street photos. The program that I totally thought I would have time to write on the big chalkboard in the ceremony space never happened. Twenty minutes before our guests would arrive I popped into the space to see how things looked and saw my mom and aunts frantically putting together last minute bouquets for the bridesmaids as my dad and uncle set up the arbor we would stand under. My bridesmaids hung around me as a calming presence, getting me everything I needed before I even knew I needed it.Rachel & Rafael | A Practical Wedding

Rachel & Rafael | A Practical Wedding

I slowed my dad down as he walked me down the long aisle, taking it all in. I saw my soon-to-be husband standing there, waiting patiently. One of my most treasured photos of that day is of him shaking my dad’s hand, but looking at me. We listened to our lovely readings in a mixture of English and Spanish, we said our vows, exchanged rings, and had a few laughs throughout. I did not cry. In our brief moment alone before joining the party, I stuffed the appetizers that were thoughtfully left for us into my face like I had never seen food before. I told my Maid of Honor to tell the DJ that I didn’t want to waste any more time, so forget the grand entrance announcement, just play our first dance—our guests will catch on that we have entered. I drank lots and lots of water. I was too excited to eat. I danced, I danced all night. We missed dessert completely because we never left the dance floor. We fed each other a cupcake in a hallway on the photographer’s way out. I don’t remember how we got back to the hotel, but I remember walking into the beautiful suite my Maid of Honor got us as a gift and the view of Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge took my breath away. We were hungry and tired, so very tired. We were happy. And married.

Rachel & Rafael | A Practical Wedding

It went by in a flash. Now, all I have besides a shiny new husband are my memories. And without our photos from the day, I wouldn’t be able to tell you what color the flowers were, but I will never forget all the love we felt, all the help we received, and how much fun we had.

Rachel & Rafael | A Practical Wedding

The Info—Photographer: Monika Rozalska / Location: Brooklyn, New York / Venue: reBarRachel’s Dress: Sue Wong / Rafael’s Suit: Bresciani / Bridesmaids and Flower Girl Dresses: Alfred Angelo / Rachel’s Bouquet: Cary Pereyra (The Little Glass Slipper) / Hair and Makeup: Jen Washburn

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  • MK

    Your hair is so beautiful and you are shining like a movie star! What a lovely wedding!

  • Grace

    “We specifically chose a restaurant that was beautiful on its own and wouldn’t need much decorating, and they had their own in-house DJ, florist, and baker, so we wouldn’t have to deal with a ton of outside vendors and decisions. People could not understand how I didn’t care about floral arrangements or big cakes or personalized napkins. We decided early on not to fall into that trap.”

    So…apparently I’m you, Rachel. Right down to the restaurant wedding. If you ever move to Ohio, lets be best friends.

  • Amber P

    Fist bump for restaurant weddings! Ours was at a restaurant too. They didn’t take care of everything, but they took care of a lot of the details, and I’m so glad we didn’t have to worry about renting tables and chairs and linens and catering and set up, because they took care of it! And then we used other local vendors that regularly work with that restaurant. Everything went so smoothly! And, it was a beautiful day!!

    Congrats to you! Your wedding looks like a total blast!! And, I feel you about being tired by the end of the night. I was absolutely exhausted by the end of our wedding!

  • kate

    thank you, Rachel, this was a post that I really needed to read today.
    thank you, APW, for being you.

  • http://www.twitter.com/snippetsofsarah Sarah E

    So wise. This is how I’d like to approach my wedding, too, with a focus on the feelings and the meaning. Well done, and well said, Rachel.

  • Jacky

    Gorgeous photos. And this was exactly what I needed to hear to help me squash my tendency to overplan: “To me, the most important parts of the wedding day couldn’t possibly be planned or even anticipated.”

  • Ruth

    “And without our photos from the day, I wouldn’t be able to tell you what color the flowers were, but I will never forget all the love we felt, all the help we received, and how much fun we had.”

    THIS!!!! This is exactly how I feel about my wedding – all the details I’d spent months planning, on the day of, I didn’t even see them – what I saw was everything suffused with joy and love. And now, nearing our sixth month anniversary – that’s definitely the way I remember my wedding!

    • http://www.marbleryephotography.com Melissa

      This line gave me the chills.

  • Bridget

    Your dress is amazing! I’ve been looking at Sue Wong but haven’t seen that one–share more details, please!

    • Rachel

      Thanks Bridget. Sadly, I don’t think the dress is made anymore. I went through a whole ordeal ordering it. I found it at Saks, they didn’t have my size but had one in Florida that was to be shipped to me, so I paid for it and walked out on cloud nine, until a couple days later when the saleswoman called to inform me, oops! We can’t find it, sorry you’ll get a refund. So I lost my mind trying to find it online, found it on ONE evening dress website, and they no longer carry it there either. However, if you are into Sue Wong, I recommend checking out a department store that carries her dresses, because I found so many amazing ones that I never saw online. Good luck!

  • http://ww.milestoneimages.us Angie

    Woo hoo for a reBar wedding! They do the BEST job. I love shooting there. Your wedding looks amazing!

  • Megan

    Beautiful wedding and couple. I am getting married tomorrow and logging onto APW has calmed my pre-wedding day nerves. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story!

    • http://www.twitter.com/babyinabar Shotgun Shirley

      Congrats!!

  • http://andreekehn.com Andree K.

    I love the warm and heavily patterned venue. It is very different than the clean, cool modern look most couples go for and it really worked.

  • http://www.ronmphoto.com Ron Miller

    Awesome venue! Are those the most comfortable ceremony seats ever?!

  • RPG Show

    Love her blonde wedding hair. Also found some beautiful wedding hairstyles
    gallery here:
    http://www.rpgshow.com/officialblog/5-top-bridesmaid-hairstyles-for-african-american-women/

  • Brittany

    From the photos… i’ve noticed you had a priest for your ceremony. My fiancé and I are looking for a priest to do our ceremony outside of the church. He is Catholic but I am not. Just wondering if you had any advice or if the priest you used might be of help to us.

    Thanks,
    Brittany

    • Rachel

      Hi Brittany- Actually we used an interfaith minister for our ceremony. I cannot recommend him enough! We had done the entire premarital counseling program at my husband’s non-denominational church, and I just had a weird feeling about it at the end. They weren’t being clear with us about who would marry us, etc. and I found Louis one month before our wedding. He is the warmest, most accommodating man and we couldn’t be happier with our decision. His website: http://revlouisolivieri.com/ Let me know if you have any questions!