Beth & Matt’s Brooklyn Musicians Wedding

Last week, I got this fantastic, soul delighting email from Beth: Last weekend (May 9th) Matt and I tied the knot! It was literally the best day of my life. Every second was filled with so much love, real honest love, between Matt and I- but also all our friends and family that were there. The day started at 10am and ended at 2am! This week we’ve been flooded with calls and emails from people telling us it was the best wedding they had ever been to! What made it so great wasn’t: the linens, (Kmart) invitations (printer at home) flowers (diy the day before) but all the other stuff: friends singing Bach chorales, the poems read, the 11 impromptu speeches, the vows we wrote, our first dance (the robot dance!!!). We did everything the way WE wanted to do it. And that’s what ended up making it so amazing.

So, of course I asked her to share more of her wedding. It is amazing, and includes some of my favorite things (Prospect Park, Magnolia cupcakes) so here we go….Our wedding took place at the Historic Boathouse in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. After seven years of being together, sometimes our brains kind of converge into one, so all our general wedding ideas were exactly the same: Must be in Brooklyn, our city we love; Must be in Prospect Park, our favorite place; and it must be intimate, with our closest family and friends.This made wedding planning easy. Right away we agreed that we wanted to consider each guest part of our wedding party. Everyone that was there to witness our wedding would also be a participant in some way. This led to the most incredible sense of community on our wedding weekend! All forty people were working together to create an authentic experience. By Matt and I letting go of virtually everything the last week, each person in our “wedding party” took ownership of a project and ran with it! The amount of love, generosity and creativity our ‘wedding party’ created is indescribable. It definitely wasn’t a practical amount of community, but an overabundant amount of sacred, poetic, joyful, wild and awe-inspiring sense of community and love! (but Meg, I know that’s what you mean by practical!)What made our wedding creative: Matt and I are both jazz musicians working in NYC, so we had to have great music! Our friend Greg is an amazing guitarist, and played our aisle music. We had four of our talented friends sing Bach chorales during the ceremony, in between readings. My dad was our officiant, so my ma walked me down the aisle. Matt’s mom made a beautiful mandala for guests to sign instead of a traditional guest book. We wrote our own vows, and read them for the first time to each other during the ceremony. Instead of a traditional reception, we all headed over to a local, organic restaurant for brunch. Then at night we partied in Chelsea at our friend’s loft, where it turned into a big cry fest with ten impromptu speeches, and a first dance- robot style. We also had Magnolia cupcakes delivered, in lieu of a cake.What made our wedding thrifty: We figured out really quickly that a traditional New York wedding was not going to be in our budget. (Did I mention that we’re musicians?!) Figuring that out was actually quite liberating! Then we could do whatever we wanted, whether it was “wedding-like” or not! When we first looked into doing the ceremony at the boathouse, we realized it wasn’t in our budget. Then we found some itsy bitsy tiny print: If you had a morning outdoor ceremony there, there was only a “nominal fee”. Wahoo! Done. Next, figuring out the dress: I went to The Bridal Garden in Manhattan. After trying on three dresses, walked out with a dress with a $2500 price tag for $500, and all profits benefit inner city NYC schools. Double wahoo! Then came the efforts of our amazing wedding party: Dyanne, our wonderful friend, offered to do all the photos. My brother-in-law (a French wine distributor in NY) offered to supply all the alcohol. Another friend offered up her loft for the after party. Other friends offered us a month house-exchange for our honeymoon- they live in Provence! It was starting to all come together! There were many times it would have been easy to splurge, and sometimes we did, but it was mostly on important stuff- like picking wedding rings that were ecologically and morally sound.What made it sane: Big things kept the little things in perspective. For my entire adult life I have lived with debilitating pain caused by degenerative spinal problems. After six solid weeks of agonizing pain, three days before the wedding, I was in a medical office getting epidural steroid injections into my spine so I could hopefully walk down the aisle. I didn’t have a lot of time to care about the program font in those moments! But I also didn’t panic. As cheesy as it sounds, Matt made me sane. My friends and family made me sane. The incredible and extraordinary love I felt from all my favorite people, all wanting the best for me made me sane! (I’ll never forget when my girlfriends pinky swore they would all wear orthopedic shoes to the wedding “in solidarity” if I had to.) And my determination that, no matter what, I was going to savor every single moment of our wedding—-and I did…

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  • How very lovely. Congrats and best wishes! My groom is a jazz guy so we are tapping his jazz friends for our music.

    I love that your dad married you and your mom walked you down the aisle. I also loved that you considered everyone as part of the wedding party! Wonderful!

  • Wow… This is the first wedding to really make me teary when I read about it. So lovely. It makes me very excited to continue on my train of wedding planning and the love and community that come with it. It is amazing how many people want to help out – the generosity is overwhelming.

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful, inspirational day!

  • This wedding made me teary, too! I love, love, love it.

  • they had me at robot dance. awesome!

  • I love everything about this wedding! It seems very New York to me, as someone who has never been. They're just like, "Whatever, we're going to do whatever we want because we're jazz musicians in New York, and therefore really cool people."

    Everything was beautiful. Congrats to the couple!

  • amy

    I LOVE this one – you can feel the joy coming through her words. Ditto on Laura's comment: I love all your real weddings but this was the first that had me tear up. It's obvious this was truly Beth & Matt's celebration, both in their choices & their amazing community! Thank you for sharing. I feel so happy for them!

  • The wedding looks divine…I love Prospect Park! And those Magnolia cupcakes, yum! Everything about this makes me happy.

  • Beth,
    Okay, this might sound crazy, but I think I cleaned that tunnel, the one in the picture, on New York Cares Day in Prospect Park on April 25. Oh, oh, I hope I cleaned that exact tunnel so I can grab a bit of this magical celebration for my happy heart.

  • Meg

    There is only one tunnel like that Erika, so yes you did. I know that part of the park like the back of my hand.

  • Hot damn! Beth and Matt, eight of us swept that tunnel clean for you guys! Happy wedding!

  • I love this!! Everyone should do their wedding like this – their own way!

  • beth

    Thanks for all your beautiful comments! And thank you, Meg, for letting me share. We're still googly-eyed and grinning from it all!

    (p.s-erika-thanks for the cleaning job on the tunnel, i owe you one…

  • April

    I'm getting misty and cheering all at the same time. Lovely recap and wedding.

    Bit envious I don't have similarly talented friends in my town.

    But so wonderful to live vicariously thru this wonderful couple's day. *sigh*

  • This is wonderful. It looks so mellow. Congratulations!

  • Thank you so much for sharing! I would love to see the mandala guest book…that's such an amazing idea!

  • Cate Subrosa

    Beth, I want to be your friend. (Now that's wedding love.)