Rachel + Alex both grew up in Orange County, California and were vaguely acquainted in high school but never really became friends. However, unfortunate circumstances brought them back together when a mutual friend they had, Phil, passed away from cancer in 2007. Phil was a musician and at his funeral, Rachel + her friends put together a CD mixtape of his music to give out to everyone that attended. One of the songs was something that Phil and one of his friends wrote for Rachel, called “Song Angels Sing for Rachel.” Later that year, Alex was attending art school in New York and happened to make a poster project out of the lyrics for the song. The poster was passed on to Rachel and the two got to talking…
Years later, R+A are both now graphic designers in New York and wanted to have their wedding in Greenpoint — which is where they live + have spent a majority of their time during their relationship. The two actually shared their first apartment together just a few minutes walk from the venue and Alex has a studio in the bottom floors of the building that he freelances out of.
Rachel shares There wasn’t too much inspiration behind the day besides us both wanting it to be fun and not taking itself too seriously. My original idea was to make a “themed” wedding that mixed New York and California elements, but it just became too much to handle and we slowly realized that we are more New Yorkers than anything else now. Once we gave up that idea, it became more about doing something simple and pretty in the space that we loved so much. But we also added in a few fun things that we wanted an excuse to design (like the napkins, matchboxes, and neon sign).
Now, onward to the party + let’s take a look at all the creative elements captured by Unique Lapin Photography!
Determined to DIY as many things as possible, R+A designed their invites themselves. Nice work, you two!!
A rainy day in New York made for some incredibly moody + sophisticated portraits of the newlyweds.
We were so scared about our first dance. We kept looking into taking a class or two just to learn some basics, but never got around to it. Instead we would often be loudly discussing our anxiety about the dance and one day a security guard at our building overheard us and offered to step in. She taught Alex how to spin me and offered some other slick moves that both of us were cracking up over. This happened again when Alex and I were in the bathroom area after the ceremony where my father happened to be washing his hands. He gave Alex a little crash course in dancing right before we went out; how to lead, how to spin, and explained all the tricks he learned through dancing with me when I was a child. Both were very sweet moments that I remember fondly.
Bridesmaids were encouraged to find a dress in black that they could wear again — most of them were found at ASOS!
I loved sitting in the back room before the wedding with my bridesmaids. One of my friends was telling me stories about me and Alex that I had personally forgotten and it made me feel really at ease. It made me realize that my friends were fully supportive of the decision we were making, even when they had been there throughout the last six years watching us first hand figuring everything out.
The wedding was also very loosely based off of our first dance song, “This Must Be the Place.” It has always been a significant song to both of us for years and we knew that we wanted to incorporate it somehow into the designed elements.
We had a very DIY wedding and I decided I was going to do my own flowers with the help of some friends. This was a huge headache in the end, but I would have had none had it not been for the people who showed up to help me. Two days before the wedding, we enlisted everyone who happened to be in town to come to Alex’s studio and put together centerpieces. It was a stressful time, but also a lot of fun and kind of hilarious. Flowers flying everywhere, people were insulting each other’s floral skills, everyone was sneezing from being in an enclosed space with hundreds of flowers, and friend who had just gotten in from a red-eye flight were sleeping quietly on the hardwood floor.
Processional: You and Me by Harry Nilsson; This Feeling by Alabama Shakes
Recessional: I’ve Just Seen a Face by The Beatles
First Dance: This Must Be the Place by The Talking Heads
Look for vendors that offer additional services. I think the less vendors you have, the easier it is. Our caterer allowed us to rent tables, chairs, linens, and other misc items from them which really helped in the end for anything that we happened to forget.
Hire a day-of planner. We did the rest of the wedding planning ourselves, and it was NOT easy. However, we were working in a budget and we made everything work the way it had to. A lot of friends told me to at the least hire a day-of planner so that on the day we could relax, which we did. Honestly, the whole day is such a blur that I don’t even know how the wedding would have happened without her. I didn’t actively have to think about anything that was happening on the day, and she would come over and give us a tap on the shoulder whenever we needed to be elsewhere.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. There are a million little things that need to be done to get a wedding together, but most of them aren’t really that important. Focus on the major things (venue, caterer, DJ, flowers) and then work out from there. People will have fun, you will be married, and everyone will have a blast!
Elegant simplicity at its finest! Major congratulations, Rachel + Alex!! And major kudos to you two for all the DIY elements!
photography: UNIQUE LAPIN Photography // venue name: GreenPoint Loft, Brooklyn, New York, USA // planning: Jen Neal Studio Events // florals: DIY - Fifty Flowers // wedding dress: Shareen Bridal // hairpiece: Etsy // bride's shoes: No.6 // bridesmaid dresses: ASOS // hair stylist: Dry Bar // makeup artist: Pamela Sue // groom attire: Paul Smith // paper goods: DIY - couple designed // music: Jeremy Manasia // officiant: Pat Kolyouthapong - friend