It’s the 1940s and an old wizarding family has invited you to their home as they host a whimsical wedding for the ages. Oh, we’re IN. She’s Dominican, he’s Korean, and they’re both Geminis and Ravenclaws. The wedding’s on a Wednesday. The gown is pink. And is that bouquet …. A HANDBAG?!?! We’re pretty sure bride Yissel is starting a trend here ladies and gents!!
Drawing inspiration from the Fantastic Beast films, but telling a story that is very much their own, you walk into a reception area of blue velvet covered tables featuring artfully mismatched centerpieces of old books, antiques, candles of varying size and color, spell-casting ingredients and whimsical blooms spilling out of skulls. A wizard’s version of clutter-core perhaps?
After consulting with AJ, The Wicked Florist (who else?!) about the couple’s idea, he brought his talent and skill to deliver a look that is somehow vibrant and gothic at once, capturing the spirit and whimsy of the wizarding world while delivering on the elegance and sophistication the couple envisioned. Ok, let’s take a look at the gorgeous photos now by Inspire Me Imagery!
Love their invite they customized from Minted!
The Manor in West Orange was the perfect setting for this story.
We love this unique ring box – and wow! That pearl engagement ring is stunning!!
The bride’s absolutely gorgeous hair by Anna of Lucy La Riot, and makeup by her cousin Jennifer Marrero (embrace “friend-ors! 😉 ) really pulled the look together. …And can we talk about this stunning halo crown from Honey & Ember !? Pulling the leaf motif in from the dress was definitely the cherry on top!
As the daughter of Dominican immigrants, Yissel really wanted to incorporate her culture throughout, which was surprisingly easy! Things, like not having bridesmaids, and doing a first look, are actually very traditional for a Dominican wedding.
“I worked with Mint to create bilingual wedding invitations, I wrote bilingual copy on our wedding website, I had bilingual signage made, and Jeremy and I each asked a close friend to officiate (his in English and mine in Spanish).
We also did the Arras ceremony. There was a mishap on the altar and we actually didn’t get to do it then! But we did it in a gorgeous side room surrounded by a small group of friends and family who also witnessed the signing of our marriage license.”
Culture? Which one? Jeremy is a Korean adoptee raised by Pennsylvania Dutch, growing up surrounded by Irish friends. He competed in the caber toss at the Highland Games, he likes to brag that he was the only Korean marching in the St. Patrick’s Day parade one year and that he even held the flag and led the way. Halfway through the reception, he changed into a kilt! Something Jeremy really wanted at the reception was Celtic music. Can he dance? No. Did he try? Absolutely.
Their Love Story
“We met online and it moved pretty quickly. I remember giving Jeremy my number and him doing the craziest thing with it: calling me right away. We celebrated our one-year anniversary by recreating our first date, wherein Jeremy surprised me with a picnic at Deep Cut Gardens. When we did return, I thought I was prepared this time, then Jeremy pulled out a ring. Again, a complete surprise to me!“
The bride had a vision she was eager to bring to life (like most brides do) and she had the advantage of a career in visual merchandising, a BFA in Fashion Design, and a love of vintage style!!
“I was armed with the training and know-how to approach my own Pinterest and mood board with an editing eye and the taste level (and dedication to an aesthetic) necessary to produce an event with a geeky theme for geeky people that never veered into child’s birthday party territory. We were beyond grateful to have found a team of vendors that were just like us and totally embraced the theme and the day and really elevated it. We were not muggles going to a theme park. We were creating an elegant immersive experience. You stepped into and were very much in our private magical world.”
A New Kind of Bouquet
The bride’s favorite piece of her entire day was her bouquet and HERE is why!!
“I knew I wanted both hands free. To hold my dress, to hold my escort (my friend Melissa’s Dad was my, “something borrowed,”), to hold my husband, a drink, a microphone, a wand…. besides, why get a beautiful manicure and then hide it under a bouquet?! I love the look of wristlets and ’40s wrist purses. Just something about those vintage photos of these very fashionable women carrying their bags just so, and I wanted to replicate it. I’d seen a lot of inspo for florals on hoops, and at first I liked the idea, but I felt like a metal hoop just wasn’t going to feel right on my wrist. It wouldn’t be nearly as comfortable as a leather strap, so I knew we needed to push the concept further.
I gave AJ a mood board and he took it and ran. I had ordered a display hook specifically for my bouquet, so it could hang from the strap, but he took it a step further and cut into an actual bag to create the bouquet, which allowed for it to rest on a flat surface too. A genius! I carried it to brunch the next day. Then brunch in NYC with friends a couple of days later (a post-celebratory bridal shower as my friends had planned a surprise shower for me that had to be canceled due to me and Jeremy getting COVID). I walked all over Manhattan with it. I would’ve worn it to the Pride parade too if we didn’t have to immediately start packing for a move to Maryland the following week!”
Adding to the drama of the day, having not had a proper quinceañera, the bride vowed that she would one day get married in a pink gown. AND SHE DID!
“I was able to find one that really felt like me, that was fun and still tasteful and evocative of an era gone by. I actually came across a gorgeous ’40s wedding dress in that exact color, but the fit wasn’t right. When I found this Teuta Matoshi I knew it was the one. The velvet belt is just one of those details that makes such a huge impact. Velvet dresses themselves were very common in the ’30s and ’40s, so it was a lovely nod. I knew I wanted it to feel more, “bridal,” so I worked with the team at Teuta to add a train, and they made me a veil in the same material so it matched perfectly!
Even before I’d changed into the gown, I was living my best old Hollywood life in my Catherine D’lish dressing gown. I look forward to living in it for a long time to come. Crystal buttons and all. I wanted everything I wore to make a statement, and I think I achieved that. Which brings me to my next piece of advice:
My second bit of advice is to invest in pieces that you actually love, rather than buying something you only intend to wear once (you better believe even my wedding dress will make another appearance in the future). It’s not only more sustainable, but it helps ensure that you’re telling a story that is authentic to you every step of the way. Don’t just buy a, “bridal robe,” because you think you need it for pictures and plan on selling or returning it right after. Buy a robe that you want to keep because you love it and it feels like you.”
You know we LOVE this tip!!
The B.E.S.T. People!
“While I didn’t have bridesmaids in the traditional sense, I did ask a few friends to be what I coined my, “Bridal Emotional Support Team.” My B.E.S.T. people. (Clever, right?!) I created a FB messenger chat so I could regularly update them on things like booking the venue, getting my dress, etc. So they could all support me and get excited for me without having to make a bunch of time and financial commitments. I don’t have a lot of money myself (side, side note: having a weekday wedding helped cut down on costs), so while some brides might view being their bridesmaid as some kind of honor, I feel like I care too much about my friends to make a bunch of needless demands, (and time and financial commitments) of them.
And I had an amazing day because of them. They coordinated their own outfits and looked gorgeous, got ready with me in my bridal suite, and when we had to move the ceremony indoors due to rain, I decided on a whim to have them walk down the aisle. I had them be in all our bridal party photos too. They did all you need friends to do: they showed up for me and I will forever appreciate that.”
Sealed with a kiss and together forever!!
The Sultry Reception
Pro tip from the bride: let the venue help you tell your story! Rather than spending a fortune on decor, the couple was able to just let the venue be. It alone had character, warmth, and old-world charm. They didn’t just fall in love with it, they sank into it like a cozy fireside armchair!
Isn’t that seating chart just the coolest?!! Yissel came up with that rad idea and decor was provided by Wicked Florist. The mirrors and assembly were done by Tiki Designs.
Funny story: the paper used for the table numbers was actually samples of Divine Savages wallpaper that the bride had ordered when Jeremy and her moved in together the first time. So even the table numbers were a reflection of them, as they represented what they were considering for different rooms in their home. So clever!!
Dress Code: Festive Vintage Bruja
One of the highlights for the bride was changing into her reception look: PANTS.
She wore black wide-leg pants with a vintage white blouse and the piece she kept getting compliments on? A vintage 1940s caped jacket with beaded soutache.
“I even found a blue ‘40s, ‘50s sculptured tilt hat with soutache trim to match. Both Etsy finds. It was yet another nod to the time as, due to wartime rationing, it was common for brides to get married in suit separates. I just knew I wanted the drama of a cape without a costume so I was incredibly grateful to the fashion gods when I found this on Etsy. I knew I’d be the chicest witch of them all, I was comfortable, going to the bathroom wasn’t a production, and it was still obvious to everyone who the bride was, because my look was so well put together and dramatic.”
The dress code was, festive vintage bruja so the couple awarded some people who nailed it.
“I got to present my friend Camilla with a wand. Coincidentally, we’d just attended her wedding over the weekend! Another advantage to a weekday wedding, is not only are you not competing for dates, you can attend your friend’s wedding and then yours a few days later no problem. (Imagine if they’d both been that weekend and our friends had to choose and we couldn’t attend each others?!”
“I kind of felt guilty when it came to music because we’re so eclectic. The night was a blend of many different cultures, ideas, eras and people, so we presented our host/ DJ Kenny from EMG with a very big challenge. I wanted vintage songs from the 40s and 50s, I wanted Latin music, I wanted dance and K-pop (me, not Jeremy, the guy that guy that people regularly mistake for PSY. When I get cat-called it’s, “yo, ma, wassup!” when he get’s cat-called it’s, “Gangnam Style!”). Jeremy wanted an Irish jig and ’80s… The reception music is what I was most anxious about.
Fortunately, there were several butts on the dance floor despite many of our guests not being dancers (one table was just Jeremy’s World of Warcraft friends!), so I’d call that a success.”
In closing, their wedding day was unique in so many ways and can we just take a second to acknowledge all the fantastic geeky and witchy elements? We love how this couple incorporated their favorite things into their big day… as every couple should!!
Here’s to a happy and healthy marriage you two! Congrats!
photography: Inspire Me Imagery // venue name: The Manor, West Orange, New Jersey, USA // florals: Wicked Florist // wedding dress: Teuta Matoshi (Customized Pink Ivy Gown) // hairpiece: Honey and Ember (Gold Laurel Wreath) // bride's shoes: Badgley Mischka (Finesse) // bride's ring: 925 Silver Bridal (Curved Art Deco Band) // getting ready robes: Catherine D'Lish // hair stylist: Anna of Lucy La Riot // makeup artist: Jennifer Marrero (Bride's cousin) // groom attire: Indochino // groom's shoes: Florsheim // groom's ring: His father's // paper goods: Minted // desserts: Baonanas // music: EMG (String trio and DJ) // officiant: Connor Wilson and Alma Gonzales (friends) // Manicure : Sinthia // Ring box: DRATAR // Bride's second look: Vintage jacket and hat: : WildSals and jantiques on Etsy, respectively // Bride's second look: Blouse: AveryDayVintage // Bride's second look: Pants: H&M // Bride's second look: Shoes: Bait footwear // Pearl engagement ring: H1912