City Hall kiss

The Offbeat Bride: Magdalena, literature professor

Her offbeat partner: Jared, historian

Date and location of wedding: Pebble Beach, DUMBO, Brooklyn, NY — August 11, 2011

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We wanted to share with our guests the Brooklyn rituals we enjoy most: going out for brunch, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, having cocktails at our favorite bar, eating crepes from a food truck. We had a morning wedding on the DUMBO pebble beach with breathtaking views of Manhattan, followed by brunch at a local restaurant (Bubby's).

More bridge

After brunch, we walked across the bridge to City Hall, where our marriage became official (additional perk: we got to share the day with some of the first gay couples to get married in New York state!). We left our guests to their own devices for the late afternoon/early evening (we figured people can entertain themselves in NYC). We met again in at 9PM at one of our favorite local bars (Quarter) for drinks, dancing, and crepes (from a truck parked outside the bar). The “weddingy” elements of the evening included toasts, a first dance (tango), and signature cocktails: the Piekna Polka and the Stormin' Mormon (a nod to our respective origins).


Tell us about the ceremony: Our ceremony (written by us) was semi-traditional and non-religious. We included a ring-warming ritual, a water ceremony (during which we poured water into a bowl and drank it together), and read vows adapted from Tony Kushner‘s “An Epithalamion” (thank you, Offbeat Bride commenters!).

Wedding vows

I am yours, who I love, not a dream but life, not fantasy,
but the present moment, and all-too-
-mortal flesh; to what is hardest; love is hardest; hard and
simple, and what is best in life.
Love care honor growth – fine simple things and
I make a vow of them to you

I too vow these to you who I also love and also the
careful protecting and preserving of dreams.
I promise you a future, impossible things. Justice
and freedom and life without loss.
A home, a sheltering and withstanding spirit
and always a room for your dreaming.

Life is the wedding of Matter and Spirit,
wave and particle. It is neither and both,
and is in itself the blood of creation.
It floods across galaxies and has no end.
It describes and transforms with a single motion.
May your love be as light

Post-brunch walk

Our biggest challenge: Throwing a city wedding in New York on a 10K budget was quite a challenge. We managed to pull it off by getting married on a weekday, and by splitting the day into a brunch reception and bar after-party. We skipped the cake, flowers, DJ/band, and wedding party, and accepted the help of talented friends and family members for photos, decor, and music. We also had a honeymoon registry, which helped a lot with our amazing trip to Iceland!

First married kiss

My favorite moment: The ceremony, conducted by a dear friend, was certainly the most meaningful moment of the day. We also loved the walk across the bridge – it was a great way to be together while also enjoying the company of our guests and the city. Finally, we had dinner with our moms before the evening party — it was another nice, relaxing, intimate moment in the otherwise packed day.

Brooklyn Bridge

Water fountain

My funniest moment: As we walked across the bridge, lots of strangers shouted “Mazel Tov” and took photos of us and our wedding procession. It was funny to consider we would become part of so many people's NYC tourist experience.


Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? Since we had planned an outdoor ceremony, we dreaded bad weather. Our wedding weekend was preceded by a horrible heat wave, and followed by a hurricane, so we can say that we were truly very lucky!


My advice for Offbeat Brides: You don't have to compromise on the quality of your wedding to save money. Also, going on your honeymoon the day after the wedding rocks!

Walking to City Hall

Have you been married before and if so, what did you do differently? First time round, I had a sit-down wedding dinner for closest family only. My husband's first wedding was equally low-key. This time round, we wanted to include more people (about 70 guests altogether) and make the day more festive.

Memorial for our dads

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? The only thing that really matters is that I am now married to the man I love. (Also, real silk feels AMAZING against your skin!)

Just Married

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Comments on Magdalena & Jared’s Brooklyn brunch-and-bar wedding

  1. Love it! Love the way you combined awesome things and made a day of it. And those pictures on the bridge with the parasols are just fantastic!

  2. How did you get the bridge so clear for those shots!? Such incredible pictures to have from your wedding day. And as a recent NYC tourist who also walked the Brooklyn Bridge, let me just say that when I saw a just married couple having wedding pictures taken it made me feel all gooey and lovely so I’m sure you made a few tourists’ holiday 🙂
    EDIT-meant to say: Iceland for your honeymoon? Oh jeez, I’m so envious! Did you see the Northern Lights? In a dream world, where I win the lottery, Iceland would be the first stop on my honeymoon. But obviously a lottery win would be a pre-requisite if I was planning a honeymoon with stops! Hope you had an incredible time x

    • Thanks! Iceland was divine – even without the northern lights. The clear bridge is just our photographer’s magic 🙂

    • Iceland was perfect, thanks!
      As for the bridge, it just was that way at times 🙂

  3. Love this wedding! It’s so simple and quirky and fun. It seems to be about the marriage and celebrating that marriage- love! And your dress and the groom’s outfit and those umbrellas!

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