Dana and John's space-y and creative wedding had some seriously intricate and beautiful details. There were constellations at every table, a huge and ornate chuppah made of paper, and the highlight of our lives: Dana's hand-dyed wedding dress. We could go on, but hey, we've got the whole story from the bride! Let's take a peek at all the details plus lots of commentary from the couple…
I'm Jewish and John isn't, so we felt it was really important to craft a ceremony that connected firmly to that tradition while still remaining modern, comfortable, and meaningful to both of us. We had some great conversations with our amazing rabbi, Rachel Nussbaum of The Kavana Cooperative. She helped us understand the heart and structure of a traditional Jewish wedding more fully, which allowed us to adapt it.
Using our own language for most of the blessings was also a big deal — we are both word people (I'm a teacher and he's an editor) so we took a lot of time crafting our ceremony. We didn't have a wedding party, so we were looking for ways to include several family and friends in the ceremony; we ended up with seven people reading the Sheva Brachot (“Seven Blessings”) that we had written, matching each person to text that had meaning or connection for them.
We looked closely at the lyrics of the processional and recessional songs. Our choices were both a little unusual, but we ended up with three songs that remain touchstones in our relationship. When I walked down the aisle and saw John singing along to Mumford & Sons' “I Will Wait,” I almost lost my composure entirely. A friend sang “Easy Silence” by the Dixie Chicks while our niece accompanied her on violin. And finally, it was ridiculously fun to stride down the aisle together to Florence + the Machine's “Cosmic Love” at the end of the ceremony.
I'm an artist as well as an art teacher, and have hand-painted two custom chuppahs (Jewish wedding canopies), so I knew I wanted to make ours, too. It was almost a disaster — I started working on this enormous piece of white silk and was so happy with the way it was evolving… but when he saw it, John wasn't nearly as enthusiastic. Happily, we were able to talk it over, and he managed to communicate what he loved about the ones I had done before. By the time it was finished, we were both happy with the result.
And then there was that dress. I knew I wanted to find something a little unusual or non-traditional, but I still started my search at a local bridal store. I found a pair of simple, beautiful, A-line dresses in white lace, similar in style but with totally different textiles and vibes. They were lovely, and I felt like I looked good when I looked in the mirror. The problem was that I just didn't look like ME. I could never picture myself in a white dress.
Eventually, I started looking online for local dressmakers, and found an image of a wedding dress with a dramatic, black ombre hem from Kiko Rodriguez. It wasn't quite what I wanted, but it told me that he was willing to go aggressively non-traditional. The process of creating my wedding dress was beautiful, non-judgmental, and inspiring. Best of all, the final result was absolutely magical. I have never felt as beautiful as I did when I wore that blue dress, and I get comments about it every single time people see our photos.
Photography: Karen Obrist Photography • Second Photographer: Stephanie Dolen • Wedding Coordinator: Lisa Chambers, Chambers & Co. • Florals: Lola Creative • Hand-dyed custom wedding dress: Kiko House of Couture • Hair: Michelle Thurston at Oohla's Salon • Venue: Sodo Park • Catering: Herban Feast • DJ: Chris Graves • Makeup: Salon Maison • Invitations: Sheryl Bracken, Paper Moxie • Groom's attire: Suit by Ermengildo Zegna • Desserts: Chelsea Lin at Tin Box Bake Shop, Adana Prototentis, and A La Mode Pies • Rabbi: Rachel Nussbaum of The Kavana Cooperative