After my own wedding, I tell everyone I meet who’s planning a wedding to consider a restaurant venue: they’re intimate, delicious, and the best bang for your buck. Plus, they can be exceptionally beautiful, as evidenced by Kate and Ryan’s intimate celebration…
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? I learned calligraphy and addressed our invitations and place cards by hand. I was obsessed with Happy Menocal invitations but knew that they would be beyond our budget. Instead I purchased a set of greeting cards featuring her watercolor paintings and used my calligraphy skills to turn them into table numbers.
“We booked our venue and set our wedding date four months before getting engaged!” says Kate. “While Ryan was working hard to custom make the engagement ring I had dreamed of, we had a very honest conversation about when and where we wanted our wedding to take place. Given that venues book quickly in New York, especially for fall weddings, we knew we had to start planning even before the ring was on my finger. While it might have seemed anticlimactic to some, I couldn’t imagine doing it any other way. We were able to ensure that we had the exact wedding we wanted and made one of the most important decisions of our lives together, separate from the surprise and intensity of the actual engagement. It was also a lot of fun to email our save-the-dates out the day after we got engaged!”
Why did you choose this location for your wedding? One of our biggest passions as a couple is food and wine. Kate cooks, Ryan picks the perfect wine pairing. Frankies was the ideal venue to host our intimate dinner party wedding for our closest friends and family to share with them our love of food and wine. We loved that we could have an intimate ceremony and reception in one location and that because the bare space is already so gorgeous we could achieve a lush ambiance without breaking the bank.
“We wanted our officiant to be someone we both knew so that the ceremony would be as intimate as possible, so we asked Ryan’s good friend Adam Mann to officiate. We researched traditional ceremony structures online and used those as the architecture from which to craft our own. We provided that architecture to our officiant and let him fill in the blanks, allowing him to personalize it and weave a thread of his own message throughout.”
Your ceremony in three words. Non-traditional, intimate, happy
What were your vows like? We found traditional vows online and customized them to pick the parts we both preferred: “I, [speaker’s name], take you, [partner’s name], to be my [husband/wife], to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish as long as we both shall live.”
Processional: Moon River
Recessional: “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys
What were your ceremony readings? Excerpt from The Bridge Across Forever by Richard Bach: “A soul mate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we’re pretending to be. Each unveils the best part of the other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we’re safe in our own paradise. Our soul mate is someone who shares our deepest longings, our sense of direction. When we’re two balloons, and together our direction is up, chances are we’ve found our soul mate.”
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? That it was totally us. It was simple, intimate and comfortable.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony? We served cocktails to guests upon arrival and people mingled before the ceremony started. I think that sort of greeting helped set the tone for the evening.
“Our reception was the perfect dinner party! 60 of our closest friends and family mingled over cocktails and then shared an Italian family style meal. Seeing our friends and family truly enjoying each other was so heart warming. I think as the hosts of a wedding you worry your guests will cling to you and not seize the opportunity to be social. We need not have worried about that! Seeing how happy those closest to us were on the night of our wedding made us feel so loved.”
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? We wanted the wedding to fee like us! And our guests said that we accomplished that. I wanted to take the beautiful rustic space in Frankies’ backyard and dress it up with lush florals, linens and lots of romantic candlelight, then juxtapose that with the comfort and ease of a family style meal at Frankies – antipasti, meatballs, ever-flowing wine and conversation.
Menu: First Course: Meat & Cheese Antipasto, Assorted Crostini, Roasted Seasonal Vegetables // Second Course: Escarole with sliced Red Onion & Walnuts, Frankies Greens with Cipollini Vinaigrette // Third Course: Cavatelli with Spicy Sausage & Browned Sage Butter, House-made Gnocchi Marinara & Fresh Ricotta, Frankies Meatballs with Pine Nuts & Raisins // Dessert: Frankies’ Chocolate Ganache Tart, Sugar Sweet Sunshine Cupcakes topped with fresh figs
Did you have a signature cocktail? The Manhattan, Ryan’s favorite.
What was your first dance song? We didn’t have one! We aren’t dancers and didn’t want to spend time on traditions that weren’t meaningful to us.
Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception. When you’re in your thirties it’s possible your friends are burnt out on playing bridesmaid! We chose not to have a bridal party but we both found ways to include our best friends in our day-of wedding preparations, during the ceremony and throughout the evening that felt more natural to us, including the opportunity to give speeches after dinner. To us, their words were as meaningful as any we could have incorporated into the ceremony and allowing them to truly enjoy the wedding without being “on duty” as part of a bridal party was important to us.
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? I am particularly in love with the concept of hosting restaurant weddings and think that the value is incomparable. While restaurants might have limitations (for example, no group dancing is allowed at Frankies) they can also provide a focus and intimacy that other venues don’t allow for.
Have a welcome cocktail reception the night before instead of a rehearsal dinner. Don’t be afraid to ask guests to pay for their own drinks!
Given that our wedding was at a restaurant, the menu we selected included desserts. We simply traded one of theirs for our favorite cupcakes and saved a lot of money by forgoing a traditional cake and cake cutting fees.
Since we didn’t have dancing at the reception we saved money by not having a live band or DJ. Instead, Ryan put together a playlist that provided background music for dinner and mingling. We shared the Spotify playlist with guests in a thank you email the next morning.
We used Paperless Post for our save the dates, saving money and trees. We also asked guests to RSVP on our wedding website instead of mailing them in.
We didn’t feel obliged to purchase wedding favors. I think they’re lovely if your budget is bottomless and you find something that people really want to take home, but we wanted to focus our spending on dinner and drinks to ensure guests had a great experience.
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? I really wanted to wear an off the rack dress, not a wedding dress, that I could wear again, but it turned out to be a more difficult search than I expected. Now that Oscar de la Renta has passed, I wish that I would have searched harder and worn something by his label that I could keep for other formal events.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? It’s funny, but I don’t think anyone gave me advice…they might have been scared to! If you know me, you know I’m confident in my own opinion and am usually comfortable trusting my gut. But I definitely second guessed my decisions and my girlfriends were there to offer opinions and reassurance. To a bride that reassurance is all you need – not people telling you what to do!
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Do what you want and feel comfortable skirting tradition if it doesn’t suit you. Ryan and I were lucky that we didn’t have to contend with much input or drama from our families. They were very supportive of everything we wanted. I hope that other couples are as lucky – but if they aren’t I would urge them to stand by their vision for their wedding day. I can’t imagine it being worth the work without looking back and feeling confident that we had the exact wedding we wanted.