Photography by Elvira Kalviste.
This wedding is so fresh, fun and stylish! From Emily’s super chic silk J. Mendel gown, to the fabulous palm fronds at the reception, to that tulip chandelier, it’s hard to pick a favorite detail. No matter how amazing the details, though, it’s the love these two have for each other that is definitely the most gorgeous thing about this wedding – the look on Emily’s face during Karl’s speech and then their hug afterwards… oh, my heart!
What was the best advice you received as a bride? Take in every moment because the whole day will go by so fast.
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? It was honestly perfect for us but if I could re-do one thing it would be having our photographer stay for the whole night. We thought we’d have plenty of photos without having the photographer stay until the end, which we did, but we missed documenting the last two songs where everyone was dancing with the palm branches. I guess least we got a shot of me with one at the start, haha!
Why did you choose this location for your wedding? We live in NYC and the majority of our guests were friends who live in the area so we thought it would be great to do it local. And for our friends and family who don’t live in NYC, it’s a great place for them to visit and make a weekend of it. We loved that the actual location, 501 Union, had character without us having to add a ton. We did bring in flowers to make it unique. And the size was perfect for our guest count.
Is there anything in particular that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony? From an aesthetics standpoint, while the venue was beautiful on its own, we had a gorgeous flower installation of upsidedown white tulips hanging above us which added a unique touch.
How did you go about planning your ceremony? We didn’t really follow a template. We just put in the elements that were important to us: processional music that was meaningful to us, readings that were close to us and keeping it relatively short and sweet.
Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? Not really. We had the declaration of intent, blessing of the rings and vows.
Your ceremony in three words. Modern, intimate, loving.
What was your ceremony music? Our families and Karl entered to the piano version of Waterfall by The Stone Roses. Karl is from England and The Stone Roses are English, and one of his favorite bands. The piano music was beautiful. Emily entered to Madonna’s True Blue – a friend created the piano version which turned out beautifully. Then as soon as we were pronounced husband and wife it was Viva La Vida by Coldplay.
What were your vows like? We wrote our own. They were pretty short and sweet.
What were your ceremony readings? Two poems written by Emily’s grandmother Frannie, “Eternity” and “Son In-Law.” Frannie passed away a year before the wedding but had written so many poems about our family so it was such a meaningful way to be able to include her in our day. “Eternity” is particularly special, as it was one she wrote about Emily’s grandpa.
Who officiated your ceremony? How did you choose him/her? Emily’s older brother, Brad Unruh, who lives in LA. We wanted it to be someone who is part of our lives and which would make it more intimate and meaningful. Brad is a great public speaker and a bit irreverent. He was somewhat shocked we asked him and took the task serious but also added elements of humor.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? That there was laughter and we could look around the room and see every person in attendance enjoying the moment along with us.
How would you describe your reception? Loving, lively and social!
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? We wanted it to feel like an intimate family environment that also was very social and fun. I like simple color palettes, so we stuck mostly to white. And I was drawn to tropical leaves rather than including lots of flowers.
“We loved the large palms and tropical leaves we included in the decor, specifically as the table centerpieces. At the end of the night, for the last two songs, guests took the palms from the tables and danced around with the palms. It was so spontaneous and funny!”
What was your wedding menu? We served a family-style dinner. First Course: Little gem salad / Mains: Braised short ribs with red wine sauce and seared red snapper with white bean ragout / Sides: Buttermilk and herb mashed potatoes; shaved cartelized brussel sprouts; savory leek & gruyere bread pudding.
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? Karl is a graphic designer so designed our website and all our stationery – invitations, ceremony program, table cards etc.
Using a coffee table book that is meaningful to the two of you as a guest book is such a great way to make sure you have a guest book you actually want to display after the wedding!
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? We served passed mini desserts: salted caramel rice crispy treats, strawberry creme brûlée bombs, fudge brownies and maple bacon doughnuts. Then we had a small cake for Karl and Emily (basically for photo op purposes only!)
Emily & Karl told us: “we felt strongly that every person in the room be someone very close to us. There was no ‘Dad’s business partner’ – every person there was a very close friend or family member and we just felt so much love from everyone. We got to spend the day with our most special group of people!”
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Make sure to go out as a couple and not talk about anything that has to do with the wedding. It is stressful between making joint decisions and accepting the costs of everything. We made sure to go out and make no mention of the wedding. It’s some of the most fun we’ve had on random nights out!
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? There were four speeches (Emily’s father, Emily’s best friend, Karl’s best friend and Karl). They were so touching, meaningful and funny.
Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception. Karl’s father passed away years ago and on his birthday and holidays his family always has a brandy toast in his father’s honor. While few enjoy the taste of brandy these days, it’s about more than that, isn’t it? We took a group shot in remembrance of his dad, which was such a special moment.
Did you serve any late night snacks? After dinner we served American and British snacks – pulled pork sliders with a US flag pick, and mini ‘fish & chips’ with UK flag picks.
What was your first dance song? We struggled with this to the point that Emily didn’t want to have one at all. It’s hard to not be cheesy. We eventually decided on Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheehan. It was indeed cheesy and we still cringe thinking about it a year later!
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? Decide what is important to you and spend your money there and then try to be frugal in other areas… although, you should definitely know that you will still be spending more money than you are likely comfortable with! And then once the wedding is over, don’t fret over the cost ever again. You just had the best party of your life!