Amanda and Sheridan planned their intimate wedding in Central Park simply because they fell in love with it. So much, that they traveled all the way from Australia with their closest family and friends to celebrate! Their reception was full of vintage jazz style and the incredible view of the city did not disappoint.
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? Don’t compromise the aspects that are most important to you on the day – food and music were a priority for us so we spent significantly on these to get what we wanted. To ensure you don’t blow your budget, start by assigning yourself a mini-budget for each aspect of the wedding planning – wedding ceremony music, florist, make-up. This will help to guide your search for vendors within your price range.
What was the best advice you received? Enjoy the wedding planning… this is almost half the fun!
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? We didn’t have an event planner, and instead of compromising our wedding, we think it made it more personal as we researched and decided every detail ourselves. Being on the other side of the world and in a very different time zone, much of this was done with the internet, email and Skype. In our experience, the best vendors were always reliable in responding promptly, happy to verify details and work within our constraints.
Did you include any other traditions in your wedding? Sheri had her sister’s handkerchief from her wedding as the borrowed part of her “something old, something new.” Amanda’s mother gave each of us a handkerchief made by Amanda’s Nanna before she passed away to be given on her wedding day. Sheri also carried her Pop’s prayer book at the ceremony. These family sentiments were really special.
“Having visited New York before, we had both fallen in love with Central Park and wanted to share this space with our friends and families. When we started to look more closely at a location in the park, The Ladies’ Pavilion instantly declared itself as the ideal location for an intimate wedding between two ladies!”
How did you go about planning your ceremony? We had a lot of help from our amazing celebrant, Tulis McCall, who sent options for different ceremony structures and various readings, poems and vows. We had done some research and found a couple of poems that we wanted to include. Tulis knew of The Ladies’ Pavilion and how to make the most of this beautiful location. The music was one of our highest priorities, so we spent a lot of time searching for the perfect string trio. We wanted a ceremony that was about the two of us and our journey together and we wanted it to be light, happy and fun.
Your ceremony in three words. Romantic, humorous, personal.
What was your ceremony music? The Dolce Ensemble were a string trio who played a mix of current hits, classics—such as The Beatles, classical and baroque music. We walked down the path to the Pavilion to Pachelbel’s “Canon in D.” During the signing of the marriage certificate they played “Can’t Take my Eyes Off You” by Frankie Valli, and while introducing the couple at the end of the ceremony was “The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba” by Handel. Other music included “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen, “Royals” by Lorde and “All You Need is Love” by The Beatles. We finished off with “New York, New York” by Frank Sinatra as something fun because we had all traveled to the other side of the world!
What were your ceremony readings? A Love Poem from the Ahwahneechee tribe, Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog by Taylor Mali, Happiness by Edward Monkton, Oh The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss, and a Legal Ruling—Massachusetts Supreme Court Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall in 2003 in the case of “Goodridge vs Department of Health” that legalized same sex marriage in Massachusetts.
Who officiated your ceremony? Tulis McCall was our celebrant. We found her through the New York Wedding Magazine online directory. Through online research she had fantastic reviews and performed same sex marriage ceremonies. We spoke with Tulis over Skype and her lively and charismatic character confirmed she was perfect for the type of ceremony we wanted. Our friends and families still rave about Tulis a year after our wedding and she has been a friend of ours ever since!
What were your vows like? We had planned to write our own vows. However, Tulis emailed us a couple of options and we loved them both for different reasons. So we blended the two to read:
I give you my promise
That from this day forward you shall not walk alone
My heart will be your shelter, and my arms will be your home.
We will walk together through all our days.
May you always feel deeply loved, for indeed you are.
From this day forward I will be proud to be your wife,
And your best friend.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? From Amanda: Seeing Sheri for the first time walk towards me to the Pavilion, Tulis acknowledging my father who was not able to attend the wedding as he was sick in Australia, and saying my vows to Sheri with all of my heart as I looked into her eyes. // From Sheri: Taking Amanda’s hand after I arrived to her waiting at the Pavilion, Tulis’ fabulous retelling of our special story, and the energy and excitement of our friends and family.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony? Tulis did such a great job getting to know us prior to the day. She did an incredible job of telling our love story—how we met, fell in love and now planning our lives together. This was particularly special as none of our friends and family knew the details of how our relationship had developed and our love had grown. There were laughs, so many laughs!
You can’t get more “New York City” than taking a taxi cab from your ceremony to the reception!
“We had dinner at The River Cafe before Amanda proposed on the Brooklyn Bridge the night we got engaged. We loved The River Cafe—the exceptional views of the city skyline, the ambience, and the incredible menu.”
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? New York City! We wanted some of the New York aspects because we—as well as our friends and families—were traveling all the way from Australia and we wanted to make it a feature.
How would you describe your reception? Vintage 1920-40s jazz.
Did you have a signature cocktail? No. We chose to drink our all-time favorite, Veuve Cliquot champagne, instead.
What was your wedding menu? As foodies, the menu was one of the highlights of our wedding. The menu took the most planning for us. One of our key considerations was not to pick just what we would love to eat, as we are adventurous with food – we recognized that we had to have a menu that all 30 guests would enjoy. This included Amanda’s mother, who said that she wouldn’t even sit in the room if we served squab on the menu!
hors d’oeuvres: suckling pig, vanilla bean sweet potato, marshmallow / spiced gingerbread, fois gras mousse, pear marmalade / smoked salmon croquette, caper, cornichon and dijon / grilled artichoke hummus, candied lemon, crisp crouton // appetizer: handmade Maine lobster ravioli with light lobster cream and fresh herbs // fish course: sauteed Maine sea scallops, taro root puree, fresh hearts of palm and citrus vinaigrette // meat course: Colorado rack of lamb, couscous with Merguez sausage, garden peas and ginger, lavender honey glaze
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? We had an amazing 6-piece ensemble by the name of Carte Blanche, who played a range of American, Latin and French jazz music. They were dressed and accessorized to complement the vintage theme. We had inquired prior to the day whether they would be able to play one of our favorite songs “Smile Big” by the band Leftover Cuties. We weren’t sure if this was possible. Unexpectedly on the wedding night, the band burst into this song when Sheri and I were on the dance floor. It was such a fun surprise! We later found out they hadn’t known this piece beforehand and learned it just for us!
What was your first dance song? Our first dance was to “At Last” by Etta James. It was beautiful. However, as the song progressed we realized the only thing we hadn’t prepared for the entire wedding was the actual dance! Needless to say, we had to wing it!
Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception. We had a Polaroid camera that circulated through the room during the night at our guests’ beckoning. We now have many fun, candid shots of ourselves and guests as we celebrated together! We also had a few speeches that included many laughs and a few tears. Sheri’s cousin was the MC for the evening. She is the funniest person we know -except for us! She did an outstanding job of keeping the formalities on track and the mood upbeat – and perhaps a bit cheeky!
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? A chocolate marquise Brooklyn Bridge for dessert with Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory vanilla ice-cream. Our wedding cake was from Momofoku Milk Bar. It was a 3 tiered cake with unfrosted sides to highlight all of the delicious fillings layered inside. Each cake tier was a different flavor. The flavors we selected were Pretzel (stout ganache, burnt honey frosting, pretzel crumbs), Mint Cookies’n’Cream (cookies’n’cream frosting, mint cheesecake filling, chocolate crumbs), and Apple Pie (brown butter cheesecake filling, apple compote, pie crumbs). Both desserts looked impressive and tasted even better!
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? Our day was perfect and we wouldn’t change a thing! Isn’t that lucky to feel that way?