“I’ve always had a love affair with the city, and the Brooklyn waterfront, particularly near Dumbo, felt romantic to me, so when looking for a venue, I really wanted something on the Brooklyn waterfront that faced Manhattan,” says Sarah. “A friend of a friend mentioned Liberty Warehouse which we had never heard of, nor did we come across it in any of our research, but we loved the rustic feel of the space and warehouse, that it was right on the water facing the the Statue of Liberty and lower Manhattan, and that it was catered by The River Cafe. We really wanted to take advantage of the outdoor space, so having the wedding in a warm month was key. We lucked out that there was one date still available – it was a complete coincidence that we got married on July 4th facing the Statue of Liberty!”
Sarah kindly shared details of the wedding ceremony:
“I come from a practicing Jewish family where many on my side are quite religious. Additionally, my grandmother who was present, is a Holocaust survivor, so Jewish traditions were important to me and my family. However Bobby is not Jewish and although he was OK with us having a Jewish wedding, it was important to him that he and his family felt included and that everything wasn’t in Hebrew. Our officiant, Rabbi Gloria Milner, was great about explaining the ceremony to guests as we went through it and anytime there was Hebrew, we countered it with English. Additionally, we tried to find a more egalitarian, contemporary/modern version of the traditional Sheva Brachot (seven wedding blessings), and instead of the bride circling the groom seven times to protect him, we changed it up and I walked around Bobby three times, he walked around me three times, and then we walked together in a circle once. We also involved our family in the traditions of the ceremony instead of having the rabbi read everything which was a nice touch.
“A great touch that Rabbi Gloria thought of was to talk about how our two families with very different backgrounds were uniting together. It was even more poignant that it was happening on July 4th with the Statue of Liberty in the background. My grandparents were all immigrants and Holocaust survivors and my grandmother, who immigrated to this country after the war was with us that day. Bobby’s family on both sides had been in this country for a very long time. His father’s side first came here in 1684 and a relative on his mother’s side signed the Declaration of Independence. She did a great job of weaving our stories together.
“Another thing we did which was not traditional at all but was really well received was, in addition to writing our own vows, we each wrote a bio about one another that we read to our guests. As is often the case, the officiant will say something about the bride and groom but Rabbi Gloria suggested that this come from us instead. It was great advice and though at first I was reluctant to do it (I’m not a fan of public speaking), it was one of the best parts of the ceremony. What we both wrote was really from the heart, funny, and even people who’ve known us for years learned something about us. One of the many compliments we got after the wedding was about our ceremony and how it was the best ceremony they’d been to. People said it was beautiful, from the heart, and I couldn’t believe how many people told us they teared up including many men! One good friend who has been to many weddings said it was the only time he actually paid attention to an entire wedding ceremony!”
The bride tells us about her escort cards: “Since it was the Fourth of July, we decided to give out sparklers to our guests and thought it would be cute to incorporate them with the escort cards. I researched a ton of tags as I was trying to find something with a vintage feel. I finally found tags that worked on Etsy. To keep the look consistent with our invitations, programs, and menus, Judy Paulen Designs was able to print machine calligraphy on the tags. I then tied the sparklers to all the tags.”
Guests enjoyed a variety of passed desserts, including chocolate pudding and milk and cookies from Sugar Sweet Sunshine, a bakery near the couple’s home on the Lower East Side.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? To take advantage of the warmth and feel of the warehouse, we wanted everything – from the lighting and candles, to the vintage garden inspired floral arrangements – to have a similar feel and accent the space without taking away from the location and views.
What was your favorite moment or part of the day? Our first look was the most memorable moment. Though a close second would have to be shortly after the ceremony when we walked out together into the cocktail hour which was outside on the patio with the most ridiculous beautiful sunset as a backdrop. Everything looked amazing – the tables, flowers, food, and the guests!
What was the best advice you received as a bride? I was told by numerous people that no matter how much you prepare, something will go wrong or not as planned and to expect it and just roll with it. It was great advice and a good reality check. Luckily, nothing of any importance went wrong!
What advice do you have for other brides? Even though I knew how stressful planning a wedding can be, I was not prepared for just how stressful it was and this is coming from someone who works in a similar line of business. The best thing I did was hire a month-of coordinator. I strongly suggest that if it’s in your budget, to hire a coordinator of some sort – even if it’s just for the day – to handle all the wedding day logistics. If you can’t or don’t want to hire someone, ask a friend or family member that you know is organized and won’t mind dealing with the details on the day of the wedding. Go over these details ahead of time so they know what needs to get done and plan out a detailed timeline. The last thing you want to do on your wedding day is deal with the logistics of load-in times with vendors, making sure everyone is on time, that buses are picking people up and are not lost, and that everything and everyone is in it’s proper place, etc. You’ve been planning this day for months and this is supposed to be one of the best days of your life so enjoy it!