When Erica walked into the office on the first day of her new ad agency job in January of 2008, she had no idea she was about to meet her future husband. "I'd just moved to New York two weeks prior," she says. "Keith and I were friends — and happy hour accomplices! — for a year before he worked up the nerve to ask me out." Little did they know, they were becoming friends as they were becoming enemies: Erica constantly called maintenance to turn the AC down, while Keith was the one calling to have them turn it up because he was too hot!
On Erica's birthday in February of 2014, she was looking forward to a low-key celebration after locking herself out of their apartment that morning. But before heading out, Keith suggested they walk their dog out to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade... in two feet of snow! "It took a lot of convincing to get me out the door," Erica remembers. But Keith had already solved the snow problem. The night before, he'd gone out and shoveled away a patch of snow in their favorite spot with the best view. He stationed a photographer friend on a nearby bench, led Erica to their spot, and asked her to marry him. After dinner and drinks, the couple headed to a nearby karaoke bar, where 65 friends were waiting to celebrate!
Erica, founding partner of Brooklyn-based event design company Tinsel & Twine, was surprised to find that planning her own wedding was exponentially harder than planning for someone else. "It's a whole other ballgame when it's your money, your feelings, and your priorities," she reveals. But she and Keith kept their focus, planning a moody, sophisticated cocktail-style celebration at Smack Mellon in DUMBO. "We didn't want our guests to feel like they were at 'just another wedding,'" says the bride. And that they weren't! Check out what happens when the bride's a wedding planner, photographed by Amber Gress Photography.
The savvy bride kept DIY projects to a minimum, but used her wedding as an opportunity to call on talented friends to contribute. "My business partner designed our save the dates and invitations, and a former designer of ours calligraphed our names and turned it into a custom stamp for all the mailings," says Erica.
She'd originally wanted her mom to make her wedding dress, but Erica knew it would be too hard to coordinate fittings because her family lives in Virginia. After a few unsuccessful shopping trips, a late-night web surf led Erica to the BHLDN website and a sequined Badgley Mischka gown. "It was on a major sale, so I bought it on a whim. It was a near-perfect fit!" she says. "I loved the idea of sparkling and shimmering in the candlelight."
She paired the gown with vintage-inspired navy shoes and a collar necklace. A vibrant bouquet of red charm peonies popped against the ivory gown.
To match the bride's sparkle, she sourced her bridesmaids' dance floor-ready gowns on ASOS. Keith and his groomsmen wore monogrammed Stan Smith sneakers and skull and cross bone cufflinks, a "something bad ass" response to Erica's "something blue."
The flower girls headed down the aisle in white dresses, led by the couple's "Best Dog," Mayhem.
Keith and Erica were married by a close friend in front of their back up ceremony backdrop. "The original design was a curtain of hanging Edison bulbs that came crashing down moments before we were supposed to walk down the aisle," Erica explains. "My team sprang to action, sweeping up the glass and moving our photo booth backdrop." Thank goodness for wedding planners!
While the groomsmen wore black suits, Keith had his James Bond moment in a custom midnight blue tux.
"We loved how close Smack Mellon is to our home. That whole neighborhood feels like us," says Erica.
To personalize the blank canvas venue, Erica and Keith filled the space with framed family photos, moody red flowers, and tufted lounge furniture perfect for comfy conversations.
Communal tables were dressed in black linens, topped with tasseled cabaret lamps and mercury vases full of peonies. "The arrangements of red charm peonies, ranunculus, scabiosa, and privet berries were wild and romantic," Erica describes.
The menu featured passed small bites and stations serving meatballs, tacos, bacon-wrapped scallops, and duck crostinis. For dessert, cake was replaced with root beer floats, mint chocolate chip milkshakes, and apple pies baked from Keith's grandma's recipe.
The duo's favorite DJ is responsible for the epic dance party that took place, including a particularly memorable remix of Biggie's "Hypnotize" with Tupac's "California Love." "Our guests are convinced the DJ solved the East Coast/West Coast rap feud!" says Erica.
You know a professional planner will have advice worth following. "Don't make decisions based on what's trendy, because those details will feel dated and stale when you look back," says Erica. "Do what feels right and is authentic to the two of you!"
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Smack Mellon || Wedding Planner: Tinsel & Twine || Bride's Wedding Dress: BHLDN || Shoes: Nina Shoes || Hair: Mane Advocates || Makeup: SB Beauty || Bridesmaids' Dresses: ASOS || Groom & Groomsmen's Shoes: ADIDAS || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Cathy Burke Fine Jewelry || Florist: Bowman & Clark || Invitations & Paper Goods: Tinsel & Twine || Ceremony & Cocktail Music: Linus Wyrsch || Reception Music: DJ Marvin Myers || Rentals: Broadway Party Rentals; Patina Rentals || Photography: Amber Gress Photography
Did you love this Brooklyn wedding? Then watch another couple tie the knot in New York in the video below.