After several years of long-distance dating, New Jersey native Alexis Panicali made the move to Oregon to be with boyfriend Nathan Trotta, so it was only fitting that he followed her back East a few years later. And once there, Nathan was ready to ask Alexis to be with him forever — but he didn't want to do it just once. "He actually asked me to marry him three times," the lucky bride says. "I said 'yes' to every one! At home, in a car, in my sleep; with my dream ring, an amazingly sparkly and gorgeous Edwardian-style, antique mine-cut diamond ring."
The duo set the date for June 13, 2015, and started planning a celebration that would be unlike the many weddings the bride had attended before. "We knew that our dream ceremony was one that would allow us to have our feet in the grass, surrounded by nature, and was somewhat non-traditional compared to a typical catering hall-style wedding," Alexis says. The bride's father suggested Alexis and Nathan consider the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, which immediately took the couple's breath away. With visions of an organic and blossoming bash, Alexis and Nathan dreamed up an ethereal wedding that was resplendent with wild flowers.
The hardest part about planning their day? Choosing the right photographer. "We had a specific vision of how we wanted the day to be captured, but we also wanted someone who we connected with and felt comfortable with," Alexis says. Enter: Lev Kuperman. "I knew he was perfect for us. His personality is laid back and very cool, paired with just the perfect level of professionalism. Needless to say, his work is highly unique and utterly stunning." Judging by the perfect photos of their day, below, we're sure you'll agree with this bride's assessments.
Alexis and Nathan chose custom-designed and hand-painted invitations, which were hand-tied with gold and white baker's twine. The floral suite, designed by Kristy Rice of Momental Designs, was mailed in a metallic gold envelope, and the combination of punchy hues and formal details set the tone for this couple's take on a black tie wedding. "We didn't want it to be stuffy black tie, but a springy, light and bright kind of fancy wedding," Alexis says.
The bride wore a one-of-a-kind Edgardo Bonilla ball gown, complete with a sheer high neckline and layered tulle skirt. While the silhouette itself was absolutely stunning, it was the gown's layers of delicate silk appliqué blooms that made this wedding dress truly stunning. "It gave me the appearance of having stood beneath a light shower of flowers," says Alexis. The vintage-yet-romantic style was the perfect complement to her gorgeous antique engagement ring.
The groom chose a pale gray satin lapel tuxedo, which he paired with a linen bow tie and an orange ranunculus boutonniere.
Alexis decided on a loose bouquet reminiscent of freshly picked wildflowers. Her florist arranged a mix of roses, lisianthus, thistle, billy balls, wax flower, and cobalt blue anemones, all tied together with a flowing purple ribbon. "It was exactly what I asked for," says the bride. "I wanted tons of color and bold, gorgeous blooms with lots of texture."
The couple didn't skimp on color when it came to their attendants' attire. The bride asked her 'maids to wear tangerine gowns from Alfred Sung. "Because I chose that color for my bridesmaids, it was hard to choose a color for Nathan's groomsmen. Black seemed 'Halloween-y,' while navy just wasn't our style," Alexis says. In the end, the pale gray tuxedos were the perfect balance to the bold color.
To keep things interesting, Alexis asked her florist to create an entirely different bouquet for each bridesmaid. Her only requirements were that the arrangements were kept small ("I didn't want the girls to have to lug around big and cumbersome bouquets!") and that each one be reminiscent of a bunch of wildflowers.
Alexis and Nathan decided on a ceremony in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's grassy Osborne Garden. Since their dreamy outdoor venue was already complete with flowering rhododendrons, azaleas, wisteria, and classic evergreens, the only necessary decoration was a ceremony arch made from branches and decorated with a spray of bright flowers.
Aisle-facing chairs were adorned with bud vases filled with a mix of flowers, including roses, daisies, delphinium, and greenery. As guests arrived for the ceremony, they could help themselves to a cool glass of lemon-lavender lemonade.
The couple's two flower girls, Sophia and Hazel, wore dresses reminiscent of the bride's own gown. "I found their lace illusion dresses with full tulle skirts online!" Alexis says. "I asked my floral designer to create sweet and delicate flower crowns for them." The younger of the two attendants had just started walking the week before, but made her way down the aisle without any trouble.
Alexis and her father walked down the aisle while a violinist and harpist performed a classic rendition of "Here Comes the Bride." "We incorporated both Christian and Jewish traditions with a hint of whimsical romance into our ceremony, with readings from the Bible and Pablo Neruda, a wine blessing, a flower offering to our families, and breaking of the glass," the bride says. The pair also wrote their own vows, and their entire guest list broke into laughter when Alexis mentioned what an amazing puppy father Nathan is to their pup, Streusel.
The newlyweds made their exit as husband and wife to a live performance of Elvis' "Can't Help Falling in Love."
During the outdoor cocktail hour, guests found their seating assignments affixed to a clear glass bottle that was filled with a small arrangement of freshly picked flowers that the bride put together herself! "I found this project strangely calming in the final days leading up to the wedding," Alexis says. After, everyone sipped on Mezcal Sours (the couple's signature cocktail) and left notes and advice for the bride and groom on metallic coasters.
Once inside the reception space, Alexis and Nathan kept their flower theme going with tables named for their favorite blooms. Alexis created the table markers with drawn floral pictures she cut from vintage seed packs flown in from France. Round tables were topped with either a tall arrangement packed with bright blooms and branches or a lower one in a similar color palette.
To further personalize their day, Alexis spent her engagement collecting mismatched china to use as part of each place setting. Mini bread and butter plates in a variety of colors and patterns added to the whimsy style of the couple's wedding. For dinner, everyone enjoyed a locally sourced meal of beet salad with Brooklyn ricotta, roasted salmon, and filet mignon.
The highlight of the reception was Alexis and Nathan's stunning four-tier wedding cake. The lemon madeleine cake, which was filled with berry Bavrois filling and covered in Swiss Meringue buttercream, was topped with tons of fresh flowers.
Following their flower-filled wedding, the newlyweds enjoyed a two-week honeymoon cruise that brought them to Norway, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Estonia, and Russia.
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Brooklyn Botanic Garden || Officiant: Benjamin Marlan || Bride's Wedding Dress: Edgardo Bonilla || Shoes: Christian Louboutin || Hair: Yanni Erbeli Salon || Makeup: Define Beauty || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Alfred Sung || Groom's & Groomsmen's Attire: Bryan Michaels; J.Crew || Flower Girl Attire: Fattie Pie || Flowers: Designs by Ahn || Invitations: Momental Designs || Music: Samantha Gillogly; DJ Shakey || Catering & Cake: Patina Events || Photographer: Lev Kuperman Photography
Did you love this beautiful outdoor wedding? Then settle in for another couple's flower-filled celebration, seen below.