While Covid-19 convinced many couples to postpone their weddings, it made some realize that marriage just couldn't wait. That's the case for TV writers Janine Nabers and Etan Marciano, who decided to move their planned 2021 wedding to the summer of 2020. With a downsized guest list of 50 along with others who joined in via Zoom, the pair broke glass and jumped the broom on August 30 in Brooklyn.
"We originally planned on getting married in Palm Springs in 2021," shares Janine. "But when Covid hit, we made a game-time decision to forgo all our previous plans and have our wedding celebration at Etan’s parent’s house with close friends and family only. Our Palm Springs Wedding had a guest list of 150. At that time, NYC was in phase three of reopening and they were allowing outside gatherings of 50 people max. So, we cut our list down by a hundred people.”
Janine and Etan live together in Los Angeles, where they met as coworkers back in 2016. They later began dating in 2017, and got engaged in Israel on the first day of 2020. While heading across the country during a pandemic comes with its risks, the couple did their best to make the environment safe for themselves and their guests.
“We flew into NYC and quarantined away from everyone. We also brought rapid tests with us from Los Angeles and we took them after two weeks,” says Janine. “Our family took the rapid tests as well before we all cohabited after our initial quarantine. We also asked our guests to get tested before the wedding and quarantine for 10 days."
While they wanted everyone to be safe, they also wanted to ensure it was a beautiful affair to remember. “My husband’s family is Moroccan and Jewish. I’m a Black girl from the South. So, we had a very colorful Afro-Jewish party,” shares Janine. To achieve their goals, the pair hired Ben Knox to plan the event. “He is a friend and designer and he helped plan our two-day celebration in only six weeks,” she adds.
The wedding turned out to be a gorgeous and intimate celebration complete with amazing food, florals, and even a gospel choir performance. Read ahead to explore this wedding planned by Ben Knox and photographed by Clean Plate Pictures.
For the rehearsal dinner, Janine donned a beautiful two-piece suit with a veil cape from the designer Half Penny London.
With accessories like hot pink shoes, floral earrings, and glasses, Janine absolutely stunned for the event.
The couple decided to do a first look before their rehearsal dinner.
Janine and Etan took a stroll around the neighborhood to take photos before guests arrived.
As a nod to Etan's Moroccan roots, the rehearsal dinner featured floor seating areas complete with cozy poufs, candlelit tables, and rose petals. "Since everything was outside due to Covid restrictions, we had a little bit of a Night Market theme throughout," says Janine. "Our rehearsal dinner was more of small dinner party with music and Moroccan henna."
On the menu? "We have two family friends who are in the restaurant and catering business, so we really lucked out with the planning of our wedding food,” says Janine. "That night, we had Thai bento box-style food that was so delicious and flavorful. We also had freshly made Moroccan pastries.”
To document the guests in attendance, the bride and her friends did a socially distanced photoshoot out on the street.
While the couple couldn't have the Palm Spring destination wedding they originally wanted, they were able to transform Etan's parent's home into a lush floral oasis with a gorgeous installation by Lewis Miller. “I’ve always been a huge fan of Lewis Miller and his flower design,” says Janine. “When I moved to L.A. from NYC, I would stalk his Instagram page and admire his flower flashes around New York. They always made me miss the city. So, when we switched gears to NYC, I knew I had to work with him. His flowers really elevated the entire event and brought our entire vision together.”
My hair was the big accessory.
The bride wore the gorgeous strapless Demeter gown by Makarian for her ceremony. “I couldn’t stop thinking about it,” shares Janine of her dress, which featured a bold ruffled neckline. “And, I knew my best friends would scream when they saw it—which they did. It looked so great on my dark skin. I was utterly obsessed.”
“My hair was the big accessory,” shares Janine. “I have a fro and I knew I wanted it to be big but soft—to fall a little bit over my shoulders. And, I knew I wanted white flowers.”
Lewis Miller also designed the bouquet for Janine. “It was a beautiful cascading bouquet that felt so summery and soft,” she says. “It felt like flowers you would see in a Shakespearian play. Very A Midsummer Night’s Dream."
The couple wrote their own vows for the ceremony. “We’re both writers so it felt natural,” says Janine. “My parents couldn’t make the wedding because of Covid—they lived in Texas and Covid was really ripe there at the time. So, they wrote letters to Etan and I. It was really sweet to hear their words during the ceremony.”
“My husband is Jewish and I’m in the process of converting. I think the rituals embodied by Judaism are so beautiful and poetic,” shares Janine. “So, we wanted to honor as much of it as possible. We had a traditional Jewish ceremony, but the music was more Black or African focused. We had the musician John Hughes play the West African Harp throughout the ceremony."
The couple also incorporated Black traditions to their ceremony like jumping the broom.
"In the end we had the lovely Raise Singers, a small gospel choir sing us out of the ceremony," shares Janine. "At one point, the gospel choir even sang “Hallelujah” in Hebrew which was nice because we had a lot of family in Israel watching the wedding on Zoom.”
To have this very joyful and soulful song heard throughout the block was beautiful.
“When Raise choir sang "Season of Love" at the end of our wedding, it was maybe one of the most touching moments—Covid had taken so much from so many people,” notes Janine. “Most of our family and friends couldn’t get there because of Covid. So, to have this very joyful and soulful song heard throughout the block was beautiful. And everyone watching on Zoom felt like they were there with us.”
“Don’t be too precious,” advises Janine to anyone getting married. “Your wedding day will not turn out as you planned entirely and that’s okay. It will still end up being the most amazing day of your life."
The married couple made sure to take photos with family and friends after the ceremony as well.
“Our friend Daniel Klienhandler, owner of Sugar, Butter, Chocolate made our cake in jars,” says Janine. “It was a really cool Covid alternative that was very creative, safe, and allowed for our cake jar to be a take-home favor. In the end, the design was fantastic, and all the jars were stacked on stop of each other to form one beautiful giant cake.”
“Our designer Ben Knox was very hands on and made all of the centerpieces himself,” shares Janine. “The lighting was romantic and simple. My husband’s family lives in a big Victorian house with a tree-lined driveway so there was a lot of room for lighting and color throughout.”
“Our signature cocktail was a jalapeño margarita,” notes Janine. “We also served an assortment of Coppola wine both nights. We love the wine brand and my best friend gave us her family discount! Like I said, it really took a village to pull everything together last minute.”
While the couple changed their plans, their Brooklyn wedding was meant to be. “Several different people we knew happened to be driving by my husband’s house in Brooklyn during the ceremony,” says Janine. “One of our friends even biked by and stopped to take a socially distanced picture with us. It felt very kismet New York that way.”
Planner Ben Knox
Officiant Rabbi Matt Green
Bridal Gown Designer Markarian
Jewelry Madison Jewelers
Shoes Christian Louboutin
Hair Jade Staton
Makeup Amy Klewitz
Rehearsal Dinner Attire Half Penny London
Groom’s Attire Indochino
Engagement Ring Madison Jewelers
Wedding Bands Madison Jewelers
Florist Lewis Miller Design
Invitations Paperless Post
Rehearsal Dinner Catering Angie Mapaisarnsin of Charm Kao
Reception Catering Chani Gold of Kosher Cater
Rentals Party Rental LTD
Photographer Erica at Clean Plate Pictures