When Christina Pellegrini and Joseph Caravalho began planning their wedding, they knew immediately where it would be. “We set out to show our family and friends how we do Brooklyn, putting our fun, irreverent spin on the traditional wedding," she says. The couple first met in college in Villanova a decade ago, but didn’t start dating until years after graduation, and got engaged while vacationing on Kauai last January.
They chose to tie the knot in their neighborhood, Gowanus, and were especially impressed by the industrial chic vibes of 501 Union, which they booked for their reception. “It has gorgeous gold and marble fixtures and this really luxe palm-print wallpaper—it was basically love at first sight,” says Christina. They enlisted a month-of coordinator, Amy Shackelford, to assist with their July 28, 2017, nuptials, and the bride calls her a "godsend" for her meticulous detail-oriented organizational skills. They set out to create a “luxe eclectic vibe with a hint of edge,” selecting a color palette inspired by orchard at dusk—blush and white with pops of peach, watermelon and deep cherry, accented by lots of greenery.
While Christina and Joe admit to suffering definite sticker shock upon realizing how much a wedding actually costs in New York City, their talented friends pitched in and contributed, and they prioritized what was most important to them and put their budget into that. “We went for top-notch catering instead of a videographer, for instance,” says Christina, adding that everyone talked about how good the food was, and a few friends showed up with cameras in tow and actually captured the best parts of the evening on video anyway. Of the whole day, she says, “It was all perfect.”
The bride sought a clean, simple silhouette with amazing detail, and found it in a A-line dress by Claire La Faye featuring a silk crepe de chine material with a long train and sheer low back. “It’s gorgeous but unfussy,” says Christina. “To hold my hair back for the ceremony I wore a circlet made by my florist with local white scabiosa and miniature ferns that matched Joe’s boutonniere.”
The bride sought a clean, simple silhouette with amazing detail, and found it in a A-line dress by Claire La Faye featuring a silk crepe de chine material with a long train and sheer low back. “It’s gorgeous but unfussy,” says Christina. The entire look was was coordinated by Annie at Schone Bridal, who rush delivered a second sample (the first was touring in Atlanta) for Christina to try on after spotting it online. “I came to try it on, fell in love, and bought it on the spot," she remembers. "Claire made it to order for me, tweaking a few details to fit my petite, 5’2” frame.” And guess what makes the moment even sweeter? The fact that Christina was the first bride to ever wear the dress, calling it “modern-meets-vintage, rock-and-roll and effortlessly sexy.”
The bride’s bouquet incorporated eucalyptus, fern, bay leaf, peach asclepia, romantic Antike garden roses, pink spray roses, Helios garden roses, white dahlias, echinacea centers, peach zinnia, white scabiosa, and one big pale pink anthurium (a nod to Joe’s Hawaiian roots). Christina also accented her look with ‘70s-esque Gucci-style metallic crossover platform mules, and small Drift Riot hoops.
“The ornate church was stunning on its own,” says Christina. “The entire interior was marble and didn’t need much to dress it up. There were already some beautiful forsythia branches in the back of the altar, and that’s all it really needed to shine.”
After a traditional Roman Catholic mass, Christina kissed her new husband, who wore a black tuxedo paired with a skinny black tie and vintage-style gold digital Casio watch she gave him for his birthday in 2014.
After their ceremony, the 136 wedding guests followed the couple down the street two blocks as they walked to the reception for a slew of house cocktails. “We completely flooded the street,” recalls Christina, who adds, “luckily it’s a low-traffic residential area. It was amazing!”
Utilizing 501 Union’s wooden farm tables meant they stuck with simple, minimalist dressing. Hand-written place cards (by Joe, with his slightly whimsical handwriting) and DIY ink/watercolor menus were at each setting, and small vines and votives ran down the long tables. Because they opted for a family-style meal of colorful, hyper-seasonal rustic Italian dishes (by Brooklyn caterer Purslane), they kept centerpieces small and contained, using different glass vessels with a different flower in each. “It felt so rich, even though the floral arrangements were relatively small,” says Christina. The bars had larger flower arrangements, with a sculptural quality.
For their first dance the couple opted for “I Wanna Be Your Man,” by Roger, but things really heated up after the first dance. “The vision was an epic, high-energy dance party that spanned genres and generations, and it worked!” says Christina.
The newlyweds hired their friends to do music, which Christina calls a “genius idea.” Trevor Banks aka TRE the Wolf spun Motown, R&B and hip-hop for the reception, and Brooklyn-based punk band Fat Heaven ended the night with Rancid and Misfits covers and their own songs. "they cared enough to select the songs they knew that we (and our guests!) would want to hear, and they performed with so much energy and passion," says Cristina. "I don’t think we’ve ever danced so hard at another wedding!”
For the couple their wedding perfectly summed them up. “We tried to put a little bit of ourselves into everything,” says the bride, who says they snuck their favorite snack, blistered shishito peppers, into the menu and had their favorite bakery provide dessert. An in lieu of cake, Christina and Joe served pies from their favorite local bake shop, Four & Twenty Blackbirds, and had a sundae truck. As residents of the neighborhood, Christina and Joe were excited to incorporate local talent, like the iconic Mister Softee truck, which they stocked with Krunch Kote, a favorite topping from Christina's hometown in Massachusetts. She adds, “Not only did it feel right for us, it felt right for our neighborhood.
Venue: St. Agnes Roman Catholic Church; 501 Union || Month-Of Planner: Modern Rebel & Company || Bride’s Dress: Claire La Faye || Bride’s Shoes: Jeffrey Campbell || Groom’s Attire: The Black Tux || Bridesmaids’ Attire: Fame and Partners || Hair: Sarah Tupper || Makeup: Leanna Cho || Floral Design: Doe + Jay || Catering: Purslane || Pies: Four & Twenty Blackbird || Ice Cream Truck: Mister Softee || Music: DJ Trevor Banks; Fat Heaven || Invitations & Paper Products: Zazzle || Engagement Ring & Wedding Band: Anna Sheffield || Rentals: Broadway Party Rentals || Photography: Tom Leung Photography