Wedding Design: The Evolution of an Event Space

We planned a really great Boston gay wedding wedding last Saturday night.  Two grooms, Mark and Jody, hired us to transform a Unitarian church hall and create a really stylish, colorful and fun space.  Check out my amateur Droid phone photos below as I share the story of how the style of the space came together...

The room when we first arrived - some tables were the church's and the rental company left all the chairs stacked.  We used all rectangular tables, some 6' and some 8'. The grooms sat at a small round sweetheart table.

Another view - the room itself was really cool, a blank canvas for our design

We laid out all the tables according to the floor plan we'd pre-designed.  We took down the LOVE banner and another banner and cleared off the corner by the stage, next to the piano (it was full of 'stuff').  

We draped the tables with a violet lamour linen that captures light really well.  We placed the leather slipper chairs according to my floor plan.

The floral arrangements (two different styles on alternating tables) start to get set by Spruce Floral (they rock!) The little signs in the foreground are the table name signs, not yet distributed.

The team at work.  Place settings go down...

Teal napkins in place; drapes closed on the stage.

Candles in matching colors in place.  Menus for each table distributed.

Close up of the flocked purple mitsumata branches with green orchids (that's not paint!)

Style 2 of centerpieces - view of the full, completed table

With all of the window shades drawn, and the addition of uplights around the room

It's pretty cool, right?  Even with my amateur photos...  I can't wait to see the real ones.  It's fantastic to see the evolution of an event space, and in a space like this, almost anything is possible.  Believe it or not, I have a photo from the very next day when this room was used for a church rummage sale!

How are you planning to style your wedding?

Six Years Ago Today

Gay marriage first became legal in Masschusetts

Photo by Marilyn Humphries

Wedding Ceremonies in Boston-area Parks

I had a call from someone yesterday looking for help with her wedding at the Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain.  Jamaica Plain is a neighborhood in Boston and the Arboretum is a beautiful park with lots of scenic places to marry.

Unfortunately, in the Arnold Arboretum and other Boston and Cambridge-area parks, you can't have a ceremony in the park with any structures.  This means:  no tent, no tables, no chairs...well, maybe one or two chairs.  But you get the idea - your guests have to stand and you'll have to have a rain plan and be able to communicate it to your guests very effectively at the last minute.  

I personally love these types of wedding ceremonies which have a more casual, informal, organic feel - but keep in mind the needs of your guest list if this is what you have in mind.  85 year old grandmas often have a hard time standing for an outdoor wedding ceremony.

I've done extensive research and nearly all of the City of Boston's parks have no covering.  This means that, as much as the idea of a casual wedding in the Boston Public Garden sounds divine, you may get wet.

My advice:  if you are having a wedding with more than 20 guests, don't plan for the ceremony in a public park in the Boston area.  There are some really nice venues which have their own outdoor ceremony space where you can have chairs and where you can retreat in the event of rain.  But if you decide on a park, you'll need a permit.  The fee for Boston parks for Boston residents is $50 and $100 for non residents.

Are you planning to get married in a park?

Our Turn!

Today I had the pleasure of visiting Cambridge City Hall twice.

The first time was at 9:30am with a lovely couple from Pennsylvania in town for the Vows package.

The second time was at 7:30pm with Jen.  We went to Cambridge because a) it was the first city in the first state in the entire United States to issue legal marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples; and b) great tip - because it's open late on Monday nights.  :-)

Jen's most powerful moment was when she wrote down what will be her new last name: Coveney-Smith.

My most powerful moment was finally standing and filling out the paperwork that I've helped dozens of couples fill out.  Confession that even though I've helped others go through this process, I still had some cross-outs on my form.

It's so exciting - we are about 32 days away, unbelievable!  The response cards are still coming in, still waiting to hear from many cousins and aunts and uncles from around the world.  I have to admit that planning my own wedding has made me more empathetic than ever towards my clients and their own emotional journey.  Marriage equality is such a beautiful thing - and so is love, of course.

We had our photo taken under a large banner inscribed with a portion of the Goodridge ruling.  It's finally our turn to be a part of history.  And yes, I do believe that gay marriages are still making history.

Last night was our date night and on the walk home, we saw a rainbow and took a photo.  Surely this must be a good sign...

J&K's Wedding

It is looking to be a busy year.  One of the trends I am noticing is that many couples (same-sex and straight) are choosing to have their weddings in the private dining rooms of upscale restaurants, guaranteeing outstanding food and generally a pretty cool atmosphere.  This means smaller but nonetheless stunning weddings!  I love these weddings and because I've now planned quite a few of them, I know the private dining spaces of our area's restaurants rather well.

Yesterday, my dear girls J&K got married at Rialto in the Charles Hotel.  Seems I've now had weddings in Harvard Square's top three restaurants.  The noon wedding started with a Jewish ceremony under a gorgeous chuppah, followed by a cocktail reception for a few hours (complete with scrumptious hors d'oeuvres and a string quartet).  The last 90 minutes was an Ipod dance party with a horah, cupcakes and amazing desserts.  Those cupcakes were out of this world!  Rialto is a great spot and I especially like their private events coordinator.

I told Sarah from Spruce Floral that she made me look good yesterday because the flowers were so stunning. The girls were looking for flowers as art - structured, architectural pieces instead of anything feminine and romantic.  Check out my photos (the professional ones are forthcoming):

Finally, it's nice to wrap up a wedding and see a mother of a bride in the hotel and hear her say "Anytime you need a reference, please give them my phone number, my email.  We couldn't have done it without you!"  Very sweet.  Sweet girls, lovely family.  I have the best career.


Last year, I had a couple come in from Pennsylvania to get gay married. I picked them up at their hotel in the morning and brought them to Cambridge City Hall to apply for their license. After that, we all went to apply for "marriage without delay" at the courthouse, and when that was granted, we returned to City Hall to pick up their license.

All the while, I heard great stories about their families, their jobs and the adorable story of how they met...

But, the best part of the day (I think we'd all agree) was when we were in Cambridge City Hall, license in hand, with the Honorable Denise Simmons (Justice of the Peace and Mayor of the City of Cambridge). She officiated a beautiful, simple ceremony in her office and at the conclusion of the ceremony, presented my clients a felt bag. Inside the bag was a key to the City of Cambridge.

Imagine the reaction of these two guys! They were elated! They were two African-American men in their 40s and Ms. Simmons is the only openly-lesbian African-American mayor of a city in the US, handing them a key to her city. I didn't know it was coming - but what a pleasant surprise for all of us! I've worked with Ms. Simmons a number of other times and she always does a wonderful job but that was particularly special.

Yet another reason I often take my clients to Cambridge. The main reason is that Cambridge was the first city in the US to legally issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, beginning at 12 midnight on May 17, 2004.

I feel by taking my clients to Cambridge, not only am I supporting that decision but I'm treating them to a little piece of GLBT history.