HOW TO ORGANIZE A MICRO WEDDING IN NEW-YORK

Covid crashed your wedding? You can turn your big celebration into a sweet and intimate micro wedding

Man, I thought I had seen it all. Then a virus came along, and I realized I had seen nothing at all. Life has been shaken in more ways than one, and as a wedding photographer my whole year has been turned upside down. 2020 dates became 2021 dates, Spring weddings became Winter weddings. And some folks have decided to hold off altogether until the horizon gets a little clearer.

But having to postpone your wedding doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate. Although social distancing is fundamental right now and I am not advising anyone to have any sort of elopement unless it really is just the two of you (like those badass ladies somewhere in the city), planning a micro wedding can be a great way to celebrate the end of these crazy times – soon, I hope! – and shout your love from the rooftops. You can always have your bigger wedding later this year.

Don’t feel overwhelmed, it is much easier than you think. Micro weddings are very simple to organize. I had a 48 hour engagement before I eloped six years ago and we had 4 people in attendance, so I know how easy -and fast!- it can be to get married, so here are my tips on how to organize a sweet and intimate wedding in New-York.

 

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1. Keep the guest list as tiny as possible

 

Whether you’re having 200 or 80 guests, the guest list is always a headache. How to decide who to keep off your list? Should you invite people who invited you to their wedding, even if theirs was much larger than yours? Should you invite all your cousins even if you are close to a couple of them only? How do you break the news to the people you cannot invite?

Having a very small and last minute elopement gives you a very good excuse to not invite everyone. Include your parents and siblings, and a handful of your dearest friends. This should keep the guest list under 20. If your family is far away and you don’t want them flying twice this year to come see your get married, have a friends-only elopement. These can be a ton of fun, and have a whole different dynamic than a family wedding.

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2. Chose your backdrop

 

The point of having an elopement is to simplify the planning process. By choosing a spot with a gorgeous backdrop, you will need nothing else than yourselves and your guests to make it beautiful. Central Park allows parties of 20 guests or less to have a wedding on their ground without a permit. Although the gazebos such as the Cop Cot or the Ladies Pavilion are usually quite busy, it isn’t hard to find a great spot to have a ceremony in the park. How about one of the beautiful bridges or Hernshead, which boasts beautiful views over Midtown?

Dumbo, in Brooklyn, also has a lot of great spots for an impromptu ceremony, such as the beach, St Ann’s Warehouse, or even the promenade in front of Jane’s Carousel.

There are many small parks all around the city that would be a great fit for a small elopement. Some of them are technically private, but they are so secret that you can easily find a good time to go and have a quick ceremony. These spots are better for very small elopements with 10 people or less though, so keep that in mind if you decide to go the “guerilla”wedding” route! Some of those spots include: Amster Yard and Greenache Park in Midtown East, Alice’s Garden in Midtown West, or the McDougal-Sullivan park downtown.

You can also pick a quiet street in the West Village and have your ceremony out there for the world to see. A street like Gay Street could be ideal for this, since it is stunning and very quiet. You can also check if any of your friends has a rooftop you can use to have your celebration. Most of us have one, and the views are usually quite awesome!

And of course, you can also get married in your own home. This will ensure that your venue will hold no matter what virus is trying to kill the planet on your wedding date (let’s hope none, but we never know), plus it will allow you to wrap yourselves in those memories anytime you step into the room later on.

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3. Pick must-have vendors

 

An officiant is all you need to make your wedding official, and New-Yorkers are lucky enough to be allowed to get married anywhere by anyone who has been ordained. But if you want to make your day even more special, you can hire more people to beautify your day.

A florist can make you a bouquet or a boutonniere, a cake maker can make a small cake for you and your guests, and a photographer can capture your celebration. Most vendors have special prices for elopements, so make sure to check with them when you inquire about your elopement. With those must-have vendors, your wedding will be as stunning as any other, and you won’t break the bank.

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4. Find the perfect dress or tux for the day

 

Most dress designers will have a whole line of elopement outfits, from midi dresses to comfy and stylish jumpers. Check out Loulette Bride’s elopement line for example; you will find cheaper dress models that are easy to wear for an urban elopement.

As far as tuxedos are concerned, renting one from The Black Tux is a great option for grooms to look dapper for the day.

There. With those tips, you have a solid base to build on top of. Now let’s show this virus who’s the boss (hint: not it) and let’s get married already!

how to organize a last minute elopement in new york

BEST VENUES FOR AN INTIMATE WEDDING IN BROOKLYN

Planning small? Here are the 6 best venues for an intimate wedding in Brooklyn.

 

It is no secret at this point that intimate weddings are my jam. I love them so much that I even got married that way myself six years ago, and had the best time. And in a city like NYC where the average wedding costs 78K , intimate weddings are a great way to celebrate without cutting the budget on the food, the open bar, or the decoration.

Don’t get me wrong, I love big weddings too, and I might even write a blog post about some of my favorite venues in New York to have a big raging dance party. But for now, let’s take a look at some of the best Brooklyn venues to have an intimate wedding with your loved ones.

 

Naturally Delicious: perfect for a tiny backyard wedding

 

I discovered Naturally Delicious in 2018 and I was immediately charmed by its vibe. The restaurant is very cosy and their garden, where you can hold your ceremony and cocktail hour, is absolutely adorable. You can exchange your vows among some of the herbs used in the kitchen and beautiful wild flowers for a colorful touch. Naturally Delicious is also a caterer, so you can hire them to make delicious farm-to-table food for your wedding elsewhere. It is located at 487 Court Street, Brooklyn NY 11231, off the Carroll Street stop on the F/G lines.

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It is also located in prime Carroll Gardens in Brooklyn, so you can easily stroll around the neighborhood for some authentic Brooklyn shots in tree lined streets after your ceremony.

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Frankies 457 Spuntino, for an outdoor experience in prime Brooklyn

 

Frankie’s is a famous spot among the Brooklyn wedding world. A few blocks from Naturally Delicious, it manages to have a rustic vibe in the middle of bustling Brooklyn. Frankie’s offers two separate spaces in their backyard, so you can have your ceremony in one and your sit down dinner in the other. It has red bricks, vines, and both spaces are covered so you don’t have to worry about the rain. And since the reception area is semi-closed, you can get married in Winter as well. Which is perfect, since Frankie’s has delicious Italian comfort food. Just like Naturally Delicious, Frankie’s is tucked between a few adorable tree-lined streets. And if you don’t want to night to end, there are dozens of great bars to have one (or ten) last drinks nearby.  It is located at 457 Court Street, Brooklyn NY 11231, off the Carroll Street stop on the F/G lines. Now, check out this lovely summer wedding I shot at Frankie’s Spuntino 457 last year and tell me this isn’t the perfect spot for an intimate love celebration!

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Maison-May: for an authentic French touch in a brownstone

 

I have a soft spot for Maison-May because it’s a French restaurant with a true French vibe and delicious French food (think quiches and typical pies). As a French person myself, I feel drawn to it, and it almost feels like home over there. Maison-May has a very cute backyard as well, but its strongest asset is the gorgeous interiors. Couples can have their sit-down dinner downstairs in the cosy room with warm lights, and their dance parties upstairs on the gorgeous parlor floor. All original details from the brownstone have been preserved, so for anyone looking for authentic architecture, Maison-May is absolutely perfect. It is located at 246 Dekalb Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11205, off the Fulton or Classon Avenue G line. Maison-May works for all seasons, so check out this Fall love party and this Winter one.

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Maison-May is located right next to Fort Greene Park, which is great since you can incorporate a short stroll into your wedding timeline, get some pretty pictures taken, and not use up too much of your precious time with your loved ones with a complicated commute.

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Bacchus Bistro: for Italian food lovers

 

Located on the fun part of Atlantic Avenue between cool bars, restaurants and shops (hi Sahadi’s!), Bacchus has all the charms of a French café. There is a very cute terrace out front and a gorgeous wood interior, but the strength of Bacchus lays in the back of the building. Their backyard can hold 80 people, which means couples can marry under the trees with all their loved ones. It is also located in prime Cobble Hill, so taking pictures in the beautiful tree-tines streets right South of the restaurant is a treat. Their food is also delicious, so if you’re a fan of homemade pasta and tiramisu, this place is for you. It is located at 409 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11217, off the Atlantic-Barclay Center 2, 3, 4, 5, B, D, N, Q, R, W lines (yes, all those). You can see the sweet sneak peek of a Summer wedding on Bastille Day over here.

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Bacchus is perfectly located next to Gowanus, which offers some really offbeat and colorful backgrounds for your wedding pictures.

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Japoly Theater and School of Music: for a funky and dramatic wedding celebration

 

Its name says it all, the Jalopy is a theater and music space. It has a vintage stage with red velvet curtains and a big skylight for some dramatic, natural light. Couples can have their ceremony on stage, so if you like the idea of being in a play for a few minutes, this is the perfect place to do it (I can totally see myself exchange my vows on that stage, and say them Hamlet-style). The venue has seen many great musicians and artists alike perform and show their work, so it truly transpires with creativity. It is located in Red Hook, an up and coming neighborhood of Brooklyn with lots of awesome industrial architecture around. And if you have time before or after your ceremony, you can take a quick cab ride to the water for some photos with the city and the Statue of Liberty. It is located at 315 Columbia Street, Brooklyn NY 11231 off the Smith-9th Street or Carroll Street F/G lines (but it is a bit of a walk).

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Celestine: for both indoor and outdoor options in the heart of Dumbo

 

Celestine is a great option for people who want a prime location (Dumbo), with gorgeous views (the Manhattan Bridge and the city) with the possibility to be inside or outside for all or parts of their wedding day. Celestine has a very classy and modern vibe with its concrete outdoor and sleek interiors, with huge bay windows for guests to enjoy the views. Being in Dumbo, it is very easily accessible for everyone and allows you to take your wedding portraits in the area, which has loads of great backgrounds such as the graffitis near York street, the waterfront, the beach, the carousel, the Atrium, or the old train tracks still visible on Water street. You and your guests can also take the ferry to your wedding! And that’s just cool. It is located at 1 John Street, minutes away from the York and High street subway stations as well as the East River ferry.

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BEST WEDDING PHOTOS OF 2018

Best of 2018

I can’t believe I have never even thought about posting my “Best Of” at the end of wedding season. Here is my very first one (and mark my words, in 2038 I will still be going at it).

This year was a changing one. I launched my business in France and started seriously booking weddings in Europe. Soon after, I realized I didn’t want to leave the American wedding market behind and spend my life on planes. Things got confusing from there, and still are a bit today.

Although I am unsure of my future (geographically speaking), looking back at all the weddings I shot this year has been a lot of fun. I can’t even count how many hugs I gave and was given and how many times my eardrums hurt from being too close to a speaker. I went through two pairs of shoes, broke one light stand, lost one charger and went mirrorless. I tripped in a church in front of everyone, and I bought flip-flops for a bride who couldn’t walk anymore. I also made some friends and made one small mistake that will haunt me forever. I met hundreds of people, and shot over 70000 photos. I made 30 couples happy, and I got emotional 30 times.

All in all, this wedding year was just like anybody’s year; it made me grow and feel all sorts of feelings, and went by in a flash. Here is a short recap of 2018’s weddings. There is NO WAY to capture the essence of it all in a few images, but I’ll do my best.

Come at me 2019! I am ready for you.

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