Grace is the only person I’ve kept in contact with from high school. This might not seem that strange really, unless you went to a high school that was essentially university at thirteen. We lived there for four years in an extremely intimate, but yet at the same time completely isolating environment. At least for me anyway. I graduated and basically never looked back. This was before the Facebook or at least the electronic one. I didn’t have to read about said alumni and all of their accomplished glories while I struggled to figure out what the hell I was doing with me life. Grace would contact me every 5, 10, and most recently 15 years to see if I wanted to go to the reunion. I didn’t, but we continued to keep in touch here and there and I would see her when I eventually came up to New York for the first time since I had moved to Mexico and she put together a mini reunion of sorts where I was able to revel in my lack of social maturity or desire to live the American dream. Our conversations regarding high school and our time there inevitably start and finish with her telling me a story and asking me if I remember it and me replying no. She then continues said story with more detail and I continue to not remember any of what she is telling me. It’s both frustrating and hilarious and a little surreal to hear about your life as though you weren’t actually there.
Back to the matter at hand. Grace met Michael in a bar. One of them has an accent. They live in a brown house with other equally amazing individuals who enjoy taking awkward Brown House family portraits together at Sears. They have two cats who run the household. They have family and friends who go big even after hours closing down a local New Haven bar and staying there long into the night. (Actually that last one was pretty much just the Andover crew I think. We were trained very, very well.) And finally, they have a love for each other that is infectious and as of a few months ago they now have a beautiful baby girl named Francesca. The pure unadulterated happiness that Grace emitted her wedding day was as much due to Francesca as it was due to Michael. They were also totally down with seeing each other for the first time in front of their local Falafel and Swarema joint down the road which made for some killer images. Also, heads up New York. I don’t know if these two normally do weddings, but Grace’s hair and makeup team was by far the best I’ve ever worked with. They are very, very good at what they do.
It was an honor to be a part of their day and before I get into the photos I need to share some of Grace’s words about her wedding which she “wrote” when I asked her for a little blurb about her day (I use quotes because she had to use Siri or whatever it is to record her words since her hands were full of newborn baby).
“I can only really speak from my own perspective, so:
My wedding was the best.* I’m sorry to all the other brides out there, because it is NOT POSSIBLE to have a wedding as stupendous and lovely and altogether joy-gasmic [I made that word up] as my wedding. I mean you could try: you could find out you’re pregnant, like, halfway through planning the thing and have a few breakdowns about the wedding dress fitting “weird” that mean nothing on the actual day because your smile blinds people entirely to the weird bump-thing going on around your middle. And then you could announce the sex of the baby at the end of your speech and get a standing ovation (note: it’s a girl, she’s due LITERALLY ANY DAY NOW and she kicks a little tattoo of hello on my ribs to you). You could cobble together the most incredible group of friends and acquaintances with WEDDING-SPECIALIZED SKILLS (examples: wedding photographer, videographer, day-of wedding coordinator, hair and makeup artists, DJs, musician, officiant, et al). You could have your friends start impromptu conga lines and limbo competitions and pole dance on the real, live carousel at the venue.
Your photographer could be one of your friends from high school who has been taking photos of you for almost twenty [motherf*cking] years and who shares your vulgar sense of humor and who just totally *gets* how you want things relaxed, cheerful, playful, and yet totally serious and artistic. You could decide about one month before the ceremony that you want to do a fully choreographed swing dance with a partner who has never had swing lessons and is only around on the weekends before the ceremony. And then when you have to actually perform the dance you could laugh the entire way through the song, and the photo from that moment [note to Jill: the square Holga of me and Michael off center dancing and we're both laughing**] could be THE defining moment of the night: something that took so much effort and anxiety melting away into laughter and love and joy, and it’s dark and we’re in love and slightly sweaty and relieved and the happiest we’ve ever been. And maybe you could try to recreate the love and generosity of everyone there, but that would be pretty hard, because you’d have to invite all of my guests to your own ceremony and you don’t really know them (if you did, you’d like them, though).
You could certainly try to do all these things, but REALLY, how likely is that? Pretty damn unlikely, I think. So, you know, good luck to all those other gals and guys out there.
* Not that I’m biased or anything.
** though I also love the photos of us about to make out. yes YES. Ok, honesty time: I love ALL the photos of us. ALL.”
Grace and Michael’s bash was also featured on Snippet & Ink. Check out the feature with more photos here.
Just for good measure here is one of me and Grace trying to wrangle a photo of the high school gang that was there. I have no idea who took this.
Photography: Jillian Mitchell / Venue: Carousel House at Lighthouse Point Park in New Haven, Connecticut / Bride’s Dress: J.Crew / Tailoring: Valentino Tailors / Shoes: Loeffler Randall / Veil: Everthine Bridal / Hair Accessories: Untamed Petals / Groom’s Suit, Shirt: Ravi Seghal / Bow Tie: EH&CO / Shoes: Donald J. Pliner / Maid of Honor Dress: Allsaints / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Calypso St. Barth / Flower Girl Dress, Groomsmen Suits: J.Crew / Pocket Squares: MJW Threads / Floral Design: Blossom Shop / Hair: Adriana Papaleo, TIGI NYC / Makeup: Christopher Catanese, TIGI NYC