January 28, 2010

A Harborside Wedding - Our "Other Guests"

Before I begin to talk about our ceremony, I want to tell you a little bit about our "other" guests. Who are they? Well "they're the people that you meet when you're walking down the street each day." (Thank you, Sesame Street!)

No seriously...as a New Yorker, I'm used to doing everything "on the street". The notion of public space is real to me. I've done darn near everything out in the open or on a sidewalk (um...well...not EVERYTHING, but you know...): I eat and buy food on the street; I stumble onto to street fairs almost every weekend in the summer; and I buy clothes on the street (my favorite summer dress for years was one that I bought, guess where? On the street!!). You get the idea.

When it came to our wedding, I guess I didn't really think about the fact that it would end up being super public in the middle of a very touristy park on a Saturday morning/early afternoon with perfect weather. I guess subconsciously I just I didn't mind or rather put it out of my mind. I saw our wedding ceremony as a public declaration of my love and commitment to Mr. Swan. It ended up being that in the literal sense of the word "public." In that way, I wasn't fazed that the only separation between us and passersby in Battery Park was essentially a barrier that our venue, Battery Gardens, had provided. We had guests that I hadn't anticipated, but I was more than happy to share our loving words and promises of commitment with them too.

Our first run in with our "other guests" came before we even had our ceremony. During our mini-photoshoot, a lovely Italian family of tourists noticed us. In between the daughters' and the mother's squeals, shooting us begging puppy dog eyes and yelling "Sposa! Sposa!" (Italian speakers, I assume this means "bride"?), Mr. Swan and I gave them a look that said, "Okay, sure. You can take a picture with us." Besides, the Dad was wearing one of our wedding colors. It was serendipitous!

Wherever you are, Italian family, I hope we made the final cut in your vacation album.

Little did we know that our Italian friends were not the norm, and that most of our "other guests" would decide to join us at our ceremony. I was honestly too caught up in the moment to notice them when I was walking down the aisle and finally reached the end, but apparently they were there for that too.

There was definitely a point in the ceremony where I broke concentration, looked up and noticed a guy videotaping the ceremony. Now come on! Are you really going to watch the video of my ceremony when you get home, brotha man?! I barely even have a video of my ceremony (It's on a friend's video camera, and we haven't seen it.). I gave myself a mental kick in the pants, reminded myself that I was actually getting married and refocused. Geesh....

So how many "other guests" did we actually attract? Take a look!

Everybody wanted a picture. Who knew that people found weddings this fascinating? It was like having our own paparazzi. I don't know who this guy is, but this may be one of my top 20 favorite pictures Dante, our photographer, took for us.
Luckily for us everyone who ended up watching our ceremony was so quiet and respectful. There was barely a peep, which is why I probably didn't realize how many people had stopped to look. Well, actually that's not true. Mr. Swan's Uncle V. did tell us one story. Apparently during our vows, he heard someone softly crying. I guess they were feeling the love in the ceremony. He looked around and couldn't figure out who it could be. It turns out that one of our "other guests" was moved to tears. How sweet :)

So there you have it. I shared my wedding day not only with family and friends but also with some of my other favorite people.....my fellow New Yorkers (and tourists from around the world), my "other guests."

Is anyone else having/had their ceremony in very public place? Would you mind sharing this moment in time with non-family and friends?

Swan Tip #9 - Everybody loves a wedding. There are going to be people you don't expect who will love yours too.

All images taken with the foresight and artistic flair of Dante Williams. D, thanks for taking these!

So what happened before this? Check it out:

January 24, 2010

A Harborside Wedding - We Shall Proceed....

and continue to rock the mike! That's a hip hop reference. Anyone? Anyone? I haven't hit you with one of those in awhile :)

It was time to make the grand entrance into our ceremony. I felt a little bad that we let our guests wait a little in the bright morning sun. We had orange hand fans for them to beat the sun.

Before we get to our processional, I want to say a few words about our ceremony music. As I've mentioned before, I am from the Caribbean and was searching for a way to incorporate that into our wedding. Being from the English-speaking Caribbean, there aren't necessarily different traditions associated with weddings (at least none that I could think of...although there are some great cakes, but I digress.). What better way to incorporate a little Caribbean culture than a steel band? Mr. Swan told me yesterday that when I said I was getting steel drummers to play our ceremony, he thought it was going to be a couple of dudes kinda doing their thing. Nope!

I was really happy to have the Grace Steel Ensemble there because they all go the church that I attended growing up. Of course when I went there, they didn't have this. Bummer.. :( They play both secular and religious music, so it worked out well as they have a variety of songs in their repertoire. For our procession, I had them play Bach's Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring.

First out of the gate was our minister, Rev. Dease.

Then Mr. Swan made his last walk a single man.

MIL and FIL Swan came next.

They took their place next to Mr. Swan, Rev. Dease and BIL and SIL Swan who were already standing at the front.
Since we didn't have a wedding party, we decided to have our immediate family stand up with us. In a way, I really like this idea because it emphasized the joining of our two families.

Then it was my turn with Mommy Swan. Mommy Swan made sure that we waited a bit after the IL Swans made their entrance. Something about dramatic effect..um, okay :)

One thing that I didn't realize was how weird it was to walk down the aisle. Err...come again, Mrs. S? Yes, indeed. No one tells you that it feels kinda odd getting stared at. I mean, I knew I was getting married, but did everybody have to look at me :) ? I usually don't feel odd being the center of attention but walking down the aisle definitely was one of those times.

Also nobody told me the aisle runner would bunch up like that. Oops!

When we made it to the end of the aisle, Rev. Dease began with a short invocation.
We also did the whole "presentation"/"giving away" thing. Not my thing and not my style. I fought back and lost this one. Oh well.

I turned to give Mommy Swan a hug. It was finally time to let go.

And there you have it.....Mr. Swan and I were FINALLY ready to get married.

Swan Tip #8 - There will be traditions that actually might end up a part of your ceremony and reception that you're not going to like. Know when to push back and when to let go.

All Images by Dante Williams

Miss something? Here are past recaps:

January 20, 2010

A Harborside Wedding - Gearing Up

At this point, I should probably introduce some people that will be in a whole lotta pictures going forward. I present to you, La Familia Swan.

From left to right: SIL Swan, BIL Swan (Mr. Swan's brother), Mommy Swan, I think you know what we look like now; MIL Swan and FIL Swan. There is a Daddy Swan, but he didn't make it. That's another post.

After our little mini-photoshoot, we finally made it to Battery Gardens to meet up with the family, take some portraits, and take a breather before the ceremony started. We decided to take care of a little bit of important business: getting all the proper signatures for the marriage license. I figured we should make sure that we are actually married after all that planning, ya know?

BIL Swan started off.

Mommy Swan was our other witness and signed next.

Mr. Swan and I realized that we actually had to sign too! Oh, that's right....

Mommy Swan was looking at our small present to our mothers: a framed copy of one of our engagement pictures. Yeah, un poco narcissistic? Maybe. I think they appreciated them though. The woman dressed in the robes is Rev. Dease, our minister. I loved the fact that we had a female minster marry us.

By the way, these pictures are in the "bridal suite" of sorts that Battery Gardens, our venue, set up for us. It's a partitioned area of their main floor. It's a nice space and pretty comfortable for our very small group. They also had lots of goodies for us too.

Then we waited........

I will say that we started late. On purpose! With our late morning start, we figured that we would give folks some extra time to get there. Also we were missing some members of my family, especially one who was going to do our ceremony readings. After lots of slightly frantic phone calls and parking mishaps, we got them there! Unfortunately, that was after I had small crying fit. Yes. I cried. Miss "Don't Stress About Your Wedding" had a moment. I guess it was inevitable, right? It lasted for five minutes, but I still had my meltdown. Luckily, in the middle, I got it together and stopped crying; and yes, it was in part because I thought I was going to jack up my makeup :) No seriously, just as we decided to start the missing family arrived and got seated. Crisis averted.

Swan Tip #7 - I'm going to dispense some tough love: Everything is not going to go smoothly on your wedding day. If you have to break down, it's okay. When that starts, just listen to Mrs. Swan's voice in your head, "There's no wallowing at weddings!" (There's no crying in baseball either, just in case you were wondering.) :)

January 17, 2010

A Harborside Wedding - Just the Two of Us

Mr. Swan and I were finally together and used some time before the ceremony to have a mini-photoshoot. We got a chance to take lots of purty pictures of ourselves. I wasn't sure if we ended up with enough. Actually how much is enough really? I've been going back and forth about this. As much as I love wedding photography (and Dante, my photographer), I didn't want our wedding day to turn into too much of a photoshoot. I guess since we did do our photos before the ceremony and since we had a late morning start, there was really only so much time we could spend in front of the camera. Sometimes I wonder if we should have taken more pictures, but I feel like we did enough. I know Mr. Swan's patience can be a little um....short...and I think we might have reached his limit anyway. This post contains some of my favorite pics of the two of us.

We mosied down the promenade in Battery Park and figured we'd just let things unfold from there.

It was such a clear morning that you could see the Statue of Liberty pretty easily.

After a few moments on the promenade we looked for a little more shade.

There is this cute little contraption (for lack of a better word) in the park that makes chiming noises when you step on it. I had a little fun with it. I guess I had a lot of energy that morning. :)

Then we switched into fashion shoot mode.

Being so close to Lady Liberty, we just had to take a picture with her. :)

Swan Tip #6 - Our wedding photoshoot was fun. While I agree it's important to have pictures of the two of you, your bridal party, etc., just make sure that you use your time wisely with your photographer as well as make sure that you stick to a timeline to keep the events of the day moving.

All Images by the wonderful Dante Williams

Need a refresher? Check out past recap posts:

January 11, 2010

A Harborside Wedding - The First Moment

With all of this talk about me, I am sure you've been wondering where Mr. Swan is. Here he is!

Mr. Swan was pretty adamant that we do a first look in part because he really wanted us to spend as much time with our family and friends during the cocktail hour as possible. I didn't mind a first look moment because I saw this time as an opportunity to have some quiet time just the two of us.

I started walking through Battery Park from the hotel to meet Mr. Swan, and many people offered me compliments and congratulations.

Mr. Swan stood waiting at the end of the promenade in Battery Park watching the water and boats (including the Staten Island Ferry!) and waiting for me. There were quite a few moments during the day where I just wanted to cry because I was so overcome with emotion. Watching Mr. Swan waiting for me at the end of the promenade and seeing my future ahead of me was one of them. I had to get myself together and say, "Swan, hold it together." (I did this a couple more times during the day).

I walked slowly towards him and...

and got closer..................

and closer.................... (at this point we told Mr. Swan to close his eyes)

and closer..................................

....until I finally gave him a hug.

We finally got a chance to give each other the up and down look. We spent the next few minutes oohing and aahing over each other. I'd seen Mr. Swan's suit but not his whole outfit put together. He looked so good! I have to remind myself that I am lucky to be with a man who doesn't mind wearing pink (hence the pink tie). I actually think pink is a pretty good color for Mr. Swan.

We shared a quick kiss.

Oops! I'm always wiping lip gloss off Mr. Swan.

We hugged.

We laughed and joked.

In general, we enjoyed quiet moments together. It was nice to be in each other's presence preparing to face the world (and a mini photo shoot).

We were finally together and ready to start our wedding day.

Swan Tip #5 - As you may have guessed I am an advocate of the first/pre-ceremony look. I know it's generally a point of debate in the wedding world, but I am going to be advocate for it here. We still had a very emotional ceremony even though we saw each other beforehand. We spent a lot of time with our guests, and so having this time together to greet each other, to hold each other's hands and to walk together was priceless.

All images by Dante Williams

Feel free to catch up if you need to: