Whimsical + Elegant Wedding at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe

From Brindamour Photography… I’m so excited to share these photos from Yejee and Nick’s wedding last month. These two were one of the many couples left without a wedding venue after ReBar unexpectedly closed last year but as you’ll see in the photos, they didn’t let that get in their way. Instead they threw a kick-ass party at the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in SoHo. Housing Works is one of my favorite venues and Yejee and Nick did a wonderful job of incorporating the venue into their wedding decor using books as table numbers and a cake stand. It was a freezing day (notice the snow in many of the outdoor portraits) and I have to give major props to this bridal party for being such great sports and allowing me to get the shots I wanted despite the cold. Seriously, these guys might go down as the baddest bridal party yet!

From the beautiful Bride… Growing up as the resident tomboy of the house for most of my life, I didn’t know what I wanted from one of the most important days of my life. It wasn’t as if I was exactly surprised to be engaged on November 9th, 2013. Nick and I had been dating for 7+ years since college, and since we had only dated each other, we were pretty set on being with each other for the rest of our lives. But when the ring was on my finger, there were so many things we needed to learn.

Some things were easy. I chose my dress in a heartbeat about a year before the wedding at David’s Bridal. Despite the many admonishments against choosing your wedding dress too early, I loved my White by Vera Wang dress and wore it for both the ceremony and reception. I know I said I was a tomboy before, but I loved this princess-y dress with the blush sash. The bridesmaids’ dress colors were a bit harder to decide on, but after searching through SMP posts, I decided on peacock at David’s Bridal. David’s Bridal worked well for us since my bridesmaids were scattered across the country (Florida, California, and New York) and they had time to go get their dresses sized and altered at the nearest location.

The biggest hurdle was the venue. Nick was a medical student (he’s almost done) in debt (he’s not done with that) and I, working for the New York City government, was not exactly rolling in dough. First, we decided on a New York City wedding to lower the number of guests we had to invite since both of us grew up and went to undergrad in Austin, Texas. Then, we tried to find cheap, but still unique, options for a wedding venue in New York City. We found ReBar in Brooklyn… and signed over all of our money to the venue. For a couple short on cash and not too picky about the wedding, it was a dream come true. If you’ve heard the news about ReBar (it closed and left 200+ couples stranded), you’ll know that we lost all our money that we’d paid in full to the venue. Our families were horrified, and frankly Nick and I were left feeling disheartened and discouraged about the wedding business in general. Thankfully, we had enough time (about eight months) to regroup.

It was then that my friend Jennifer suggested the Housing Works Bookstore and Café in SoHo, Manhattan to me. Ironically enough, another friend, Justine, had shown me a blog post about a Housing Works Bookstore & Café wedding to me years ago, even before I had moved to New York City. I had gushed about the event, telling her “I would love this kind of wedding, but there’s no way I would be able to have this wedding.” When the second recommendation came, it really seemed as if God had dropped the obvious solution in my lap. There was no reason why I couldn’t check if that lovely bookstore wedding would be possible. When I had mustered up the courage to ask about the wedding venue, Amanda and Josh at Housing Works understood our ReBar situation and helped as much as they could to make the wedding possible!

The rest was easier than expected. Josh suggested the library-card-theme for the placement of our guests, which we took off with: hand-stamped library cards, numbers written on library card sleeves (a la my dad), then pasted on real books (my own copies to be given as favors) as table numbers, and the bookstore itself added its own charms with their hanging lights and illuminated bookshelves.

The day-of went perfectly, from the gorgeous styling by Tara Jarvis from Bloom Beauty Lounge (and her sweet, encouraging words as I got ready), amazing camera work by Rima Brindamour (the bridal party had a lot of fun running out of the way on green lights), never-ending dance floor engineered by DJ Ben (former ReBar DJ who stuck by many ReBar couples), beautiful and unique flower and cake flower arrangements by Kristen Usui (recommended to us by married friends), silly photo booth pictures by Magbooth, and gorgeous cake by Silk Cakes (mmm buttermilk cream). Our ceremony venue, German Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Paul, was also a very considerate and communicative host, and the custodian Frankie assisted with every problem we came up against. Lastly, I have just got to say that Josh, our event coordinator at Housing Works, helped us relax and have fun during the reception by being absolutely attentive and sympathetic to the needs of the event!

A Few Tips:

Tip 1: Attend your friends’ weddings and learn from them.
Tip 2: Be very clear with your bridal party and family about what you like or don’t like about weddings.
Tip 3: Don’t spend your resources on things just because you merely feel like you have to.
Tip 4: Choose a bridal party composed of friends who you are completely comfortable with – if you’re thinking “Will she be offended because I don’t ask her?” you probably shouldn’t!
Tip 5: Hire our vendors if you’re in the NYC area! ?

Photography: Brindamour Photography | Floral Design: KRISTEN USUI At Happy Tears | Wedding Dress: White By Vera Wang | Cake: Silk Cakes | Ceremony Venue: St Paul’s German Evangelical Lutheran Church | Reception Venue: Housing Works Bookstore Cafe | Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: David Bridal | Hair And Makeup: Bloom Beauty Lounge | DJ: DJ Ben | Photobooth: Magbooth

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