Cozy courthouse wedding with coffeehouse reception
Sarah and Marcie met seven years ago while living in the Midwest. The two recently moved to Troy, New York, for Sarah’s work as a professor. They decided their new home would be the perfect place to make their commitment official. Both of their mothers came to town for the intimate occasion, and then they celebrated at a trendy coffeehouse for a bridal brunch. Even their two dogs came along for the fun!
Tell us about your wedding! What was the inspiration behind your day? Did you have a specific theme, style or color palette? Did you incorporate any cultural or religious traditions in any part of your day?
We had been talking about getting married for several years, but the idea of planning it was something that stressed both of us out, and kept us from actually doing it. So we decided to just take the plunge and do a very simple wedding at our local courthouse. We invited our two favorite people—our mothers—and that was it! We were able to focus on the important thing (our love) and not all the hubbub that comes along with planning extensive wedding ceremonies.
How did you decorate your space for the ceremony and the reception? Was any part of the decor DIY?
We were married at our local courthouse, so no decorations. We did have a beautiful fresh flower bouquet and boutonniere. Our reception was at a local coffeehouse, in which we utilized their fenced-in backyard outdoor space that includes beautiful gardens of herbs and flowers, picnic tables, and painted brick walls. Our thoughtful photographer brought along a cool bedazzled hooray streamer to use as background in some of our photographs, which was great.
What were the florals like in your wedding? Did you use flowers in any of your design elements like the bridal bouquets, centerpieces or ceremony backdrop? Did they play an important part in the overall style of your wedding?
We had a beautiful bouquet of fresh white hydrangeas and eucalyptus, with some white roses dispersed. The day we received our marriage license, the checkout woman at Trader Joe’s gave us a beautiful bouquet of white hydrangeas, which gave us the idea. We wanted flowers that were simple and would not take away from our bold outfits.
Did you personalize the day in any way? What were some of your favorite parts of your wedding?
We personalized by having the reception at our favorite local coffeehouse (with their permission). Luckily, we were able to bring our dogs.—having our furbabies there to celebrate with us was essential. They had cute bow ties and corsages for the occasion. We had fancy coffee, tea, and avocado toasts, so hipster of us. The weather was beautiful, and most importantly, it was stress-free.
Let’s talk fashion. How did you both choose your wedding day look? Describe the looks in detail.
Going the courthouse/coffee shop route, we knew our looks were not going to be traditional. We both wanted to be comfortable, but also show our personalities a bit. My wife chose a dress from Modcloth, which she had been eyeing for a while. At first, she tried a few more traditional white dresses but didn’t feel right in any of them. The dress she ended up going with was a multicolored brush-patterned mid-century-modern dress that reflects her personality, with bright yellow flats. She wore a set of pearls given to her the night before by her mother.
We didn’t worry about matching our outfits, but I wore mostly all black, so clashing wasn’t really a factor. I chose a funky screen-printed shirt with a skull/doughnut/coffee cup pattern to wear with my black pants, blazer, and my red framed glasses and silver wingtip shoes for a blast of color. I chose to add a peacock feather to my boutonniere to add some more flair, but also as a homage to my great grandmother.
How did you meet? Tell us about the proposal.
After both coming out of pretty crummy relationships and spending several months swearing we would never date again, we were both coaxed into taking a chance and creating dating profiles on an online dating site, her by her mother, and me by one of my friends. I didn’t actually think I would meet anyone serious from it. I don’t think she was expecting much from it either. Needless to say, the site matched us, based on how we answered some questions.
She contacted me because of the match, and also because she thought my picture was cute. She didn’t share a picture on her profile, which made me a bit hesitant, but after she shared some more information about herself, we began a chatting relationship online. It took several weeks for us to get up the courage to meet in person.
Our first date was at our local farmer’s market. I had some friends drive me, so I could have an excuse for a quick getaway, but once I met her, I completely forgot about my friends. We spent a while talking, and planned a second date in which we met at a dog park with our dogs, and the rest is history.
We had casually talked about marriage a couple of times over the course of our seven-year relationship, but planning it was stressful, so we’d just drop it. Also, there was the factor that when we both met, marriage equality was not a reality, so it wasn’t even something we could consider. Of course, since marriage equality passed, the marriage question became more realized. Over our seven years together, we had survived a dissertation, long distance stint, and most recently two long distance moves to different states in just one year.
Once we moved to Troy, we felt like we had found our home, we were ready to settle down and wanted our relationship to be legitimized legally. Neither one of us did the heteronormative get down on one knee moment, but that’s not who we are anyway. We just knew we were each other’s person and wanted to “do the damn thing.” Within a month we moved, decided to get married, got married, and my wife started her new job. It seemed like the right time, a little chaotic, but the right time. If we hadn’t just dove head first into it, I think the whole question of marriage would still be on the shelf to be planned for another day. Bottom line, we knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together, without a doubt, we just needed to push ourselves to go through the ceremony.
What was the most anticipated or special moment of your wedding day?
We had stressed about if we should write vows or not, and couldn’t make up our minds. In the end, we each wrote a note to each other that we gave to each other that night at dinner. After spending all day with our mothers and dogs, it was emotional to sit together and share these letters over cocktails. We were really happy to be able to spend the day with our mothers and dogs.
Do you have any wedding planning or marriage advice that you’d like to share with other couples planning their day?
You don’t have to live up to anybody’s expectations of what they think your wedding day should be like. Many people put so much time, money, and effort into their weddings. Personally, I think it’s a waste, and you can lose focus of what the day is actually supposed to be about in the first place, the commitment of you and your partner. Save the money, time, and stress. Do something small and fun and save money for your future trips and adventures as a couple.
Photographer: Rebecca Gatto Photography
Ceremony Location: Troy City Courthouse
Reception Venue: Superior Merchandise Company
Alaina Leary Lavoie
The Wedding Biz Podcast
- An incredible educational offer for wedding and event pros
- Burgundy and gold LGBTQ+ wedding inspiration
- Carolina + Eli: family photo session cover for surprise marriage proposal
- Heather + Tiffany: Sunday morning brunch love shoot
- Lynnea + Francecil: rose gold, champagne and burgundy California wedding
- Colorful tropical wedding styled shoot inspiration
- Register for a dream virtual wedding giveaway from Equally Wed, Signature Bride and WebWed Mobile
- All Black Lives Matter: the intersectionality of the Black wedding industry and the LGBTQ+ community
- Dignity and respect for all: marriage equality celebrates five years as a federal right
- Adrianna + Bri: an urban Detroit love shoot