Bringing personality to a wedding while still keeping costs low is a challenge all couples face. Etan and Megan added a great amount of character to their celebration with lots of DIY décor, and a group of people willing to dig in their heels and help this self described “bookish” couple. This Los Angeles duo focused on celebrating what they absolutely loved without going overboard. Good food, cold brews, laughter, good books, and twinkly lights are the key ingredients to this extremely charming L.A. wedding.
Names: Etan & Megan Rosenbloom
Occupations: Etan works in marketing in the music industry and is a heavy metal music journalist. Megan is a medical librarian who works with rare books.
Wedding location: Lehrer Architects, Silver Lake, Los Angeles, Calif.
Wedding date: Oct. 13, 2012
Approximate guest count: 80
How would you describe your wedding? Everything about our wedding was very personal, from the elements of the ceremony to the DIY décor to the barn raising feeling of putting the whole thing together with friends and family. Also, all the things we didn’t do ourselves we sourced super locally, whether it was the clothes, the food, the beer, so it was a very eastside of LA wedding. We had a lot of bookish decor, which makes sense as we’re both pretty bookish people.
What was your favorite part of your wedding?
Megan: After all of our hard work, taking a moment to breathe and watch our friends and family all together getting hyped on the dance floor and being humbled by the fact that they were all here for us.
Etan: The heightened sense of intimacy with Megan under the chuppah.
What did you splurge on? We didn’t really “splurge” on anything, but as might be expected our biggest expense was the food. But Whoa Nelly Catering worked with us to keep costs low and delivered absolutely amazing food. Our foodie and vegan friends were especially delighted with their offerings, which were all sourced from our local farmers’ markets. Many people said it was the best food they’ve ever had at a wedding.
What did you save on? We managed to save a lot on booze. We are really into craft beer (even my bouquet had fresh hops in it!) so we wanted that to be the star of the show. A friend of ours runs a great beer bar and was able to source three California craft beer kegs for a great price, and then, sweetheart that she is, ended up gifting us one of them. So we had world class beer for our guests for a song. We got our wine from BevMo on their 5 cent sale, so a lot of our bottles were only a nickel! We didn’t want to have a full liquor bar, so next to our agua frescas we had a “spike station” with a bottle each of vodka, whiskey, gin and tequila for people to spike their drinks if they wished. We also borrowed PA equipment from music friends and Etan created some great Spotify playlists for dinner and for dancing.
Was there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect? We probably should have hired a videographer. We had a lot of family & friends who couldn’t make the trip. Our friend who shot the video on my personal camera did a great job stepping up to help, but my gear just wasn’t up to snuff. We also should have reminded people to do certain things like use the photo booth or thumbprint the guestbook to get more participants in those activities.
What was your biggest challenge in planning? Mostly just trying to stay sane while working full-time and doing all of these DIY projects at night, and knowing when to let a certain project go if it just wasn’t working out.
What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself? From planning the wedding, I learned a lot about time management and balancing all the things I wanted to create and what I could feasibly achieve. At one point, I was thinking that I was working really hard to make certain things that no one was going to notice. I was pleasantly surprised that our guests really did notice all the hard work and love that my friends and I put into all the details of the wedding. Having people come up and mention certain small elements that they enjoyed really made me proud as a crafter and made all the work worth it. I also learned not to be afraid to ask friends for help, and our friends gave us a lot of help in too many ways to list here. At the wedding itself, having everyone there for us, taking part in this very intimate moment, really hammered home just how much we are loved and supported as we forge our new family together.
What were your top five favorite things about your wedding?
It’s hard to pick just five!
- Our groomsman/ brosmaid Alexis was a giant help with a lot of the crafting and lighting design, and he designed one area that he could decorate however he wanted. He made us this beautiful lamp where he cut pages out of our two favorite books (Ulysses & Finnegans Wake, both by James Joyce) into leaf shapes, laminated them, and attached them to the lamp so the light glows through the words. He also made us a clever table out of dictionary where the ashtray rested on the page for “smoke” words and the cup holder rested on the page for “drink” words. He made this lovely little oasis for us where we relaxed and took a few photos immediately after the ceremony. Now both of these items adorn our home and we love them to death, and every time we look at them we think of him and all he did for us. Alexis was rewarded in a surprising way for all of his hard work…he fell in love with our bridesmaid Maryanne at the wedding and is now moving across the country to be with her!
- We were lucky enough to have Etan’s mom’s best friend, Cantor Perryne Anker, as our officiant & pre-marital counselor. She’s been present at the ceremonies for many of Etan’s major life events, and was a great calming guide for both of us through this whole process. She made the ceremony personal, moving, and funny…everything we could have asked for.
- Instead of the traditional parent-child dance, Etan and his mother Aviva did a choreographed Israeli folk dance to the song “Erev Ba” and everyone was very impressed by how light on their feet they were! It was a beautiful, touching moment. Aviva was glowing with motherly pride.
- Watching our two very different families from separate coasts get to know each other and enjoy each other’s company was a real treat. We might not ever get everyone together in the same spot again, so that was really special for us.
- Watching all of our friends and family go absolutely apeshit on the dance floor was a huge highlight. I took a moment to just enjoy the scene and be glad we could bring all of these wonderful people together, if just for an evening. The first song was Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” and when Prince starts in with his little sermon, everyone just went wild. Our friends Josh, Grant and Agatha ran over to me during the song, looked at the table near the dance floor and said, “Wanna Breakfast Club this shit?” OF COURSE. So we all got up and danced on the table, and at the end of the song Etan came over and I jumped into his arms from the table and he spun me around and kissed me as the song ended. It was a total movie moment…even better than The Breakfast Club. I’ll never forget it.
Top five least favorite?
- The ceremony music false-started so our bridesmaid Lavinia had to swoop in and save the day by restarting it.
- We found out a few days before that there were some plumbing issues so we had to scramble and get a port-a-potty for the guests. I kinda had a meltdown about it at first, but they turned out to be really nice as far as port-a-potties go, and no one cared.
- The whole shebang ran late so we didn’t get enough dancing time, we should have allotted more wiggle room…I think our friends could have danced for hours more!
- We were so busy and things went so fast that I only got one of those delicious beers and we didn’t get any pie until the next day.
- The next day it was super hot, we were all exhausted, but we had to go back to the venue to take down all the decorations and clean up. That and returning all of the borrowed stuff and trying to sell the things we don’t need was kind of onerous but wasn’t too awful.
What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received? People told Etan to let me do everything and make all the decisions, that it was my day. That’s not true, it was OUR day, and we learned quickly that making these decisions together was crucial. The last thing Etan wanted was to show up to our wedding and not even recognize what was going on, so he was involved in the whole decision-making process even if he was less involved in the actual crafting parts.
The best? Try to take time to be in the moment…it is so true. When you plan a whole year for one day, it’s insane how fast it’ll go by. Also whether you’re a DIY bride or not, whatever you do, hire a professional event coordinator for the day of the wedding. You will not be able to manage the logistics on your own, and it’s not fair to push it off on a bridesmaid or family member…they want to enjoy your wedding too, not work at it!
Any other bits of wisdom? Have the wedding that speaks to who you are. It wasn’t the fact that we did a lot of things ourselves that made it personal, it was that I’m a DIY person and that reflects who I am. If you’re not a crafty person, don’t try to craft a bunch of stuff for the wedding because you feel like that’s what you’re supposed to do. We carefully picked all of our own music not only to save money on a DJ, but because we’re music people and we had to have every song count. If you don’t like cake, don’t have one! We had pie. We’ve been to a lot of weddings as guests and I would say the only ones that we ever found a bit disappointing were ones where it felt like the couple was making choices because they felt pressure to from some source outside of themselves — whether it be a family member, friends, or the general wedding industrial complex. Your friends and family love you, and they want to celebrate who you are as a couple, so show them who you are in the way you do your wedding, even if that means eloping.
Caterers: Whoa Nelly Catering
Flowers, Crowns & Boutonnieres: The Paper Arum
Photography: Lindsay Giles McWilliams (Denver, Colorado) & Sarah Law Photography: (Southern California, soon to be based in Portland, Oregon)
Musical Performance: Homesick Elephant featuring Kelly Sulick
Valet: Hollywood Hills Valet
Bride’s Dress: Shareen Vintage
Bride’s Hair: Megan Klammer at Heretic Salon
Bride’s Makeup: Heather Cvar at Le Pink & Co. Apothecary
Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Matrushka Construction
Flower Girl Dress: Made by friend
Groom’s Suit: Al Weiss
Groomsmen’s Blazers: ASOS
Groomsmen’s Ties: Zara
Engagement Ring: Single Stone
Wedding Bands: Claude Morady
Save the Dates: Photo by Sarah Law Photography; Design by And She Designs
Invitations, seating cards and programs: Designed and handmade by the bride
Ketubah: Gallery Judaica
Ketubah Art: Peter Wonsowski
Thumbprint Guest Book & table numbers: Bear Witness Studio
Decor primarily by the bride Megan Rosenbloom & groomsman Alexis Bourbeau
Custom Lighting by groomsman Alexis Bourbeau (email@example.com)
Mothers’ shawls, groom’s kippah, and bride’s capelet knit by the bride
Challah cover embroidery by the groom’s aunt Alma Schneider, sewn by the bride
If there is one lesson to take from Etan and Megan’s big day it’s to be realistic about your time. Most ladies become DIY divas in an effort to add personal touches to their wedding days. Luckily, friends and family are often eager to help. Be sure to let them. Be honest about your own limitations and allow others to step in and help. A wedding is your day, but those who love you truly want to offer a supporting hand in the festivities. There’s nothing wrong with accepting that – in fact, it will probably help things go more smoothly.
Congrats to Megan and Etan, and special thanks to their wedding photographers, Lindsay and Sarah!