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Name: Diana C. Vasquez and Tom McGovern
Wedding Date: May 9, 2015
Number of Guests: 80
How would you describe your wedding?
Our wedding was a creative application of traditional concepts.
What was your favorite part?
My favorite part was having an unofficial first dance. I am an incredibly shy and private person and the idea of sharing such personal moments with a crowd was frightening. As a compromise the now-hubs and I agreed to create little pockets of privacy where we could share intimate moments that only he and I knew were happening. We prepared two songs for the DJ: the official one that had meaning and made sense as a “first dance” was Clem Snide’s cover of Journey’s “Faithfully” and the unofficial one was Louis Armstrong’s version of “La Vie En Rose”; the song we associate with our relationship and drunk slow-dance to in our kitchen on date nights. We then scheduled the cake cutting ceremony right before the first dance. We cut the cake, everyone cheered and laughed; the cake was wheeled away and we had our official “first dance” while the cake was being portioned out. While all the guests were enjoying the dessert bar and the wedding cake we were able to quietly linger on the dance floor and dance the song we love by ourselves with no one watching — just like we do at home on date night.
What did you splurge on?
We splurged on the venue, the food, and the photographer.
What did you save on?
The main things that we saved on the most were the invitations, the flowers, and my dress.
Was there anything you would have done differently?
Looking back we both wish we had taken more time to selfishly enjoy the food rather than socializing with everyone. Personally, had I known better, I would have hired a makeup artist. I got ready by myself and it worked out fine in the end, but I was so nervous that morning that my hands were shaking and it took me 20 minutes and too many cotton swabs just to get my eyeliner right.
What was your biggest challenge in planning?
The biggest challenge was the seating arrangement. I didn’t realize that the actual number of the table signified how important you are to the bride and groom i.e most important guests expect to sit at tables one and two. I thought it was just for efficiency when ordering food like at a restaurant. Consequently, I sat everyone in terms of relational associations and common interests not at all being mindful of what numerical value the table had been assigned. Unaware of the implications at play, I had made some major mistakes which were thankfully caught by my mother-in-law and addressed before the event.
What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself?
One of the biggest lessons I learned is that traditions are important. There is a kind of beauty and sense of wholeness in traditional concepts when we claim them for ourselves, in our own modes, and appropriate them in ways that are meaningful to our being.
What were your top 5 favorite things about your wedding?
- It was classic yet creative
- Our 7-year-old son was old enough to know and recognize how important this event was and even cried during the ceremony
- The food
- My father-in-law officiated
- Because we planned and worked on every single aspect of it, we knew exactly what went into making every little part of that day possible. It was really in more ways than I can count a true reflection of who we are as a couple and a family.
Top 5 least favorite things:
What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received?
“Just go to a catering hall and they will do everything for you.”
What was the best advice?
If you’ve been married for more than a year, what have been some challenges?
We haven’t been married for more than a year, but we have been together for almost eight years now: living together and raising a child. One of the biggest challenges and the greatest lessons we work on everyday is not keeping score. Knowing and functioning, as a couple and a family, under the cellular understanding that no matter what we are a unit, a team. Our loyalties and our efforts are to each other and this vision that we have for ourselves as a family.
Any other bits of wisdom?
Be friends with your spouse. Love and passion come and go in a wave like patterns. What sustains you through the ebb and flow is your friendship. That crazy friend who gets your dysfunction, that’s the kind of person you can build a life with.
Wedding announcement and save the dates: Free
These were hand-embroidered handkerchiefs that I made from squares of linen. They took about two years of steady work to complete and were personalized for each family that received one.
Central Park Conservancy: It was officiated by Tom’s father who became ordained just for the occasion.
Pipe player: $250
We contracted the services of a bag piper, Darius Kaufman, (718) 358-0747 whom provided musical accompaniment to the ceremony.
Reception, including dinner: $10,000 (this is not their actual rate — we negotiated a deal so anyone wanting to host here should expect to pay way more)
Venue: Liederkranz Foundation http://www.
Catering: Chef Albert Schmidt of Open Skies Hospitality
Wine: $300 (this was a gift from a guest who had a connection)
Cake: $250 (this was a reduced rate through business relationships) Pan Ugo Bakery
The stand for it was DIY from leftover wood from Tom’s job and leftover moss from the centerpieces
The topper was from SimplySilhouetteWeddings on Etsy
DJ: $500, Flava DJ
Centerpieces and Flowers: $105
- Cocktail hour:Following Chef Albert’s suggestion, and my personal distaste for flower arrangement, the portion of the “flower budget” allocated for this was appropriated into a kind of “edible arrangement” (fashioned out of herbs, crispy bacon roses, pretzels, breadsticks) that served as centerpieces during the cocktail hour.
- DinnerThese were a DIY project I put together the night before:a. The apples I bought from my local produce vendor (I bargained a deal for an entire box of apples that were about to go bad) $10 for 100 applesb. Manzanita branches we order on sale from Blooms.com
c. The moss I bought from the flower market the day before (the moss was also about to go bad and the shop agreed to sell it to me for $5 for the whole box)
d. The oversized vases I owned and had purchased one at a time whenever I saw them go on sale at my local TJMaxx or Marshalls
e. The plastic hanging crystals along with the candle votives I ordered from Amazon.com. I cleaned and polished them in order to make them look more expensive than they actually were
f. The hanging table numbers were DIY from Tom and were made from little rounds of tree branches that he cut and dried on our radiator, and then numbered using a wood burning tool
2. The cherry blossom arch behind our table was a cherry tree I purchased at that flower market at a discounted price the day before. It is now planted in my mother’s backer
Place card/ Thank you gifts: $60
- We bought 12 regular plants from The Indoor Outdoor Gardener a retail gardening store in Bay Ridge. We separated and planted them into individual little pots (read: plastic cups) that we then covered in burlap. I printed personalized labels, utilizing leftover materials from the invitations, with the name of each individual guest and secured them onto toothpicks that we then inserted into each little plant. These served double-duty as place cards and thank you gifts for our guests to take with them at the end of the night. It was also a thoughtful way for Tom’s grandmother, who had passed away a few years ago, to be present. I also included some of these blooms in my bridal bouquet.
Wedding portrait: $100
- For our wedding portrait we booked a session with the wonderful artists at the Tintype Studio through the Penumbra Foundation in exchange for signing a release form that allowed them to use our image on their website they gave us a discount.
- Other than the venue our other BIG splurge was hiring Carole Cohen to document our ceremony and parts of our reception. Photos, unlike flowers, live on forever and we wanted beautiful images that felt personal and captured everything this day represented for us as well as our families. Carole provided us with that and so much more.
Groom outfit: $340
- Kilts where from Rent A Kilt
- Suit jackets, shirts and ties were from Century21
- Tom wore his grandfather’s hat which was restored by The Hat House
- Shoes were from DSW
- Traditional accessories and trimmings like the sporran, the silver kilt pin and flashers were special ordered from Scotland through ScotWeb
- Boutonnières were made from the same herbs as my bouquet
Bride’s outfit, including flowers: $380
- Dress was handmade. All of the silk organdy, lace, closures and tulle (for the petticoats) was purchased from Mood Fabrics. Cost was around $300
- Details were hand-beaded and embroidered with materials from Beads World USA
- DIY crowd made from laurel leaves and Lily of the valley blooms
- Bouquet was DIY from laurel, myrtle, lavender, thyme, mint, rosemary, oregano, sage, Scottish thistles (the national flower of Scotland) and a sizeable air plant for architectural appeal. I got all of these at the flower market and the union square farmer’s market the day before.
- My pearls were an heirloom engagement present I received from Tom
Thank you notes: $20
- These were printed copies of one of the photos from the wedding which we got through MPix (
they calibrate the photo before printing it and each item is personally inspected for quality by a member of their staff.
- I made frames from cardstock and placed them in envelopes leftover from the invites