How did you meet your partner? We met at a Christmas party at my good friend’s apartment. The party has since become an annual tradition with our friends - we go every year and Mike always wears the same red bow tie he had on the night we met.
How long have you been together? Since December 2011.
Do you have a proposal story? Mike proposed exactly five years after our first date - December 10, 2016. He planned a “breakfast picnic” for our anniversary and took me down to the Williamsburg waterfront near our apartment. It was the coldest day of the year but the most perfect moment nonetheless. We broke the news to our friends that night at the annual Christmas party.
What was your wedding date? October 13, 2017
Ceremony & Reception
Location? 501 Union - Brooklyn, NY
What made you choose there? I am originally from Oklahoma City and Mike is from Sydney, Australia, but we’ve both lived in New York for almost 10 years - most of that time in Brooklyn. When it came down to picking the place for our wedding it just seemed right to have all of our friends and family join us in the city where we met and live.
I loved the idea of getting married at a bar or restaurant in Brooklyn, but knew it would be hard to find anything big enough to host 100 people. The second we walked into 501 Union, I knew it was the spot. I loved how the bar area felt like an actual bar and not something you’d see at a traditional venue. I also loved how each space in the venue was so different, and yet it all transitioned so seamlessly. Finding a venue where we could have the ceremony, cocktail hour and reception all in one made everything so easy.
We got engaged in December and I really wanted to get married the following fall, which is my favourite time of year. When we found 501 Union and heard that they had a few Fridays in October still available we locked one in right away. I actually love that the wedding was on Friday the 13th, we’re not superstitious so I thought it was funny - and maybe even good luck!
How did you find it? I saw the venue for the first time on Instagram and they happened to be having an open house that same week - we went and decided right away that it was the spot.
How was the weather on the day? Perfect! I really wanted crisp fall weather but New York had been unseasonably warm and humid leading up to the wedding. As it turned out, the day of the wedding could not have been more ideal - it was a beautiful 60 degrees Fahrenheit with clear, sunny skies.
Was there a reason you decided to get married on this date? Fall is my favourite season, specifically the month of October. Nothing is more beautiful than New York in the fall in my opinion. :)
The Wedding Details
Theme (if any – colours, features, etc.)? I’m not big on colour so I don’t think it came as a surprise to anyone that our scheme was classic black and white. I do love plants through - our apartment is full of them - so I wanted lots of bright, flowing greens all over the place.
Our florist (Sprout) did an amazing job at bringing my vision to life. They created a beautiful installation in the planters at the front of the ceremony space and incorporated big palm leaves to give it a botanical feel. I also loved the floral centrepieces at the reception - lots of white flowers and more flowing greens like loose eucalyptus leaves and asparagus fern in mercury glass vases with votives and pillar candles interspersed throughout.
We love to entertain and host dinner parties at our apartment so I wanted our wedding to feel like an extension of that - nothing too stuffy or over the top. Just lots of good food and drinks, candlelight and a great dance party.
To keep it from feeling too formal we also chose to serve all the food family style which I loved. We went with a modern-Mediterranean menu that included dishes like a spice-rubbed lamb rack with yoghurt, and brussels sprouts with tamarind, brown sugar and chilli. We picked dishes that played to the strengths of the chef, and which we could imagine serving (or attempting!) ourselves at a dinner party for friends.
Where did you draw your inspiration/ideas from?
Most of my inspiration came from Instagram, Pinterest and just my personal vision. Working in PR, I basically plan events for a living so we didn’t hire a stylist.
We did use Elise Ritzel from Starling on Bond as our month-of coordinator. I cannot say enough good things about Elise. She was so organized and such a calming presence throughout. The most impressive part is that she was planning her own wedding just the week after ours!
Were any aspects of your wedding D.I.Y? If so What? A few design projects - Mike did the layouts for our wedding invitations, the program and dinner menus. He also had a friend from work create an “Elmgreen family coat of arms” (a regal koala and an eagle on either side of a champagne bottle) that we had laser etched onto cocktail glasses for the guests to take home.
One of my favourite design elements of the wedding was the hand-illustrated bar menus with our signature cocktails which were designed by Mike’s sister, Jane Elmgreen.
We also worked with our florist to put together the mini succulent plants that were used for the escort cards.
Bridesmaids – who/relationship?
- Matron of Honor: Kathleen Krenger (sister)
- Maid of Honor: Annie Tucker (sister)
- Bridesmaids - Jane Elmgreen (sister of the groom), Seagren Doran (friend), Sarah Emery (friend), Cadie Thompson (friend)
Groomsmen – who/relationship?
- Best Man: Ben Yabsley (friend)
- Groomsmen: Jordan Gallagher, Glen Coates, Phil Rosengreen (friends)
Wedding Gown (the most important part!)
Claire looked divine in our 'Lauren' gown.
What made you decide to come into Karen Willis Holmes? I had already been dress shopping once but when I saw Karen Willis Holmes post the 'Lauren' dress on Instagram, I knew it was the one. When I went into the store I was only interested in trying this dress on, and it was perfect. I also loved that it was made by an Australian designer since Mike is from Sydney.
Where have you seen our gowns (if at all) before? Instagram! Also, an old colleague purchased her dress from Karen Willis Holmes so I was familiar with the designer.
How many gowns did you try? I tried on the 'Lauren' first and basically decided that was it. I put on a few others just for fun, but my mind was already made up.
Where did you purchase your gown from (which store or stockist)? NYC boutique.
What did you especially like about your gown? I knew I wanted something simple and modern - and I’ve always been a fan of the off the shoulder style - so the Lauren dress delivered on this perfectly. Also, it was so comfortable! I wanted a dress that I could eat in and dance in without feeling restricted. I loved the stretchy fabric - especially how the heavy weight of the material made the dress hang so beautifully. The clean lines of the dress and off the shoulder top gave it a nice modern feel, without being too trendy.
Who is your bridesmaid dress supplier? The bridesmaids all wore different black dresses. Aside from the colour I didn’t give them much direction - they all have great personal style and I wanted their dresses to be a reflection of that (and something they truly would wear again!). Everyone ended up choosing really different dresses - a mix of lengths, long sleeved, off the shoulder, lace - that all looked perfect together. The designers were: Badgley Mischka, JILL Jill Stuart. ASOS, Stone Cold Fox, LPA and Reformation.
Where did you get the groom and groomsmen’s suits? The groom’s suit was by Sandro. He also wore a Drake’s grosgrain bow-tie - he was wearing a bow-tie the night we met, so it had to be a part of the outfit!
The groomsmen wore their own black suits, white shirts, matte black silk ties by Theory, white pocket squares by Drake’s and white boutonnieres.
What accessories did you choose to finish your gown and also for those in your bridal party? My earrings were by Chloe, gold posts with a crystal at the top and pearl at the bottom which tied into the pearls on the shoes. The only other jewellery I wore was a tiny gold infinity knot ring by Erica Weiner that Mike gave me on our one year anniversary of dating.
The bridesmaids each selected their own shoes and earrings.
Where did you get your shoes from? I wore blush pink velvet sandals with pearls by Miu Miu - no special significance but I do love blush pink and the block heel made them incredibly comfortable, which was my main requirement.
Did you wear a veil/headpiece? Where did you get this from? I wore a simple long veil from Schone Bride in Brooklyn.
What advice would you give brides organising their wedding? Your wedding is the best opportunity to plan an awesome party for all of your favourite people. Don’t take it too seriously, and make sure to have fun.
What advice would you give brides searching for their wedding gown? Stay true to your own personal style! Just because it’s a wedding dress doesn’t mean you need to buy something that doesn’t feel like ‘you.’ And don’t let anyone else influence your decision. Going shopping with my mom and best friends was so much fun, even if we didn’t pick the dress that day. I ended up picking the dress while shopping all on my own, but I think because of that I felt so confident in my decision because it was just mine.
Anything extra that is special or you would like to share about your big day.
We had two special vehicles join the celebration! Mike’s father is a motoring historian, so we had a blue 1952 Jaguar XK120 coupe with us at the wedding, and then a food truck stocked with Aussie meat pies and sausage rolls back into the reception venue for the after party.
For my something old, borrowed and blue - I carried a handkerchief with flowers from my mom’s wedding dress sewn onto it and a blue lace heart with a penny in it that she (and my sister) carried on their wedding days.
Photographer – Amber Gress
Florist - Kaiva Kaimins for Sprout Home
Dave Mader was our pianist for the ceremony - he played the most beautiful version of Clair de Lune that the bridesmaids and I walked down the aisle to.
Mike and I both love music so we created the playlists for the cocktail hour and dinner.
Our good friend Sarah Fitzgerald was the DJ for the epic dance party that followed.
First Dance - “Really Love” - D’Angelo
MC - Ben Yabsley (best man)
Celebrant - Anna Yabsley (good friend and wife of the best man)
Stationery - No Regrets
Menu - Purslane
Cake - Luckybird Bakery (three tiers of carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and chocolate creme fraiche with berries!)
Bombonieres - Kaiva Kaimins for Sprout Home.
Hair - Joey Gallagher (personal friend)
Make-Up - N/A; After a few failed makeup trials, I decided to do my own makeup for the wedding and I’m very glad I did. It was so much fun all doing our makeup together and in the end I think everyone looked like the most beautiful, yet natural, version of themselves.
Wedding Bands -
Extra features - Dub Pies Food Truck