{Real Weddings} Jenni & Brandon's Brooklyn Botanic Garden Wedding

We have a fabulous holiday themed Brooklyn wedding to share with you that is truly a joy to look upon! When Sarah Tew Photography sent us Jenni & Brandon's wedding, I was instantly captured by this couple's infectious smiles and smitten joy for one another.  Not to mention the cheerful holiday setting in such a fabulous locale!

We have the details behind Jenni & Brandon's wedding, provided by the lovely bride herself. Enjoy learning how she and her groom came to meet, what went into the planning, and her advice for brides everywhere. 

I present to you Jenni & Brandon's Festive Holiday Wedding, captured by Sarah Tew Photography:

The meeting

We met on Valentine's Day in 2006. Jenni and her girlfriends went to a "trivia night" at a bar in the East Village where Brandon was a regular fixture. Jenni did not win at trivia, but she did catch Brandon's eye. Later that night they ran into each other for a late night snack at Taco Bell. Still no exchange of numbers. But apparently we were both still thinking about the other person because Brandon posted a "missed connections" on Craig's List after his roommate (and later groomsman) encouraged him. Jenni found it thanks to a suggestion to search because "that guy really seemed to like" her. They exchanged emails, and arranged another trip to "trivia night" - seven years later, we are married and still going to the same trivia bar almost every week!

The proposal

Brandon returned from a week long work trip on a Friday afternoon, and because he was gone so long, we had planned a date night. Jenni was packing for their next day departure for a vacation to Seattle. After we got changed and ready to go to fancy pre-vacation dinner, he sat her down on the couch for a glass of wine... and a lovely, private, at-home propsal. He spoke beautiful words about our future together and presented a stunning 2.5ct round solitare. OBVIOUSLY, Jenni said YES! Then... We went to dinner for what was actually not date night, but celebration, and Brandon wanted to bring the Seattle travel books to look over for the next day's vacation. Jenni put up a fuss because she wanted to just have a romantic celebration dinner, but eventually threw the travel books in a bag to bring to dinner. SECRETLY, Brandon somehow switched the books... so when we were at dinner, and i pulled the Seattle books out, they were actually PARIS travel books. Brandon booked a five day trip to PARIS FRANCE to celebrate our engagement! We called it our engagement-moon and it was the most romantic and memorable time.

The dress

Before I started shopping for wedding dresses, I pulled pictures from magazines of ones that I like all, or even part of. I knew I wanted to be a "classic" bride. I did not want to look at pictures in ten years and say "oooh, that was definitely 2012."

I went to visit my mom with several appointments made in the greater Boston area and southern New Hampshire. But we just needed the one.

I bought my dress on the first day of shopping at the first store we went to. It was a silk shantung gown with sweetheart neckline... and pockets! I put on the veil and my mom and I both started crying.

The store was called VOWS in Watertown, MA and they have a line there called Liv Harris.

The bridal party

I chose one person from each major point in my life:
Cousin, Karissa
Junior High, Adam
High School, Katelyn
College, Marisa (MOH)
New York, Kelly

They wore a red taffeta gown from Bill Levkoff. All ordered online from RK Bridal.

The ceremony

We had our friend, Elie, become ordained and marry us. Elie is a friend of Brandon's from Harvard. We chose him to marry us because he has been married for almost ten years, is a new dad, and knows us both very well. We thought he could really speak to all of those things, and know what was important to us. We gave him free reign to say what he wanted, and he surprised us both by beginning the ceremony with "mawwage" from Jenni's favorite movie "The Princess Bride." We love to laugh, and that was the PERFECT way to start off our marriage/mawwage.

We had our ring-bearer use a (fake) bird's nest to hold our rings. In Sweden (the Bride's background) if you find a bird's nest in your Christmas tree, it is supposed to bring you good luck. So we plan to use our bird's nest in our tree.

Savvy little details

The Palm House at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden was beautiful. No specific significance before the wedding.

For centerpieces, we were inspired by our stationary, which featured winterberry ilex. So there were no formal "flowers" used in the centerpieces. Rebecca Shepard was our florist and she did a beautiful job. For the bouquets and boutonnieres, we told her to just use whatever was in season, and that we loved texture and reds. However, Jenni did want to include holly from the holly plant in her parent's front yard in the house she grew-up in in New Hampshire. So some holly was also incorporated in the men's bouts. Also, Jenni asked her future MIL what she carried on her wedding day (white roses), and also included those in her bouquet as a nod to her new mom.

Our first dance was "I got you babe" by Sonny & Cher.

We combined our parents' dance together to "What a wonderful world" by Louis Armstrong.

In lieu of favors, we made donations to two charities. Brandon chose a cause close to his heart: alzheimer's research, because his 96 year-old grandmother suffered from dementia and was unable to attend the wedding. Jenni chose: Homes for Our Troops, a foundation that helps military vets by building or renovating homes. Jenni's father served in the US Navy Submarine service for 21 years.

Other notable details

The vision

We knew we wanted to get married in the fall or winter becasue we both prefer the cold weather. After looking at many venues in the NYC area we fell in love (Jenni started cryng) with The Palm House at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. It was simple, and classic, and did not require much in the way of decor because it was already so breath-taking with the glass ceiling and twinkle lights. So everything was based off the simplicity and beauty of the venue. We chose 12/1/12 for our date and decided that "winter" would lead our theme. And Jenni's fave color is red, so that was a no brainer.

The planning process

The planning process was not as fun as some brides say it is. And Brandon really wanted to be involved, but we both work full-time. It was frustrating and more time consuming than either of us thought. We did not hire hire a planner. Eventually, we found our stride, which was for Jenni to do the reasearch and find her "top three" of something and present those options for Brandon to pick from. That way, no matter what, the bride is happy... but the groom feels like he is contributing. We also set aside "wedding planning time" once or twice a week, just for that. So that we could still enjoy our time cooking dinner together, talking about our day, or watching TV, or trivia night, without constantly talking about the wedding that was a year away.


Our wedding was on Saturday. On Monday morning we took of for 11 days in French Polynesia. We booked with LA-based Tahiti Legends and would do so again in a heartbeat.

We spent one night in Tahiti, five on the island of Moorea, and five in an overwater bungaloo in Bora Bora. All at the Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts.

While we were there, we ate and drank, we snorkled, we swam with sharks and manta rays, we relaxed by the beach, we ate and drank some more... it was AMAZING!

The entire trip was paid for as a gift from Brandon's parents. And what a gift it was! A real dream come true!

Vendor shout outs and advice

We LOVED Sarah Tew Photography. So pleased with everything she did. Professional and artisic.

We loved working with The Palm House. Such a well organized operation. All in-house catering, cake, booze,etc. ALL staff, including waiters, went above and beyond. Worth the cost!

DJ Colleen Crumbcake got everyone on the dance floor with a great mix of The Smiths to Nicki Minaj.

Everything was just a perfect as we imagined it. It just went by so fast!

My advice: Take five minutes to yourselves after the ceremony/before the reception. Hide in the closet if you must. Just be alone together and breathe and enjoy the moment!

Truly, a charming wedding fit for a charming, fun loving couple.  LOVE the reference to "The Princess Bride", by the way! And, as a holiday season lover, I love the wintry theme with red accents-the centerpieces are so simple, and amazing!

I love the wedding getaway car being a NYC taxi cab-that's the way to do it! And, what a honeymoon! That is a dream vacation of mine that even I had wished for my own honeymoon.  

Our thanks to Jenni for taking the time to share your wedding day details with all of our readers.  Happy 1 year anniversary coming up soon to you both!

And, a special thanks to Sarah Tew Photography for sending this lovely wedding our way!