Once upon a time… Nena and Eric met on OkCupid and the two immediately hit it off. Soon, they became inseparable after their very successful first date. The two were engaged in an indie bookstore, where Eric, an associate literary agent with P.S. Literary, composition professor, and author (The Geek’s Guide to Dating, Inked) proposed using a John Green book.
Nena, a Veterans Service Coordinator for the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS) and Eric didn’t let the rain stop their first look on their big day. Or the many works of literature being brought inside for their lovely literary themed wedding in Old City, Philadelphia as their love story just begins.
Wedding Date: June 27, 2015
Wedding Location: Old City, Philadelphia, at Power Plant Productions
First Dance: “Computer Love” by Zapp & Roger
Father/Daughter Dance: “Anniversary” by Tony! Toni! Tone! transitioned into “Poison” by Bell Biv DeVoe to open the dance floor.
Favorite Item on the Wedding Menu: The grilled catfish with spicy mustard compote (appetizer) and smoked rainbow trout entrée.
Bridesmaids/Groomsmen Gifts: Make-up artist and bracelets for the bridesmaids. The groomsmen got literary cufflinks with quotes on them, bookish socks with library card catalog designs on them, and custom leather notebooks.
Tell us about how you met and all about the proposal!
Eric and Nena met via OkCupid, while she was back home with family in Michigan, and considering staying there. After over a month of messaging, Nena came back to Philadelphia, they went out on their first date, and have been inseparable ever since.
The proposal took place in Toronto, Canada while they were on their first big trip together. They had visited Nena’s family in Michigan earlier, Eric meeting them for the first time as he slyly asked everyone for their blessing. While in Toronto, Eric proposed in an indie bookstore, Ben McNally, using a John Green book with a ring hidden inside.
There was a literary theme, but it was mainly a celebration of families coming together.
For the bridesmaids, Nena wanted the dresses to be a classic, simple, summary to do with the literary feel. The men, all had fun literary accents, with library card printed socks and quote cufflinks. There were pops up color in fuscia to go with the accents. Nena’s blush dress was fun and modern.
During the ceremony, we each had family greetings read by a family member (Nena’s aunt and Eric’s uncle) as well as separate prayers to include both denominations of faith and jumped the broom. We made it not a celebration of only a marriage of the two of us, but the joining of two families.
When it came to the food, our caterer worked with us to create a menu of not only foods we grew up with, but since we were merging cultures, dishes our guests may have never tried. We included collard greens, BBQ beef brisket, baked mac & cheese as well as pierogis to represent Ukrainian culture, and rainbow trout – a staple in Michigan.
Nena’s family loves a good soul train line, so it was definitely a lot of fun when Grannie and Nena’s good friend danced down together. There was also a welcome speech introducing all of the friends who didn’t know anyone at the wedding, as we wanted to make sure no one felt alone. The wedding bouquet was given to our Grandmother, who was Nena’s Matron of Honor. There was an ice cream sundae and cupcake bar in lieu of cake. Our family used the photo booth to take photos with new friends and cousins which was fun to see. Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi blasted as Eric danced it up with his hometown New Jersey friends. They partied so hard that at the after party, Eric fell asleep at the bar. During the ceremony, Nena and Eric’s corgi was the ring bearer and one of their closest friends, Susan, married them.
Help a bride-to-be out!
Things will not go as planned and that’s okay. It rained so hard on our wedding day that we had to take photos in our trolley. Our centerpieces were books and tiles with love quotes which our guests took home and we forgone the favors. We could have cut back even more on our wedding and it would have been just as great – it was our family that made the wedding.
A friend of Eric’s said to make sure you take a few minutes to stop and stand aside at your own wedding, and just watch everyone for a few minutes. Take a deep breath, take it all in. The wedding starts and is over before you know it.
Give a friend your cellphone at the wedding, and give them absolute free reign of it. Eric’s groomsman, Mikey, took over his cellphone and let people take pictures with it all evening long, something him and his wife had done at their own wedding. The resulting photos were hilarious, heartwarming, and gave an inside look at what was happening throughout the evening.
Photography: Jacqueline Sauer, Clever Girl Photography
Wedding Planner: Confetti & Co.
Wedding Venue: PowerPlant Productions
Dress Alterations: The Tailory
Makeup: Raymond Robinson, MAC Center City
Hair: Sianni Salon
Barber: Maxamillion’s Gentlemen’s Quarters & Barber Parlor
Catering: Diverse Catering
Videography: Andrew Gormley
Entertainment: No Macarena
Flowers: Kate Farley Design