Rain on your wedding day is like getting a coupon for free pizza. It’s unexpected, but it’s something you can’t help but love. That’s exactly what happened with Allison and Brendan at their romantic wedding at Giando on the Water. They say it’s good luck to have rain on your wedding day, and we believe it with these two lovebirds. Despite the downpour, the venue’s stunning views and intimate ambiance made for a celebration that was both cozy and romantic. And let’s be honest, who needs good weather when you have good company and plenty of champagne? Congratulations to the happy couple on a wedding day they’ll never forget!
How did you meet?
We met on the first day of orientation at work in June 2016! We were assigned to sit at the same table and hit it off immediately. We talked every once in a while afterwards and finally went on our first date the following month. Brendan knew for sure he’d found THE ONE when Allison arranged for one of their first dates to be a Bacon & Bourbon night! Side note – Allison HATES bourbon but tried it anyway to be a good sport. We both still work for the same employer, a hospital in NYC.
What is your proposal story?
In February 2020, Allison and her friends planned a weekend girls’ trip to Nashville, TN. After a fun night of hanging out in Downtown Nashville, she and her friends made their way to brunch the next morning. The group innocently decided to take a quick detour through Bicentennial Park, where Brendan and several more friends were secretly waiting. When Brendan walked out from behind a pillar and got down on one knee, he revealed that everyone had been helping him plan the proposal for months! Afterwards, Allison turned around and got one more surprise – her mom had flown out too! The whole weekend meant so much to us!
Tell us a little a bit about your wedding
No matter the actual weather, the first day of October always feels like fall! Because of this, we really leaned into our vision of having a NYC chic fall wedding. The outdoor ceremony space is surrounded by flowers and plants that are maintained by the venue. This allowed us to be minimalistic with our floral additions to the ceremony space. The overall floral color scheme was a mix of white, light pink, and burgundy, which stood out nicely against the bridesmaids’ dresses and complemented Allison’s silver, sparkly dress.
We wanted our sweetheart table to stand out amongst the other tables at the reception, so we personalized our table’s linen with a three-dimensional floral tablecloth as well as personalized our table’s candles and added a floral garland.
We decided to have our ceremony and reception at Giando on the Water because it has always been very special to us. Brendan took Allison there for dinner on her birthday in 2017, and the spectacular view of the sunset over the Manhattan skyline was something we reminisced about all the time. Once we started talking about getting married, Giando was immediately at the top of our list. We feel so fortunate that we were able to celebrate our marriage at such a meaningful venue.
Tell us about your attire choices.
Allison had a very specific vision of what she wanted her bridal gown to be, but her options were sort of limited. She wanted her dress to shimmer, but more importantly she wanted the design to be uniform throughout the whole dress. Specifically, she didn’t want the dress’s design to stop at the waist, which is currently a very popular style. Storytime! The first and only time Allison saw her wedding dress prior to saying “Yes!” was in August 2021 when she went dress shopping in Dallas, TX with her mom and best friend from high school. When she initially tried on the dress, she felt that it was more of a “party dress” than a bridal gown. Once she left the salon, her mind changed and she hoped to try the dress on again back home in New York the following November. As it turned out, not a single salon in New York City or New Jersey had this dress! Not one! In December, she walked into Kleinfeld’s and bought the dress without having the chance to even see it again. Thankfully it all worked out in the end – the dress was perfect – but what a stressful time that was!
Allison’s engagement ring is a three-stone ring with a center oval diamond and three round diamonds on either side. Her wedding band is a half eternity band that consists of nine oval diamonds. Allison is a healthcare worker, so she originally had her engagement ring set low in the hopes of being able to wear it under gloves. Unfortunately this was uncomfortable, so she only wears her wedding band to work.
But before Allison even chose her wedding dress, she knew she wanted her bridesmaids to wear emerald green velvet dresses. These tied together seamlessly with the dress Allison eventually chose, which was more silver and sparkly than a more traditional wedding dress might look. Afterwards, it made perfect sense for Brendan and the groomsmen to wear classic black tuxedos. We wanted our wedding photos to be as timeless as possible, and we feel like we got exactly that!
Brendan, Brendan’s groomsmen, our fathers, and our brothers all wore the same outfit from The Black Tux: black tuxedos with white fly-front shirts, black bow ties, suspenders, black socks, and black shoes. Brendan also provided everyone with cufflinks with their initials on them. Brendan’s wedding band is made from titanium while the inlay is made from a whiskey barrel stave from Hillrock Distillery in Ancram, NY. Hillrock is Brendan’s favorite whiskey distiller, and he and his groomsmen even had a pre-wedding toast with a bottle of Hillrock bourbon! Hillrock originally modeled the shape of their bottles after Chanel perfume, which inspired Allison to use Chanel Gabrielle as her wedding day perfume.
What was the most important to the two of you while planning? Was there anything that you chose to splurge on or skip?
We decided very early on that we wanted to have the majority of the photos taken before the ceremony, which would allow us and our wedding party to enjoy cocktail hour. Once we knew we were having our wedding at Giando, we also felt very strongly that we wanted to have our ceremony outside on their beautiful patio.
Brendan worked with our officiant (whose own wedding Brendan officiated) to write the entire ceremony. We also chose to write our own vows. We wrote the first half of our vows separately and the second half of our vows consisted of a list of promises that we wrote together. Our favorite part of our vows was the very last line: “I vow to love you the way you deserve to be loved – loyally, wholeheartedly, and endlessly.” Our videographer included both of us saying this line in our wedding video! On the day of the wedding, we had so many people tell us how beautiful the ceremony and vows were!
We really wanted everyone to be up and dancing before dinner, so we had everyone join us on the dance floor halfway through our first dance, followed by a dance set that started with “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift. Allison and her bridesmaids are all diehard Swifties and knew this song would definitely help get the party started! It was very important to Brendan that the last song of the night had the same energy, so he chose “Sugar We’re Goin Down” by Fall Out Boy.
Our guest list was travel-heavy, some of whom were international, so we wanted to provide out-of-towners with an opportunity to spend some time with us the night before. Our rehearsal dinner was at the Brooklyn Brewery and we opted to have it catered by the Stuf’d Food Truck. It gave us a fantastic opportunity to connect with everyone in a more laid back atmosphere.
We know many couples debate about adding a videographer, and truthfully we also weren’t one hundred percent set on it, but we absolutely love it and are so happy we chose to have everything we felt on our wedding day captured on video.
What were your favorite parts of the day?
We decided to have a first look and we’re SO happy we did. It was a vulnerable moment for us, but our photographers captured it beautifully.
Although we felt our wedding date (October 1st) was a safe option weather-wise…it started to lightly rain just as our ceremony was about to start! We decided to roll with the punches and move forward with having the ceremony outside anyway. A little wind and rain never hurt anyone, right? We like to think it helped everyone avoid taking the occasion too seriously and to just have fun! When we got our photos back, we couldn’t believe how amazing they turned out!
Tell us about your wedding flowers.
We had all the faith in the world in our florist so we allowed her to be as creative as she liked. She knocked it out of the park!
Tell us about your wedding cake.
Villabate Alba is a renowned Italian bakery based in the Bensonhurst neighborhood of Brooklyn. They made a delicious three-tiered cake with vanilla sponge, vanilla icing, and buttercream filling with strawberries.
What did you do for favors?
Allison is originally from Pittsburgh, so we opted to have a full Pittsburgh-style cookie table as our dessert offering. We provided decorative to-go bags so people could take as many cookies as they wanted home with them!
Please describe any DIY, handmade, or personal details.
Brendan’s mother passed away eight months before our wedding, and we worked with our florist to have a decorated memory chair in her honor at the ceremony. We included a framed photo of her on the chair as well.
After having our wedding invitations (and envelopes) printed from Minted.com, we assembled our invitations by placing each invitation in a vellum wrap, tying it together with a piece of emerald green velvet ribbon, and adding a personalized gold wax seal that said “A&B”. Brendan cut the ribbon for each invitation while Allison made all the wax seals – believe it or not, we actually had fun doing this together! We were so happy with how the finished product turned out!
One of the groomsmen sewed a spare piece of Allison’s wedding dress onto Brendan’s pocket square, which was a beautiful personal touch for us and allowed Brendan to stand out a little next to his groomsmen.
We both love to travel, so rather than use a traditional guestbook, we decided to use a canvas world map with pushpins. Guests could write a recommendation of where we should travel on homemade luggage tags and stick a pin on that place!
Did you include any family heirlooms or special traditions?
Rather than have a dessert table, it is traditional in Pittsburgh (Allison’s hometown) to have table decorated with hundreds of cookies. We also had a large sign on the table explaining the origins and significance of the Pittsburgh cookie table.
Do you have any advice for couples planning their weddings now?
Regardless of your comfort level with public speaking or talking about personal feelings in front of a group of people, we would HIGHLY recommend writing your own vows. When we read our vows to each other, we both felt like we completely forgot 150 people were looking at us – frankly, we also forgot it was raining!
Did any of your wedding pros deliver a standout experience?
We loved ALL of our vendors, but Megan and Kenneth were absolutely phenomenal. Besides photographing our wedding, they also took our engagement photos on the Brooklyn Bridge and in Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood. Since we began working with them, we have been amazed at how comfortable they make us look in front of a camera, when both of us are anything but! They are patient, kind, and exude seemingly endless talent for their passion. They will happily go out of their way to make sure you get any photo you want! Even in the rain, they were simply fantastic. We would work with both of them again in a heartbeat.
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