Brooklyn, NY Destination Wedding – Marina + Matt’s Cemetery Nuptuals

Marina and Matt are one unique couple. Their love for erie, dark things, unexpected elements, old films and traveling (just to name a few) definitely called for something different for their wedding. The fact that they even had a wedding was something none of us anticipated. Marina had been talking of eloping in Paris and staying for a long honeymoon for years. Like many couples, they started to realize how much they wanted to share such a pivotal life moment with those closest to them, and so the plans evolved into what you lay your eyes on right here.

“So, why New York? Do they live there?”

This is the response many people had when I mentioned where I was headed for my next wedding as I packed my bags for the airport last weekend. No! Neither of them live in New York, and neither of them ever have. Marina and Matt’s relationship is full of travel and adventure, often times their trips are based around sports, and this one was no different. It was quite a while back when they already had plans to come visit the city for a wrestling tournament in March. They also always wanted to take a long honeymoon in Europe. Why not just get married while in New York and hop right on a plane from JFK to Switzerland or Italy? Matt, being the adventurous man he is agreed it was a great idea, and the planning began!

Marina’s morning started at Hotel Le Bleu in Brooklyn, not far from the cemetery chapel she’d soon exchange vows in. Matt got ready down the hall and this place had the best window light, which made my photographer heart so happy! Her BHLDN dress hung from the window draping beautifully, but I don’t know if you’d believe me when I told you she got this just two weeks before I took the photo. Marina originally planned on wearing a white and gold Rent The Runway gown and had a last minute change of heart. She found Anthropologie‘s bridal line and her heart skipped a beat. Their appointments were booked solid until a month after her wedding date, so we spent an hour on the phone talking about which gown would fit her best based on the website and photos. After much discussion, Marina finally picked a gown (and a size) fingers crossed it worked! She got the dress and it was perfection. She also decided to get some pretty BHDLN heels and they completed her look perfectly.

Once Marina’s look was complete and she was all ready to go, we headed over to Green-Wood Chapel within the famous Brooklyn cemetery where she would meet Matt for the first look.

How regal is this chapel and its stunning chandelier?!

The light flowed into the chapel majestically for Marina’s bridal portraits, and pretty is her bouquet by Cheeky Details with hints of soft greens and violets? Matt arrived outside while we took pictures in the chapel, and his look was on point too. He chose a classic black and white tuxedo from Joseph A. Bank. I personally like the no boutonnière look (sorry floral friends!). It’s just so classic and simple!

It was finally time for the first look, so we got Marina and Matt all set up for the perfect reveal and then we stepped back and let them enjoy their time together.

“On our wedding day, my best memory was during our ‘first look.’ I felt anticipation and thrill as I stood behind him, waiting for him to turn around. When he finally did turn around, his eyes were filled with so much love and tenderness! That time alone that we had was really special and unforgettable.” – Marina

We all walked around and took some of the prettiest bride and groom portraits in the cemetery before the guests arrived on the shuttle. Marina and Matt glowed with happiness the whole time through!

All of their family and friends got to the chapel and started getting settled, so we got ready to start the ceremony. It was so perfectly orchestrated by Nancy Leff, who seriously needs to do this more often. Of all of the vows I’ve ever heard, the ones she wrote were definitely at the top of the list. She had Marina and Matt fill out a survey to tell her about their story and wove it into the entirety of the ceremony.

I held back tears as I watched my best friend vow her life to her perfect-other-half. Nancy included all of the guests in the ceremony by asking them to stand and commit their support to the couple through their lives, and we all joined in cheering and clapping as they were announced as husband and wife!

After the ceremony we snapped some family photos and then we were off to Rucola, the cutest little restaurant in Brooklyn you ever did see! The wood ceilings, brick walls, farm tables and industrial chairs just fit Marina and Matt’s taste so well, but I’ll let her tell you all about it herself!

“I wanted our wedding to reflect who we are. To escape our busy city lives we love to take trips throughout the year to explore fields, swamps, mountain ranges, caves and canyons. Rucola’s rustic qualities made us feel at home. Its dark wooden furniture and cast iron decor gave the wedding an earthy feel which suited us perfectly because of our love for nature. Rucola is also a quaint and intimate restaurant, which was perfect for our small wedding party.”

“My love for gardening prompted me to incorporate berries, succulents and vegetables, such as artichoke and purple cabbage, into my floral arrangements, and I used gold and glass accent pieces to add a touch of elegance to the wedding design.”

Marina also loves board games, and she wanted something fun and unique to entertain the guests while they sipped on beer and wine. The best adults are the ones with the heart of kids!

And these favors!! Seriously…

The. Best.

For the first time in my career, not a single favor was left over. That’s how great these were! Marina and Matt got everyone portable chargers for their destination wedding, and we so needed them for our travels! Thanks you two!

“The power of love.”

We drank, we dined, we toasted and celebrated the newly married couple, and we all had the best time imaginable. There is something to be said about a room full of good people. We just all felt so comfortable and so happy in each other’s presence, even if we hadn’t met before the big day!


Matt, and consequently, Marina, are huge Iowa Hawkeyes fans (Matt’s college team + home state, in which he carries much pride for). Marina surprised Matt with THE coolest cake and Betty Bakery did an incredible job!

After the lunch concluded, a Marina and Matt wanted to take a few iconic New York photos to complete their destination wedding festivities, and a few lovely people tagged along! We had a blast at the Promenade with the best view of the city scape and sunset I could have asked for.

Congratulations to the new Mr. and Mrs.! I love you guys so much, and I hope you’re having the best time in Europe!

Vendor Love

Getting Ready Venue: Hotel Le Bleu
Wedding Gown + Bridal Shoes: BHDLN
Hair + Makeup: Selda Cortes
Ceremony Venue: Green-Wood Cemetery + Chapel
Ceremony Coordination: Tina Choi
Officiant: Nancy Leff
Reception Venue: Rucola
Floral Design: Cheeky Details
Cake: Betty Bakery
Transportation: JRB Transportation NY
Photography: Jenna Joseph

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