After having this wedding, our main sentiments were…
Tom: “I really like to have parties with surprises.”
Ellen: “I didn’t realize how complicated this got.”
We chose MASSMoCA for a few reasons:
- Aesthetic. We were looking for an industrial feeling with wood floors and tall windows (warehouses had also been discussed).
- Shared experience. We visited the museum together and support the arts together, which was something we wanted to share with others.
- Progression. We liked the idea of showcasing a variety of galleries and being able to move from space to space.
Justine Scerbo was our point of contact at MASSMoCA.
We wanted the invitations to be inspired by the venue. We selected another Sol LeWitt piece as inspiration. Tom hand pressed the invitations on his Kelsey Excelsior letterpress.
We chose Kelly Benvenuto as our photographer. We found her because she photographed our friend’s (Joe and Kristina) wedding. In particular, we liked Kelly’s approach of doing more candid shots and fewer posed photos.
In lieu of a traditional rehearsal dinner, we wanted to include everyone who arrived Friday evening. We hosted it in Building 7 at Porches, where many wedding guests were staying. Porches arranged the beer/wine and bartender.
We wanted to keep things casual, so we just ordered pizza from Dominos. We neglected to get RSVPs, but luckily the Dominos app just let us order more pizza as people arrived (special thanks to the same delivery guy who showed up three separate times with our sixteen pizzas).
It also happened to be around Stephen (Ellen’s brother) and George (toaster)’s birthday. Friday morning we picked up a birthday cake from Lyndell’s near our home in Somerville. The cake was half chocolate, half vanilla, and had polka dots.
Prep: We focused on practicing our high fives.
Lunch: Since we didn’t have a traditional rehearsal dinner, we wanted to have an event for our immediate families. Ellen’s dad helped us plan a lunch at Pera Bistro in Williamstown, MA.
Prep & logistics: Nikki did a lot of separate prep to create the ceremony, including consulting with a creative writer.
Immediately before the ceremony we hosted a “Wedding Standup,” which included everyone who played a logistical role.
Space: We held the Ceremony in the Sol LeWitt wall drawing retrospective galleries, specifically in front of drawing 413. Unexpectedly, before the ceremony, Sol LeWitt’s widow, Carol, dropped by to share her best wishes, which was really special.
Program: Alyshia Olsen designed all the paper products for the wedding, including the program (she also invented the hashtags #rudickulous and #chisakeeper).
Entry Music: First Day of Your Life (Bright Eyes).
Officiant: Nikki Lee. Nikki was Ellen’s roommate when Ellen and Tom first met. She wrote a short and sweet ceremony (7 minutes) focused on our early relationship and how it has progressed. It also featured the excellent advice “marry the right person.”
Vows & Rings: Instead of repeating traditional vows, we wrote our own. Each of us had two funny vows, two serious vows, and one shared vow that we said as we exchanged rings. We had not heard each others vows before the wedding, so the ceremony was a surprise for us as well. Amusingly we both referenced the time Tom kept a box of 10,000 bees in our bathroom. He won’t do it again, unless absolutely necessary.
Exit Music: Sweet Disposition (Temper Trap).
Space: We held the cocktail party in the Spencer Finch Cosmic Latte exhibit. We both loved this exhibit as it was a full gallery, but easy to stand and mingle. The lighting in the gallery is especially good around sunset.
Food: Gramercy Bistro did a set of tray pass hors d’oeuvres, which included vegetables, caprese salad skewers, stuffed mushrooms, chicken and waffles, and beef skewers.
Music: For cocktail hour, Tom curated a playlist of low key music.
Date Ideas & Anniversary Messages: We loved the idea of having guests contribute to the wedding. We asked guests to share ideas for date nights, and messages for us to read on our first anniversary.
We’ve already started doing the date night ideas. The first one we pulled was Scrabble and BBQ! We are unsure why they go together but hey whatever:
After cocktail hour we popped upstairs in the split level space of Building 6 to share some time alone while guests grabbed champagne and found their tables.
This was a great way to take a step back and reflect on our wedding together before continuing the party. Vince announced us as we walked down the stairs into the reception.
Lighting & Sound: The lighting and sound setup was handled by Darren from Encore Audio. We chose Encore because they had a history of handling events at MASSMoCA.
Centerpieces: This is one of the last things we did. Two weeks before the wedding we went to Ricky’s Flower Market in Somerville and picked up some succulents and planters. We opted to do succulents instead of flowers because they’re easier to transport and stay alive for longer. To match the planter theme we got votive holders that looked like flower pots, and brown tea candles.
Gift: We also wanted to give our guests a small gift for attending the wedding. Given the frequent references to bees, we thought it would be appropriate to share some honey from Tom’s beehive in Jamaica Plain:
Food: Rich Augé at Gramercy Bistro handled catering and reception space setup. That included all table and glassware rentals, working with Classical Tents.
For the meal itself, Rich helped us select the menu. We started with an arugula salad and bread. For the main course we served Thai salmon and Greek chicken. As sides, fingerling potatoes and haricots verts. Rich was great about handling dietary restrictions, including mixing special salad dressing for our vegan guests.
Music: During dinner, we didn’t want the music to be distracting, so Tom created a playlist of gypsy jazz.
Dessert: The dessert table was set up by Austin Bayliss, recommended to us by Justine. It included:
- a Sol LeWitt inspired cake, which we learned during the wedding was chocolate and coffee flavored. (Seriously, it never crossed our mind to ask what flavor our wedding cake would be? Doesn’t matter, it was amazing.)
- Chocolate sprinkle donuts.
- Mini vegan berry pies.
- Cookies! The cookies were chosen by people currently living in our house: Chocolate Chip (Tom), Pistachio Blondies (Paul), and Snickerdoodles (Ellen).
We wanted to include friends who had strong relationships with both of us for the toast.
Vince had known Tom since pre-school, where they played duck duck goose in Tom’s grandmother’s living room. Ellen met Vince early on in her relationship with Tom, when she messaged him to ask him to come visit for Christmas.
George went to Olin with Ellen. He first met Tom at Ellen’s double-surprise 24th birthday party that they planned and executed together.
We selected Ingrid Michaelson’s “Giving Up” as our first dance. We felt aligned with the message that marriage is about being okay with uncertainty in the future.
Another candidate was Unsung Zero’s “Louder Than Words,” which we listened to frequently at the beginning of our relationship. We decided the long instrumental would be difficult for a first dance, so we opted to play it as the last song when guests departed.
Dance music: After the first dance, we launched into dance music. Tom told Ellen that playing 1989 on loop for the entire wedding was not an appropriate choice. Instead, Tom curated this playlist.
After the wedding concluded, guests with remaining energy headed over to the Mohawk Tavern. We took a tray of left over cookies and desserts, which Tom handed out to other bar-goers.
Attire, Hair, Makeup, and Bouquet
Tom wore a custom made suit from Indochino. The inside left pocket was embroidered with the first dance song, Giving up. He also wore Love Stinks socks from Freaker Feet and a bowtie from the Tie Bar.
Ellen’s attire was a little more complicated.
Ellen knew that she liked two types of dresses: (1) strapless, sweetheart neckline, full skirt and (2) tea-length, lace, interesting back.
When Alyshia visited to buy a dress, BHLDN to try the Calla gown was an obvious start. The first dress ended up being the right dress.
To fit the second style, Ellen also ended up wearing a different dress to the reception on Friday evening, which was tea-length, lacy, and backless.
Ellen’s shoes were the Braids Ankle-Wrap Sandal by Stuart Weitzman.
Hair & Make-up
Kelly Benvenuto, the photographer, referred us to stylists she enjoyed working with. Liz Washer did make up and Jenursa Mikalunas did hair. Both traveled to Porches and worked out of Ellen’s hotel room. Alyshia, Annie, Susan, and Ellen’s mom also got ready with Ellen. Kyle hung out.
Jewelry & Purse
Ellen wore her own pearl jewelry and carried her own purse (a present she’d received from her grandmother for high school graduation).
We arranged the bouquet day of. Alyshia Olsen and Amy Jerrett-Kotsenas found a florist and picked the arrangement, featuring hydrangeas and roses.
Thank you to the many people who helped us make this happen!
In particular: Our families, Alyshia, Vince, George, Nikki, Amy, Susan, Annie, Kyle, Chris, Eric, Matt, and everyone who took photos that we stole from social media for this post.
All of the great coordinators, vendors, and suppliers: Justine Scerbo, Rich Augé, Austin Bayliss, Darren O’Brien, Kelly Benvenuto, Liz Washer, and Jenursa Mikalunas.