Chic New York Wedding with DIY Touches by Photopink NYC: Tovah and Alex
Tovah and Alex have a new age love story that defies convention, so it only seemed natural that their wedding would be as genuine and unique as their love. This couple yet again proves that true love can bloom in the digital world. They connected on an online dating website, and when they finally met in person, they knew that they had found their perfect match. When Alex was ready to propose it was no secret, because the couple had talked openly about marriage plans. Alex wanted to make sure he brought Tovah the perfect ring, so he took her shopping and let her choose what she wanted. He officially proposed to her as soon as the ring was resized.
When it came to their wedding, Tovah wanted to keep it fun and family oriented she states, “I wanted to have a NYC wedding, with a non-NYC price tag, so I opted to plan it myself. .. I’m not into formalities, so I wanted the wedding to have a more laid-back, party vibe.” To help achieve this, the couple’s friends and family lent their talents. The DJ was a family friend, old records were used as seating charts, chalkboards served as menus, a family friend chopped down a tree for their organic wood centerpieces, and the bride even designed her own shoes! With the help of their wedding party, Tovah and Alex set up the majority of their wedding the night before, with their florist and wedding coordinator adding simple touches the day of!! Liesl and Randy of Photopink NYC captured all of the fabulous DIY elements and heartwarming moments of this gorgeous wedding. Enjoy! This wedding has also been shared with our friends at Ebony.com!
- Bride: Tovah Tian Robinson- Footwear Designer
- Groom: Alex Robinson- IT Specialist
- Wedding Date: 07/12/2013
- Wedding Venue: =The Dumbo Loft
How They Met
We met on an online dating website. After several exchanges, we decided to meet in person. After our first date, I knew I was hooked and that Alex was the one that I wanted to spend my life with. From the moment we met, everything just felt effortless and natural, like it was meant to be. Although we both live in NYC, I was in Brooklyn and he was pretty far out in Long Island. I would take the Long Island Railroad to go visit him on the weekends, and he would drive out to Brooklyn to spend time with me during the week.
Eventually Alex moved back to his native Brooklyn so that we could move in together. We openly talked about marriage on several occasions, and in 2012 we solidified our plans. Alex, being the patient guy that he is and knowing that I’m very particular, took me to pick out my engagement ring…twice. Once I finally made a decision and it came back from being resized, Alex came home and got on one knee and asked me to marry him. It was perfect, simple, heartfelt, and intimate.
Description of Event
I wanted to have a NYC wedding, with a non-NYC price tag, so I opted to plan it myself. I’m the Footwear Designer for Bcbgmaxazria and my husband is an IT specialist, so with my creativity and his practicality we teamed up to create the event of our dreams, full of love, style, culture, good vibes, and no drama.
I bought several books to learn everything and anything about each element of a wedding. I kept a timeline, and spent a lot of time researching, coordinating, and of course negotiating. Luckily we had a lot of creative friends and family to help us execute our vision. It was a true friends and family event, and everything turned out more beautifully than we even imagined. It was all DIY. And please believe I did take the opportunity to design my own wedding shoes!
I’m not into formalities, so I wanted the wedding to have a more laid-back, party vibe. A friend of mine spun at our wedding so that helped to make it feel more like a house party. We got married in a loft in Dumbo, Brooklyn that was an old factory converted into raw event space. It had a lot of character, pre-war detailing like exposed brick, wooden beams, and enormous windows with views of the Manhattan bridge that’s right next door. We incorporated elements like our vinyl record seating chart, photo clothesline, and menu chalkboards to give it a cozy and rustic feel. One of my bridesmaid’s father even chopped down a tree for the wood slices at each centerpiece.
Alex and I love old school Soul and R&B music, so we wanted to incorporate that into the wedding. Our wedding invitations were cds that looked like little vinyl records. We put labels on them and loaded them up with our favorite songs from the years that we were born. The wedding details were screen printed onto the outer envelope, which was a cardboard sleeve that resembled an album cover. For the wedding, we displayed real vinyl records with each guest’s name written on the album that corresponded with their table name. We named each table by artist name instead of numbering.
Along with our wedding party we set everything up ourselves the night before, with my florist and day-of-coordinator adding the finishing touches on the actual day.
My wedding gown story is full of turning lemons into lemonade. Being a non-traditional bride, I wanted to have a non-traditional gown to reflect my individual style. I was never one of those girls who dreamed of wearing a white gown, so I had my mind set to wear my favorite color- Mint. I commissioned a designer to make a custom wedding gown. Long story short, the dress never ended up looking like the original sketch provided by the designer and it was so poorly sewn that it was unwearable. I took it to two other professional seamstresses and both deemed the dress unsalvageable. And on top of that I was heading to China for work a couple of weeks before my wedding. I ended up rushing to buy a second wedding gown off of the rack just a few weeks before my wedding. The dress that I wore is by Mandalay. Instead of cool and contemporary, I channelled old hollywood. It’s not the contemporary style that I usually opt for but I opened up (at the urging of one of my bridesmaids) and tried something different. I still got to wear my favorite color and I never felt so glamorous!
My advice is to not over-customize your wedding gown experience. If you want to go non-traditional- Instead of getting a custom gown made, choose an existing design and have it customized to your taste. Your gown shopping experience should be as fun and seamless as possible. Also don’t forget to bring out your individual style in your accessories and footwear as well!
Incorporation of Culture
We wanted our wedding to reflect both my Jamaican culture and Alex’s Southern roots. A friend of the family catered the event with Jamaican dishes. My mother made our signature drink- Jamaican rum punch. Alex’s mother is originally from South Carolina, and much of his extended family from there attended the wedding, so I wanted both families represented on our table scapes. My mother picked mint-colored glass bottles to serve as the main centerpiece bottle, and Alex’s mother sewed all of the South Carolina sweet grass charger plates for our our guests’ place settings.
My mother and father travelled to Ghana a couple of months before my wedding, and my mother had the beautiful dress that she wore handmade while they were there.
Most Memorable Moment
This would have to be the moment we first saw each other. Alex and I did our first look at the old tobacco warehouse in Dumbo. It was just the two of us in the vast, ceiling-less open space by the water. We met up before the ceremony and were able to have some quiet time together before all the festivities began.
Loving You Is Easy
From the Groom…Beyond Tovah’s beauty, she’s the sweetest and most down to earth person that I’ve ever met. I love her uniqueness. Her intelligence and drive are inspiring. She is truly my blessing.
From the Bride…Alex is an excellent communicator and inherently empathetic. He’s one of the kindest guys you’d ever meet, but he also doesn’t take any crap from anyone..and I love that balance. He always knows how to make me feel at ease and we genuinely have a lot of fun with other. We laugh all of the time.
- Wedding Dress Designer: Mandalay
- Seamstress: Susan Ruddie of The Wedding Dresser; http://theweddingdresser.com/
- Bridesmaid Dresses: Amsale Bridesmaids
- Hair: Carlos of Breathe Easy Spa; http://breatheeasyspa.com/
- Makeup: Nicole Lyons; http://nicolelyons.com/
- Shoes: Designed by the bride Tovah Tian Robinson
- Ceremony & Reception Location: The Dumbo Loft; http://www.thedumboloft.com/
- Photography: Liesl and Randy of Photopink NYC; http://photopinknyc.com/
- Videography: Herman Jean-Noel of Neglakay Productions / Tafadzwa Chiriga of A Love Supreme Productions
- Day of Coordinator: Alexandra C. Townsend of The Dedicated New Yorker; http://thededicatednewyorker.com/
- Florist: Natalie Kamei & Aysha Wallace
- Cake: Lindsey Gamble of Elegantly Iced; http://elegantlyiced.com/
- DJ: DJ Jonny Santos
- Stationary Design: Joe Jurewicz
- Screenprinting: Rob Erickson of Visual Mechanics; http://www.visualmechanics.co/
- Calligrapher: Lola Serrano