Inspired by her grandmother’s wedding, a love of classic black and white photography, and a deep passion for their city, Mel and Geoff were married in a quintessentially New York vintage wedding at City Hall Park that seems plucked straight out of a time gone by. They were the only two in attendance, aside from their darling dog, their officiant and their photographers Justin & Mary Marantz, and wouldn’t have planned their magical day any other way. Amazing wedding, and amazing images!
What made you and Geoff choose such an intimate wedding? We chose a simple wedding because we are busy with our jobs and the idea of planning a big affair was unappealing and impractical. Our friends and family are spread across the country from Seattle to Miami and everywhere in between, so a big party would have been a logistical nightmare and inevitably inconvenienced important people.
Marriage to us boils down to formalizing a very personal commitment, and that was the focus of the day. We love New York, the parks and wanted our dog to be there, so City Hall Park was a natural choice.
Your wedding look was so gorgeous and timeless! Tell us about the fashion aesthetic you were each going for and why it felt like you. Thank you! My friends will tell you that while I love a great wedding, I’ve never been the kind to fantasize about or plan my own. I guess I missed that female gene. Both my grandmothers were lovely women who got married with simple ceremonies in classic suits. If I were going for a look, their wedding photos formed the foundation. It seems to me there a few better things than a great man, a great dog and a great suit. I had all three, in my favorite city!
The ceremony evolved fairly organically, since the driving premise was to be low-key but meaningful. I didn’t give Justin and Mary much direction, however they asked for a few pictures for ideas. I dabble in photography, tending to prefer high contrast monochromes and urban geometry. I love classic black and white photos a la Stieglitz and Henri Cartier-Bresson. When I thought about images that captured the mood we hoped to evoke, I immediately thought of one of my favorite photographs: a 1950 Robert Frank image of a man in an overcoat, walking the streets of Paris with a flower hidden behind his back. There is such an emotional texture to the shot; there is an active sense of romance, like the viewer is stepping into a story mid-chapter. In many ways, a relationship should be like that. Marriage isn’t an apex or requisite, it’s simply a beautiful bookmark in the story of Love.
wedding inspiration photo above by Robert Frank – Paris New Year (Young Man with Tulip), 1949
What are some of your favorite and most romantic moments and memories from your day? The whole day was excellent! We had crepes and coffee at a little French cafe in the West Village, Chuck Olson did my hair (he is phenomenal! I sent him a few photos ahead of time but ultimately we improvised, the result of which being one of a kind and perfectly fitting) then Geoff and I met at the Pierre. We chose this hotel for its history and grace, not to mention the ideal location for dog walking in Central Park. Getting ready together was a blast, and we spent the rest of the weekend in the Park on a stay-honeymoon in what felt like an entirely different world than our regular Soho digs.
The focal point of the day was our vows, the creation of which we invested lot of thought. I will never forget sharing our promises, with our pug Squish looking on intently. It was perfect.
An unexpectedly pleasant experience was our informal dinner afterwards. Since we were downtown for the ceremony, we stopped for an early dinner at Bubby’s. If you’re familiar with the spot, you know it’s a casual place best known for pies, brunch, and midnight breakfast. The food is reliably delicious (We had matzoh ball soup, mac & cheese, vegetable enchiladas and more!) and at 5:30 on a Friday the space was remarkably charming with candlelit tables and the glow of street lamps outside.
What was it like working with Justin and Mary? Congenial, professional, wonderful, effective, amazing, inspiring…where do I start, or stop? I chose Justin & Mary because I was confident they would deliver high quality images that distilled the specialness and emotion of what was ultimately a simple affair. Personality is not a factor to me, so long as someone delivers an exemplary product. Luckily, we got both fantastic photos and two interesting, pleasant people to share our day.
In hindsight, I don’t know if technical prowess is strictly sufficient for good photography. Beyond the artistic skill that their images demonstrate, one can tell through the blog and design choices that this success is driven by a rare emotional acumen and multifaceted creative intelligence. Justin & Mary are the complete package.
To be more specific for those wondering what to expect, Mary is the “director” taking charge of the scenes and communications, while Justin holds the creative reins. They collaborate and execute seamlessly; both earn and deserve ample credit for the final product.
Any advice to others planning their weddings right now? This world inundates us with over-processed images, misleading marketing, unrelenting social pressures, unrealistic and often conflicting expectations. Be true to yourself and your partner. A wedding is a wedding, big or small, lavish or simple. Your life together is what really matters. If the thing you put the most effort and thought into is your vows, I can’t help but think you’ve laid a good foundation.
The Wedding Team:
Thank you so very much for sharing your incredibly sweet wedding day with us Mel and Geoff! Our very best wishes to you!