March 21, 2016

This feature of Anthony and Rusty's wedding at 501 Union originally appeared in the Fall 2014 issue of Martha Stewart Weddings magazine. 

Rusty and I had been a couple for 16 years when we decided to get hitched. We met in Dallas, where we both went to college, and moved to New York together. Nine apartments, seven jobs, and one major piece of legislation later, I turned to him in an eleator and said, "Now that gay marriage is legal, should we do it?" He said, "Yeah, that would be good." We already felt married, so there was no grand gesture. But we knew we had a lot to celebrate; while the proposal was low-key, we made sure that the wedding was not. 

During my 10-plus years as the special projects editor at Martha Stewart Weddings, I'd developed a few ideas of how I envisioned our big day. I pictured a dark, masculine color palette that would feel like a black-and-white movie. And Rusty, who's a global director at an auditing firm, is a huge Broadway fan, so I knew that would play a major role. Together (and with more than a little help from our wedding-expert friends), we planned a dance- and music-filled day that would live up to our goal: We wanted our guests to be wowed. 

On September 21, 2013, a New York City double-decker bus picked up out-of-towners and gave them a quick tour of the city before bringing them to our venue, an old body shop turned event space in Brooklyn. Guests stepped off onto a red carpet and were handed playbills by an usher who invited them to "please enjoy the show." During our nondenominational ceremony (or "opening act"), a pal sang a personalized rendition of "Over the Rainbow" and we exchanged our self-penned vows, with Rusty promising not to leave his gym clothes on the floor, and me swearing that no matter how late I'd been out the night before, I will get up, put a smile on my face, and with Jesus in my heart, go to brunch with his buddies. Afterward, a choir sang Madonna's "Like a Prayer" as we exited.

Everyone enjoyed an intermission with cocktail hour and passed hors d'oeuvres - until the waiters dropped their trays and kicked off a flash mob to "Let's Have a Kiki" that led us all grooving into the reception room. We wanted people to keep dancing and mingling all night, so we served small plates instead of a sit-down dinner. After everyone had had a chance to eat, drink, and be merry on the dance floor, all 220 guests headed outside to watch us attack a giant silver diamond-shaped piñata full of glow jewelry, sunglasses, and party hats. The boogying continued until the grand finale: a screening of a music video version of the party. We'd hired a videographer to film the party and live-edit it through the night. It captured the feeling of the entire affair, which was amazing and completely over the top - everything we wanted our big gay Martha Stewart wedding to be. 

Venue: 501 Union 
Event Coordination: Debi Lilly of A Perfect Event
Catering: Betty Brooklyn
Photography: Thayer Allyson Gowdy
Videography: Switzerfilm
Stationery: Cheree Berry Paper
Calligraphy: Barbara Callow (invitations);Deborah Nadel Design (illustrated cards)
Desserts: Jacques Torres Chocolates (chocolates), One Girl Cookies (cookies), Sylvia Weinstock Cakes(cakes)  
Music: DJ Neza for Troy Curtis Group
Rentals: Patina Vintage RentalsBBJ Linen;Broadway Party Rentals
Menswear: J. Hilburn
Photo Booth: Love Life Images

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