Jan 25, 2017
Wedding Wednesday: Kate + Michael

Kate and Michael became Mr. and Mrs. Branning on June 21, 2015 surrounded by their closest family, friends, harpist and poetry. The couple made sure that each aspects of their wedding—from the perfect pink peonies to the hand written notes—represented the “essential components” that they live by and stayed close to their roots. 



What were the most important things for you in the wedding planning process and why? 
The venue, the food and the drink — core essentials for any event — were important components to us when planning our wedding. We wanted to be sure the essentials complemented and explained who we are as a couple and how we live our life daily.

In discovering Haven's Kitchen, we found a special place that resembled us. A local, sustainable coffee and eatery — a little home-away-from-home, tucked upstairs to host a gathering of our closest friends. Michael and I live our lives eating organically, and frequent and support local businesses as often as we can. 

Haven's Kitchen supplied every one of our essential components perfectly. We were given an open space with enough room to design and create our own artistic vision, but not void of character so that we would have to pay a premium in order to create the basic canvas we were searching for. We found our desired vintage furniture and tableware, and decor were supplied at no extra cost to us. The ability to shop for our own fresh, seasonal flowers was super special, as was seeing them come to life in unique, vintage vases supplied by Haven's Kitchen.


How did you plan the menu?
We wanted the menu to stay true to our American roots, and wantedt include something for everyone. Between selections for vegetarian, gluten-free and carnivore lovers, all food was clean and healthy.

Working one-on-one with the Culinary Director David Mawhinney's recommendations for local, seasonal food allowed us to tweak suggestions and preparations based on our vision as a couple. The end result was a true representation of who we are as a couple and what we would want to serve at our home, but even yummier than we could have ever imagined!




What are some of the highlights and memories of your wedding planning process?
We had several walkthroughs with Halle, alone and with our family, which was very helpful in our choice of layout, flower arrangements, and the overall aesthetic. In addition, we loved meeting with Halle at the flower market to source seasonal flowers, as this was important to us, to complete the vision.


Please describe some of the details you were more excited to execute and see come to life as part of your wedding?
In the dream of our wedding, we wanted to share our love and life with all who know us best. Haven's Kitchen made that possible. Since we wanted live music, great food, special drinks and an intimate welcoming environment, the ability to have our choice of musical performers made the evening that much more special. We were able to have our welcoming, grand entrance and cocktail party music presented by a beautiful harpist playing a six-foot harp, as well as having a three piece combo band to finish out the celebration and play all our favorites to make the evening complete.




The Details

Event Management and Menu: Haven's Kitchen

Kate's Dress:  Houghton 

Kate's Shoes: Giuseppe Zanotti 

Kate's Clutch: Alexander McQueen

Michael's Tux: JCrew - The Suit Shop

Michael's Shoes: John Varvatos

Décor / Flowers: ​Haven's Kitchen​Sprout Home 

​Wedding Cake: Balthazar Bakery baked by head pastry chef and personal friend Mark Tasker

Calligraphy: Amanda Krovic

Photographer: Andrea Fischman

Harpist: Kristi Shade

Band: Joe Kris Music

Hair: Gloria Espinosa

Makeup: Sharon Becker

Aug 17, 2016
Wedding Wednesday: Caroline + Esther

Caroline and Esther knew from the beginning they wanted a quintessential “New York” wedding. But there was just one challenge: they lived in Australia. Planning a wedding can be stressful enough, but what if you’re trying to have a wedding at a venue you’ve never seen in person? Every detail for an intimate gathering of the couple’s closest friends and family was coordinated through phone calls and emails. The first time Caroline and Esther stepped foot inside Haven’s Kitchen was the day of their actual wedding.




Why did you decide to have your wedding in New York?
Same-sex couples can't get married in Australia! But really, we love New York. We've spent a lot of time there and wanted to share it with our friends and family. It was a good way to ensure a small wedding since only your closest family and friends will come. 


What were some of the key factors you considered while looking for a venue? Why did you ultimately choose Haven’s Kitchen?
We came across Haven’s Kitchen on website where it was listed as one of the best "alternative" wedding venues in New York. We couldn't see it in person, so that was tricky. We chose it because [Haven’s Kitchen Events Director] Halle really talked us through the space. The photos, floor plans and menus really showed us what Haven's Kitchen looked like, which fit our vision – small, intimate, funky, classy. [The third floor] had that classic, sun-lit New York loft space with big windows.


You planned your wedding from thousands of miles away in Australia. How was that experience collaborating with the Haven’s Kitchen team remotely?
It was so easy to plan our wedding. Halle answered all of our questions and really put us at ease. It was very easy to chat to with her on the phone — we probably talked to her five or six times in six months, and emailed back and forth quite a lot. She explained things clearly and was very flexible. We liked that could tailor the packages to meet our needs.

Halle, [Haven’s Kitchen Service Director] Bryn and the team on the day of our wedding were so on top of everything. This allowed us to focus on having a good time. Haven's Kitchen also recommended some great vendors like  Patrick of Patrick J Clayton Productions and Tory Williams Photography. Both were lovely, easy to communicate with, and did an outstanding job. Patrick really captured our vision — the venue looked truly amazing.




In what ways was your wedding representative of your lifestyle?
We love cocktails and the cocktails were just so good. We're pretty easy going and love having a good time, so it was very important that we had a relaxed wedding where people could eat good food, drink good booze, and dance. We didn't want too many formalities, and Haven's Kitchen allowed us to have a wedding where these things happened.


What are some lessons you learned through the wedding planning process?
The planning process reinforced that Esther was a good big picture person. She really chose the venue and had a clearer vision of what she wanted it to look like, and Caroline was a good details person. Really, what stands out is the fact that we didn't have to do that much! It was so easy and we completely trusted that the team at Haven’s Kitchen, Patrick, and Tory, to meet our vision. We found that with the exception of the menu, we didn't need to make many decisions. Instead, we said what we liked and were happy to be guided by all the experts.




Tell us about the big day.
Unfortunately, it went way too quickly. It was great to see everyone dancing and having fun. Everyone told us how much they loved the wedding, how good the food and drinks were, and we really agree. The doughnuts at the end were a big hit, and were only organized a few days before. We loved the small touches that Patrick organized like the seating plan on the chalk board and the guest names on lemon leaves.

Esther spilled a cocktail on her shirt right before the ceremony and the team miraculously got the stain out within five minutes. Out came the Tide pen and the steamer and the stain was gone. We still laugh about it.


The Details
Menu and Event Management: Haven's Kitchen
Decor: Patrick J Clayton Productions
Photography: Tory Williams

Jul 13, 2016
Wedding Wednesday: Lauren + Emil

When Lauren and Emil came to Haven's Kitchen, they had already eloped on a beach with  their two dogs and an officiant to bear witness. Since they had already gotten officially married, their goal was to plan a post-nuptial celebration for family and friends. They chose to eschew the traditional formality of the sit-down dinner and opted instead for a semi-formal cocktail party.




No Banquet Dinners

Emil: Lauren didn’t want a wedding in the first place—she’s not a big fan of all the attention—so we nixed the gown, ceremony, aisle, wedding colors, cake, bouquet, printed invitations, and guest book. We figured most guests probably aren’t all that attached to that stuff anyway, hence the decision to semi-elope on a beach, and then do Haven’s for friends and family. We did toss a bone to the moms who didn’t get to see us officially tie the knot by having a ketubah-signing in front of our immediate family and closest friends just before the party started. 

I wanted planning to be quick and easy. We just wanted to have a cocktail party for our family and friends, and didn’t want to deal with any of the “traditional” wedding practices. 

Halle Heyman, events director:
Emil and Lauren were very easy going and knew what they wanted as far as food and drink goes, up-scale bar food with a killer raw bar and plenty of Coronas. 

We just knew what foods we liked, and wanted something that appealed to the masses. In lieu of having a formal sit-down dinner, we wanted to maintain a cocktail-party vibe.




Emil: At your typical wedding, I’m either stuck with an overcooked chicken and steamed vegetables on a plate, or I get one shrimp as an appetizer. So I wanted people to have as much good food to eat as possible. Everyone knows appetizers are the best part of the meal, so we went with just hors d'oeuvres—and a lot of them. They were hearty enough for a full meal.


The Personal Details

Lauren: I wanted to feature his art. Halle had this great idea to blow up his profile sketches and paste them as vinyl decals on the empty wall space. We also included sketches of our two dogs in the stairway. It really added personality to the event.

Halle: I was obsessed with their wedding website and all of Emil’s illustrations, especially their two silhouettes which ended up being blown up on a 20 foot wall on the third floor.




Emil: I usually just sketch for personal consumption and don’t love showing it off, but in this case, I have to agree that it brought a little bit of flavor and humor to the party. I’m also a total organization nerd, so I loved Lauren’s idea to do everything in shades of black, white, and grey — the furniture, the decor, even the flowers. The whole space ended up with a monochromatic feel that worked perfectly under candle lighting.


Lessons Learned?

Lauren: Try to remember that this is just a party, and don’t drive yourself crazy.

Emil: Decide what you want and stick to your guns. 


The Details
Event Management and Menu: Haven's Kitchen

Lauren's Dress: Parker NYC  

Lauren's Shoes: Prada 

Emil's Suit: Kent Wang

Decor/Flowers: Patrick Clayton Designs 

Furniture Rentals: Patina Vintage Rentals 

Photographer: Mac Brown 

DJ: Scratch Weddings  (DJ Longfellow)

Hair and Makeup: Glamsquad 


Jul 06, 2016
Wedding Wednesday: Jen + Matt

As a pair that enjoys having and entertaining guests at home, it was important to Jennifer that she and Matt worked together to find a balance between Jennifer’s imaginative ideas and Matt’s realistic ones. At the end, they created a celebration that included a seated dinner and ceremony followed by a dance party for the ages, a festive ending to a day that they worked hard on to make a reality and one they will never forget.




Tell us a bit about how you met, what drew you together and the day she or he said YES

We met at work because a few people around the office tried setting us up. The first time we hung out was at the company holiday party. I remember exactly what Matt was wearing and when he walked away from the conversation to get a drink, I remember telling a friend, "I'm going to marry that guy." After two and a half years of continuing to say that I was going to marry him, Matt proposed at home with our dogs before a weekend surrounded by our families.


What were the most important things for you in the wedding planning process and why?

The most important part of our wedding planning was to make sure everything felt like us. As soon as we stepped foot inside Haven's Kitchen, our first thought was, "Can we live here?" and our second—most obvious thought—was, "We have to get married here." The rest of the details just fell into place as we sat at the bar on the second floor wondering yet again, “Can we live here?”




What were some of the highlights of your wedding planning process?

The biggest highlight of the entire wedding planning process was planning the wedding with the team at Haven’s Kitchen. They made us feel like they were our friends. It was fun, personal, calm, and they blew away all of our wildest dreams when we saw the pieces put together on our wedding day. They helped us embrace our crazy ideas and find alternate solutions for the ones that were too crazy. It’s great to work with a team that has the experience and know-how of what is important, what is doable and what they’ve never seen but CAN still be done. 




How did you plan the menu?

The menu planning was beyond one of the best parts of the process. We love to cook and entertain at home so we wanted to make the evening feel like an intimate dinner party, followed by an epic dance party. We wanted the food to be an experience for our friends and family, but it was also important to feel cozy and enjoyed by all, even the pickiest of eaters! Halle (Haven's Kitchen events director) and David (Haven's Kitchen culinary director) went through a few rounds of menu revisions with us until we found the perfect three-course meal, while Bryn (Haven's Kitchen service director) was able to take some of our favorite cocktails and keep them classic with really unique and delicious twists.


Please describe some of the details you were more excited to execute and see come to life as part of your wedding

It can be difficult to imagine how the timeline, tables, decor, food and service will all come together. Then to show up before your ceremony and see that the reality was even greater than any vision you ever had is every bride and groom’s dream. And then there was the end of the night when everything settled down, the guests have pretty much all left, and we looked at each other and said, “I wouldn’t have changed a single thing.” It was perfect.


What have you learned about yourselves and each other in the last year as you’ve put together your wedding?

During the entire wedding process we learned that it was important to plan all of the details together. We found each other’s strengths and weaknesses and were able to rely on each other. Everyone always says that wedding planning is stressful but making all of the decisions together made it so enjoyable that I would want to do it all over again! We learned that I am definitely the organized planner as well as the idea dreamer-upper of the two of us and Matt is a great curator of all of the ideas and is the rock when there are difficult conversations that need to be had. 

Event Management and Menu: Haven's Kitchen

Her Dress: Victor & Rolf (Kleinfelds)

His Tux: J. Crew

Décor/Flowers: Designs by Ahn

Calligraphy: RaeChild

Photographer: Susie Sefcik 

DJ: The Big PA & Spins

Hair: Chris Lospallutto

Makeup: Jason Ascher

Save the Dates and Invitations: Traci Page