Clara + Ken
Ken and I went to the same high school but were five years apart, so we knew each other enough to become "friends" on Facebook. Fast forward to April 2013, I was at a Mets game and I felt someone grab my waist. I turned and saw this guy standing there to whom I shot a blank stare. "You don't know who the fuck I am do you?" he asked me. Normally I would've responded, "Uh, nope." But I knew immediately and fired back, "Ken DePre!" I shocked myself to be completely honest. I was there with some loser I had been dating. I knew it wasn't going anywhere with him but something in the back of my mind told me to keep it going a little longer. It wasn't until after after my first date with Ken that I knew why.
The day after the game, I made sure to send Ken a message like "Hey, that wasn't my boyfriend so we should hang out sometime" but without actually saying it. Knowing that I like baseball, he invited me to a Yankee game that following weekend. The day started out platonic, but it only took a few short hours for things to change. We had such a fun night. A few days later, he called (CALLED…it wasn't a text) and asked me out on an official date, dinner that Saturday night at Tremont. We've been inseparable ever since.
I feel like every guy that I dated had at least one or two good qualities but fell short everywhere else. Ken possesses every quality I was looking for in a man. He is assertive, confident, equal parts badass and gentleman, stylish, driven, and chivalrous. The fact that we have similar backgrounds and share the same values is also a huge plus. At some point during our first date at Tremont I knew he was the one. Maybe I wasn't 100% sure, or just didn't want to get ahead of myself but I definitely remember feeling a way I had never felt before.
Manasquan is our favorite little beach town in NJ and we were visiting for the first time together. After a great day at the beach, we were sitting on a bench waiting for our train back to the city when he told me he loved me. I smiled from ear to ear, said it back, and kissed him. I was so happy.
We never had a formal discussion about marriage. A future together was just understood. We just kind of "knew," and as a result, things moved really quickly for us. We met in April, he moved into my apartment in August, and then in October I found out I was pregnant. We weren't trying but we weren't not trying either. He then proposed the following April. I was absolutely surprised. We had so much going on with preparing for parenthood that I just assumed we'd wait until after the baby was born. I didn't feel any rush to get married. I trusted that it would happen at some point. He met me after work one afternoon and said we were going downtown for dinner. Little did I know, he was planning to propose at Tremont, where we had our first date. Little did he know, it was closed for business. So Ken, being the quick thinking problem solver that he his, dropped to one knee on the corner of West 4th & Charles instead. This is where we stopped for our first kiss after our date.
I was worried about being able to pull it off. We were brand new parents in the process of moving again and just had so many balls in the air. But Ken was adamant about making sure I had a wedding. There was also a part of me that felt like we'd regret it if we didn't have that experience together. I'm not anti-wedding but I am anti-doing what everyone else is doing. So, we both felt like if we did it, it had to be non-traditional and totally "us." It wasn't easy but I have no regrets.
Our wedding was at the Brooklyn Grange rooftop farm. The weather was consistently perfect and beautiful up until the Thursday before our wedding. A hurricane was headed our way. A FUCKING HURRICANE! Are you kidding me? Ugh.
Our plan was to have both the ceremony and reception on the roof. Things changed at the very last moment and we ended up moving the reception to a room in the building next door. The tent company called me at two pm the day of to tell me that it was too dangerous to set up on the roof. Thank God we had a Plan B in place. I was so nervous and stressed but tried my best to just keep cool.
It was hard having Hudson with me throughout the wedding planning. When you have a small child, you can't sit down to complete a task without interruption, ever. That being said, everything takes twenty times longer to complete. I'd say it was manageable until the last 2 months. Between planning the wedding, raising a one-year-old, working from home, and everything in between, I was stressed and sleep deprived with the bags under to eyes to prove it. In retrospect though, it was probably a good thing for me. If Hudson wasn't there to keep things in perspective, I might have let myself get caught up in a lot of minutia. I had a baby to take care of so I was forced to make decisions quickly and keep the ball rolling.
My dad walked me down the aisle. “#34” by Dave Matthews Band was the prelude. I walked out to “How Long Will I Love You” by Ellie Goulding. The recessional was “Flowers in Your Hair" by The Lumineers. My wedding party was just my best friend Julie as my maid of honor. She wore a long stretchy black dress from Free People. We didn’t write our own vows, while I love the idea, it was the only element of our wedding that was traditional.
The girls at the farm and the entire catering staff did an amazing job at pulling everything together and turning things around on the fly. We had a total of 94 guests. Moët was flowing, the DJ played a heavy rotation of nostalgic 90's hip-hop, and a great time was had by all.
We had a big sit down rustic, family style meal of honey brined chicken, skirt steak, roasted root veggies, and greens from the farm. I hear it was delicious. All I had was champagne.
The party wrapped up at about ten and I'd say a little more than half of us went over to Putnam's in Clinton Hill for an after-party. I had little cards made up for guests to take from the reception that had all the after party details on it.
We went to Paris, just us two, for our honeymoon. We stayed at the coolest hotel, ate amazing food, saw beautiful art, ordered room service, took tons of pictures, and had an all around incredible experience.
If I could have changed anything I would have obviously preferred to have cooperative weather. From the moment I first walked onto the roof of the Brooklyn Grange, I fell in love with the place and was really excited to get married there. But hey, shit happens. And when it comes to event planning, anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. So when all was said and done, we didn't say our vows as the sun set on the Manhattan skyline or party under the stars on a rooftop farm in Brooklyn. Instead, we vowed to love each other forever in a magical windstorm under a cozy gray sky and turned a conference room into a candlelit hip-hop dance party. That's life! You have to roll with the punches and move forward. Maybe this was a very special reminder of what marriage is really like. And if we handle our marriage the way we handled the monstrous wrench that was thrown at us in the form of a hurricane, then I think we'll be ok.