Jamie & Paul

Aug. 22, 2010 at Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden


As grad students at Columbia University, little did Paul know that unlocking a door for Jamie in the music hall would be the key to her heart. The two had noticed each other wandering the halls—“Before I got to know Paul, I was immediately attracted to his energy and his crooked smile…. I could feel him buzzing as he walked by,” Jamie remembers—but it was this simple encounter that finally set their romance in motion. Six years later, while vacationing in Italy for a friend’s wedding, Paul popped the question.
     Planning a wedding from afar can be a challenge not every couple wants to weather, but for the creative New Yorkers—Jamie is now an artist and Paul is a musician—a strong vision turned their dream day into a sweet reality. With a gold and sapphire ring that Jamie affectionately likened to “pirate booty” on her ring finger, she immediately began calling family and friends in her hometown of Portland, where they had decided to celebrate their nuptials.
     Wanting a homey, backyard-style celebration, the couple settled on a ceremony and reception at Southeast Portland’s Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, a fantasy land of waterfalls, lagoons, blossoms and grass right in the middle of the city. “The secluded meadow and the beauty of the grounds won me over,” says Jamie.
     Thanks to Paul’s initial impression of the “magical” meadow when first shown the location (he said it looked like a fairy tale lawn game), Jamie’s inspiration found form around a Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs-meets-art deco theme. Imagine polka-dot table runners and pillows on the park benches, tissue paper poms of graduating sizes, candles in hanging jars, croquet, bocce ball and children running around with bubble guns.
     About 160 guests watched breathlessly as Jamie, in a silk ivory gown and fluffy bolero and carrying a white and red bouquet, walked down the aisle to music Paul had specially composed for the procession, performed by Paul’s bandmates from New York. Jamie’s stepsister, a rabbi in California, officiated the nuptials under a huppah made from Paul’s great-grandmother’s wedding gown. The ceremony culminated with a reading of the ketubah they had written and a friend translated into Hebrew.
     Glass successfully broken under Paul’s foot, the quirky garden party reception got started with lawn games and dancing. An old record player provided classic tunes, and the musical newlyweds even recorded an album—a CD made to look like a seven-inch vinyl record—they gave as favors to their guests. The relaxed vibe trickled down to the food, with a locavore menu that was served family-style to encourage mingling, and a fun dessert: “We didn’t have a wedding cake, but instead the caterers made brownie sundaes with salty caramel sauce and fancy whipped cream,” Jamie enthuses.
     When the sun finally set, Jamie and Paul made a quick stop at downtown’s Governor Hotel to change before meeting back up with their guests at the Shanghai Tunnel, a favorite underground dive bar, to keep the party going.
     After a winter honeymoon to Ireland, Jamie and Paul returned to their home in Brooklyn, where Paul is a freelance composer and Jamie continues to work on her art. With their fairy tale just at its beginning, they’re sure to inspire even more magic for each other.

Catering & Dessert: Devil's Food Catering | Ceremony & Reception: Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden | Dress & Accessories: Watters dress and Pattis Bridal bolero, both from AniA Collection | Favors: CD of songs by the bride and groom | Flowers: Geranium Lake Flowers | Formalwear: Suit by J.Crew, tie by Paul Smith | Invites: Designed by the bride | Photography: You Look Nice Today PhotographyRentals: The Party Place

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