A Summer Wedding at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden
With a love of flowers and a proposal in a greenhouse behind them, Allison Bouis and Felipe Neves didnâ€™t need to look far from their Brooklyn home for their wedding venue: Brooklyn Botanic Garden. â€śAs soon as we saw the Palm House location for the reception, we were sold,â€ť says Allison, a public relations and events manager at Shopbop. â€śThe structure is entirely glass, so youâ€™re able to still feel like youâ€™re within the gardens while being inside.â€ť
Knowing they wanted a celebration amid the warm weather, they opted for a July wedding to bring together family from Miami and Brazil. They used the surrounding gardens and summer season as the inspiration for their dĂ©cor to create a warm, inviting, and intimate space for their 200 guests. Being creatives themselves, they took on plenty of the wedding planning process: Allison took the lead on logistics and design, including bringing in furniture and other rentals, while Felipe, a senior art director at Holler, handled the invitations and paper goods.
â€śWeâ€™re aligned 99 percent of the time, and the planning process definitely proved that for us,â€ť Allison says of collaborating with her soon-to-be husband. â€śEverything that weekend was thoughtfully designed with our personalities in mind, and it definitely came across.â€ť
Read on for all the details of Allison and Felipeâ€™s beautiful Brooklyn wedding, planned by the couple and photographed by Samm Blake.
The couple designed and printed their own invitations as Felipe is an art director by trade. â€śAll the elements we designed were light-hearted and simple, while still being tasteful and most importantly, thoughtful,â€ť the bride says.
â€śFelipe dreads wearing a suit more than any guy that I know,â€ť Allison admits, though he donned a bespoke black suit from Indochino on his wedding day. He added two personal touches: a watch that was a gift from his father and his familyâ€™s gold wedding band.
â€śI never had a clear idea of what I would wear, but the second I saw my dress, I knew I was done looking,â€ť Allison says of her ethereal Monique Lhuillier gown. The chiffon dress was layered with lace and beads, a romantic silk ribbon, and flutter sleeves.
â€śIn Brazilian tradition both the bride and groom wear a band on their right hand when they get engaged,â€ť Allison explains. â€śAt our engagement, Felipeâ€™s parents surprised us and gave us their gold bands which they have worn for the last 35 years, and prior to that, belonged to Felipeâ€™s great-grandparents. We both wore the bands throughout the day and moved them to our left hands during our ceremony.â€ť
Allisonâ€™s vision for the day included lots of greenery, white flowers, neutrals, and few modern touches. That included her bridal bouquet, full of wispy greens and white flowers by Doe and Jay Studio.
â€śI didnâ€™t want everyone in the same dress because not one of them has a similar taste to another,â€ť Allison says of having her bridesmaids pick their own light-colored gown. Similarly, the groomsmen all wore their own black suits. Allison did have her niece, who served as the flower girl, wear a white dress. â€śI love that her dress had a bow to match mine,â€ť she adds.
Many of the coupleâ€™s paper goods featured their pup, Clarence. That included the playful fans for the ceremony, which took place outside in the gardens.
â€śSomething Iâ€™m really proud of is that our florist managed to use only environmentally friendly productsâ€”no foam blocks or non-biodegradable materials,â€ť Allison says of the ceremony arrangements, including these wildflower-inspired aisle markers.
Seeing him for the first time while walking down the aisle was exactly how I imagined it for so many years.
The couple decided against a first look so that the ceremony would be the moment they would see each other. â€śIâ€™m so glad we did because seeing him for the first time while walking down the aisle was exactly how I imagined it for so many years,â€ť Allison says. Her mother and step-father escorted her down the aisle to a rendition of Leon Bridgesâ€™ â€śBeyond.â€ť
Their ceremony took place under a chuppah in between a row of trees. â€śWe wanted to get married during summer when all foliage is lush and in bloom,â€ť Allison adds.
A family friend officiated the ceremony, where the couple exchanged personalized vows. Initially, the pair thought theyâ€™d stick to traditional vowsâ€”until they attended a wedding where the couple kept it classic. â€śWe left and both said the same thing: We wish they had written their own vows,â€ť Allison says.
Allison really liked the chuppah designed by the floral team at Doe and Jay Studio. It featured a wood frame to echo the trees as well as lush greenery and flowers that looked like they were growing organically out of the ground.
The newlyweds excitedly exited the ceremony to live musicians played Stevie Wonderâ€™s â€śSigned, Sealed, Delivered.â€ť
â€śDirectly after the ceremony, while guests were at cocktail hour, Felipe and I explored the gardens with our photographer and took portraits,â€ť Allison recalls. â€śIt was the perfect way to reset after the ceremony. The photos definitely captured all the emotions we were feeling.â€ť
The couple was together for more than a decade by the time they wed. In fact, Allison and Felipe met in high school in Miami and had their first date on Felipeâ€™s 18th birthday. Fast forward to life in New York and Felipe popped the question at a greenhouseâ€”with Champagne and flowersâ€”before dinner at Brooklyn Grange.
The coupleâ€™s beloved dog, Clarence, made a cameo at the wedding dressed in his version of black tie.
Guests found their seat assignments amid buckets of fresh blooms such as roses, carnations, lilies, and spider mums.
The reception took place in the glass structure known as the Palm House. To create intimacy, a massive greenery installation hung from the ceiling. â€śIt turned out to be no easy feat since the venue had never done anything like it before,â€ť Allison says.
â€śBeing a glass structure, we had beautiful natural light,â€ť Allison says. â€śOnce the sun set, candles acted as runners down the center of tables and all around the room.â€ť The couple brought in all the furniture with the help of Broadway Party Rentals, including the French country chairs.
Tables were topped with bud vases, candles, and neutral linens. For a modern twist, Allison added black details, like matte black flatware, to the place settings.
â€śWe had an incredible brass parade entrance into the reception, which led into our first dance with their live vocalist,â€ť Allison says of their newlywed dance to a cover of Elton Johnâ€™s â€śI Guess Thatâ€™s Why They Call It The Blues.â€ť
Allison and Felipe topped the chocolate devilâ€™s food cake with a playful caricature of themselves with their dog, Clarence.
â€śIâ€™ve never felt more grateful to have all of our family and friends in one place and to be able to truly soak everything in,â€ť Allison says. The night didnâ€™t end with the receptionâ€”the newlyweds hosted an afterparty with pizza and homemade bem casados, traditional Brazilian wedding desserts that guests could take home. Itâ€™s no surprise that Felipe added Clarence to the design of the 'doggie bags.â€ť