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 didn’t need to look far from their Brooklyn home for their wedding venue: Brooklyn Botanic Garden. “As soon as we saw the Palm House location for the reception, we were sold,” says Allison, a public relations and events manager at Shopbop. “The structure is entirely glass, so you’re able to still feel like you’re within the gardens while being inside.” 

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 décor 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.  

“We’re aligned 99 percent of the time, and the planning process definitely proved that for us,” Allison says of collaborating with her soon-to-be husband. “Everything that weekend was thoughtfully designed with our personalities in mind, and it definitely came across.” 

Read on for all the details of Allison and Felipe’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. “All the elements we designed were light-hearted and simple, while still being tasteful and most importantly, thoughtful,” the bride says.

“Felipe dreads wearing a suit more than any guy that I know,” 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 family’s gold wedding band.

“I never had a clear idea of what I would wear, but the second I saw my dress, I knew I was done looking,” Allison says of her ethereal Monique Lhuillier gown. The chiffon dress was layered with lace and beads, a romantic silk ribbon, and flutter sleeves.  

“In Brazilian tradition both the bride and groom wear a band on their right hand when they get engaged,” Allison explains. “At our engagement, Felipe’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 Felipe’s great-grandparents. We both wore the bands throughout the day and moved them to our left hands during our ceremony.”

Allison’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.  

“I didn’t want everyone in the same dress because not one of them has a similar taste to another,” 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. “I love that her dress had a bow to match mine,” she adds. 

Many of the couple’s paper goods featured their pup, Clarence. That included the playful fans for the ceremony, which took place outside in the gardens.  

“Something I’m really proud of is that our florist managed to use only environmentally friendly products—no foam blocks or non-biodegradable materials,” 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. “I’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,” Allison says. Her mother and step-father escorted her down the aisle to a rendition of Leon Bridges’ “Beyond.” 

Their ceremony took place under a chuppah in between a row of trees. “We wanted to get married during summer when all foliage is lush and in bloom,” Allison adds. 

A family friend officiated the ceremony, where the couple exchanged personalized vows. Initially, the pair thought they’d stick to traditional vows—until they attended a wedding where the couple kept it classic. “We left and both said the same thing: We wish they had written their own vows,” 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 Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.” 

“Directly after the ceremony, while guests were at cocktail hour, Felipe and I explored the gardens with our photographer and took portraits,” Allison recalls. “It was the perfect way to reset after the ceremony. The photos definitely captured all the emotions we were feeling.” 

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 Felipe’s 18th birthday. Fast forward to life in New York and Felipe popped the question at a greenhouse—with Champagne and flowers—before dinner at Brooklyn Grange.  

The couple’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. “It turned out to be no easy feat since the venue had never done anything like it before,” Allison says.  

“Being a glass structure, we had beautiful natural light,” Allison says. “Once the sun set, candles acted as runners down the center of tables and all around the room.” 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.   

The quality of the food is one reason the couple picked the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, but they also added some Brazilian flair by bringing in traditional brigadeiros from Brigadeiro Bakery.  

“We had an incredible brass parade entrance into the reception, which led into our first dance with their live vocalist,” Allison says of their newlywed dance to a cover of Elton John’s “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues.” 

Allison and Felipe topped the chocolate devil’s food cake with a playful caricature of themselves with their dog, Clarence.

“I’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,” Allison says. The night didn’t end with the reception—the newlyweds hosted an afterparty with pizza and homemade bem casados, traditional Brazilian wedding desserts that guests could take home. It’s no surprise that Felipe added Clarence to the design of the 'doggie bags.”  

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