Yurts, a Gospel Choir and Fire Dancers – oh my! | Featured in The Knot NY Fall ’20

October 18, 2020

Michelle Elaine Weddings has been in business for 9 years and I think it’s safe to say this wedding, thus far, has been the most inventive and eventful!

*Also featured in the latest The Knot Magazine for New York

When Nicole first reached out to me and we got to talking about putting the wedding party in camping uniforms all weekend and sleeping in yurts, I was instantly on board. My own personal preference in style and design is elegant, romantic and timeless … BUT what I love about having such a creative business, is that I am not styling and designing for myself each time, making it a brand new and exciting experience with each and every client that I have. The added challenge of something unique and out of the box are always the most fun as well as rewarding. Of course I love it when someone comes to me for that very classic look but there is always a twist because each wedding relates to each couple personally, no two weddings are EVER the same, and that is why I love what I do!

Now, let me just paint you a picture of Nicole & Bryan’s day, starting with these amazing yurts from Stout Tent : *If you’re going to camp out in a yurt, you might as well do it right! Each yurt came stocked with a Queen bed, blankets, pillows, towels, lighting, mirror, chairs, etc. You can also pay extra for housekeeping to come daily, and the staff who set everything up for the weekend stayed very close by so that they could be there quickly if we needed anything!

The morning was full of walkie-talkie banter, one-liners from Moonrise Kingdom (where their inspiration came from), scout tasks, and of course your usual hair and makeup!

Their dedication to the theme was impeccable …

First looks get me every time. It’s such a special moment that you two have before the chaos of the day begins … yes there are usually a few moments post ceremony to enjoy the fact that you are now husband and wife but the first look really gives you that time to soak in one another … it’s not for everybody but I personally love it … and love when my couples do it!

And then we enjoyed a few portraits before heading off to the venue …

Let’s not forget adorable furry Fin … suit, bowtie, and all!

Their wedding party looks were unique and beautiful. I personally am a fan of mismatching bridesmaids dresses as you then get to see each bridesmaid truly shine versus having everyone in the same uniformed dress. At times, the same bridesmaid dress does work well, but this full look is just one of my favorites!

As we head to the ceremony there are even more unique and really lovely personal details …

A pause for some beach portraits at sunset …

Cocktail Hour is always favored by all guests – if you do it right! It is the one time of the day that feels near impossible to get guests to leave from as we head into reception. BUT, that is usually a great sign that things have been planned properly 🙂

When the reception room is complete, and the bride & groom can take a peek before the guests enter, and the joy on their faces seeing things all come together, is truly a priceless moment at each wedding.

Normally I am not into DIY projects but when you have a creative couple, paired with their very creative friends, I can get on board! They provided matchboxes for each guest with a corresponding badge instead of basic table numbers. Guests really loved the fun but stylish camp-esq wedding theme!

Guests were also provided stickers for their corresponding badge per table, and they all had a lot of fun with these!

Custom made tambourines as a sweetheart table surprise from their friend (who also handled all of the graphic design for : the programs, menus, badges, table “numbers”, etc.) were a peek into another surprise for Nicole and Bryan later on in the evening that they soon would find out about!

But first … the First Dance … and these two brought ALL the moves!

Speeches then began as dinner was served … first with the Best Man, followed by the Maid of Honor (of the century!) who was also the bride’s sister.

When her sister initially approached me about surprising Nicole and Bryan with a gospel choir I just thought to myself “could this wedding get ANYmore awesome?!” Nicole had NO clue that her sister and I had spoken for months and all the little details we’d coordinated to make this surprise come to life!

She went about her speech with all of the loving and sweet words, but ended it with the following quote : “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime you find, you get what you need”, which was my cue to let the gospel choir in, the big surprise that shocked everyone! The choir entered the room singing ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ and I’d never felt that much life and energy in one room ever before, I still get chills thinking of the moment.

Then some of the wedding party, including this awesome Best Man and Maid of Honor, put on Spice Girl wigs and created a small flashmob to “Wannabe” with the gospel choir singing all of the lead vocals … to say this was a fun crowd is a complete understatement!

The fun did not stop there, at all! Reception came to an end but there was more … a silent disco on the beach with LED dancers to guide everyone down, and fire dancers on the beach waiting to entertain everyone!

Guests were SO lucky to be in attendance to such a cool and awesome wedding! My team and I were VERY lucky to have the opportunity to work with this insanely amazing couple and give them the greatest day that I don’t think anyone can ever forget! LOTS of love to Nicole and Bryan 🙂


Photography | Chaz Cruz Photographers

Planning | Michelle Elaine Weddings

Ceremony & Reception Location | Oceanbleu

Catering | CulinArt Group

Videography | Sialia Studios

Floral Design | Wildflower Floral & Event Design

Wedding Dress | Rebecca Schoneveld

Boutique | Schone Bride

Tuxedo | J. Crew

Hair | Gina Ribando

Makeup | Wayfaring Beauty

Stationery & Graphic Design | Kristin Rossi

Music | Kinky Spigot & The Welders

Dessert | Gelato Kings

Gospel Choir | The Late Show’s Gospel Choir

Yurts | Stout Tent

Silent Disco | Party Headphones

Entertainment | Haiku Guys & Gals

LED & Fire Dancers | Hoopsie Daisies