SOO N's very first project was creating a dessert table for my friends Becca and Justin's wedding. I was thrilled to contribute, in my small way, to their special day. Their Joshua Tree wedding was one of the most memorable I've ever attended, despite a few unexpected weather-related obstacles.
As I write this I'm recalling Justin cracking jokes during his vows, Ani's father officiating the ceremony with a speech that left me both crying and laughing, a handful of people midnight dancing in the rain, and Becca walking down a make-shift aisle in all her flower-crown glory...
I love weddings, no doubt about it. I mean, 150 people, all present to toast and celebrate a couple in love---it's incredible!
It felt to me, like the best-first SOO N project---an omen of good energy and things to come. It was a project conceived out of love for people in love. What could be better?
Read below for an interview with Becca Kinskey about her recent nuptials.
Becca Kinskey works as a Producer at Abominable Pictures, a comedy production company. Justin Becker is the EP/Creator of an as-of-yet untitled animated show at Warner Brothers Animation.
SOO N: How did you and Justin meet?
BECCA: The normal way - through friends. He and a bunch of his college friends had a live comedy show that one of them asked me to stage manage. We were all relatively new to LA and trying to figure out how to make our comedy careers happen. I think every single person involved in that show was at our wedding - its been an amazing community for me to have been adopted into.
S: For me, one of the most memorable moments of your wedding was when all your friends sang "Here Comes The Bride" in that tent after the rain started coming down. Everyone was tight and huddled and a little wet but the energy in that space was pure love. When you started coming down the aisle, everyone singing in unison, out of tune, was maybe the most beautiful wedding moment I have ever witnessed.
What were your feeling/thinking at that moment?
B: Exactly what you've said - pure, uncomplicated love and luck. Getting rain and hail in Joshua Tree was a fun development in the first place, but seeing our friends and family not just roll with it but make it into such a raucous, fun experience for us was so stunning and humbling. I felt like I was walking into a 150-person hug by way of an all-ages show - it was so much more in line with what a wedding should be than anything we could have planned. And the fact that, two months later, our guests - like yourself - are still telling us that they felt the same energy we did in the moment - such luck to get to share an experience like that together.
S: What were some of the most memorable moments for you and Justin?
B: Gosh. It's true that the day can be such a blur. Simultaneously the longest & fastest day of our lives!
Everything from the moment it started raining became a little adventure in collective problem solving - all of our family & friends crowded into a tiny tent for the ceremony, dinner & toasts made everything so much more fun.
Our family & friends' toasts, which became crowd work in the round, were phenomenal.
The DJ took off without telling us and a few of our best friends filled in as Spotify DJs, while everyone else danced through the windstorm. Can't really get better than that.
The many family members who told us what a large & fun community of friends we have, and the many friends who told us how great our family is - the sense that everyone was genuinely enjoying themselves and each other was the best we could have asked for.
S: Weather was obviously an unexpected obstacle but you and Justin dealt with is so gracefully. What advice would you give engaged couples for their wedding day?
B: You just have to have fun. Ya gotta! How can it be anything other than fun, when its all about love??
I heard a lot of variants of "things will mess up but it will be okay" when we were planning. I'm a TV producer so this wasn't really news to me, but especially for a wedding - the unexpected things are really where the joy derives. They are what make the day what it is - just like life and loving. So how can you not enjoy them? And enjoying those surprises together is the most crucial part. Until I got to meet up with him under that tent, I knew that wherever Justin was, he was also enjoying the new version of our celebration that was unfolding.
S: What were some challenges and highlights of planning your wedding?
B: It was surprisingly hard to keep it cheap. One of our shared values is (vague) thriftiness, but we'll also splurge if it’s going to make a party more fun. As a producer I'm used to finding corners to cut, but we were constantly surprised at how many expectations a wedding in 2015 has. Even though we were totally open to jettisoning things (like favors - who really cares?), there are so many "things" that it adds up quickly.
It was fun but also a little tough to strike that balance of planning something that felt like us without also feeling like we were knee-jerk kicking back at a "traditional" wedding. We didn't have any illusions about being super unique, but you also want to find something that does feel a little specific to you. I guess its sort of a post-Pinterest navel-gazey concern, but it felt real while we had it. We had a "no Mason jars" and "no arbitrary triangle motifs" rule and just went from there - ha!
One combined challenge & highlight was that we really wanted to create a space & place for people to enjoy being with us and each other. For us, that meant bringing people out to the desert who likely wouldn't have been there before without making it feel like too much of a trek. It meant finding a low key venue that people could linger at over a couple days, to connect without a hard in or out time. And it meant trying to pare back the "itinerary" of wedding events - first dances, cake cutting, etc - so that people could have a nice organic evening without having to go here to watch us do a thing, then go there to watch us do a different thing.
And the people who helped us throw this party were a huge highlight. Most were extremely talented friends -- like you!-- who leant us their specialty for the day, or who did these things for near cost. It was humbling that people really wanted to contribute, and it was a beautiful part of our journey to be able to articulate with close friends what we felt their contribution - dessert, photos, decor, invites & paper goods - would mean as part of the day.
And the vuvuzelas - so glad we got those!