If you look at this issue closely…

If you look at this issue closely, your bound to notice the byline Marisa LaScala. Marisa, articles editor for Westchester Magazine, herself wrote (in her amiable, easygoing style) many of the articles. For good reason. Over the past year, Marisa and her longtime boyfriend, Jesse Hassenger, have been planning their wedding (they chose a site in Westchester, of course). Marisa got a chance to look into all aspects of putting together a spectacular wedding here—for the magazine and for herself. We all can benefit from what she’s learned over the past year.

How did Jesse propose? It was our dating anniversary, and Jesse suggested that we take a walk through the park after dinner because he made dessert. When we got to a spot that felt right, he handed me cookies that had personalized M&Ms baked into them. When I looked closely, they said, “Marry me (pls)?” on them. It was dark so they were hard to read, but I didn’t have any doubts when I looked over and saw Jesse on one knee with a ring in his hand.  

How long did you work on your wedding? We worked on the wedding for the standard year. It feels like a long time. There’s a flurry in the beginning to book the vendors—and then you spend six months just waiting around for it to actually happen.

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What did you learn about weddings working on your own? I learned that, once you make the decision not to be one-hundred percent traditional, you almost have too many options. I thought I was unusual because I have a knee-length white dress—but then I see brides whose dresses are bright blue or scarlet red. Why not? You can do whatever you want!

Where will the wedding be? Washington Irving’s Sunnyside. It’s perfect for us because we’re both writers, and we’re going to be partying with the bust of America’s first internationally famous writer looking on. During the cocktail hour, guides in period costumes will give tours of the house.

What advice do you have for brides? So far, our most far-out ideas have gotten the best feedback. Jesse designed our invitations—in Microsoft Word, printed at Kinko’s—with comic-book fonts and doodles, and people went crazy over them. I had my shower at a dive bar/bowling alley, and I got e-mails for days afterwards about how much fun everyone had. My aunt even said she was thinking of joining a bowling league. She hadn’t bowled in years, and she got up there and started bowling strikes. So my advice for brides would be to indulge your craziest ideas. Don’t be afraid that it won’t go over well with the older generation—you’ll be surprised by how much they’ll enjoy it!

We wish Marisa and Jesse the best of luck.

Esther Davidowitz

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