A Modern, Disco-Inspired Wedding in Atlanta
Micah Jesse and Jason David Mahler met on the dating app Tinder in 2013. After a few weeks of texting, they went on a date at Orient Express, a cocktail bar in the West Village of Manhattan. That's when they realized that their mutual friend, Jackie, had tried to set them up years prior, but the timing wasn't right and they never connected. Luckily, this time it was, and Micah and Jason started a long-distance relationship between New York and Los Angeles that quickly turned to love.
In February 2016, Micah (a writer, content producer, and celebrity host) moved to New York City to live with Jason, who works as a fashion designer. Several months after that, Jason proposed to Micah in the Miami Design District—a special place where they had vacationed to early in their relationship. "Jason used the app Thumbtack to track down the best photographers in Miami (Troy Huynh and Vivian Chau) to capture the surprising moment," adds Micah.
One year later, the couple traveled to Micah's hometown of Atlanta for a destination wedding at King Plow Arts Center—an old plow factory that now operates as a space for the arts and where Micah had his bar mitzvah as a child. About 190 guests attended the ceremony, which took place on Saturday, November 18, 2017. The fall wedding, which was designed in a slightly muted palette of lavender, eggplant, gray, and white, had a rustic and modern aesthetic with a 1970s disco vibe, elegant decorations, and stunning fashion choices.
The Stationery Suite
Jason designed the colorful stationery suite, which included a save-the-date, invitation, accommodations card, response card, song request/dietary restriction card, and more. The invitation featured a silhouette of two men embracing, meant to foreshadow the intimacy of the wedding. Perhaps the most memorable aspect of the stationery suite: the attire requests. The couple legitimately wrote "f**king chic" on the invitation as their dress code. They wanted their friends and family to have fun with their outfits, and for the wedding to feel like a Vanity Fair party. Papyrus printed the big day's paper elements.
Michael Andrews Bespoke tailored the grooms' 1970s-style custom suits. Both men chose a double-breasted blazer with a high-waisted flare pant, but then selected their own colors. Micah paired his gray-lilac suit with a white Nehru-collared shirt. Jason paired his aubergine suit with a dusty rose-colored shirt and black Frye cowboy boots. "There is nothing like a custom suit made to precise specifications for your body," says Micah.
A Furry Friend
The couple's Boston Terrier puppy, Disco, attended the wedding, but that wasn't originally the plan. The grooms didn't want to assign someone to care for the dog throughout the day, but the concierge at the Loews Atlanta Hotel connected the pair with a great dog walker, who was able to bring him to the venue, walk him down the aisle, then take him back home. Micah's cousin Leahann went out and bought Disco a leather leash and matching bow tie at the last minute.
Micah and Jason wore their engagement rings to the ceremony, then exchanged their dads' wedding bands once they got married.
The grooms chose ten "groomsgirls" for their big day. "The women in our life are our everything, and we wanted to make sure we had an opportunity to honor them," says Micah.
The Wedding Party
Before the ceremony, Micah and Jason signed their ketubah. Immediate family and close friends witnessed the Jewish ritual. "The ketubah signing is typically a contract between a man and a woman. But the ritual was important for us to include, so we wrote our own version for a modern gay wedding while incorporating thousands of years of Jewish tradition," says Micah. Wanting a unique ketubah, Jason recruited a Lucite manufacturer to engrave the couple's text into the material (Micah's aunt Janet had transcribed it into Hebrew beforehand). On the wedding day, six close friends of the couple signed the clear piece with metallic gold Sharpie pens.
According to wedding planner Amy Osaba, "One of the sweetest things Jason and Micah asked us to do for them on the wedding day was to make sure that they were not separated. They wanted to be together in every moment and really be present to experience their day."
The Gospel Singers
The early evening ceremony took place in a gallery space at King Plow Arts Center. As guests took their seats in the circular room, an LGBTQ+ gospel choir, led by bandleader Dannis Winston of DWP Live Factory, serenaded the crowd. They sang "All My Life" by K-Ci and JoJo, "Always Be My Baby" by Mariah Carey, and "All of You" by John Legend before the processional began.
The programs introduced the wedding party, outlined the ceremony details, and described Jewish wedding traditions. They were printed on millennial pink card stock with black ink.
After the wedding party walked down the aisle, Micah and Jason entered the ceremony at the same time. They both held their parents' hands while processing to "I Want To Hold Your Hand" by The Beatles.
The couple met in the center of the room, and the guests erupted into thunderous applause. "I've never been to a wedding where that happened, and it was incredible," says Micah.
The Ceremony Site
Micah's family friend constructed the chuppah using dried crepe myrtle wood from Micah's childhood backyard. The structure was adorned with organic greenery, a wooden Star of David, and a hand-knit topper by Jason's mother with commemorative beads for family members who had passed.
The grooms and the male guests wore lavender moiré yarmulkes, which matched Micah's suit. The date and location of the big day were printed in gold metallic text on the interior.
A Modern Ceremony
Rabbi Malka Packer-Monroe officiated the modern Jewish ceremony, during which guests were asked to put their cell phones away and be present. The grooms wrote their own vows and circled each other seven times to Rihanna's "Love On The Brain." And they were smiling ear-to-ear the whole time. After, they recessed to the celebratory song "Joyful, Joyful," sung by the choir. Micah and Jason said that many guests knew the words, so they sang along, clapped, and cheered.
Following the ceremony, everyone attended cocktail hour, where they enjoyed Southern-inspired passed hors d'oeuvres, as well as a charcuterie and cheese spread.
The Escort Cards
Modern black cards with white calligraphy directed guests to their tables.
The Grooms' Entrance
Wanting to create a lighthearted and funny moment, Micah and Jason entered the reception to "I'm Too Sexy" by Right Said Fred. They wore prism glasses from Screaming Mimi's.
The reception took place in the same room as the ceremony. Black chairs, gray tablecloths, and towering flower arrangements catered to the modern feel of the venue. According to wedding planner and floral designer Amy Osaba, "Jason and Micah have an incredibly contagious love and respect for one another that is rare nowadays. I wanted to give them a true reflection of who they are: energetic, fun, bold, elegant, and modern with deep roots to family and tradition. To achieve this, we used elegant details while having fun with the color palette and textures."
The couple emphasized "quality over quantity" when it came to florals. "We wanted something that felt whimsical, romantic, and warm with a healthy mix of floral, lush greenery, and colorful candles," says Micah. Amy Osaba Design created show-stopping arrangements with amnesia garden roses, golden mustard roses, blue delphinium, blue tweedia, foxglove, foraged greens, red sweetheart roses, ranunculus, hellebores, lisianthus, peonies, cymbidium, hyacinth, and tulips. Marble, gold, and smoke glass candle holders added variety to the tablescape.
Bold Catering + Design catered the dinner, which was set up in stations and included South City Kitchen fried chicken, baked mac 'n' cheese, poached pear salad with goat cheese, cornbread and biscuits, cedar plank salmon, fingerling potato salad, and kale salad. A dedicated butcher area contained braised short rib, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, and roasted Brussel sprouts.
For something sweet, the couple set up a dessert bar with chocolate-covered cheesecake pops and peach pie pops. They also served a classic vanilla wedding cake.
The Disco Ball
Adhering to the wedding's 1970s disco theme, 36" a disco ball was installed in the center of the room.
The First Dance
Dancing The Night Away
Micah danced with his mother Marcie to "For You I Will" by Monica, and Jason danced with his mother Linda to a ukulele version of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow."
DJ Cassidy—a famous DJ who played at the weddings of Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Jennifer Lopez, and Kim Kardashian—attended the event as a guest, but he couldn't help but take the stage. "He played everything from Whitney Houston's 'How Will I Know' to Bruno Mars' '24K Magic' to Earth Wind & Fire's 'September,'" recounts Micah. "He was epic."
The hora was so important to the grooms and they wanted it to be extended, so they had the DJ start with the traditional version and then move into a more modern version. Their parents and Micah's grandmother began the dance, then the grooms joined in.
Photography, Someplace Wild
Location, King Plow Arts Center
Event planning and Flowers, Amy Osaba Design
Catering and Cake, Bold Catering + Design
Videography, KLassey Productions
Officiant, Rabbi Malka Packer-Monroe
Micah and Jason's suits, Michael Andrews Bespoke
Micah's shoes, Frye
Jason's shoes, Jeffery West
Grooming, Rudy's Barbershop
Groomsgirls' jumpsuits, Jill Stuart
Transportation, Atlantic Limousine + Transportation