Anthony and Rusty's Broadway-Inspired Brooklyn Wedding
Anthony Luscia and Rusty James had been a couple for 16 years when they decided to get hitched. They met in Dallas, where they both went to college, and moved to New York together. Nine apartments, seven jobs, and one major piece of legislation later, Anthony turned to Rusty in an elevator and said, "Now that gay marriage is legal, should we do it?" Rusty said, "Yeah, that would be good." They already felt married, so there was no grand gesture. But the duo knew they had a lot to celebrate; while the proposal was low-key, they made sure that the wedding was not.
During Anthony's 10-plus years as the special projects editor at Martha Stewart Weddings, he'd developed a few ideas of how he envisioned the big day. He pictured a dark, masculine color palette that would feel like a black-and-white movie. And Rusty, who's a global director at an auditing firm, is a huge Broadway fan, so Anthony knew that would play a major role. Together (and with more than a little help from our wedding-expert friends), the leading men planned a dance- and music-filled day that would live up to their goal: They wanted their guests to be wowed.
The Stationery Suite
A Retro Ride
The venue, 501 Union in Brooklyn, has a stable of vintage cars that they let couples use for photo ops.
Gold-and-black vinyl decals of the grooms' initials adorned the main door to their venue, letting guests know they were in the right spot for the day's festivities.
Big Yellow Taxi
Friend Aileen Morgan, who sang during the reception, arrived by cab to the soirée.
The Grand Arrival
A New York City double-decker bus picked up out-of-towners and gave them a quick tour of the city before bringing them to the venue, an old body shop-turned-event space. Guests stepped off onto a red carpet and were handed playbills by an usher who invited them to "please enjoy the show."
The Ceremony Programs
Playbill-style programs outlined the cast of characters and order of events.
The Ring Bearers
The grooms' friends' children donned leather jackets to act as the "rock 'n' roll ring bearers."
A Gift for the Little Guy
The grooms gave their "rock 'n' roll ring bearer" a toy car that fit in perfectly with their black, white, and silver palette.
Instead of flower girls, three "tiny dancers"—the daughters of Martha Stewart Weddings editorial director Darcy Miller—led Anthony and Rusty down the aisle.
Gifts for the Girls
Musical-note necklaces from Dogeared were gifted to the young girls who participated in the ceremony.
During the nondenominational ceremony (or "opening act") officiated by friend Lisa Gahan, a pal sang a personalized rendition of "Over the Rainbow." Anthony and Rusty also exchanged self-penned vows, with Rusty promising not to leave his gym clothes on the floor, and Anthony swearing that no matter how late he'd been out the night before, he will get up, put a smile on his face, and, with Jesus in his heart, go to brunch with his buddies.
Afterward, a choir sang Madonna's "Like a Prayer" as they exited. "My absolute favorite part of the wedding was when the choir sang 'Like a Prayer,'" Anthony says. "It began with all of the guests seated, watching the singers in their robes line up. But by the time we recessed, the entire room was dancing and singing at the top of their lungs."
The Ceremony Backdrop
A Weddings colleague created a backdrop for the ceremony by cutting palm leaves in shades of gray and pinning them to canvas. The motif was inspired by the venue's wallpaper.
Instead of carrying a pillow, the ring bearers kept the wedding bands in a vintage cigarette case.
Cocktail napkins from For Your Party were foil-stamped with the phrase "Kiss a groom," the lyrics from "September," which celebrate the gents' wedding date, and a quote from the musical All That Jazz.
Drinks During Intermission
Cocktails on offer included a dirty martini, a Salerno Spritz (orange liqueur and Champagne), and a manhattan made with Hudson Valley bourbon.
Everyone enjoyed an intermission with cocktail hour and passed hors d'oeuvres—until the waiters dropped their trays and kicked off a flash mob to "Let's Have a Kiki" that had the crowd grooving into the reception room.
Attendees wrote well wishes for the newlyweds in a vintage book found on eBay.
The grooms wanted people to keep dancing and mingling all night, so they served small plates instead of a sit-down dinner. One dish that won rave reviews was the braised short ribs over polenta.
Caterer Betty Brooklyn prepared bite-size treats including grilled cheese minis in a cup of tomato soup.
Another mini-meal: sea bass fillet with seasonal vegetables.
Butternut squash risotto with roasted Brussels sprouts and sage made for an appropriately autumnal hors d'oeuvre.
The Wedding Party
The couple's close friends paused for a portrait on a vintage sofa rented from Patina Rentals. Old-school lounges were set up so guests could relax during the reception.
The space was decorated with white dahlias set in clear or gold vases and loads and loads of gray candles in varying sizes.
Throughout the room, stations with cheese and charcuterie were set out for everyone to enjoy.
A Special Dance
In homage to the pair's Texas roots, performers from their favorite bar, Flaming Saddles, did a country line dance during the party.
Coworkers and Friends
Anthony with Martha Stewart Weddings editorial director, Darcy Miller. The two have worked together for over a decade.
"We wanted a party that evoked the feel of a 1940s supper club, with manhattans, martinis, and lots of dancing and laughter," says Anthony.
A Photo With Martha
The newlyweds snapped a photo with guest Martha Stewart.
As part of the favors (and a fun activity), guests had their portraits drawn by Darcy, who is known for her illustrations, and calligraphed by Deborah Nadel Design.
Three choreographed performances took place during the dance-heavy reception.
A Night of Fun
After everyone had had a chance to eat, drink, and be merry on the dance floor, all 220 guests headed outside to watch the guys attack a giant silver diamond-shaped piñata full of glow jewelry, sunglasses, and party hats. The boogying continued until the grand finale: a screening of a music video version of the party. Anthony and Rusty had hired a videographer to film the party and live-edit throughout the night. It captured the feeling of the entire affair, which was amazing and completely over the top—everything they wanted their big gay Martha Stewart wedding to be.
A Boozy Treat
During the epic reception, guests enjoyed grown-up cotton candy via Spin-Spun, which was flavored with bourbon.
A Sweet Ending
Friend and pastry chef Sylvia Weinstock made two chocolate buttercream–covered confections: one with chocolate on the inside for Anthony and the other with peanut butter for Rusty. "Instead of one wedding cake, we wanted two identical versions with different flavors to reflect our personalities," Anthony says.
Cheers to the Couple
As her gift, Darcy reinterpreted the pair's favorite drink, a vodka-soda, to give as favors. The to-go bottles were decorated with her drawings of the grooms, with their arms cut out so their likenesses could clink glasses.
Guests mugged for the camera in the photo booth.
Retro props like fedoras, martini glasses, pearls, and a cane were on hand for guests to pose with in the photo booth by Love Life Images.
Location: 501 Union
Event Coordination: Debi Lilly of A Perfect Event
Catering: Betty Brooklyn
Photography: Thayer Allyson Gowdy
Stationery: Cheree Berry Paper
Menswear: J. Hilburn
Lighting: Bentley Meeker
Transportation: Gray Line New York (tour bus)
Photo Booth: Love Life Images
Ice DJ Booth: Okamoto Studio
Custom Cocktail Napkins and Matches: For Your Party
Cotton Candy: Spin-Spun
Caviar: Northern Divine
Cheese and Charcuterie: Murray's Cheese
Pillar and Votive Candles: Creative Candles
Tiny Dancers' Dresses: Crewcuts
Cigarette Case (as ring box): vintage from Ruby Lane
Porcelain Vases: Middle Kingdom
Ceremony Backdrop Fabric: Rose Brand
Paper for Programs: Paper-Source
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