A Bright, Offbeat Wedding at the Foundry in Long Island City, New York

For Risa Abrams (32 and a TV producer) and Michael Smagula’s (33 and a high school guidance counselor) summer wedding in New York City, traditional si

For Risa Abrams (32 and a TV producer) and Michael Smagula’s (33 and a high school guidance counselor) summer wedding in New York City, traditional simply wasn’t going to cut it. With the help of coordinator Jove Meyer, the pair planned a funky affair at the Foundry in Long Island City, New York, with a spectrum of eye-catching color, personal touches and a few surprises. “We are a bit allergic to tradition and what’s typically popular, so we just did what felt right to us,” Risa says. For the ceremony, Risa and Michael knew they wanted something lighthearted, so they asked their close friends to write and officiate the ceremony. Jove Meyer handcrafted a colorful ribbon backdrop that lit up the outdoor space, and Michael got crafty in the months leading up to event, spray-painting the couple’s silhouettes on old records that he had painted gold. After exchanging heartfelt vows, the Hungry March Band made their way down the aisle and whisked the newlyweds and their wedding party into the reception. “We wanted to keep them a total surprise and only told the people in the wedding that they’d be there,” Risa says. The couple kept things simple when it came to the decor, allowing the Foundry's character to shine through. Colorful linens and bud vases filled with bold pink and red blooms added a touch of personality to the space and set the tone for the evening’s festivities. “We did not have any major centerpieces, formal seating, place settings or name cards,” Risa says. “We just wanted to marry each other and have a huge dance party. And make music, dancing and color the focus of the whole thing.” Instead of a formal sit-down meal, the pair opted for a more relaxed format that encouraged guests to mix and mingle. A popcorn machine greeted the couple’s friends and family as they arrived and caterer Betty Brooklyn served an unforgettable spread of decadent eats, from mini fried chicken biscuits and veggie kebabs to stations of pasta, sliders and more. As a special late-night snack, a gelato truck from Grom, the couple’s favorite gelato spot, indulged guests in a variety of cool, icy treats. After getting their fill, Risa, Michael and their family and friends hit the dance floor, glow sticks and all, and got down to a playlist of oldies and '80s and '90s pop music spun by DJ Shakey. “We had ended up ordering so many glow sticks that when the lights dimmed, the room was lit by our glow sticks,” Risa says. “It was magical.” A tip from Risa and Michael: “It’s your day, so make it about yourself and don’t be swayed by traditions that don’t speak to you.”

To match the vibrancy of the wedding’s theme and palette, Risa had her bridesmaids don matching teal summer dresses from Anthropologie with their choice of accessories. “I didn’t want anyone to stress out about the cost of being in a wedding and planning showers and bachelorettes, so I gave them their dresses, hair, makeup and necklaces,” Risa says. “Since the dresses were sale items, I ran all over the city snatching up every size and also ordered a few through their website to make sure the girls wouldn't have to do this themselves.”
To make things easy for his groomsmen, Michael encouraged the guys to wear gray suits they already owned and supplied them with matching white shirts and dark blue bow ties from Express. For his own look, Michael sported a blue Ben Sherman suit, pink shirt and a multicolored plaid bow tie. To tie their looks together, one of Michael’s groomsmen gave everyone pizza-slice socks to wear with their Adidas Samba shoes. “Chris bought them as a surprise for Risa,” Michael says, “since she loves pizza.”
“Fun food in fancy clothes” was the theme Risa and Michael presented to caterer Betty Brooklyn. “We wanted a formal party, but with many of the fun foods and snacks we enjoy eating in our real life, with a floating-style dinner rather than seated,” Risa says. Since Risa loves movie popcorn, the iconic cinema snack made an appearance during the reception, with guests being greeted by a popcorn machine as they entered the Foundry in Long Island City, New York. Betty Brooklyn brought the couple’s culinary vision to life with a slew of stations serving everything from sliders to pasta and vegetarian eats and an assortment of comfort food-inspired passed appetizers, including fried chicken biscuits, curly fries and veggie kebabs. “Betty Brooklyn’s food is so special, so delicious and so unlike a meal you’ve typically been served at a wedding,” Risa says. “We were really excited for our guests to enjoy her cuisine.”
In addition to the colorful ribbon backdrop created for the ceremony by the couple’s coordinator, Jove Meyer, the couple decorated the outdoor ceremony space at the Foundry in Long Island City, New York, with understated, yet playful bunches of white gerbera daisies and wax flowers. The small bouquets were added to the end of each row, tied together with lengths of white ribbon.
For her ceremony entrance with her father, Risa walked down the aisle to the song “A Wink and a Smile” by Harry Connick Jr. “It’s from one of my favorite films and it was totally surreal to have that song blasting in front of everyone we know during the biggest moment of our lives,” Risa says.
“Neither of us are religious, so we made up a lighthearted ceremony with our officiant, Chris, and his wife, Dara, one of my best friends,” Risa says. “Weeks earlier, when Dara read me what she had written, we both sat on a park bench and cried happy tears together. It was so special and personal.” The pair exchanged vows they’d written themselves against a brilliant backdrop of colorful ribbons, and just as they were pronounced husband and wife, the Hungry March Band made their grand entrance and whisked the newlyweds into the reception at the Foundry in Long Island City, New York.
When Risa and Michael were pronounced husband and wife, the Hungry March Band made a lively entrance onto the scene. They made their way up the aisle, encircled the newlyweds and their wedding party and led them into reception for a night of fun-filled festivities. “We wanted to keep them a total surprise and only told the people in the wedding that they’d be there,” Risa says. Once inside, they got guests in the mood to party with their silly antics and lively music.
When it came to the reception decor, Risa and Michael kept things simple yet colorful, opting out of traditional centerpieces for playful bud vases filled with bright red and pink flowers and dressing the tables with bright turquoise linens. The decision allowed both the architectural features at the Foundry in Long Island City, New York, and the couple’s personalities to shine through. “We did not have any major centerpieces, formal seating, place settings or name cards,” Risa  says. “We just wanted to marry each other and have a huge dance party. And make music, dancing and color the focus of the whole thing.”
Risa and Michael had fun with their first-dance song, choosing an upbeat oldie, “Then He Kissed Me” by the Crystals, to kick off the evening’s dance party. “I fell for the song as a kid watching the opening scene of ‘Adventures in Babysitting,’ ” Risa says. “We never had a song that was ‘our song,’ and nothing else was as important to either of us as that one was to me, so that was one that Michael let me indulge in. He now loves it too, of course.”
What Risa and Michael really wanted out of the reception was lots of dancing and, of course, plenty of glow sticks. “We truly had the glow stick part of dreams,” Risa says. “We had ended up ordering so many glow sticks that when the lights dimmed, the room was lit by our glow sticks. It was magical.”