Colorful, Whimsical Backyard Wedding in Pomona, New York

Ariel Dannis (36, director of strategy and operations at New York City Department of Education) and Golden Moise (37, accountant at Fendi) had what wo

Ariel Dannis (36, director of strategy and operations at New York City Department of Education) and Golden Moise (37, accountant at Fendi) had what would seem like the perfect love story: they met and became high school sweet hearts during their senior year. She was the captain of the varsity tennis team and Golden was the captain of the varsity football team. But there were deep social issues embedded in their relationship—she was Jewish and he was Haitian. "Interracial dating was not common where we grew up," says Ariel. "Although Golden and I did not see a problem, our families most certainly did—especially mine. It was us against the world." Ariel and Golden dated in secret through college and long distance for the years after. Then, when they were 28 years old, Ariel started feeling pressure to get married. Knowing her parents would never approve of her marrying Golden, she ended their relationship. Although she went on to date "a nice Jewish boy" she couldn't forget Golden. Three years later Ariel and Golden rekindled their relationship for the last and final time. No longer able to deny their connection, Ariel's parent's gave their approval.  Finally, after a romance that spanned nearly 20 years, and with her parents' blessing, the unconventional couple planned an intimate wedding full of bright colors and whimsical details in Ariel's parent's backyard. "It was incredibly meaningful to have the wedding at my parents’ home,” says Ariel. “After everything that went on between us, it all came full circle.” From Ariel's blue wedding gown to the steel drum ceremony music, every bit of their long-awaited nuptials mirrored the day's celebratory tone.

"My bouquet was gorgeous!" says Ariel.  She carried a vibrant bunch of delphinium, thistle, white dahlia and lavender in earthy shades of blue, yellow and orange. With accents of blueberries and raspberries.
Backyard Wedding First Look in Blue Wedding Dress
Ariel and Golden Together
Ariel and Golden had two flower girls (her niece, Taylor and Golden’s cousin, Alanna) who carried life-sized paper mache flowers down the aisle.
Africarib Steel Drum Band, played during the ceremony procession and recession as well as the cocktail hour.
Fusion Jewish and Haitian Backyard Wedding Ceremony
Signature Cocktail Cocktail Hour Station
Chalkboard Cocktail Hour Sign
Blue and White Striped Paper Straws
Guests signed the guest book which was set up on a vintage desk belonging to Ariel's late grandmother. "I had a very special relationship with my grandmother who is deceased and I wanted her spirit around me as much as possible," says Ariel.
Blue Calligraphed Guest Book Sign
Backyard Wedding Lounge Area Seating
Candlelight Lounge Area Decor
Rustic Wood Wedding Reception Dancing Sign
Tented Backyard Wedding Reception in Pomona
The plates for the buffet style dinner were displayed in wooden crates alongside large arrangements of sunflowers.
Sunflower Reception Flower Arrangement
Three sections of long walnut farm tables were set up inside the reception tent around the dance floor. The tables were set with burlap table runners, and more than 200 vintage bud vases, and lanterns and votives.
Eclectic Bud Vase Tablescape Decor
Calligraphed Slate Table Numbers
Rustic Calligraphed Slate Place Setting
Rebecca, from Rebecca Shepherd Floral Design, used all hot, vibrant wildflowers: reds, pinks, blues, violets, oranges, yellows. "Bright, non-traditonal flowers made it feel like a celebration of love in an enchanted forest," says Ariel.
Ariel and Golden had their first dance to “You and Me”, by Penny and The Quarters.  "We saw the movie, 'Blue Valentine' together and I as soon as I heard that song, I got chills because that was how I felt about Golden," says Ariel. "The song was meant for us."
Chocolate Cupcake Wedding Cake Alternative
Ariel's mother also made Mandelbrot, one of her favorite traditional Jewish pastries, which was served with Cremas, a sweet and creamy alcoholic beverage native to Haiti in vintage milk bottles.