Retro Technicolor Vibes Filled This Eclectic Wedding at the TWA Hotel in Queens, New York
We’ve always believed that couples should plan a wedding that’s uniquely their own, but couples haven’t always felt liberated to do that. Until the pandemic. As couples were forced to scale back, reschedule and adjust their nuptials, they also came back to what a wedding should really be: a meaningful celebration that authentically honors your love story. Sure, people will always have advice about what you “should” do, but couples finally feel like they can cast the rules aside in favor of a unique, personalized event.
For Shannon and Keith, bucking tradition meant hosting a retro-inspired wedding at the TWA Hotel at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. Vibrant colors and funky patterns set the tone. And while the wedding design was beautiful in its own, the backstory made the day even more special. Shannon and Keith have always been big fans of the technicolor style of the 1960s. "We wanted all our guests to feel as though we took them in a time machine back to the 1960s," they say.
"Once we found out that it was possible to have our wedding at the TWA Hotel, it was our one and only choice for our venue. The hotel is so perfectly restored to its original mid-century design, we instantly fell in love when we saw it in person," recalls Shannon. "When we first arrived it felt like we had stepped into a time warp. The elevator buttons from the airport even say '1960s TWA Hotel' and 'Present Day JetBlue.' The hotel's style is so immersive, it really set the stage for us to fully lean into a colorful retro theme for our wedding."
Playing period-appropriate music was key for Shannon and Keith as they sought to create an immersive experience for all of their wedding guests. "We filled our wedding playlist with all our favorite 60s music for our ceremony and cocktail hour. As the reception started, we imagined that we were slowly time traveling back to the present day. Slowly adding in our favorite 70s and 80s songs to the mix and culminating with the ultimate 90s dance hits and a karaoke after-party that kept things going till 2 am!"
Shannon is an artist and designer so she took on many DIY projects for the wedding, including designing all of the stationery for the couple's big day. "It was so exciting to design as much of my wedding as I could, so I took on as many DIY projects as possible. Keith is a creative as well so we would work on the designs together, and being an engineer, he created our wedding website. It was so incredible for us to see everything all come together on that day. I spent a lot of time sourcing inspiration for our invitation suite from vintage 60s/70s artwork, signage, prints and textiles. Once we designed our save-the-dates, we basically had a style guide to work from. The colors, fonts and floral graphics were then carried through to our invitation, website, and other printed materials like escort cards and menu." In addition to creating the stationery for the wedding, Shannon also DIYed the couple's guest book, the table number holders, some glass candle holders to match the rest of the funky glassware seen throughout the wedding, and even the flower arrangements for the wedding!
"DIYing the floral designs was probably the most daunting DIY task since it was a medium I had the least amount of previous experience with," says Shannon. "We are both sentimental collectors, so we decided early on we wanted to create florals that would last well past the wedding. I used a combination of hand-painted Sola (wood) flowers and artificial flowers and greenery for both my bouquet, Keith’s boutonniere, and the reception centerpieces."
The couple's dog attended the wedding and, looking back, Shannon and Keith are immensely grateful she was able to be present for the event. "We were so lucky the TWA Hotel is dog friendly so that our dog Franny could be part of our day. We’ve had her for almost 9 years, and it was very important for us to include her. She loves going places and working a crowd. There’s a very good chance that she thought the day was about her because so many of her favorite people were there to give her belly rubs. The three of us prancing into the reception room together to 'Baroque Hoedown' was such a silly and special moment." Shannon goes on to reminisce that "it’s a total cliche, but the time does pass faster than normal on the wedding day. Keep reminding yourself to take time to savor the moments and absorb the joy together!"