We Used Rolling Chairs to Pull Off Our Socially Distanced Hora During Our Micro-Wedding
The theme was inspired by 30th Street Station, where the couple met.
Flexibility has been one of the most important factors of wedding planning since early 2020, when the pandemic wreaked havoc on Big Days the world over. Countless couples postponed, eloped, and often found one-of-a-kind ways to still get married. Their journeys tell the story of our time, and this 660 Collective micro-wedding is no different. Just 12 guests attended the socially distanced summertime soiree, which was filled with colorful blooms, personal touches — and a healthy dose of fun and games. Love Me Do Photography captured it all below.
When Jake Stein first saw Carrita Thomas at Newark Penn Station, he thought she was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. “I only saw her for a minute before she walked away, but it stuck with me,” says the future groom, who was waiting for a train back to Philly. As luck would have it, Carrita was traveling the same route and got off at 30th Street Station, where Jake made his move. “I saw her stop to pull out her phone, so I approached her, introduced myself and asked her out for a drink.”
That was the first time Carrita said yes. Another meaningful time came when Jake popped the question. The couple was on a tour of Kualoa Ranch Nature Preserve in Hawaii; toward the end, their guide directed them up a path to take in the view. Carrita noticed Jake was sweaty and pale. “He was also not responding to any of the hilarious jokes I kept making, so I knew something was up,” she says. She asked if he was OK, and the next thing she knew, he was down on one knee.
The Society Hill pair planned their 250-person wedding for April 2020 at the Horticulture Center, but the pandemic forced them to rethink their plans. They kept their spirits up, even notifying their guests with an honest but bittersweet email they dubbed “The Wedding Crasher.” (Read more about that here.) The couple decided to hold a small ceremony with their family when it was safe to do so and postpone their larger celebration for April 2021. While the latter was ultimately canceled (they only wanted to host it if they could safely have their full guest list present), they made good on their goal to say “I do” as soon as they feasibly could — on July 3rd, 2020, at 660 Collective in Norristown.
The light, bright industrial venue was a blank slate for their day, which they describe as “playful, modern, sophisticated and colorful.” Rather than a traditional ceremony space, Jesse Lucas of Clover Event Co. created a socially distanced lounge for the duo to say their vows and, later, to relax during their reception. RAM Floral surrounded the lounge with pastel-hued flowers in different arrangements — on the floor, on furniture, and on beveled glass stands. There were local accent blooms, dahlias, peonies, ranunculus, tulips and carnations.
The theme gently nodded to 30th Street Station with signage and table numbers inspired by the old split-flap board: Lucas had initially planned this design for the larger celebration but surprised the couple by using it throughout their micro-wedding, too. It was one of many elements that made the day even more sentimental.
The bride took comfort in having Jake with her in the minutes before the ceremony. He helped her into her dress and gave her a pep talk. “This was extra special since I had slept badly the night before and was still dealing with some intense lung pain that had lingered since I contracted COVID months before,” Carrita says. “But in those moments, I had such clarity on what the wedding was really about.”
The groom was touched when their officiant, friend David Fraga, told the 12 guests at the beginning of the ceremony to look around the room and silently reflect on the people who were there. “It was incredibly moving, and I still get choked up thinking about it.” The couple wanted their readings to be a surprise and enjoyed hearing what each person selected. The bride calls her mom’s choice, “Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog” by Taylor Mali, perfect. The ceremony was live-streamed via Twitch so Jake and Carrita could see the reaction of their friends and families.
The reception was followed by some lighthearted fun. A miniature Jenga set was styled next to the couple’s lounge as an homage to their love of games. A round of Stein vs. Thomas Charades was played. “I was surprised by the degree of Thomas-family domination,” says Jake. “While my family has many talents, Charades isn’t one of them.”
But the most of-our-times activity was the socially distanced hora. Guests positioned themselves in a circle (X’s were placed on the ground so people knew where to safely stand) around Carrita and Jake, who sat on ribbon-clad office chairs and used levers to lift and lower themselves while everyone danced and clapped to the music.
Afterward? Jake and Carrita went on a cross-country road trip, with Madison, Wisconsin and Missoula, Montana among the favorite first stops on their journey as husband and wife.
Photographer & Live-Stream: Love Me Do Photography | Venue: 660 Collective | Planning/Design: Jesse Lucas of Clover Event Co. | Florals: RAM Floral | Menu: sandwiches from Middle Child | Bride’s Attire: Emmy Mae from Lovely Bride (gown); Reformation (jumpsuit) | Hair: Kerri Fawley of Herringbone Salon | Makeup: Kristyn Rudnet of Shimmer and Spice | Groom’s Attire: SuitSupply | Officiant: David Fraga | Rentals & Linens: Party Rental Ltd.
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