Franklin Park Conservatory
Music: Bluewater Kings Band
Suits: Tom James Company
Cake: Suisse Shop Bakery
Flowers: Vessel Floral Events
Wedding Planner: Danielle Rizqallah, Marisa Skaff (Joe’s sisters)
Officiant: Nikolas Pedro (Joe’s brother)
Rain. Shine. Or Arrest.
That was the motto for Brandon and Joseph’s Big Day, as they were determined to get married under the arch at McFerson Commons.
No permits, no permission—no problem. Just ask your guests to show up—and the wedding couple pops up.
Brandon and Joseph were able to pull off their on-the-fly affair under the historic arch—which, fittingly was relocated there years ago thanks to a few folks not taking no for an answer—with nearly 200 of their closest friends following the clues on their invitation to complete the ultimate DIY day.
The city said no. They said “I do” anyway.
Their Big Day was all about ducking cliches and bucking convention—like getting down with a drag queen at Franklin Park Conservatory hours later. Truly a day to remember.
Give us a range of your budget. Did you go over? Or stay under? $30-$35K. We managed to stay within budget, thankfully!
What do you wish you had spent more money on? We wanted to bring a taste of Chicago (Brandon’s hometown) to Columbus by having a Lou Malnati’s pizza shipped in as a late night snack. It was too expensive, so we opted for Garrett’s Popcorn—which was still pretty amazing.
Was there anything that you wanted to avoid when you envisioned your wedding? We wanted to avoid the standard. Standard wedding ceremony that was too long and forgettable. Standard wedding DJ, with cliche songs. Standard wedding favors that would be expensive and no one would use. Every detail of our wedding was purposeful, planned, and represented ourselves as a couple.
Tell us the story of how you got engaged/the proposal. We officially got engaged in Midtown Manhattan during a surprise weekend trip to New York. Joe picked me up from work on a Friday and we went straight to the airport. I didn’t realize we were going to New York until the layover in Charlotte, S.C.—we were literally the last ones on the plane! It was my first time in the city and we spent the weekend exploring Time Square and Rockefeller Center during Christmas time. We got engaged on our last day while walking on Broadway as we were heading back to the airport.
Where did you honeymoon? We had nine weddings in 2017, including our own, so we really could not afford to take an official honeymoon. However, the very last wedding we attended was in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic—so that was a nice “unofficial” honeymoon
If you could tell us one thing that makes your Big Day unique, what is it? We knew from the beginning of our wedding planning that we wanted to get married underneath the Arch at McFerson Commons Park (right across from Nationwide Arena). We called the city of Columbus a year in advance to reserve the park, but they told us no. We did not let that stop us! Our wedding invitations had a drawing of the arch on them, and we were determined to get married there. On the day of our wedding, 190 of our family and friends showed up at the Arch to anxiously await our arrival. We had a short 20-minute flash mob ceremony, and everything was perfect. Our family and friends thought we were crazy because we did not have a plan B—we were determined to get married under the Arch!
Besides making it official, what was the ultimate highlight of your Big Day? In Lebanese culture, it is tradition to do a Dabke (which is a an intricate line dance) at wedding receptions. It was amazing to see both of our families (and friends) of different cultures.