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Love Stories

Stephen Andrew Palgon &
Jennifer Alice Johansmeyer
  • The Tobacco Warehouse
  • September 24, 2005
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stephenjenniferThe Location

After Jen and I got engaged, I said to her, "Let's take our time and be engaged for a little bit." That was short-lived. The next day I was up and already looking for a place for our wedding. From the beginning, we wanted something that felt like us, somewhere special. We found the Tobacco Warehouse on the same day I looked at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. My mother saw something in the New York Times about a couple who had their wedding at Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park and told us to go check it out. When Jen and I arrived there, we knew we had found the spot for our wedding. The Tobacco Warehouse was unique. It felt like a New York ruin; it had an outdoor element that was what Jen wanted (but was scary to the control freak in me). It was a blank slate, but with character.

The Search

If you ask Jen, she might say it was never-ending. If you ask me, it was an adventure. We looked everywhere. My mom always said, "Check everything out, you never know what you'll find." That's exactly what we did. One of the biggest things we learned from doing all this research, from seeing multiple wedding sites, photographers, caterers, florists, and bands, was that everyone has something that can guide you to something else. You may not find the right florist, but they may know the right caterer.

The Engagement

Jen and I went on our first date in Hudson River Park. So when I thought about where we would get engaged, I thought Jen and I would go back there. For our proposal, I collected all the e-mails that we had written during our four years of dating and put them together in an edited script that talked about our journey together. I then cast fourteen of our friends, who have known us throughout our relationship, to read the roles of "Stephen" and "Jen" in this little play. It was an amazingly beautiful moment.

The First Dance

We began with a simple waltz to Journey's "Open Arms," something that would raise an eyebrow about our taste but not completely give away what we had planned. Right when Steve Perry starts in with, "So here I am . . ." Stephen broke loose and started a solo performance, leaving me twirling off to the side. At which point I shouted, "Hold on, this isn't what we talked about! He promised!" I turned to the band to cut him off, and within a couple beats they were playing the Jackson Five's "Dancing Machine" and I was showing him how it's done. We strutted across the dance floor together, ending our number with a series of highly skilled moves, including the sprinkler, the lawn mower, and the chicken. Needless to say, everyone was on their feet and, within seconds of opening up the floor, there wasn't a single person seated. It stayed that way for the rest of the night.

The Inspiration

While we were engaged, we found a quote by Apollinaire that has been important to us ever since. It goes, " 'Come to the edge,' He said. / They said, 'We are afraid.' / 'Come to the edge,' He said. / They came. He pushed them . . . and they flew." It seemed to encapsulate what getting married meant to us. We used it in the ceremony; hung banners over the dance floor at the reception that read AND THEY FLEW; incorporated it into our cake design; and had those three words etched on our wedding bands.

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