They met online three and a half years ago, and agreed to meet up at the Grey Dog Café in Union Square, neither of them necessarily looking for something serious.
“We liked each other so much we walked from there to Washington Square Park, then back to Union Square,” recalled Margot Atwell. “I wanted to keep hanging out with her but I had to leave to go to roller derby practice… We fell for each other really hard.”
This past Saturday Atwell, 35, and the woman she met at the Grey Dog, 31-year-old Elle Faraday, returned to Union Square. This time for something very serious — and very festive: their wedding at the Strand Bookstore on Broadway and 12th Street. The couple explained that the venue was symbolic of their love of both books and venerable New York traditions.
“I’m a writer and publisher, and we’re both prolific readers, so we couldn’t have imagined anything better than celebrating our love surrounded by books at an independent bookstore and New York literary institution like The Strand,” explained Atwell, who is director of publishing at Kickstarter, where she helps writers and journalists raise money and build community around their projects. As a wedding favor, the couple worked with an artist to design a custom enamel pin of a typewriter. Faraday heads up pedagogy at Pursuit, a tech education nonprofit that works with promising future software engineers (many of whom, of course, may never have touched an old-school typewriter).
The Strand reflected the couple’s veneration of words and education, but it also proved a “beautiful” spot to enjoy great food, friends and family, and “an amazing dance party,” Atwell said. DJ Tikka Masala “gave us the dance party of our dreams,” Faraday added, enjoyed by their 110 guests.
The women, who live in Bushwick, say neither one specifically proposed to the other.
“We had conversations about what we wanted and decided together,” Faraday explained. “We chose rings together and when they arrived we celebrated by taking pictures at the carousel in DUMBO.”
Even if no surprise bent knee was involved, the women found other ways to offer each other unexpected treats leading up to the wedding.
“I surprised Margot with a Princess cake, which we had both been obsessed with from ‘The Great British Baking Show’ — which we ate in Central Park with our siblings,” Faraday said.
Roller Derby, on Atwell’s mind the day they met, has remained a constant in their lives. Their officiant at the ceremony was Dara Fineman, aka Hebrewham Lincoln — “our close friend and roller derby teammate,” as Faraday described her. Fineman, she said, wrote “a heartfelt and book-themed ceremony.”
The couple also met their photographer, Stephanie Zakas (more on her on page 34), playing roller derby, and Zakas had already shot weddings for other members of their league.
“She does amazing work, obviously, but she is also so kind and funny and great at setting everyone at ease,” Atwell said.
Zakas shot their engagement photos while the couple roller-skated around Transmitter Park in Greenpoint. Their formal wedding day photos included a stroll from Washington Square Park to the Strand.
One other highlight Faraday made a point of singling out was the work of Rae Tutera at Brooklyn’s Bindle and Keep, who created for her “a custom-made suit [that] was so beautiful and made me feel exactly like myself.”
If this couple weren’t lucky enough, as their story goes to press, they are honeymooning in Italy — Rome, Florence, Parma, Bologna, Cinque Terra, and Venice. Ah, the stories they’ll be able to write!