Wedding Style: Dara and Mark
A perfectly unplanned late spring proposal in a beautiful park. That’s how this wedding story begins. Dara Schwartz and Mark Subel had been trying to take a trip to Montreal, but twice, they had to change their plans.
“This time we were going to make it there,” says Subel. “I just knew that I wanted to propose to her in Montreal even though we’d never been there. So it was a risk because I wasn’t sure if it would be that special of a place to propose after all.”
With a ring hidden in a box, then bundled up in Subel’s socks and packed away in his luggage, they made it to Montreal. They enjoyed a few days before he found a wonderful place to ask the question, Park LaFontaine.
“We walked together into Park LaFontaine in the afternoon with a bottle of sparking cider champagne, cheese and bread, and cookies to have a small little picnic,” he says. “Walking into the park was like a scene from a movie. Montrealers were scattered about having their own picnics, reading poetry, playing music and taking full advantage of the beautiful day. The sounds of church bells rang through the park, striking 4 p.m. We found a little spot under a tree close to the pond and started to eat and relax. We watched an adorable old couple walk by us and I proposed to Dara minutes later in the grass. Right then it was magical – the sun lit the pond in front of us and casted through the leaves of the tree we were sitting under. It was there I felt Dara’s mom was with us.”
It was a successful trip.
“The night I met Mark, I got lost in his eyes and literally had the moment that I only thought was in girly movies,” says Schwartz. “I remember saying to myself as I shook his hand, “you’re going to be in my life in some way.” Just wasn’t sure exactly how, right then. We’ve been together for 13 years.”
The couple has lived in Harrison West for nine years and when they were considering locations for their wedding ceremony, the Harrison Park Gazebo was an obvious choice.
“We love our neighborhood and adore our neighbors,” says Schwartz. “It’s a neighborhood where your neighbors become close friends. We are actively involved in the community and the Harrison West Society. It just represented us. It felt perfect.”
They walked down the aisle hand in hand, with their families walking down before them. The bride wore a peachy-blush chiffon dress with a sweet-heart neckline and a lightly flowing train.
“I wanted a dress that was similar to the sundress I was wearing in the park when Mark proposed,” says Schwartz. “I knew he loved that one and I wanted the same feeling for our wedding.”
The couple’s close friend Mary Martineau officiated the ceremony.
“She jokingly used to threaten us that unannounced, on one of these SoFun Summerfests, she was going to turn it into a wedding and marry us,” says Schwartz. “We couldn’t have asked for anything more. It was beautiful, personal, heartfelt, funny and loving.”
After the ceremony, the couple rode off in a rickshaw driven by the groom’s brother, Matt Subel.
Every year, Schwartz and Subel host an annual festival in their backyard the day before Labor Day called the SoFun Summerfest.
“We initially were going to host this in our backyard as a continuation of SoFun Summerfest celebrations,” says Schwartz. “Did I mention the tiny backyard? So we turned to our favorite hangout. Seventh Son Brewery was the most fitting venue that could maintain the casual, laid back backyard atmosphere and host our crazy, all nonsense, *slightly silly* festival.”
“Being that this was our 5th annual SoFun Summerfest, we decided to turn this into our wedding,” says Subel” It was already built in. So, the SoFun Wedding was born.”
For this special edition, the day would be filled with everything that makes the couple’s journey through life amazing.
The SoFun Wedding day’s events centered on the couple’s travels together. They began with recreating the picnic from Montreal and had a Montreal cheese tasting, with cheeses sources by Donte of Curds and Whey in the North Market.
“He also made a special cheese for us and cured a Bluescreek ham for our charcuterie,” says Schwartz. “We had mini chocolate croissants, baguettes and Montreal’s famous Cider Champagne.”
Next was a salsa throw-down where twelve contestants entered salsas judged by Bob Mangia, Mary Martineau, and the bride. The winner being Hae Ran, from Hae-Pauls Restaurant.
More cheese tastings, Pasteis de nata – a Portuguese egg tart pastry, and wine tastings continued, before Schwartz performed several different styles of flamenco dancing with her group Flamenco del Corazon to kick off the Spanish fiesta. Pete Cary provided the music with his flamenco guitar.
“Dancing flamenco with my flamenco angels, was magical and extremely special to me,” says Schwartz. “After my mother passed, I turned to flamenco as my “therapy.” Shortly after, our flamenco company experienced the loss of our loving instructor and founder of the company, Cyndi Stamps. This was a very special way to honor them.”
Barcelona Restaurant’s Executive Chef Jacob Hough and Sous Chef Todd Elder prepared dinner.
“They rolled out an amazing tapas menu,” says Subel. “We brought two Weber grills to the brewery and they cooked veggie and chicken paella, and Chorizo like the Spaniards do. It was awesome.”
Brēzel bites were on the tables. Pies and ice cream finished off the evening on a sweet note.
“I couldn’t have asked for anything more than to have my dear friend and pie goddess, AJ Perry, of Sassafras Bakery, make pies for us!” says Schwartz. “She made gorgeous cherry (my favorite,) peach, mixed berry and apple pie. Jeni’s has been a routine stop for us, since her first scoop shop at the North Market. We were scooping dark chocolate, Riesling poached pear, Ugandan vanilla bean, pistachio & honey, and salty caramel. We had Pattycake vegan cookies too!”
Music throughout the evening included a cabaret with Dean and Jenny Marcellana, the Shaw Brothers, Middle Rats, and Polka with Subel’s father Rick playing the accordion.
“Every aspect was close to our hearts, filled with love and friendship,” says Schwartz. “Every element was a celebration of our personal relationships and experiences in Columbus.”
“In one place, at one time, we had a lifetime of family and friends who came together with love. It was a day filled with art, sounds, laughter, tastes of many cultures, crafted beer, it was truly an all-sensory, magical affair. Everything in that day reflects what makes us.”
The couple launched the Harrison Park Neighborhood Jazz Series after their wedding. They did get away for a day to Athens, Ohio where they reminisced about how they met and their college days. A trip to Europe is planned for later next year.
Ceremony Venue: Harrison Park Gazebo
Reception Venue: Seventh Son Brewing Co.
Bride’s Dress: Arden B.
Bride’s Hair and makeup: Virtue Vegan Salon
Groom’s Attire: Vintage feel. Linen Jacket by Tallia Orange. Hat by Goorin Brothers. Hat and tie from Tiger Tree.
Rings: Bride’s is a vintage family ring. Groom’s was handcrafted and designed by Jen Wells-Dickerson from New York
Officiant: Mary Martineau
Invitations: Beth Stafford
Food: Barcelona Restaurant
Favors: Schwartz shares: “Community Canvas. We technically didn’t do favors, but instead had raffles and an onsite t-shirt screening. In SoFun tradition, we display blank canvases on a tables and easels, accompanied with a variety of tools to decorate with. From spray paint and acrylic to stencils and chalk, people can contribute to what we call, The Community Canvas. “Together, let’s build a masterpiece.” It’s an all-day, build-upon artful painting creation. At the end, we raffle off the canvas. We politely asked for no wedding gifts. We kept one for ourselves as our gift, which couldn’t be any better than having all your loved ones in one place, reflected on a masterpiece that will be cherished forever.”
Photography: Ben + Beth Stafford.
All photos provided by Dara Schwartz.
Would you like your wedding featured on Wedding Style? Send me an email at Anne@ColumbusUnderground.com.