Hana Haile-Mariam and Joshua Goodman decided to throw a political-themed wedding because the pair met (and fell in love) while working on President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. “We both worked on the finance team,” Hana recalls. Adding that for the first few months they tried to keep the relationship under wraps, but it quickly became a ‘poorly kept secret.’ The couple made it through the election and ended up dating for almost six years until Joshua proposed at Prospect Park in Brooklyn.
For their political-themed wedding at District Winery, the couple sent guests clever ballots, which served as invitations, and created a seating chart that read “House Seats” to showcase their campaign romance. Along with their political theme, they also held an Ethiopian Melse at The American Institute of Architects to incorporate Hana’s heritage. Take a peek at their wedding gallery below to learn more about their big day.
The Political-Themed Wedding Invitations
One of Hana’s favorite details from their political-themed wedding were the invitations. “It felt like the most us,” she says. Each invitation featured a ballot that guest had to fill out as if they were casting a vote, which made collecting RSVPs especially fun for the couple. “We laughed at all the referendum questions and I think guests enjoyed a different experience,” the couple says.
The Wedding Fashion
Hana donned a sleeved gown adorned with lace and beaded embellishments. She kept her makeup soft and natural pairing the look with her hair pulled slightly to the side in a pearl barrette. Joshua kept with a formal look by wearing a navy suit accessorized with a burgundy necktie and orchid boutonniere attached to his lapel. Bridesmaids and groomsmen also looked lovely in wine-colored dresses, for the ladies, and neckties, for the gentlemen.
The Ceremony and Reception Details
The couple held an indoor ceremony at Navy Yard’s popular venue, District Winery with more than 150 guests in attendance. After exchanging vows, the newlyweds and their guests celebrated with a reception featuring a family-style dinner. From pickled beet and arugula salad, to red miso glazed salmon and horseradish mashed potatoes, to name a few dishes, guests dined and mingled over a delicious spread. In lieu of wedding favors, the couple made a donation on behalf of their guests to a medical clinic in Ginchi, Ethiopia. “It is located in the town where [my] Dad is from, and where [my] grandmother still lives today,” Hana says.
The Ethiopian Melse
“Including pieces of our upbringing and respective cultures were also very important [to us],” the couple says. So, in honor of Hana’s Ethiopian heritage, they opted for a Melse celebration the day after their wedding where they served traditional Ethiopian dishes, such as Doro Wot, and performed the Eskita, a traditional Ethiopian dance. “Hana and I put in a good amount of practice, including taking a few beginner Eskista classes while in Ethiopia together,” recalls Joshua. He says while the reviews of his moves were mixed, they had a blast performing the special dance for their friends and loved ones. Hana and Joshua also ensured that their big day was single-use plastic free, because of the company Joshua co-founded, by Humankind, and the couple’s passion to reduce plastic waste. After the weekend-long celebration, the newlyweds went on a mini-moon to Montreal and then took a bigger trip a few months later to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Rome, and the Amalfi Coast.
Photographer: Mason Photography | Venue: District Winery (reception); American Institute of Architects (Melse) | Planning & Design: Elegance & Simplicity | Invitations: Anticipate Invitations | Catering: District Winery (reception); Makeda Restaurant (Melse) | Cake: Eli’s Cheesecake Company | Hair Stylist: Kalizya Hutchinson | Makeup Artist: Carl Ray Makeup Artist | Bride’s Attire: Flora Bridal from Gabriella New York Bridal Salon | Groom’s Attire: Saks Fifth Avenue | Bridesmaids’ Attire: Nordstrom | Music: Jump Street Band | Video: Shawn Fisher Productions