MAR 9, 2022

VEERAH Brides: Kayt Marceaux-Galli

SERIES 005

How do an epidemiologist and an engineer plan a sustainable wedding in a pandemic? VEERAH bride Kayt shares some interesting details about their big day.

It goes without saying that the past three years have made wedding planning even more challenging than in pre-pandemic times. But when the bride is a public health practitioner like Kayt Marceaux-Galli, every aspect of the event goes under the proverbial microscope. Especially since she and her groom Alexander are both environmental advocates. On top of having to push their June 2020 wedding to September, find out how the couple navigated the challenges and changes to make their sustainable beach wedding happen.

sustainable wedding

"Oh Galli, I do!" Kayt and Alex encountered changes and challenges while planning their wedding, but they pulled it off beautifully.

Let's start from the beginning! What was your meet-cute and how has it led to the big day?

We met at the front door of my apartment at The University of Kansas in 2014. Alex was studying Physics, I was studying Spanish and Biology. My roommate Sam had asked him to drop off an exam. I answered the door but didn't say a word, took the exam, and slammed the door in Alex's face! I later explained to him that I was expecting a physicist in a bowtie and suspenders, not an athlete in casual KU gear.

We casually dated for a year, did a year of LDR (long-distance relationship) after graduating, lived together in 2016, and got engaged two years later. I proposed on the second day of a 14-day road trip from Maryland to San Diego, with the help of my Maid of Honor Elizabeth and our Shiba Inu, Shiro, whom we adopted in 2017. (Of course, he was enlisted to be one of our groomsmen!)

And then on our anniversary in October 2018, Alex surprised me with his grandmother’s engagement ring. We got married on September 20, 2020. It was a long engagement, but the best party takes time and many details!

Our OG date was June 6th, but due to COVID, we had to postpone, rearrange, and settle on a new date. As an epidemiologist and having finished my MPH (Master’s in Public Health) in 2020, it was something I could handle and figure out, how to maintain the health of my guests and still host a party. 

sustainable wedding

The wedding was held at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, a non-profit environmental group that aids in cleaning up and restoring the Chesapeake Bay.

pet adoption
pet adoption

Shiro, the couple's adopted Shiba Inu. Their best doggo served as one of the groomsmen! | @FIRECRACKERBBK

As an epidemiologist, how was it doing wedding preps in the pandemic?

Oh boy. As part of the first batch of brides that had to change plans (and live-stream the wedding for safety reasons), I eventually had to get a wedding planner to help me cover all of my bases.

It was pre-vaccines, so I opted to seat together household contacts, or people who I know are interacting with each other outside of the event, such as families that live in the same area. Seats were limited to eight per table. I opted for four-seat rounds when families or couples were coming from farther places so they could have their own space. 

Instead of dancing, we did outdoor games. Our guest book was giant Jenga blocks that everyone could sign. Even with our choreographed dance, we had to learn all the moves at home via Zoom with our instructor.

For the favors, originally I was going to hand out metal reusable straws to provide guests with a resource to help cut plastic straws. Due to the pandemic, I opted for individual hand sanitizers with the label "In sickness & in health Alex & Kayt 2020." It wasn't an eco option, but it was something guests could use, as well as a reminder that no matter the circumstances, our marriage will survive in sickness and health—pandemic or no pandemic. 

sustainable wedding
sustainable wedding
sustainable wedding
sustainable wedding

From masks and outdoor games to a giant Jenga "guestbook," Kayt wanted to minimize health risks while going as sustainable as possible.

Did you have a specific theme?

The wedding was held at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, a non-profit environmental group that aids in cleaning up and restoring the Chesapeake Bay where my husband and I are volunteers. It was a beach cocktail wedding with an ocean-breeze feel, and our theme was centered around trying to be environment-friendly. I had educational inserts placed on the tables discussing reef balls and their ecological purposes. We decided to plan our wedding around it because we felt what they stood for is what we wanted our lives to stand for: a sustainable environment, a sustainable marriage, actively involved in our community to build a life for our future and our future littles.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

The couple placed educational inserts on the tables, discussing reef balls and their ecological purposes.

What were all the elements that came together for your sustainable wedding?

As much as we could, we went local to at least decrease the carbon footprint of how far my items traveled to get to our event. If we couldn’t go local, we went with female-owned and/or minority-owned businesses to support them.

Invitations and tables cards came from Paper Culture, a company that prints sustainable invites on 1005 recycled paper and plants a tree with every order. Our flowers were from a local grower. The vases were secondhand, and guests could take them home. The table cardholders were repurposed cork we had collected from wine bottles throughout our engagement, while the table numbers were made by a family member from leftover wood. The arch was made from driftwood found at the beach.

For drinks, we did an open bar with Bay Ridge, a local liquor store that had a very amazing buyback program. We were able to avoid wastage and saved upwards of $800.

My dress was from a local boutique. I would have gone for secondhand but it was very special—my girls planned a surprise fitting and chose a dress for me to try on. Theirs were cocktail dresses that I hope they get a chance to wear again someday. I decided to go with Birdy Grey—try finding floor-length bridesmaids dresses for $99, it's almost impossible! The men’s suits were rented, while their ties were from the venue store and proceeds went to bay restoration efforts.

sustainable beach wedding
sustainable wedding prep
Chesapeake Bay Foundation

When they didn't eco-friendly options, Kayt went with local vendors to minimize their wedding's carbon footprint.

Tell us about your VEERAH bridal shoes of choice!

I wore the Frida shoe, I was looking for a white closed-toe option, but ended up going with something that matched my color scheme a bit more. It’s a conversation starter. Why these heels? VEERAH’s shoes are made out of vegan leather. I mean who doesn't love knowing they are walking on a mix of apple peels and sustainable materials? And bonus, they come from New York and traveled fewer miles to get to me in Maryland, compared to most other brands that would have to come from somewhere farther. Price was a little up there, but they are wedding shoes and I plan to wear them to work and other places. I also have rheumatoid arthritis, so I needed a comfortable shoe. Knowing it had this memory foam in it made it so worth it for our choreographed dance.

comfortable vegan wedding shoes - VEERAH Frida

Kayt thoroughly enjoying their choreographed dance in her VEERAH Frida heels in Champagne Blush.

vegan wedding shoes accessories - VEERAH Frida
comfortable vegan wedding shoes - VEERAH Frida

Kayt had wanted white shoes, until she found this pair of VEERAH vegan heels. She accessorized it with the Orchid Bloom brooches near the sides.

What were some unique and special moments from your big day?

Instead of dancing to culminate the wedding celebrations, we had a mock wedding—an Italian or Polish tradition from my husband's side of the family. People got to dress up in costumes and have noisemakers. My father-in-law read from fake vows and our cousins were in fake wedding attires and it was just so fun and hilarious. We also did our “first look” in our graduation gowns where we did a reveal of each other in our day-of attire. We both have masters, we’re both capable and independent. It’s very important to me that we are an equal couple.

traditional mock wedding
sustainable wedding prep

Kayt and Alex had to forego dancing to minimize health risks, but they found other ways for everyone to have a great time!

How has married life been so far?

We finally went on our honeymoon to Maui, Hawaii last December. We did lots of hiking and supported a lot of local businesses hurting from COVID down there and it was just a magical time we got to spend together. Married life has been a blast. We’re planning our family and hopefully expecting to be pregnant soon!

vegan wedding cake

Family picture: Kayt, Alex, and their best doggo, Shiro.

"Oh Galli, we did!" Kayt posted their wedding video on her Instagram. Check it out!

Wedding Photos by Hamilton Photography | Videography by Fordham Films
Wedding planner: Weddings & Events by Bernadette
Venue: Chesapeake Bay Foundation 
Catering: Main & Market
Dresses and suits: Birdy Grey, Juliya’s Custom Tailoring and Alterations, The Black Tux
Flowers: Honeybee Flower Farm Music: Mixing Maryland

Truly, a wedding isn’t just about the day itself. From Kayt’s proposal to the workarounds she and Alex came up with, the couple’s journey down the aisle was filled with unique and memorable experiences. As she puts it: “Love is love—you can’t put a timeline on it and you certainly can’t plan it. Life is sort of like that and marriage is a game of balance.” Wise words from our VEERAH Bride!