Film Parties

Abbi Jacobson and Jodi Balfour’s Wedding Was an Ode to Total, Unscripted Togetherness. Look Inside Their Raucous Brooklyn Festivities

Abbi Jacobson and Jodi Balfour at their New York wedding. All images courtesy of Jacobson and Balfour.

Abbi Jacobson and Jodi Balfour can recall, with startling clarity, every bead in the strand of their relationship: a fateful text message sent during lockdown, the spatial intricacies of a carefully orchestrated first date, the many paper bags of fresh strawberries and tomatoes in-between.

When they met (virtually) in 2020, each was peeking over her own precipice. “I was riding out Covid alone—it was a ‘dark night of the soul’ kind of vibe,” recalls Jacobson. Balfour, for her part, was untethered by the loss of a sibling and the end of a long-term relationship. “It was a watershed year for me in many ways,” the actor recalls. “Meeting Abbi felt like the pinnacle of a long-overdue step in my own evolution.”

Among these foundational memories, at least one theme appears: two people, so respectful of one another’s boundaries, taking simultaneous leaps of faith. On the evening of their first date at Jacobson’s Los Angeles home, they fell privately in love from 25 feet apart. “I had a very complex theory about my own relationship to romance. Then I saw Abbi standing just outside her front door and I thought, Oh, I love this person. Cool,” Balfour recalls. “I made her walk outside to the backyard by herself,” adds Jacobson, “so I could have a moment to say to myself, ‘Oh God, I’m in love.’”


Later, when Balfour was on location in London, Jacobson flew in for a five-week visit with a childhood keepsake—a toy ring—in hand. On the last weekend of the trip, the actor-comedian seized her moment to propose. “We were both crying. Jo said, ‘You little shit, I have a ring for you, too.’” Three years after that first date, each of these many moments culminated in a wedding ceremony at Public Records in New York. “I like a little bit of grub with my beauty,” Balfour muses. “That’s why we chose Gowanus,” Jacobson adds.

The evening, which brought together a cadre of creative talents—floral designer Rana Kim, chef Emma Leigh MacDonald, photographer Lucia Bell-Epstein, and designer Sophie Lou Jacobsen, among others—was an ode to the couple’s dedication to real, unscripted togetherness. Very unscripted, in fact—when torrential rains turned a thoughtfully choreographed evening on its head, these many women adapted by calling in favors, reevaluating plans, and embracing the chaos.

“When we first started texting, I asked Jo what about pre-Covid life she missed most,” Jacobson recalls. Balfour answered immediately: Sweaty shoulders. “After so much distance, we wanted the wedding to feel like that first sweaty shoulder moment—total togetherness,” Balfour concludes. “I think we did that.” Here, the couple shares a few snapshots from an unforgettable night.


The Florals

Jodi Balfour: The flowers are by Rana Flora. Instead of arrangements and prettiness, we wanted moments of architecture. We wanted these to feel like floral installations, rather than flowers decorating a space. Rana had us meet her at the flower market in Chelsea to walk around, talking about what we were attracted to. We knew we wanted to give her a lot of trust.


The Clothes

Abbi Jacobson: We were late to meet our moms at the venue, where we were supposed to get dressed. Because of the rain, everything switched around, and we ended up getting ready in a supply closet.

Balfour: For the ceremony, we both wore The Row—right off the rack.

Jacobson: Thanks Mary-Kate! For the party, we wanted to mix it up. Our friend Alexis [Novak] owns this store called Tab Vintage in LA. She has an incredible collection. I changed into Versace chainmail, and Jo wore Vivienne Westwood.


The Ceremony

Jacobson: We had planned an outdoor ceremony and dinner, but we had to pivot. It was such kismet, because the ceremony was not what we expected, but it was exactly what we’d hoped for. People were packed together. When we looked out at the audience, our friends were on stools, peeking through the plants, and sitting on top of the booths. I’ve never been to a wedding like that.

Balfour: I kept thinking, The next time these people will be in the same room would have to be my funeral.

Jacobson: Our joint funeral.


The Menu

Jacobson: Food has marked a lot of occasions for us, like the strawberries the night we met, and the tomatoes the day we got engaged. We described a lot of these moments for Emma, who developed a menu around them. Everything was so fresh and unfussy.

Balfour: Because of the rain, our outdoor seated dinner became an indoor buffet. I remember calling Emma, the chef, on the brink of tears about the idea of a goddamn buffet. We had been planning the seated dinner for months. Emma said, “It’s going to be beautiful. There will be no bunsen burners.” She called in Sophie to help make it possible. I was so relieved that we had chosen these partners in crime.


The Photos

Balfour: We didn’t want to disappear in the middle of the wedding to take portraits. Instead, we just walked around the space with Lucia for a bit. It’s so funny to me to look at our version of the wedding portraits you usually see, where the couple is in a beautiful field of lavender.


The Party

Balfour: We decided to make the party a surprise. After dinner, the Westerlies burst out of the kitchen playing Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke.” We followed them from the dining room to the dance floor in the sound room, where Matt FX [music supervisor on Broad City] started DJing. I also surprised Abbi by asking our friends Lukas [Frank] and Zach [Dawes] to perform “True Love Will Find You in the End.”

Jacobson: Our first dance was to Aretha Franklin’s “Don’t Let Me Lose This Dream.” My dress destroyed Jo’s tights within 35 seconds.

Balfour: It really was “one of those nights.” We were in a dark wooden room with no windows, an insane sound system, and a disco ball. Everyone’s nice clothes became wet rags. People were smoking who don’t smoke. Our moms did the hora. It was like we all existed in a different dimension for a while.