We love couples who aren’t afraid to be completely true to themselves while planning a wedding. Bride, Lori, says “Having met each other in a coffee shop in New York, we wanted an authentic ceremony. You can’t get more New York than getting married at City Hall.” Their intimate ceremony followed by an upbeat reception with panoramic views of the city was quintessentially New York, and we are so excited to share it with you.
Photography by Lord Ashbury.
Your ceremony in three words. Official, genuine, animated
Who officiated your ceremony? A lovely city officiant with blue hair and cowboy boots was assigned to us.
Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? My engagement ring was the John’s grandmother’s ring. I decided to wear it as both the engagement and wedding ring, as putting a wedding band with it did less rather than add more.
How did you go about planning your ceremony? Other than getting the marriage license, there was no planning required for City Hall. You show up, grab a number, and get hitched! We did have a chance to say some personal, unplanned vows which made it extra special.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? Having family present truly made City Hall such a special ceremony. Only our parents and siblings attended the ceremony, so it was a unique circle of the most important people in our lives witnessing us get married in one of the greatest cities on Earth.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony? After the ceremony, we walked to the Brooklyn Bridge near City Hall. It was an incredible setting to celebrate the first minutes as husband and wife. Making history surrounded by history.
“We had a family-style Sunday Supper at the restaurant Root & Bone the night before our wedding. Both growing up in the south from Charleston and Baton Rouge, it was a southern feast to be proud of.”
Is there anything that helps tell the story of your wedding? There was a major hurricane heading to New York City just in time for our wedding day! As if planning a wedding isn’t stressful enough, now we had to think about how Hurricane Joaquin may impact our wedding weekend. Luckily, the hurricane pushed out to shore at the last minute, and we avoided having Joaquin as an unexpected wedding guest!
What was the best advice you received as a bride? Follow your heart and don’t let social pressures, traditions or other influences dictate what matters to you as a couple.
“Our wedding reception was focused on passed hors d’oeuvres with stations for heavier food. Created by Chef John Fraser at Narcissa, menu items included lobster rolls, baked oysters, tuna tartar, duck cigars, pork tenderloin, beets and fried artichokes. Open bar was also a must with their crew!”
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Nail down a few key things that are must-haves for your dream wedding then let the experts do the rest. That is why you hire them! Also, you can plan a magnificent wedding in a short time frame. We were engaged in June and married by October.
“Our reception was literally on top of the world! The Standard Hotel East Village penthouse has 360 skyline views of New York City. With food and drinks flowing, a rocking Cuban salsa band, and family and friends letting loose — it was so magical.”
Why did you choose this location for your reception? We had visited the penthouse of The Standard Hotel East Village for a small concert one night and fell in love with the venue right away. Once we got engaged, it was our top choice for a venue as we knew it would take our guests’ breath away. In addition, we wanted to keep as much of the wedding and vendors local to our East Village neighborhood.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? Our favorite moment of the reception is what our photographer called The Golden Hour. Right when the sun was setting over the Hudson River creating a stunning glow, we were having our first look as a couple and then later watched our guests’ mouths drop at the venue and views. After seeing everyone dressed to the nines with smiles ear to ear, we knew it was going to be a night to remember.
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? Focus the budget on your must-haves then be flexible with budget options on the rest. Think outside the box whether it is DIY or vendors that don’t typically service weddings.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? The amazing talent of people that support weddings was so inspiring, and how much they cared about making our day special was unforgettable. Whether it was meeting with Nicole Miller’s team in her showroom selecting the perfect wedding dress, planning out the ice sculpture design with frozen flowers and strawberries with Okamtoto Studio, or doing trial runs with our photographer, Lord Ashbury, and make-up artist, Eric Holt from NARS, everyone brought their best ideas and skills to make our wedding truly wonderful.
Did you include any other traditions in your wedding? Since I’m from Louisiana, we had a Mardi Gras second line dance where guests paraded around the room waving napkins in the air to traditional New Orleans music. It’s always a crowd pleaser.
What was your first dance song? Our first dance was to “La Vie en Rose” by Louis Armstrong. We got engaged in the Place des Vosges, the first planned park in Paris, so the French themed song was a gentle nod to that memorable day. The song puts you in such a good mood with a trumpeted build up towards the end which led John to give me a fancy, dramatic dip at the end!
Reception music performed by Cuban Salsa Band, Groupo Irek.
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? The wedding cake was an exposed strawberry-lemon layer cake from Momufuku Milk Bar. (We dream about it all the time.) We also had s’mores for guests to enjoy.
Cake by Milk Bar.
Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception. One of the huge hits of the reception was the wedding favors. We hired an illustrator to capture each guest’s portrait in colored ink. Mara Cespon, the talented illustrator, is a friend of mine, and she created portraits each under four minutes with every last detail captured. Guests took home their illustrations — many of which have been framed. You can’t say that most wedding favors end up hanging on your guests walls!
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? Not a single thing — it was perfection!
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