We can’t wait to kick off your Monday morning with a big dose of romantic grandeur! Brides Lauren and Emily met while working on a mock trial put on by their law firm, where they quickly realized how much they had in common. It doesn’t hurt that they have impeccable taste — from their glamorous bridal style, to the jaw-dropping venues, to the meticulously planned menu and music, their wedding was a celebration to remember.
Photography by Roey Yohai.
“Our wedding stationary was custom-made by Bella Figura, working in conjunction with the fabulous team at The Dandelion Patch in Washington, D.C. We wanted pieces that evoked an elegant, art deco aesthetic, with a modern twist. To get that effect, we built off a fan motif, borrowed from the original cover art of an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, and used a three-color palette: black, white, and a tawny matte foil. These components played off each other in the various pieces. The save-the-date had the fan patter foil-embossed in a small print with text in black block print and foil script, while the invitation had the pattern blind-pressed in a larger relief with the same textual accents. The other pieces similarly drew from these components, each in a unique way.”
What was the best advice you received as a bride? Walking into our rehearsal dinner, Lauren’s sister gave the best piece of advice we received. She said, “Be present. This will only happen once, and it happens quickly. Live in the now, and every few minutes, be sure to find each other. This is, after all, about you, and it’s something you should experience together.” We followed that advice and were so grateful for it; one of our favorite photos from the weekend is the two of us, each in conversation with a separate person, but joined together with Lauren’s outstretched hand.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Anyone planning a wedding in New York knows how far in advance everything must be arranged. But use this to your advantage. Get as much done as possible early in the process; that way you can avoid some of the stresses that arise as your wedding day approaches.
There was no shortage on style when it came to the brides’ attire. Lauren’s wore a beaded Gatsby-like dress and headpiece by Jenny Packham paired with a flowing Monique Lhuillier veil. Emily’s Amanda Wakeley dress featured a flowing multilayered chiffon skirt with a six-foot train accessorized with an art deco inspired comb from Hitched Bridal Couture. Their two dresses complimented each other so perfectly.
“We wanted the ceremony flowers to be seasonal and to draw from the rich mosaic work in the Chapel. We carried complementary bouquets of gorgeous cream, ivory, and winter-white flowers with just a hint of rich aubergine. The bouquets were incredibly textural, incorporating tulips, callas, and anemones in the height of their season, cuffed in deep green foliage, and tied with wide velvet ribbons.”
Floral Design by Lewis Miller Design.
“There was no question about what city we’d get married in; we always knew it would be New York! That was where we met, where we fell in love, and where we feel most at home. We were married just after dark in the Beth-El Chapel at Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York. It’s a stunning space – warm and intimate, accented with intricate mosaic work and stained glass. It also has a deep personal significance to us, as Lauren’s paternal great-granduncle, Dr. Julius Mark, was the senior rabbi there from 1948 through 1977. Following the ceremony, we moved down Fifth Avenue for a reception at the New York Public Library. The building evokes such a sense of elegance and grandeur; it had exactly the type of physical gravitas we wanted for a celebration of the most important day in our lives.”
“It was important to us to have the components of a traditional Jewish ceremony complemented by our own personal touches. In Jewish tradition, the couple gets married before anyone actually walks down the aisle in a small, private ceremony where a ketubah, the wedding contract, is signed. The traditional text of the ketubah speaks of dowry and a wife’s obligations to her husband —concepts that didn’t seem fitting to our modern, same-sex marriage — so we chose to write our own text, promising, amongst other things ‘to honor the best traditions of our faith and act in accordance with our values.’ The ketubah itself was a work of art, designed by Emily’s best friend and drawing imagery and motifs from the chapel in which we were married.”
“Because the Chapel offered so much by way of architectural detail, we needed to do very little by way of decoration. We anchored the ceremony with a stunning chuppah, composed of seasonal jewel-toned flowers and cascading vines that complemented, and seemed to grow from, the floral mosaics on the bema. The top of the chuppah was composed entirely of greenery so that light dappled through, casting lace-like shadows on the marble floors.”
Your ceremony in three words. Modern meets traditional.
What was your ceremony music? Our ceremony music was performed by Andrew Park, our dear friend and Lauren’s law school roommate. In addition to being a brilliant attorney, he is also a trained concert pianist. Most importantly, though, he is the one who first encouraged Lauren to share her feelings with me and therefore the reason we are married. We worked with Andrew to select music that would sound beautiful in the space and evoke the moods we desired throughout the ceremony – processionals full of anticipation, music for circling that was delicate and playful, and a recessional that was momentous and celebratory.
Processional: Frédéric Chopin, “Étude in E Major, Op. 10, No. 3″
Bridal Processional: Edvard Grieg, “Gavotte from the Holberg Suite, Op. 40″
Circling: Edvard Grieg, “Norwegian Bridal Procession, Op. 19, No. 2″
Recessional: Edvard Grieg, “Praeludium from the Holberg Suite, Op. 40″
Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? Emily was escorted down the aisle by her parents and I was escorted by my father. We were married under a chuppah, a Jewish wedding canopy, and circled each other seven times before the ceremony commenced, as is tradition. However, we took a more personal approach to the seven blessings, having our immediate family members write their own blessings for us that were read after the traditional Hebrew ones. At the end of the ceremony we broke a single glass, together.
What were your vows like? We used traditional Jewish wedding vows (in English and Hebrew), modified only to account for the fact that we are both women. We were incredibly blessed to be married by the Rabbi who married Lauren’s parents, and his thoughtful words were beautifully complemented by Cantor Lori Corrsin’s Hebrew singing. We were also touched that the Honorable Paul Engelmayer spoke. Before becoming a judge, Paul was our mentor at the law firm where we met, and it brought things full circle to have him take part in our marriage.
What was your favorite thing about your ceremony? The significance of us even being able to get married is not something that passes us by. We feel blessed to have had our union sanctified by the laws of our religion and sanctioned by the laws of the great State of New York. A marriage is about two people forming a lifelong union, but it is also about that union being recognized and validated by their community. We are grateful that we live in a day where our union was welcomed by our friends, our family, our federal and state governments, and our faith. It was incredible to look out from under the chuppah and see all of the important people in our lives assembled to show their love and support.
“For our reception, we tried to capture the elegance and glamour of old New York. Guests entered the reception through the iconic Fifth Avenue entrance of the New York Public Library, a grand staircase lined with fleets of shimmery mercury glass cylinders glowing with candles. The cocktail hour took place in Astor Hall, the soaring marble gallery that welcomes guests when they enter the Library. Astor Hall is backed by a seemingly endless, arched promenade, framed by gilded ceilings, which we had set with a single long table, seating all 220 guests. This provided an intimate venue for a formal, three-course dinner. After-dinner dance music was provided by the effortlessly cool DJ Marvin, who spun a mixture of old-school hip hop, classic oldies, and pop favorites.”
“Guests entered the reception through the iconic Fifth Avenue entrance of the New York Public Library, a grand staircase lined with fleets of shimmery mercury glass cylinders glowing with candles. The cocktail hour took place in Astor Hall, the soaring marble gallery that welcomes guests when they enter the Library. Flanked on either side by grand staircases, and backed by architecturally stunning archways, it is a room that inspires awe.”
“The focal point of the cocktail hour was the bar, centered on the middle archway, clothed in tailored linens, and decorated on the ends with groupings of hurricanes encasing thick cream pillar candles. A series of low cocktail tables, decorated with white hyacinths and votives provided seating space. In order to delineate the cocktail space from the dinner space, the archways were draped with long ivory panels of fabric that were dramatically pulled back when guests were called to be seated.”
“Both the temple where we were wed and the New York Public Library where we celebrated are iconic New York landmarks built in the early 20th Century. To create a mood befitting of the space, we wanted to evoke the feeling of old New York, bringing elegance and glamour to the entire evening. Our color palette was simple, the deep jewel tones natural to vegetation that flourishes in the winter, complemented by subtle metallics, together creating a rich and warm aesthetic. Astor Hall is backed by a seemingly endless, arched promenade, framed by gilded ceilings, which we had set with a single long table, seating all 220 guests. This provided an intimate venue for a formal, three-course dinner, uninterrupted by the usual up-and-down of American weddings. ”
“The table linens were rich and multi-textured, with olive green underlays, earthy runners, and woven metallic fabric laid over the top. Set on this base was a bounty of winter flowers — anemones, black calla lilies, ranunculus, tulips, roses, hyacinths, cyclamen, passion vine, and begonia foliage — spilling from low compotes in painterly arrangements including seasonal vegetation like artichokes, kale, and plums. Interspersed were silver cups and delicate blown glass bud vases holding single types of flowers for more composed, modern moments. Creeping vines wove their way in and out of the table arrangements alongside low cups massed with verdant moss. Footed mercury glass hurricanes and scores of votives lit the place settings of elegant, gold-edged china.”
What was your wedding menu? We are a food-driven couple. We love to eat. We like Michelin three-starred restaurants and roadside shacks in equal measure. Our first “not-date” was for authentic Chinese food in Flushing, Queens. We celebrated our one-month anniversary at the eponymous Daniel.
We cook for ourselves almost every night of the week, and we love to entertain. Several nights a month we’ll gather a big group of friends around our dinner table for conversation, laughter, and whatever food it is we are experimenting with at the time — homemade pasta, tagines, puddings. We wanted our wedding night to feel like one of those dinners — a warm, intimate gathering that just happened to have 220 of our closest friends and family members.
Our rehearsal dinner was a food-truck festival, so we wanted the wedding night itself to be a more formal counterpoint. For us, it was critical that the food was purposeful, beautiful, and above all, delicious.
We placed a premium on ingredients that were seasonal and local. Our cocktail hour featured charcuterie and cheeses from the Hudson Valley and passed hors d’oeuvres including crispy oxtail ravioli with pickled vegetables, braised radishes with black truffle parmesan butter, and mille-feuille of smoked salmon and fromage blanc with lemon and dill on a pumpernickel crisp. The seated dinner began with a warming mixed mushroom and Italian chestnut bisque, followed by braised short ribs of beef with celery root puree and shredded brussels sprouts. Champagne flowed throughout. The meal was topped with an indulgent dessert bar in close proximity to the dance floor.
Catering by Olivier Cheng Catering and Events.
Did you have a signature cocktail? No, but the champagne flowed throughout!
What was your favorite moment or part of your reception? The toasts were spectacular — equal parts warm and funny, sincere and lighthearted. Listening to them, in the presence of all of our family and friends, was a special joy.
What was your first song dance? We elected not to do a first dance, but instead had everyone join on the dance floor together after the meal concluded.
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? Since we had a formal sit-down dinner, we wanted dessert to be something that guests could nibble on the dance floor. The team at Olivier Cheng helped us create the most stunning dessert bar, filled with delicacies like bite-sized sticky toffee puddings and chocolate caramel fleur de sel tartlets. They also designed a small two-tiered cake that we could use just for cutting. Emily is a sucker for popcorn and makes it for us on the stove almost every night at home. So, as a departing treat on the wedding night, we gave guests bags of popcorn in three indulgent flavors – truffle, caramel, and cheese.
Cake and desserts by Olivier Cheng Catering and Events.