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Elegant Archives - New Orleans Weddings - Reception, Venue & Planning

A Sophisticated Late Summer Wedding In the Mountains of Jackson Hole

 Amsale, Casual, Elegant, Preppy, Real Weddings, Romantic, Rustic, Summer, Vera Wang, Wyoming  Comments Off on A Sophisticated Late Summer Wedding In the Mountains of Jackson Hole
Jan 102014
Bride and Groom in Jackson Hole

Photo: Shawn Connell and Glen Allsop of Christian Oth Studio

Though this New York-based couple met as teenagers in boarding school and were friends for years, it wasn't until they reconnected in 2009 that their friendship evolved into the romance of a lifetime.

When it came time to plan their wedding, Catherine and Brian knew that her family's home in Jackson Hole would be the perfect place to celebrate their union. "It's not only a special place for my family, but also a retreat that Brian and I have loved throughout our relationship," says Cate. "The grand scale of Jackson Hole, combined with the intimacy of our family's 'Elk Camp', really demonstrated why this place is so special to us."

Brian and Catherine's goal? "To create the best dinner party we'd ever thrown," says the bride. For their wedding on August 25th, 2012, the couple juxtaposed the casual beauty of Jackson Hole with the modern sophistication of an event planned by self-proclaimed die-hard entertainers. But with only six months to plan, the bride and groom turned to Carrie Sartor of Lyndsey Hamilton Events to bring all the details together. "She kept our perspective focused on the right place: each other," says Catherine.

Modern Invitations and Welcome Bags

Photo: Shawn Connell and Glen Allsop of Christian Oth Studio

The couple's invitations were playful and modern, with an elegant twist. They used an elk's silhouette to decorate their guests' welcome bags, and carried the playful script throughout the printed materials.

Bride's Cameo and Blue Earrings

Photo: Shawn Connell and Glen Allsop of Christian Oth Studio

Catherine's something old was her great-grandmother's cameo. Her something blue? "Brian gave me a gorgeous pair of aquamarine and diamond earrings as my wedding gift," she says.

Soft Bridal Bouquet

Photo: Shawn Connell and Glen Allsop of Christian Oth Studio

The bride's bouquet was left in the hands of florist Matthew Robinson, who created something soft and unique for the mountain-top ceremony. Roses, flowering basil, scabiosa pods, and begonias gave the bouquet lush texture.

Bride in a Lace Vera Wang Gown

Photo: Shawn Connell and Glen Allsop of Christian Oth Studio

Catherine chose her Vera Wang gown for the fabric. "There are five different types of lace and fabric used for the gown, and it's so incredible to look at. I fell in love with the texture," she says. A beaded belt added another layer of ornate detail.

Wedding Party in Blush Gowns and Tuxedos

Car in Jackson Hole

Photo: Shawn Connell and Glen Allsop of Christian Oth Studio

The bridesmaids wore blush gowns from Amsale, and the groom and groomsmen were outfitted in classic tuxedos. Before the ceremony, the wedding party drove out to the top of a butte for photos that took advantage of the incredible views.

Outdoor Wedding Ceremony in Jackson Hole

Outdoor Wedding Ceremony in Jackson Hole

Rose Petals at a Wedding Ceremony

Photo: Shawn Connell and Glen Allsop of Christian Oth Studio

The outdoor ceremony was incredibly simple, with two oversized arrangement of roses, hydrangeas, and greenery to anchor the altar. Guests were given soft pink rose petals to throw after the couple said "I Do."

Bride and Groom at an Outdoor Wedding Ceremony

Photo: Shawn Connell and Glen Allsop of Christian Oth Studio

"Brian and I have loved E.E. Cummings since boarding school, so we had to use 'i carry your heart' in the ceremony," says Catherine. They also included readings from the Dalai Lama and Rogers and Hart.

Escort Card Display with Fresh Herbs

Unique Escort Card Display

Photo: Shawn Connell and Glen Allsop of Christian Oth Studio

Catherine and Brian's florist used copper trays overflowing with fresh herbs as a unique, textural display for the escort cards.

Tented Wedding Reception in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Floral Wedding Centerpieces and Textured Linens

Photo: Shawn Connell and Glen Allsop of Christian Oth Studio

The reception took place on the property's front lawn. "We tried to give guests a tour of the property throughout the day, moving from the ceremony's mountain views to riverside cocktails to the reception by the creek and woods," says Catherine. Textured linens contrasted elegantly with assorted vintage silver vases, lush blooms, and gray taper candles.

Floral Wedding Centerpieces and Textured Linens

Personalized Wedding Menu

Photo: Shawn Connell and Glen Allsop of Christian Oth Studio

Dahlias, roses, hydrangeas, Andromeda, and fresh herbs like basil and oregano gave the centerpieces lots of visual interest and unique pops of color. Each guest's place featured a printed menu and sprigs of lavender.

White Wedding Cake with Sugar Flowers

Photo: Shawn Connell and Glen Allsop of Christian Oth Studio

The couple's wedding cake was "perfect for both of us," says Catherine. Layers of Tahitian vanilla cake, chocolate ganache, and raspberry jam were enrobed in Tahitian vanilla buttercream and topped with sugar flowers.

Tented Wedding Reception in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Photo: Shawn Connell and Glen Allsop of Christian Oth Studio

"One of my favorite parts of the evening was just before the reception," says Catherine. "We snuck away and watched as our guests excitedly filed into the tent. It was so touching to see them all come together for us." An evening full of laughter, delicious food, and lots of dancing was the ideal way for Catherine and Brian to begin their life together.

Ceremony & Reception Venue: The Bride's Family Home in Jackson Hole, WY || Wedding Planner: Carrie Sartor of Lyndsey Hamilton Events || Bride's Wedding Dress: Vera Wang || Shoes: Giuseppe Zanotti, Vera Wang || Hair & Makeup: Edvina Sarukhanyan of Fekkai Soho || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Amsale || Groom's Tuxedo: Paul Stuart || Wedding Bands: Tiffany & Co. || Florist: Matthew Robbins Design || Invitations & Paper Goods: Mr. Boddington's Studio || Music: Cracked Ice || Catering: Bistro Catering || Cake: Jackson Cake Company || Rentals: Sperry Tents Seacoast, rEvolve, || Photography: Shawn Connell and Glen Allsop of Christian Oth Studio

—Jaimie Schoen

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A Winter Wedding in Laguna Beach—and the Bride Wore Pink!

 California, Elegant, Glamorous, Maggie Sottero, Modern, Real Weddings, Romantic, Winter  Comments Off on A Winter Wedding in Laguna Beach—and the Bride Wore Pink!
Jan 092014
Bride and Groom at a California Wedding

Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

Julia and Nicholas's first meeting was classic California: They met riding bikes on the boardwalk at Newport Beach. Eight months later, they were engaged. For Julia's birthday, the couple went on a morning hike in Monarch Beach. Nicholas surprised her with the new camera she'd been dying for, as well as a night at the nearby Ritz Carlton Hotel. Once at the hotel, the couple headed outside to test out Julia's new camera as the sun set. While Julia fiddled with the settings, Nick reached into his pocket and pulled out a letter Julia had written her father when she was little. When she recognized what it was, Julia realized that Nick could only have the letter if her father had given it to Nick himself. When she looked up from the letter, he was down on one knee, ring in hand. Of course she said yes!

A two-year engagement allowed Nick and Julia to go with the flow as they planned their simple, modern wedding. "Since we were getting married four days before Christmas, we wanted a wintery feel that wasn't too over the top," Julia says. "We looked for a venue that would be a blank canvas, allowing us to create whatever setting we wanted." On December 21st, 2012, the couple danced the night away with 175 guests at 7 Degrees in Laguna Beach.

Blush Maggie Sottero Wedding Gown

Bride in a Blush Maggie Sottero Wedding Gown

Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

Julia eschewed traditional white for a full-skirted mermaid gown in blush pink. "I wanted something a little different," she says. "I'm by no means a girly girl, but when I saw this gown, I had to have it!" Layer upon layer of chiffon ruffles filled out the dramatic train.

Pink Rose Bouquet

Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

Julia paired her gown with a bouquet of pink roses studded with crystals, white ranunculuses and hydrangeas.

Baby Flower Girl

Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

The couple's 8-month-old daughter served as their (absolutely adorable!) flower girl. "She wasn't quite walking, but she did wonderfully," says Julia. "She smiled at everyone and clapped throughout the ceremony."

Tented Wedding Ceremony at 7 Degrees in Laguna Beach

Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

The ceremony took place on the rooftop of 7 Degrees, just after sunset. Guests were greeted with a glass of champagne, and then were seated under a tent lit with paper lanterns for the short and sweet ceremony.


Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

Nick and Julia's wedding party was outfitted in shades of gray. The bridesmaids' soft gray gowns complemented Julia's blush pink and carried soft white bouquets.

Wintery Indoor Wedding Reception

Simple White Centerpieces

Succulent Centerpieces at a California Wedding

Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

The reception's cool blue tones gave the space a wintery feel. "We didn't want to waste flowers, so we used succulents in concrete vases and just a few floral arrangements," says the bride.

Bride and Groom's First Dance

Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

The couple's first dance was to an acoustic version of John Legend's "Stay With You." Then, the volume was pumped up and the couple and their friends danced all night. "We had a hard time with my bustle," Julia says, "but my photographer saved the day!"

White Frosted Wedding Cakes

Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

Instead of stacking the tiers of the cake, the couple served four individual cakes in different flavors: White chocolate, vanilla, tiramisu, and red velvet. Clusters of buttercream flowers were the tasty finishing touch.

Bride and Groom's Sparkler Exit

Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

A sparkler send-off was the perfect ending to the evening. "The best compliment I received about our wedding had nothing to do with the details," says Julia. "It was that guests could feel the love we share, and had a wonderful time making memories with us." And isn't that what it's all about?

Ceremony & Reception Venue: 7 Degrees || Bride's Wedding Dress: Maggie Sottero || Jewelry & Wedding Bands: Traditional Jewelers || Groom's Attire: Burberry || Music: Ceremony - John Troy, DJ Julius || Catering: 7 Degrees || Cake: Family Friend || Photography: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

—Jaimie Schoen

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A Girly Bridal Shower and Intimate Formal Wedding in New York

 Elegant, Glamorous, Modern, New York, Real Weddings, Romantic, Spring, Summer  Comments Off on A Girly Bridal Shower and Intimate Formal Wedding in New York
Jan 062014

When you've already chosen a rock star planner and photographer for your wedding, why not use their expertise to turn your bridal shower into an event to remember, too? That's just what Rachel, 33, did to celebrate both her shower on May 5, 2013, and her wedding, with a ceremony on June 10th and a reception on June 13th.

"Instead of one big wedding day, I wanted a bunch of small intimate events so we could really enjoy them and spend time with the people there," says Rachel. "Every time an event was over, it was almost time for the next one!" By having both the bridal shower and the ceremony at her mother's home in Brooklyn Heights, planner Laura Remmert was able to help Rachel create an intimate, family-focused series of celebrations that captured the importance of the event to the couple.

From the playful and girly bridal shower to the intimate ceremony in her mother's dining room, to an Art Deco-inspired reception at the Bleecker Street Arts Club three days later, Rachel and her now-husband Anthony, 37, celebrated their marriage in as many ways as they possibly could.

"The shower was very girly and whimsical," says planner Laura. She mixed rented mix-and-match floral china with Rachel's grandmother's crystal to put an antique spin on the décor, while gold chairs and black and white cushions added a whimsical touch. A date in May meant there was an abundance of fresh, seasonal flowers in vibrant pink. Says Rachel, "Having Laura help with the shower meant we didn't have to worry about rentals or design, and that my mother and sister could enjoy themselves during the party."

The lush centerpieces featured peonies, ranunculus, garden roses, and sweet peas. A combination of gold and silver bud vases carried on the celebration's eclectic feel.

For such a playful event, there was no better choice for food than caterer Peter Callahan. Whimsical hors d'oeuvres, like bite-sized fish tacos served with mini margaritas, kept all the ladies satisfied. Another one of his signature passed treats? Pastry rings topped with caviar and a dollop of cream.

Instead of a traditional guest book, Rachel's friends and family left her messages on a bottle of wine.

There's nothing more fun than s'mores, and they're even better when they come in a one-bite package!

For both her ceremony and her reception, Rachel chose sleek, modern gowns designed by Inbal Dror. "I wanted something unique and different, and Inbal was really able to do that," she says.

The couple, who met 15 years ago, were engaged for almost a year and a half before they began planning their wedding. Once they started, bringing in a planner meant they could pull it all together in 8 months.

Anthony wore a classic tuxedo from Tom Ford. His rose gold Patek watch belonged to Rachel's late father.

In honor of her father, who passed away seven years ago, Rachel had her elegant white and green bouquet wrapped in one of his ties.

Her strapless Inbal Dror gown featured va-va-voom sheer nude lace on the back of the corset.

The ceremony was supposed to take place outside, however the threat of rain caused them to move it indoors. The chuppah, draped in orchids, roses, and hydrangeas in shades of white, was erected in Rachel's mother's dining room, which ended up being the perfect location for the cozy ceremony.

Three days later, on June 13th, 2013, Rachel and Anthony gathered 65 of their friends at Bleecker Street Arts Club for the reception. Rachel donned another Inbal Dror design, this one featuring modern beading and an a-line skirt.

Layered gold, silver, and champagne were accented with fresh white and green flowers. Patterned linens put a glam spin on the tables, which were topped with white peonies and tall candlesticks.

For the wedding reception, Rachel and Anthony turned to Mario by Mary, serving their guests a menu curated by Mario Batali and created by Mary Giuliani. They shared some of their favorite—and indulgent—foods, from blinis and caviar (served with chilled vodka shots) to burrata, tortello puzzone, and strip loin.

When they weren't dining or dancing, guests entertained themselves with a photo booth full of playful props. For dessert, a white-on-white wedding cake was topped with the couple's monogram.

And the party didn't end there! As a nod to their Anguillan engagement, Anthony and Rachel invited friends and family to Cap Juluca resort to celebrate with them yet again.

"I know everyone says this, but don't forget to enjoy your wedding day," says Rachel. "Don't stress over every little thing—just be in the moment." Whether it's your bridal shower or your wedding day, having a great team in place will keep the stress to a minimum, and the joy at an all-time high.

Bridal Shower & Ceremony Venue: The Bride's Mother's Home || Reception Venue: Bleecker Street Arts Club || Bridal Shower & Wedding Planner: Laura Remmert Events || Bride's Wedding Dresses: Inbal Dror || Shoes: Prada, Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutin || Jewelry: Family Heirlooms || Hair & Makeup: Jessie Riley || Groom's Tuxedo: Tom Ford || Wedding Bands: Michael Herman || Florist: Lewis Miller Design || Invitations & Paper Goods: Regas || Music: Venus Ensembles || Bridal Shower Catering: Peter Callahan || Wedding Catering: Ceremony – KG Fare, Reception – Mario by Mary || Cake: Ceremony – Lady M Confections, Reception – Cheryl Kleinman Cakes || Rentals: Party Rental Ltd. || Favors: Molly's Cupcakes || Photography: Roey Yohai Photography

—Jaimie Schoen

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An Intimate, Serene Destination Wedding at the Hotel Excelsior in Venice, Italy

 Destination Weddings, Elegant, Glamorous, Jenny Packham, Jimmy Choo, Real Weddings, Romantic  Comments Off on An Intimate, Serene Destination Wedding at the Hotel Excelsior in Venice, Italy
Jan 032014

Constanza and her family have been visiting Venice's breathtaking Hotel Excelsior for twenty years, spending time each summer surrounded by the island city's history, culture, and magic. Says Constanza, "Nicolai was the first boyfriend of mine to ever accompany us on our family trip. And he loves the time we've spent there as much as my family and I do." It was only fitting, then, that the Miami native and her Colombian now-husband return to the place that has been so dear to her for so long to celebrate their wedding.

Just after arriving for a long weekend trip to Paris (Constanza's second favorite city after Venice), she and Nicolai took a stroll through the Tuileries. As they wandered the garden in the springtime sun, Nicolai got down on one knee and asked Constanza to be his wife. After spending a few months enjoying their engagement, the bride used her creative expertise as an interior designer to plan their timeless Venetian wedding, on June 16th, 2012, in a mere six months. "We felt it was very important to let both the city and the hotel set the pace, so we worked on enhancing it without overpowering the inherent beauty," Constanza says.

Constanza whore a gorgeous Jenny Packham gown for the outdoor wedding. The simple silhouette, overlaid with beaded lotus flowers and a flattering natural waist, "felt right for the setting," she says. "I loved the craftsmanship, how it caught the light, and how comfortable it felt. I'm not one for a lot of fabric."

She paired her gown with sparkling peep-toe Jimmy Choo pumps. Her gorgeous chandelier earrings were a gift from her husband, who'd purchased them for her as a surprise during a trip to Jaipur, India, the winter before the wedding.

Constanza's tulle veil was hand-made by the bride and her stepmother. "We cut the fabric together, and she hand-sewed individual beads along the edge," Constanza says.

The bride's younger sister, Serena, served as the flower girl. She wore a simple empire-waist dress and a crown of pink and yellow roses.

Constanza's bouquet was inspired by nosegays carried by brides at the turn of the century. Pink and peach garden roses were cuffed with white bouvardia and lisianthus.

Nicolai and Constanza exchanged vows beneath an altar of peach and cream roses, eucalyptus, and silk ribbons. The ceremony was officiated by a close friend of the couple.

The hotel's soft pink interior courtyard, featuring architecture inspired by Cordova and Granada, provided a quiet place for the bride and groom to bask in the joy of their wedding day.

Peach, coral and white paper lanterns hung from the poolside gazebo, adding a pop of color to the ornate white structure.

During cocktails, Constanza and Nicolai surprised their guests with an unexpected performance: synchronized swimmers! "I'd seen a similar performance at an event a few years earlier, and was so excited to have them at our wedding," she says.

The reception décor highlighted the hotel's peach, white, and soft green color palette. "The room was already so stunning, so we kept the decorations simple," says the bride. "We dimmed the chandeliers and lit tons of candles."

The flower arrangements were soft, simple and elegant. Peach, pink, and white roses overflowed from urns and low vases.

Nicolai and Constanza kept their destination more intimate, with only 120 guests joining them in Venice. To give their reception an incredibly personal touch, guests were assigned to tables, where they each found place cards featuring photos of themselves with the bride and groom.

Constanza used ornate Florentine stationery for the escort cards and table numbers. At each guest's place was a printed menu, as well as a card upon which they could write wishes for the bride and groom. The wishes were later tied to wish lanterns and released into the sky.

"Crazy hour is so popular across Latin America—the time during a wedding when you pump up the volume and everyone dresses up in hats and costumes," says Constanza. "We put a Venetian spin on ours by providing gorgeous masks for our guests to wear."

The couple's wedding cake was served on the hotel's antique silver cake stand.

The bride, groom and their friends danced all night. "We started the party off with salsa, then changed to pop and Motown," Constanza says. "Once the grown-ups had gone to bed, we had a karaoke after-party that raged until 7 a.m.!"

After a day to rest up in Venice, Constanza and Nicolai were off on an Asian adventure for their honeymoon, traveling to Bangkok, an elephant camp in Chiang Rai, and a luxurious beach in the Maldives.

Constanza's advice for couples is to be true to who they are. "The best weddings aren't just beautiful. They're the ones where the real essence of the couple shines through."

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Hotel Excelsior || Bride's Wedding Dress: Jenny Packham || Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Hair: Rossano Ferretti || Bridesmaid's Dress: Luca Luca || Groom's Suit: Ermenegildo Zegna || Wedding Bands: Chisholm Collection || Florist: Munaretto || Catering & Cake: Hotel Excelsior || Photography: Shannen Natasha Weddings

—Jaimie Schoen

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A Formal Late Fall Wedding at the Berkeley Hotel on the Jersey Shore

 Ceremony & Vows, Elegant, Fall, Formal, New Jersey, Real Weddings, Romantic, Traditional  Comments Off on A Formal Late Fall Wedding at the Berkeley Hotel on the Jersey Shore
Dec 302013

When Joe, 32, proposed to Emily, 31, at their NYC apartment in 2011, he knew they were in for the event of a lifetime. Emily's the wedding and events manager of the New York Public Library, host to some of the city's most glamorous and elegant soirees—not to mention, of course, Carrie Bradshaw's would-be wedding in Sex and the City.

Emily's helped coordinate some of the most memorable weddings New York has ever seen, but she knew she wanted something a little different for her and Joe. The two were longtime friends from summers past at the Jersey Shore, and they chose to honor their time there together with a formal, modern reception at Asbury Park's breathtaking Berkeley Hotel. Family heirlooms, personalized details, and organic decor helped make the late fall (November 17, the same wedding date as Emily's parents!) bash feel warm and intimate.

One sunny day in October 2011, Emily's boss told her to take the afternoon off as a special treat. Psyched for a few blissful hours of shopping and pampering, Emily shrugged off Joe's insistence that he wasn't feeling well and needed her to hightail it home ASAP. She strolled in in the late afternoon, laden with shopping bags, to find Joel kneeling on the floor with a ring. "I had no way of knowing, but Joe had called my boss to tell her he was planning to propose and to have her send me home," she explains. "Knowing that he put all of that together for me—on his own—made it truly one of the best days of my life."

"The formality of the venue dictated a very traditional invitation with some modern changes, like custom envelope liners and a laser-cut shape," Emily says. She worked with Adrienne at the Village Invites to create a custom suite that felt both traditional and of-the-moment.

Emily knew right away that a traditional gown with sleeves would look just right in a formal church ceremony. "Finding something with sleeves in a sea of strapless gowns was easier said than done, but I ultimately fell in love with a long-sleeved, high-necked Alencon lace Augusta Jones gown," she says. With a cathedral-length veil, the look was elegant, timeless and breathtakingly beautiful. "I was so sad to take off the veil," Emily says. "The gown—amazing. But the veil was...magic."

Her mother's gown was also made of Alcenon lace, and Emily's seamstress cut out a small piece and sewed it into the lining of her gown, just above her heart. In her black velvet clutch, Emily carried old love letters her grandparents sent to each other—talk about something old!

Emily wanted an unconventional bouquet with lots of texture that spoke to the season. She chose a wintry, organic mix of white kale, artichokes, succulents, pepperberries, seeded eucalyptus and grey craspedia.

Emily's bridesmaids wore slate gray chiffon gowns from Bill Levkoff. Their gorgeous black fur stoles and smoky quartz jewelry were generous gifts from the bride!

Joe looked extra-dapper in a slim fit custom tuxedo from Calvin Klein.

Emily and Joe were married in St. Elizabeth's Church in Avon by the Sea, New Jersey, where they'd spent many summers together with their families. To add to the warm, inviting feel of the evening ceremony, they lined the stairs outside with candle-lit lanterns. The traditional Catholic ceremony was officiated by the Bishop of the Diocese of Metuchen, a friend of Joe's parents.

Emily and Joe planned to have the wedding party arrive to the church via antique trolley, but engine trouble led to some unforeseen circumstances. "After the engine began sputtering and smoking, I still can't believe the boys drove the trolley to the church as it billowed exhaust and fumes and onlookers stared in horror!" Emily says. Her bridesmaids gamely piled in an SUV instead, and Emily made a dramatic entrance in a vintage Rolls Royce.

At their large, formal nighttime reception at the beaux arts Berkeley Hotel in Asbury Park, the couple used organic elements like mercury glass, tall hurricanes, and sprays of white berries to match the height and elegance of the soaring, high-ceilinged ballroom. They incorporated both round and long tables to create a communal feel, even with the 242-person guest list, and added flickering candlelight, lanterns, and dark linens to make the room feel extra-inviting.

They collaborated with Kitschens Catering, a small Asbury Park-based caterer, to create a dream seasonal menu. After hors d'ouvres like mini lobster rolls, shrimp shooters, and cheese-stuffed olives, guests dug into sweet potato bisque, a petite filet, and homemade pasta with veggies.

In fitting with their classic wedding, Emily and Joe chose a traditional vanilla cake with raspberry filling. They had custom cake toppers created to look just like them, and they plan to break them out every year on their anniversary!

Joe plays the drums in a band, and the couple surprised their guests by having him jump on stage to jam out to "Boogie on Reggae Woman" as the evening wore down.

The wedding was held just two weeks after Hurricane Sandy hit the Jersey Shore, and though they feared for days the future of the town that meant so much to them, the couple's ceremony and reception venues remained unscathed. In lieu of favors, they made a donation to the Asbury Park conservancy in each guest's name, and a year later, they remember the devastation of those weeks and feel grateful for the perspective the storm offered.

"While the color of the flowers and the flavor of the cake may seem all-consuming, remember that in the end, it is just one day to celebrate a lifetime of love and friendship. It is the people around you and the fact that they may be coming from near and far to celebrate with you that really matters," Emily says.

Ceremony Venue: St. Elizabeth's Church, Avon by the Sea, NJ || Reception Venue: The Berkeley Hotel, Asbury Park, NJ || Day-Of Coordinator: Lisa Archambault and Andy Spray of Palm Productions, Stefani Hanson at the Berkeley Hotel || Bride's Wedding Dress: Augusta Jones || Veil: Kleinfeld Bridal || Hair: Jessica Gere of Simply GorJess Hair || Makeup: Josie Vega || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Bill Lefkoff || Groom's and Groomsmen's Attire: Calvin Klein, Vera Wang at Men's Wearhouse || Wedding Bands: Custom || Florist: Bonnie Capuzzello of Petal Beach || Invitations & Paper Goods: The Village Invites || Music: The Smokin' Section || Catering: Kitschen's Catering || Cake: Roseanna Cobb || Rentals: Party Rental LTD || Photography: Jeri Houseworth Photography

—Amanda First

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One Couple’s Modern Winter Wonderland Wedding at Studio450 in New York City

 Christos, Elegant, Formal, Glamorous, New York, Real Weddings, Romantic, Winter  Comments Off on One Couple’s Modern Winter Wonderland Wedding at Studio450 in New York City
Dec 192013

Erica, 30, and Josh, 29, were high school sweethearts, but meeting as teens didn't stop the couple from dating for more than ten years before Josh popped the question. At 7 a.m., Josh tied the ring around their dog's paw, then let her loose on the bed to wake Erica up as he got down on one knee. "We are private, simple people," says Erica. "I wouldn't have changed a thing about our proposal!" Once Erica was fully awake, they met their families for brunch to celebrate the good news.

The couple, who both have December birthdays and got engaged in February, knew they wanted an ethereal winter wonderland celebration for their wedding. "Incorporating elements of snow, pine cones, and bare branches felt right for both of us," Erica says. On December 22, 2012, they invited 200 guests to join them at Studio450 in New York. The panoramic views, as well as lots of frosty white décor, filled the room with touches of their favorite season.

Erica turned to Pinterest for inspiration. "I didn't have to fill my tiny studio apartment with stacks of magazines!" she says. How Pin-worthy is this shot of her wedding band in a tray of mouthwatering macarons?

The bride's lacy Louboutins were a serious score from an invite-only sample sale. "Leighton Meester previously wore them to the Teen Choice Awards!" says Erica. "She's the one who put the heel-cushions in. I left them there because they fit perfectly! Thanks Leighton!" Erica did make one big change to her footwear, though. She removed the oversized flowers on the toes and replaced them with shimmering brooches.

All of the bouquets featured white, ivory, and soft, dusty roses. The flower girl, in a nude tulle gown, had a moment of drama on her way down the aisle. "She dropped her basket, and was sad that the petals had spilled," says Erica. "Her brother tried to help by kicking the basket down the aisle to spread out the petals, which ended up putting the flower girl in tears. But I wouldn't change a thing!"

The winter-inspired chuppah featured handmade garlands of orchids and carnation pomanders draped over bare branches and birch poles.

Erica's father accompanied her down the aisle to the traditional Jewish ceremony. She wore a layered tulle Christos gown with a bejeweled belt that she made herself. For the ceremony, she topped her gown with a tulle jacket borrowed from her cousin. Josh wore a classic tuxedo. "The bowtie was for me!" says the bride.

The couple used a gorgeous oversized mirror instead of traditional escort cards. Guests' names and table numbers were written in white calligraphy.

A combination of rectangular and square tables filled the room. Floating candles, birch vases, and lush white flowers topped the tables. The couple served seasonal foods in a buffet format to keep things moving. "The sushi station was a highlight. I'm a huge fan, so we had sushi chefs rolling from cocktail hour until the end of the night!" say Erica.

Erica always wanted a dessert bar, but couldn't bring in sweet treats from around New York City because she and Josh used a Kosher caterer. Her caterer surprised her by going heavy on the desserts, serving up monogrammed macarons, cake pops, chocolates, and more.

The couple said "I Do" just before their birthdays and the holidays, so they spent the days after their wedding at home with family and friends. "I slept for two days straight!" says Erica. Her advice for brides-to-be is to go with your gut. "If you feel strongly about something, do it. Remember: this is your day."

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Studio450 || Wedding Planner: Danielle Bobish of Curtain Up Events || Bride's Wedding Dress: Christos || Shoes: Christian Louboutin || Jewelry: Effy Jewelry || Hair & Makeup: Jess Steinke || Wedding Bands: The Groom's Grandfather, The Bride's Mother || Florist: Anthony Brownie Flowers & Events || Invitations: Written Confections || Music: DJ Josh Sparber || Catering, Cake & Rentals: Zami Caterers || Photography: Josh Wong Photography

—Jaimie Schoen

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A Four-Day Multicultural Wedding Extravaganza in Chicago, Illinois

 Chicago, Elegant, Fall, Formal, Glamorous, Real Weddings, Romantic  Comments Off on A Four-Day Multicultural Wedding Extravaganza in Chicago, Illinois
Dec 122013

Chances are, by the time your wedding is over, you'll wish you'd had a few more hours to celebrate. Lisa, 30, and Vinay, 31, knew a single day wouldn't be long enough for their Hindu and western wedding celebration, so they had their family and friends join them in Chicago for a four-day weekend that brought their cultures together in an extravagant, colorful way.

This couple's over-the-top wedding started with a quiet proposal on a lake. Pretending that the sailboat they were supposed to take had left without them, a captain took Vinay and Lisa out on the water to "catch up with their party"–though what Vinay really wanted was to get Lisa out on the boat alone. Suddenly, an airplane appeared overhead with a banner reading "Lisa, Will You Marry Me?" and Vinay got down on one knee.

Lisa and Vinay met at Northwestern University and still live and work in Chicago, so they knew they wanted to get married in the city. The entire celebration took place at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel on the weekend of September 2nd, 2012. "We had multiple events and many out-of-town guests, and didn't want people to have to run all over the city, so having everything at the hotel worked perfectly," says Lisa. Here are the gorgeous, colorful details of their marathon wedding celebration.

Bridal Henna

As is tradition for Hindu weddings, Lisa had intricate mehndi, or henna, done for the celebration.

Bride in Gold and Red Lengha

Lisa wore a bridal lengha, which is traditional Indian attire. "I wanted something more gold than the traditional red that Indian brides wear because the ceremony décor was all red," she says of her outfit. Her bridesmaids wore brightly-colored saris with matching beading and embroidery.

Vinay arrived at the ceremony according to tradition, on a horse decked out in beaded and embroidered fabric. He was escorted by family members and friends.

Hindu Wedding Ceremony Mandap
Hindu Wedding Ceremony Decor

The Hindu ceremony took place in the hotel's Empire Ballroom. The couple's families joined them under the mandap, or canopy, for the ceremony. Vinay and Lisa's priest helped them keep the traditional ceremony on the shorter side ("Hindu ceremonies can be three hours or more!" says Lisa), and also said the blessings in both Hindu and English so that everyone could follow along. Pillows were arranged on the floor so that guests could get close and feel comfortable.

"Our family and friends practiced for weeks to perform dances for us," Lisa says. "It was so touching to see how our two families came together. It made me realize how lucky we are to have so many people dedicated to being a part of our lives."

Purple Stuart Weitzman Peep-Toe Pumps

For the Western wedding, Lisa couldn't help but include a vibrant pop of color. She paired her gown with purple Stuart Weitzman pumps and carried a bright bouquet of fuchsia garden roses and spray roses, phalaenopsis orchids, purple hydrangeas, and lisianthus.

Bridesmaids in Floor-Length Magenta Dresses

The bridesmaids wore magenta chiffon gowns and carried smaller versions of Lisa's bouquet. Vinay and his groomsmen wore three-piece tuxedoes.

"Because our Indian ceremony and other events were pretty bold and flashy, I wanted the western ceremony to be more simple," says the bride. She let the ornate room speak for itself, adding a simple stage cover and aisle runner. "Having two wedding ceremonies seems like a lot," she says, "but it was important for us to have both of our cultures represented."

Formal Pink and Purple Wedding Reception
Pink and Purple Floral Centerpieces
Pink and Purple Floral Centerpieces with Candles

The ceremony décor featured rich colors and Indian touches. Metal lanterns and elephants were a nod to Vinay's heritage. Orange and fuchsia roses, dahlias, and purple hydrangeas were arranged in low vessels. A touch of shine from the mercury-glass candle holders broke up the colorful displays, while the glow of candlelight warmed the room.

"Vinay designed the monogram that we used on the cake," says Lisa. Henna-inspired piping decked the colorful confection, which was topped with bright fresh flowers. Alternating layers featured red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and chocolate cake with salted caramel frosting.

The groom's cousins played Sugarland's "Stuck Like Glue" for the couple's first dance. "Vinay and I put so much time and effort into everything, and we wouldn't have been able to do it without the help of our family and friends," says Lisa.

After planning such an involved wedding, you can be sure that Lisa has some great advice. "Figure out what is most important to you, and make sure that you make those things happen," she says. "Don't worry about the small stuff."

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Palmer House Hilton Hotel || Wedding Planner: Lauren Carter of lola Event Productions || Bride's Wedding Dress: Lengha: Studio Elite, Wedding Dress: Augusta Jones || Shoes: Indian Wedding: Gucci, Western Wedding: Stuart Weitzman || Jewelry: Bloomingdale's || Hair: Cathy Battistoni of Beauty on Call, Pamela Moore of Avieve Salon & Day Spa || Makeup: Rebecca Males of Sonia Roselli, Joshua Graham of Façade Make-Up Artistry || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Saris: Studio Elite, Western Dresses: The Dessy Group || Groom's Tuxedo: Armani || Groommen's Tuxedos: Calvin Klein at Men's Wearhouse || Bride's Wedding Rings: Harry Winston || Florist & Rentals: Event Creative || Invitations & Paper Goods: Designed by Lindsay Chenault Bolton, Printed by Gary Mordhorst of AccuColor Plus, Inc. || Music: Tabla Dhol, Rendezvous Music || Catering: Palmer House Hilton Hotel, India House || Cake: Take the Cake || Favors: Indian Sweets from Devon Street in Chicago || Videography: Epic Motion || Photography: Jen Lynne Photography

—Jaimie Schoen

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A Vintage-Inspired DIY Wedding at Cornerstone Sonoma in California

 California, Elegant, Glamorous, Real Weddings, Romantic, Spring, Vintage  Comments Off on A Vintage-Inspired DIY Wedding at Cornerstone Sonoma in California
Dec 052013

Julia and Hieu were the exact opposite of what you'd expect a couple planning their wedding to be like, and it all started with the proposal. "It was very casual, just like us," says Julia. "Hieu was telling me about a dream he had in which he proposed, and the question just came out naturally." A week later, they planned a more traditional proposal for their parents, where their two families gathered together for blessings and the formal engagement.

Their wedding planning was equally casual. The couple was engaged for almost 18 months, but didn't start planning their September 4, 2012, wedding until 9 months before. "Our coordinators said we were the most relaxed, go-with-the-flow couple they'd ever worked with!" says the bride. They chose a venue with sprawling grounds–and lots of local art–where they could host their ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception in different areas. Their vintage, rustic wedding was full of DIY projects that helped keep them on-budget, bringing together their family and friends to help turn their wedding dream into a reality.

Wedding bands and engagement ring at a California wedding.

Lace-inspired nude and cream Tadashi Shoji wedding gown.

Julia knew exactly what she wanted for her wedding dress, and found herself at an impasse when she was in love with different aspects of three different dresses. "I knew I wanted an intricate back, balanced by a more simple front. And I wanted to showcase my frame with a feel that wasn't too heavy, but didn't appear flat or dull," she says. She came upon this Tadashi Shoji gown, inspired by vintage lace. She took a chance and ordered the dress online, and it was just as wonderful in person as she'd imagined.

Julia and her bridesmaids wore personalized rings featuring their names.

The bride ordered her headpiece with a slight birdcage veil from a designer in Copenhagen. It arrived fastened to a headband, but her hairstylist reattached it to a clip in order to style it into her hair.

Bride's bouquet of craspedia and baby's breath. Bridesmaid's simple baby's breath bouquet.

Bridesmaids in mis-matched nude dresses.

The couple sourced their flowers from the San Francisco Flower Market. Julia carried a bouquet of craspedia, while her bridesmaids carried simple bunches of baby's breath.

The bridesmaids wore neutral-hued knee-length dresses with vintage details, allowing them to pick something original that would complement Julia's gown. Hieu and his groomsmen wore matching gray suits, with the groomsmen wearing different colored ties.

Bride and groom at the Cornerstone Sonoma in California.

One of the reasons Hieu and Julia picked Cornerstone Sonoma as their venue was the plethora of options for photographs. "It also helped keep our guests entertained and occupied in between events," she says.

An outdoor wedding ceremony at Cornerstone Sonoma.

Baby's breath wedding aisle decor.

A DIY wedding ceremony altar decorated with tulle ribbons.

The outdoor ceremony was incredibly simple. Julia saw an altar she loved on Pinterest, and her aunt recreated it for the wedding with tulle and jars of flowers. The couple worked with the officiant to personalize their vows.
At the end of the aisle was a set of freestanding doors that Julia and Hieu had built. The doors were opened for Hieu and the wedding party's processional, then closed again before being reopened for Julia and her father.

Warm weather and a late sunset meant the couple and their guests could celebrate outdoors. Tables were arranged under an open-sided tent.

Escort cards arranged near a typewriter at a California wedding.

Escort cards were playfully displayed on a miniature clothesline strung between wine bottles. Collected jars overflowed with craspedia and baby's breath, while tea-stained table numbers told guests where to sit.

The couple's seats at the sweetheart table were adorned with handmade chalkboard-style Mr. & Mrs. Signs.

The wedding cake and dessert bar were a real labor of love. The maid of honor prepared all of the sweets, then she and the bridesmaids held layers of cake in their laps as they drove from the hotel to the venue. "We'd underestimated cooler space!" says Julia. After the ceremony, the maid of honor stepped out to assemble and decorate the cake during cocktail hour.

Though there were a few bumps in the road, there were lots of helping hands to make sure the wedding was a success. Says Julia, "Everything came together in the end!"

This calm, cool, and collected couple is excited to buy their first house, but "we're surprisingly still very casual about the whole 'married' thing," says Julia, "but then again, that's just the type of people we are."

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Cornerstone Sonoma || Day-of Coordinator: Romielyn of Very Merry Events || Bride's Wedding Dress: Tadashi Shoji || Shoes: Valentino || Hair: Ivadell Vida || Makeup: Mary Craig || Wedding Bands: Willow Glen Diamond Company || Invitations & Paper Goods: DIY || Music: DJ Teddy Rockspin || Catering & Rentals: Alex's Catering || Cake: Made by the Maid of Honor || Photography: Sun and Life Photography

—Jaimie Schoen

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A Charming Country Wedding at Big Cedar Lodge in Missouri

 Classic, Elegant, Fall, JLM Couture, Missouri, Monique Lhuillier, Preppy, Real Weddings, Rustic, Winter  Comments Off on A Charming Country Wedding at Big Cedar Lodge in Missouri
Dec 042013

When a wedding has this much rustic, country charm, you know the bride and groom must have a strong connection to cowboys and moonshine. For Luke, 30, and Jen, 34, there was no question that their wedding would feature feathers, antlers, and plenty of cowboy hats. In 2009, Jen and Luke were both in Nashville for a Professional Bull Riding event. She was there to watch from the stands, while he was center-stage on the back of a bull. Jen quickly became familiar with the Professional Bull Riding world, falling in love with the sport as she fell in love with Luke.

In December of 2011, Luke got down on one knee in front of the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center in New York City. The couple got to work planning their dream wedding in Missouri's Ozark Mountains, heading to a place they've loved and returned to for years - Big Cedar Lodge. They let the resort inspire their wedding, turning to nature and cowboy style, dressing it up for their rustically elegant celebration.

Just six days after competing in the World Finals, Luke donned his cowboy hat and Jen put on a gorgeous gown for a memorable night full of love and laughter.

The forest-themed invitation suite let guests know they were in for a woodland escape.

A Lazaro wedding ball gown with an embellished bodice and full skirt.

Jen wore a voluminous Lazaro ball gown with an embellished bodice. She topped her dress with a fur stole in honor of her late grandmother. She wasn't able to find her grandmother's, but purchased a beautiful stole at a vintage store. The stole has a hand-embroidered silk patch inside with a mysterious set of initials. "I'd like to think it belonged to someone else's beloved grandmother," says Jen.

Jen's simple bouquet featured white roses, scabiosa pods, dusty miller leaves, and ranunculuses.

The bride and groom at a rustic wedding at Big Cedar Lodge in Missouri.

Bridesmaids in Monique Lhuillier chiffon dresses.

Luke paired his tuxedo with a black cowboy hat. His boutonniere featured two pheasant feathers.

Jen's bridesmaids wore strapless chiffon dresses and carried bouquets that matched the bride's. The groomsmen, like Luke, wore tuxedos and cowboy hats. Three of the groomsmen were also professional bull riders.

Bride being escorted down the aisle by her fathers.

Jen had both of her fathers escort her down the aisle to the outdoor wedding ceremony. Big Cedar Lodge's terrace and sweeping Ozark views provided a gorgeous backdrop for Luke and Jen's vows.

A sign for the bride and groom at a wedding at Big Cedar Lodge in Missouri.

Jen's sister was responsible for the majority of the wedding's décor. Clusters of candles, logs, antlers, and feathers helped create the feeling of a gentleman's hunting lodge.

Western-inspired dcor at a wedding in the Ozarks.

Vignettes of saddles and rope, books, feathers and comfy, worn leather furniture kept the wedding as far as possible from a traditional ballroom feel. Cozy seating (and buckets of ice-cold beer) encouraged guests to wander and mingle throughout the evening.

A board covered in moss and edged with horseshoes served as the place card display. Guests' names were written on simple tags and hung with horseshoe nails.

Wedding centerpieces with antlers, roses, and hydrangeas in log troughs.

The simple, elegant tables were topped with troughs that appeared to be carved from tree trunks. Antlers punctuated overflowing arrangements of white roses, hydrangeas and fresh herbs.

The three-tiered wedding cake featured freshly-ground almond cake with layers of strawberry jam. The cake topper was a nod to the hunting lodge motif, as well as the bride and groom's love of the outdoors.

Later in the evening, guests headed outdoors to make s'mores over the fire.

The bride and groom's getaway car was a vintage pickup truck, complete with strings of cans.

Jen and Luke's advice is to stick with what you know and love. "We spent a weekend at Big Cedar Lodge a few months after we started dating. We both remember that weekend as the one when we first fell in love. It only seemed fitting to return for our wedding," says Jen.

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Big Cedar Lodge || Event Design: Julie Manna, Sister of the Bride || Bride's Wedding Dress: Lazaro || Hair: Jared Cluck of Studio 417 || Makeup: Melissa Britt || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Monique Lhuillier || Groom's Suit: Black by Vera Wang || Groomsmen's Boots: Ariat || Wedding Bands: The Jewelers of Las Vegas || Florist: Ron Johnson, The Thicket || Invitations: Tupy Boutique || Catering & Cake: Big Cedar Lodge || Favors: Moonshine from Big Cedar Lodge || Photography: Love Is a Big Deal

—Jaimie Schoen

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An Intimate Wedding at the Ritz Carlton in Manhattan’s Battery Park Neighborhood

 Classic, Elegant, New York, Real Weddings, Romantic, Rustic, Same-Sex Marriage  Comments Off on An Intimate Wedding at the Ritz Carlton in Manhattan’s Battery Park Neighborhood
Dec 032013

When Mark and Kevin first met at a club in Richmond, VA, "it was love at first sight," says Mark. He was looking for a place to sit and have a drink while his friend danced, and noticed Kevin sitting alone at a table near the bar. Mark asked if he could have a seat, and the two began talking. Their connection was instant, and from that evening on, they were inseparable.

On February 22nd, 2012, Kevin took Mark out for dinner for his birthday. A group of their closest friends was waiting for them at the restaurant. "I thought 'how nice!'" says Mark. At one point during dinner, Kevin got up from his chair, got down on one knee, and asked Mark to marry him. He was completely caught off guard, but immediately said yes! He was so happy to be able to share and enjoy the happiness and excitement of the moment with their friends.

The couple planned their city wedding in four months, with help from their close friend and wedding planner, Daevid Reed. On June 29th, 2012, they took to the 14th floor of the Ritz Carlton in Manhattan's Battery Park neighborhood, where panoramic views of the harbor and the Statue of Liberty provided the backdrop for a day that Mark and Kevin will never forget.

A boutonniere of scabiosa pods, Queen Anne's Lace, rosemary and liriope grass.

Both Kevin and Mark wore classic black tuxedos with Armani ties. Mark's was powder blue, while Kevin's was a sleek platinum color. Their boutonnieres, created by their wedding planner, featured shades of green in the form of scabiosa pods, fern curls, Queen Anne's Lace, rosemary, and liriope grass. They took advantage of the beautiful weather and had their portraits taken beneath the trees in Battery Park.

Outdoor Wedding Ceremony at the Ritz Carlton Battery Park.

The couple worked with New York-based 14 Stories to arrange their ceremony. They chose non-religious vows and added a personal touch. They played Celine Dion's "Have You Ever Been in Love" as they entered the hotel's sun-filled terrace, allowing the song to play for a few moments before walking down the aisle. Says Mark, "There were no dry eyes anywhere. I think it was the reality and joy of seeing two men who meant so much to each other finally get married."

Daevid came into New York a day and a half before the wedding to source all of the flowers. He wanted to pick only what was in-season and what inspired him in the moment. Light yellow garden roses, oncidium orchids, celosia, scabiosa pods, and Queen Anne's Lace came together into vibrant, fresh centerpieces that were beautiful in the simple reception room.

Printed menu at a wedding reception at the Ritz Carlton Battery Park in New York City.

At each place setting was a single green cymbidium orchid. The menu featured scallops, roasted chicken, beef, and salmon. Smaller arrangements of scabiosa pods and Queen Anne's Lace mimicked the couple's boutonnieres, while roses and orchids added a playful, cheery pop of yellow to the table.

The wedding cake was simply decorated and topped with two cymbidium orchids. Red velvet cake, topped with cream cheese frosting, was the perfect end to Kevin and Mark's intimate wedding celebration.

As the sun began to set, Mark and Kevin stepped back out on to the terrace for one last picture. A DJ played a mix of their favorites, from Whitney Houston to ABBA to Adele.

"The memories we hold dear are of being in New York with family and friends to celebrate our special day," says Mark. "Many who came had never been to New York before, and it was a real treat. It was also the first time our families got to meet." Their advice for couples is to hire a wedding planner–but only after interviewing several to find the one who best understands your vision. And then? "Surrender all the stress and focus on the bigger picture: Getting married to the love of your life," says Mark.

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Ritz Carlton New York, Battery Park || Wedding Planner: Daevid Reed of Daevid's Flowers and Décor with Bernadette Coveney Smith of 14 Stories || Grooms' Attire: Hugo Boss || Grooms' Accessories: Armani || Wedding Bands: Tiffany & Co. || Music: Wendy Kidd Entertainment || Catering: Ritz Carlton New York, Battery Park || Cake: Empire Cake || Photography: Levi Stolove Photography

—Jaimie Schoen

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