This is a post I’ve been meaning to create for a few years, six to be exact. Our wedding Carl, Jr. and I got married in the City in the second grandest Catholic Church we could find (the first being St Patrick’s Cathedral of course–it was under renovation at the time), St Ignatius of Loyola on Park and 84th. If you haven’t been, it has an aisle for days, and floor to ceiling marble walls with breath-taking stain-glass windows.
Getting married in this beautiful church was like hearing angels sing as the light lit up the alter. I hope this post can give you some inspiration in your wedding plans; we aimed for timeless elegance when planning our wedding.
The Rehearsal Dinner–inspired by Broadway
We had so many out of state guests (my family flew in from the Pacific North West, Canada and the Middle East) so we decided to have the rehearsal dinner at Trattoria Dopo Teatro, an Italian restaurant in the heart of Broadway; the restaurant’s private room was in a wine cellar actually! We needed enough space for about 50 guests, and this space seated us all nicely. The owner was very accommodating with the menu and alcohol options. The only downside was the room did get a bit warm as there wasn’t a lot of air circulation. They have other lovely private rooms as well seating 20-100.
Bridal Party Photos in Central Park
On to the day of the wedding–we actually had a full mass (God bless our friends and family whom attended) which was over an hour long. We chose all the traditional wedding songs: I walked down the isle to Cannon in D by Pachelbel, and our exit song was Mendelssohn’s Wedding March.
If you ever have a chance to check out this gorgeous church, I highly recommend it. The outside screams New York City, but the interior is absolutely golden and heavenly.
After the wedding we did our bridal-party photos in Central Park. It was hot as heck, but so worth it. We picked all the typical and iconic spots–The Bow Bridge, Bethesda Terrace and the Bethesda Fountain.
We took full advantage of the Bethesda Fountain, and made sure we got multiple pictures with our bridesmaids and groomsmen. This was so much fun, and all of our pictures really turned out despite the heat.
I got so many ideas for photo-ops from Pinterest, but we were also lucky that our photographers had some cleaver ideas for photos.
There is always something going on in Central Park, the day of our wedding they had performers and musicians. The performers really put on a show while we walked around getting our pictures taken!
Our photographers even took a cute candid photo of three of my bridesmaids on a buggy after the shoot was over.
The Reception–The Bourne Mansion
After our photos in Central Park, we had all our guests shuttled to the reception at the Bourne Mansion in Long Island. Since it was the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, most everyone was out of the city so the roads were actually pretty clear. This is a good thing, as door-to-door travel is about 40 minutes.
We saw just about every venue in New York, and chose the Bourne mansion because of the space, layout and they would let us do most of what we wanted (our list included fireworks and an after-party!). They weren’t the most pleasant to work with, and near the end started adding on absurd surcharges and fees and gave us some grief about outside vendors, but all’s well that ends well right?
The Bourne Mansion is a turn of the century Vanderbilt mansion set on Saint John’s University campus in Oakdale, Long Island. When booking a wedding, one has access to the entire mansion and all the rooms: there are no other weddings on your day.
We took photos near the water outside with our family and friends and got many individual shots of just Carl and I.
The ballroom is one of the loveliest we saw, seating 200 guests comfortably, and with tall ceilings lighting is everything. We chose Long Island Sound for our lighting, DJ and after-party furniture rentals. In all honesty, our DJ was obnoxiously loud, but I suppose I haven’t been to a wedding where that wasn’t the case!
Picking the Floral Arrangements
In my book, beautiful floral arrangements are 50% of the wedding planning. I just love romantic fluffy flowers–hydrangea and peonies are my absolute favorites and I don’t like a lot of green or branches to show. In my book it’s all about the flowers.
I chose to work with the owner of Flowers by Topaz, Mark Masone. He does lovely work as you can see, and arranges for many of the weddings and events in the Hampton’s as well as in the City. I had him incorporate some bling into the bouquets and centerpieces, because, well, glamour!
Luckily Mark was also able to get us white peonies when there was a shortage of Peonies in August. Have you heard the saying when things can go wrong they do? Well…the day of the wedding we were short one bridesmaid bouquet. I hope this shows you that no matter how much planning you put into your wedding, it will never be perfect. And that’s ok.
Carl and I wanted to incorporate our respective heritages in the wedding, so I searched high and low for dancers that could do Argentine tango, traditional Italian dancing and to keep true to my heritage I insisted on Palestinian Dabke and Belly dancing!
I also feel strongly that a wedding should have an entertainment aspect–guests have a need to see a show. I actually try to have some form of entertainment in every party I plan, and for my wedding I wanted to take this to a new level.
I found my perfect match with a troupe of 3 women, The Mosaic Dance Theater. They started with Palestinian Dabke dance, then an Argentine Tango, followed by an Italian folk dance. They ended with a very sultry belly-dancing number. It was amazing and I loved every moment.
To say the reception flew by really is an understatement; before we knew it, the cake cutting was over, the bouquet went down and our militaristic Maitre D started shuffling everyone outside to the mansion garden.
What happened next was the most beautiful fireworks show I ever saw, and the only show I will re-watch again and again (everyone knows you never re-watch filmed fireworks, except those on your wedding day of course).
It may be cliche to say your wedding day flies by in a blink of an eye–but it’s true. We were well aware of this fact which is why we insisted on extending the party with an after-party. In the Middle East, weddings typically last into the early hours of the morning and I wouldn’t settle for anything less. Even if we were exhausted by the end of the day!
To accommodate our request, our entertainment company set up a room to the right of the entrance with lounge furniture, floor to ceiling drapery, DJ booth and a king-size bed.
The after-party really is where Carl and I let loose, dancing and socializing with all of our friends and family that had traveled so far to celebrate with us. I have to say, if you can manage to lengthen your wedding day by a few hours it is so worth it.
We also had the Bourne do a late night spread of sliders, pigs in blankets, doughnuts, et al for the late night munchies…yes our wedding was over-the-top.
If I was asked the one splurge I was the happiest with? It would be our photographers. We chose Deja Vu Studios, owned by Alan Melconian in Long Island.
We had about 6 photographers the day of and they were absolutely amazing. They captured every moment beautifully and artistically and worked with us until the wee hours of the morning.
If I recommended one splurge, it would be on photography. So. Worth. It. I’ve been to fun and captivating weddings, and the one complaint I heard from the bride was “I wish I had spent more on the photography and opted for more photographers.” You will never get this day back, and photos will last a lifetime.
So yes–we totally splurged on Deja Vu, but we don’t regret it. The only disappointment was in the quality of their videography and how long it took to get the photos (almost a year!). Our wedding video was a bit choppy and unedited. Since Carl is very handy with cinematography, he actually took all the unedited film and recreated our wedding movie into a work of art. But this is the only critique I would say for this amazing company.
The Dress and Accessories
I have to say, I was obsessed with my dress. I love romance and lace and like every woman, a need to feel sexy. I just adore Monique Lhuillier, and after seeing the dress in a wedding magazine I knew this was it.
I fell in love with the romantic Chantilly and embroidered lace. I did a couple alterations, making the front slit higher, and had my seamstress lower the back. The higher slit added a sexy high-fashion flare, and I just loved how well it photographed! I purchased the dress from Carine’s Bridal in Georgetown, Washington D.C. where I was living at the time.
The shoes; I wanted something I could spend all day and night in, but that added glamour and bling. Upon perusing at Saks Fifth Avenue, I discovered the shoes: Jimmy Choo. Because I am also a stickler to tradition, I had to have “something blue” incorporated: hence the blue “I Do” on the back of the shoes.
Bride’s Attire: Monique Lhuiller, Carine’s Bridal
Groom’s Attire: Hugo Boss
Hair Dresser: Billy Dee Williams, Red Door Spa; 5th Avenue NY
Makeup Artist: Red Door Spa
Event Coordinator: Long Island Wedding Planners
Cake: Rolling Pin Bakery
Wedding Favors: Korbel mini champagne
Wedding Cocktail: “Tango Mango Mohito”
Once a drink of choice, this is a new twist on an old favorite Mr. Savoca loved when first meeting Lana in 2008. Recipe inspired by their recent trip to Spain.
“Midnight in Mykonos”
Watermelon juice mixed with watermelon infused vodka and a sprig of mint garnished with watermelon slice. This became the couple’s favorite while island hopping in Greece. Still a favorite, conjures up the beautiful sunsets where the couple first went away together and fell in love…”
Florist: Flowers by Topaz
Wedding Flowers: Peonies, hydrangea, Sahara roses
Caterers: Bourne Mansion
Videographer: Deja Vu Studios
Photographer: Deja Vu Studios
Music: Long Island Sound
Entertainment: Mosaic Dance Theater; Bayside Fireworks
Our Story–how we met
I met my husband in a total dive bar in Philly called Rotten Ralph’s. I was in Philly visiting friends and on my way to an OSU football game (Oregon state was playing Penn State—yeah we got crushed at Beaver Stadium ah the irony). Carl came up to me (actually sent a coworker to chat w me first!) and we totally hit it off. He even showed me pictures of his family and pet poodle back in the Bronx. Carl was in Philly for one night on a work assignment. This chance meeting was back in 2008, and for about two years we were more or less platonic pen-pals, sending witty emails to each other and maybe meeting out in DC with a group of friends when he came down for work. I didn’t think anything of this New Yorker from Da Bronx until New Years 2010 when he asked me to be his date. I suppose the rest is history! Just thought I’d share this little piece of me that has completely changed my life. I suppose there is wisdom in everything happens for a reason, even in a neighborhood bar!
Well that about wraps this amazing six-year anniversary post up. I truly can’t believe it’s been six years and two kids later, but then again, I can’t believe it’s been over 10 years knowing this amazing man I call Carlo–my husband!