As a ballroom bride myself, there’s no hiding the fact that I have a heart for the classics. The black and the white, the pomp and the circumstance, and that all around sense of elegance that comes with a traditionally crafted “I do.” And this New York Botanical Garden affair? Well, it’s all of the above. Made even lovelier through the lens of Charlotte Jenks Lewis, this is one full gallery you can’t afford to miss.
From the Bride… In March of 2012, Aaron told me we had to go to a cocktail party for his med school at Real Artways, the cinema where we saw a movie on our first date, which also doubles as a gallery and event space. We arrived to be told we were the first to arrive. I was actually sort of annoyed because I had raced home from work and changed as fast as I could so we could get there right on time when the event supposedly started. I probably should’ve known something was up because Aaron said it started at 5:45 pm. What starts at 5:45? My engagement did apparently! Because we were “the first to arrive,” one of the people that worked at the theater asked if we could wait in the theater while they continued to set up. We sat in one of the rows and waited. Within thirty seconds, my favorite Billie Holiday song “The Very Thought of You” started playing. I kept saying to Aar “did you do something?” and he kept saying “no, this is weird! I have no idea what’s going on!”
Finally, “I Believe” by Stevie Wonder came on, which we used to listen to when we first started dating, and then a slideshow of photos of us throughout our relationship started on the big screen and that’s when I knew. I started crying. Finally, after the Stevie song, another song came on but I couldn’t place who was singing or what song it was. I started to silently panic because I figured that the song must be from an important time in our relationship and I was feeling so bad that I couldn’t place it at all. After about a minute, I turned to Aaron and just said sheepishly, “I don’t recognize this song, who is this?” and he said “It’s me.” He had written the song and gone to a recording studio where he sang and played guitar, even overlaying his own voice for the harmonies and then he had the track professionally mastered!
It was the most beautiful song I’ve ever heard and on the recording, at the end of the song, he had recorded himself saying “I love you, baby, will you marry me?” When I looked over at him, with tears in my eyes, he had the ring out! After I said yes, he asked me to dance, and the last song that came on was “our song,” which is “Slow Dance” by John Legend. After our first dance as an engaged couple, we came out of the theater to applause from everyone that worked there! They had a table set up with champagne and they had laid out an amazing spread right in the theater. The manager of the theater gave us the poster of the movie we saw on our first date (which we now have framed and hanging in our living room!). I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect engagement.
As far as wedding planning went, we knew we wanted to be outside, at least for part of the wedding! One of our favorite things to do is to take long walks in beautiful scenery, so the New York Botanical Garden was perfect because of their private ceremony space surrounded by the lush gardens and beautiful greenery all around you. I used Pinterest to track down images of the type of dreamy, romantic, candlelit, garden wedding that I dreamed of and every single one of our vendors brought our vision to life! Naomi Martin and Chris Jobes of Martin Jobes Design took our Pinterest inspiration and had the idea of bringing the garden inside for the reception with gorgeous peonies, ranunculus and hydrangeas and greenery everywhere we looked along with beautiful mercury glass candleholders with long romantic candlesticks. Naomi’s display of mock privet over our escort card table still takes my breath away. It was so dramatic and beautiful.
Continuing our garden theme, Rob Charlton at Goosefish Press hand drew the Enid Haupt Conservatory for our gorgeous invitations. Callie Tein at Modern Trousseau couldn’t have dreamed up a more beautiful or fitting dress than the Ellis with its intricate, delicate, lovely flowered lace and ethereal organza bottom. I am SO excited that I was the first bride to try the Ellis on and to wear it at my wedding! Callie and her amazing team custom fit the dress to me using a muslin fit process in her studio in Woodbridge, CT. The flowered lace was just so perfect for my wedding and I loved working with everyone at Modern Trousseau! I could never have even found my dress and my dreamy cathedral veil without Anneke Lee Sharp, my lovely and amazing bridal consultant at the White Dress by the Shore in Clinton, CT, who laughed and cried with me through everything.
Our music was really important to us, especially because Aaron is a musician in his spare time, so we were thrilled with the Kenny Ford Band who really rocked it all night and kept everyone dancing, even playing our special request Pearl Jam “Yellow Ledbetter” for one of our slow songs, which is the only time I’ve ever heard that song played at a wedding (and the only time Kenny’s ever played it at one!). Kenny and the band also backed up my amazingly talented brother-in-law, Eddie, for a rendition of “Just the Way You Are” which knocked everyone’s socks off and didn’t leave one dry eye in the house. Finally, Abigail Kirsch really made everything so easy for us and our event coordinator Steph Hill is just a truly amazing human being in every way. It was really our privilege to work with her!
Last, but not least, Charlotte Jenks Lewis has been a rock for me through it all. I first met Charlotte pretty soon after we were engaged and we clicked right away (especially being fellow Vassar College grads!) and I’ve had the opportunity to get to know her over the past year and a half. It really is amazing how much you rely on your photographer and I couldn’t imagine having my wedding day without Charlotte who comforted me, calmed me and made things happen! Aside from her stunning, dreamy, ethereal photos, she is the biggest doll in the world and I am fortunate to have been able to work with her and her talented team.
Wedding Photography: Charlotte Jenks Lewis | Wedding Venue: Garden Terrace Room at the New York Botanical Garden | Officiant: Rabbi Aryeh Alpern | Floral Design: Martin Jobes Design | Wedding Caterering + Cake: Abigail Kirsch at the New York Botanical Garden | Custom Invitations: Goosefish Press | Calligraphy for Invitations: Li Ward of Fat Orange Cat Studio | Calligraphy for Escort Cards: Emily Gallardo of Gallardo Works | Ketubah: Ketubah.com | Day of Coordinator: Stephanie Hill of Abigail Kirsch | Acoustic Guitar for Ceremony: Ed Soufer (groom’s brother) | Band: Kenny Ford Band from Hank Lane Music | Wedding Dress: Modern Trousseau “Ellis” from the The White Dress by the Shore | Second Wedding Dress: BCBG from Bloomingdales | Shoes: Valentino “Rockstud” | Earrings: Maria Elena | Bracelets: Vintage Movado (a gift from the groom’s grandmother) | Bridesmaid Dresses: Amsale from Bella Bridesmaid | Bridesmaid’s Silk Robes: girlwithaseriousdream | Hair: Tonino Cipriano from Cutler Salon | Makeup Artist: Deanna Imerti-Bruno | Groom’s Tux + Bowtie: J.Crew | Shirt: Boss Black Label | Groom’s Suspenders: Drake’s London from J.Crew | Groom’s Tux Shoes: Ted Baker