Erik Ekroth can do no wrong in my eyes. His eye for photography always makes me swoon, and when he is shooting a wedding like this one at The New York Botanical Garden filled to the brim with some of the most stunning florals I’ve ever laid eyes on from Surroundings Flowers – I drop everything. Because a wedding this lovely deserves some serious time to soak in every last gorgeous image, and you can do just that right here.
From the Bride… Max and I attended the same university but experienced two different sides of campus, literally. After graduation, a dear mutual friend connected us in London. This began our love story. Our relationship encompassed some long distances over the years! Los Angeles-London, London-Austria and finally New York-London. Many email exchanges were sent and long phone calls made at exact times of day. It allowed us to have a slow, old-fashioned courtship. When we got engaged in 2011 on a stunning beach in Bali, we knew our love would endure throughout the unpredictable events that life may bring, just as promised by marriage.
I wanted a summer wedding as it’s my favorite season of the year. We decided that New York City would be the ideal, central location to gather our international family and friends. The criteria that was important to us was as follows: a personal ceremony incorporating my Chinese and his Austrian roots, great food and fun for our guests, and no drama. Also, we adore nature, but that seemed nearly impossible to incorporate into a city wedding. When we found the New York Botanical Garden, we instantly knew it had the right combination. Abigail Kirsch would deliver a modern menu and dedicated service and the gardens would be the natural, airy setting we desired.
We had about six months to plan our wedding. I relied heavily upon my iPad to gather all my inspirations in one place. Our color theme was fresh green and white, with pops of summer pinks and oranges. The inspiration behind the flowers was to create an elegant arrangement with an organic shape incorporating my favorites such as orchids, calla lilies, peonies, and garden roses. Diane Wagner helped to realize my vision of a slightly formal yet relaxed vibe through the fluid feeling of the flowers gently spilling out of their vases.
Our favors had “please enjoy” written on them. This message had a secret meaning for us. While in Bali on our engagement moon, the hospitality staff would bow and say to us “please enjoy” at every meal. We were tickled by the simplicity and graciousness of these two words together and wanted to pass the sentiment on.
I wanted to celebrate the individuality of my bridesmaids with different dresses. One of my attendants lived in Los Angeles and was pregnant at the time, so I chose the dresses with each bridesmaid separately over the course of a few months. Silk chiffon fabric was the unifying element. Each bridesmaid had her own color and flower, and then her flower was mixed into my bouquet to represent her imprint upon my life.
Our officiant, Reverend Macomb, was chosen because she is a specialist in interfaith and intercultural weddings. We wanted to honor Max’s Catholic heritage and celebrate my family’s Christian beliefs, while remembering the Buddhist roots of my grandparents and incorporating my meditation practice. Our ceremony ran longer than planned but it stayed true to the heart of us and I’ll never forget it. The weather forecast for our wedding day had been sunny all week but when we awoke on the day, the sky was dark and stormy. Would you believe the sky cleared entirely, twenty minutes before the ceremony? The sun lit up and the sky was a crystal blue.
My father-in-law, a world renowned opera singer, absolutely delighted us and our 176 guests by singing several Cole Porter songs during our reception. Another beautiful and talented friend sang our first dance, an intimate and heartfelt rendition of Eva Cassidy’s version of “Fields of Gold”. Our DJ was incredible and kept the dance floor packed. In fact, we received many compliments about the wonderful energy of all our vendors.
Many married friends told me that the celebration would fly by. I set an intention to be fully present and savor each moment as soon as the wedding weekend kicked off at the rehearsal dinner. My advice to any bride is to do your homework, choose your top three must haves, and don’t sweat the rest. Gaze into your beloved’s eyes as you say your vows and “please enjoy”.Wedding Photography: Erik Ekroth | Wedding Venue: The New York Botanical Garden | Officiant: Reverend Susanna Macomb | Floral Design: Diane Wagner of Surroundings Flowers | String Trio: Venus Ensembles | Catering: Abigail Kirsch | Invitations: Bella Figura | Wedding Dress: Badgley Mischka Bridal | Bride’s Shoes: Manolo Blahnik | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: BCBG (orange gown), Jill Stuart (green gown), Aidan Mattox (floral gown) | Groom’s Suit: Roberto Revilla Bespoke | Bride’s Earrings + Rings: Kwiat | Makeup: Nam Vo | Hair: Jennifer Brent | Band: Claire Fuller | DJ: DJ Vida Ventura of Scratch Weddings