This beautiful Bride and Groom had a vision for their wedding day that married “a romantic garden wedding with a touch of gilded art deco detail, and a dash of old-school soul.” With a focus on the details — like the Bride’s Pronovias lace dress and classic Chevrolet — they captured their “Jane Austin’s garden meets Jay Gatsby’s mansion” feel. See it all from Alexandra Meseke Photography in The Vault!
From The Bride…Chris and I are unapologetically old-school romantics. He continues to open car doors for me, pull out my chair at dinner, and surprise me with fresh-cut hydrangeas from our yard – one of the only plants we can keep alive in our tiny excuse for a garden! We have always been drawn to the styles, music, and culture of another era – we always say we should have been born 100 years ago.
In a few words, our vision for our wedding day was a romantic garden wedding with a touch of gilded art deco detail, and a dash of old-school soul. We wanted our guests to feel like they were stepping back in time. Yet we didn’t want it to become a costume party. It was important for me to chose colors, themes and details reminiscent of a time long ago, while still remaining fresh, simple, and modern.
We also both love spending time outdoors together in the woods, lakes, and parks in the Rochester and Finger Lakes area, so we knew an outdoor ceremony would be magical. Our hometown of Rochester, NY is overflowing with rich history and was the perfect setting to bring this vision to life while paying tribute to the place we grew up and met. When we were dating and I lived in an old city mansion-turned- apartment in the Park Avenue neighborhood, we loved to take walks and explore the city streets, admiring the beautiful old homes and architecture, and imagining a time when things were so much simpler, yet so much more grand and opulent at the same time. Just blocks away from my old apartment was the George Eastman House, the historic home and gardens of Kodak founder George Eastman and now an international museum of photography. It’s always been a favorite spot for us to visit. Think: Jane Austin’s garden meets Jay Gatsby’s mansion – to me, it really doesn’t get any better than that! Shortly after we were engaged, we knew this was our spot, and we couldn’t imagine saying our vows anywhere else.
We both come from large, tight-knit Italian families, so we knew there was no getting around a big wedding – and we wouldn’t want it any other way! But we also wanted something that felt intimate and special. The seclusion of the garden tucked away in the middle of the city felt like we were letting our closest friends and family in on a special secret as we took our vows. We were so touched to be able to share these few moments with everyone in the world who means the world to us, all in the same place at the same time.
Incorporating small but meaningful mementos to honor important family was something I felt strongly about. To honor my dad who passed away when I was a teenager, I carried an antique locket with his photo and mine on my bouquet, so he was close to my heart as I walked down the aisle. I also borrowed a silver beaded clutch that belongs to my mother, and inside, carried a handkerchief that belonged to Chris’ grandmother.
One of my favorite parts of the day was riding in the rumble seat of a 1931 classic Chevrolet Coupe along historic East Avenue from the ceremony to our reception. Aside from taking in the gorgeous view of the old homes and architecture, it was so special for Chris and I to be able to take this moment alone together (along with our family friend in the driver’s seat!) and bask in the glow of our recent vows and look forward to the party ahead. We couldn’t resist snapping a few selfies!
After the ceremony, we continued the celebration at another historic Rochester venue, Inn on Broadway, for dinner and dancing with our bridal party and guests. We both love to dance, and wanted our guests not only to remember a great wedding, but to remember a great party. Music for me was key to creating the perfect soundtrack to transport our guests back to a time of roaring jazz music, and free-flowing cocktails and champagne. A 5-piece jazz band set the scene at our cocktail hour, along with signature drinks “The Flapper” and “The Philosopher” – a champagne cocktail, and a whiskey-ginger. A cigar bar staged to look like a man’s prohibition-era suitcase and dressing table was filled with vintage photos, postcards, newspapers, and liquor bottles from the time, curated from local antique shops and Etsy stores.
Then our amazing DJ carried us into the wee hours of the night, playing a healthy mix of everything from Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, and James Brown (some of our all-time favorites to listen to at home) to Beyonce, Fergie, and Coldplay.
A big part of our life is centered around cooking and eating good food with the ones we love, so it was important to us for the day to reflect that. Tournedo’s Steakhouse at the Inn on Broadway prepared an exquisite, seasonal menu, and Gourmet Goodies created a gorgeous cake and pastry display overflowing with creative mini-desserts and traditional Italian wedding cookies and pastries. At the same time, it was important to us to give back, and sharing food is one of the best ways I know how. For this reason, we skipped wedding favors in lieu of a more meaningful contribution to a local food bank in honor of our guests.
We were so lucky to find Alexandra and Michael as our photographers – the moment we met Alexandra, we knew she would be able to beautifully capture our day aesthetically, as well as emotionally. The two of them together are a breath of fresh air. They put our entire bridal party at ease, and made a long day of wedding photos feel effortless.
It was important to us to choose vendors that were not only able to turn our vision into reality, but who were also just kind, genuine people who we knew would be there for us every step of the way. We also wanted to work with as many local vendors with ties to the Rochester community as we possibly could. We couldn’t have gotten through the day without this amazing group of people that we were so blessed to work with – everyone from our amazing photographers, Alexandra and Michael Meseke, to my lovely hair and makeup stylists who not only made me camera-ready but also calmed my jitters, to the meticulous event coordinators at the George Eastman House and Inn on Broadway, to our hugely talented florist and show-stopping band and DJ. Because of them, each detail came together without a hitch, and Chris and I were overwhelmed with gratitude and joy when we saw our vision brought to life.
Photography: Alexandra Meseke Photography | Floral Design: Kittleberger Florist | Wedding Dress: Pronovias | Cake: Gourmet Goodies | Ceremony Venue: George Eastman House | Reception Venue: Inn On Broadway | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Watters Wtoo | Makeup: Blush, Brush And Bronze | Hair: Scott Miller Salon | Band: Showcase Sound | Bridal Boutique: Juliana’s Bridal | Flower Girl Dress: Seahorse by Watters