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Say “I do” in Style Aboard The Duchess

There’s saying “I do” in style, and then there is saying “I do” aboard The Duchess, an insanely gorgeous yacht that is equal parts fun AND sophisticated.  Think fabulous contemporary decor, a floating rooftop (!) and panoramic views of NYC that will wow every.single.one of your guests.  I mean, celebrating your newlywed status floating past the city you love? Sooo glamorous.

Whether it’s enjoying the newly built Duchess Lounge on the yacht’s second deck, sipping cocktails from their full-service bars or partying the night away on their oversized, hardwood dance floor, The Duchess has everything (and I mean everything) you’ve ever wanted when it comes to hosting your dream wedding. I’m talking climate controlled interiors, a state-of-the-art sound system (hello, live music or DJ) and outdoor furniture perfect for lounging.  Not to mention The Duchess’ sister property, Fish Bar, is THE place to host your rehearsal dinner, a fab cocktail party or even your reception.  We love them.

Whether you plan on an intimate “I do” with eight of your nearest and dearest or want to host a sit-down dinner for 400, contact The Duchess TODAY to begin your journey to that dream day. Star gazing is totally included, my friends.

the-giveaway

What: The Duchess is giving away a romantic dinner for two at their sister property, Fish Bar! (Value $200, Gratuity Not Included)

How: Simply leave a comment below telling us why you love yacht weddings! (Ex: They are sooo unique!)

Who: One lucky winner, chosen completely at random, will be announced right here on SMP on Friday, June 17, 2016.  For terms and conditions, click here.  Good luck, loves! xo

Photography: Allan Zepeda (Image 2,4) + I Do Weddings (Image 1,3)

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Designer Dress. A-List Florist. Celebrity Photographer. This Manhattan Wedding is a Must-See.

No one does a wedding like New York City — just look at this Manhattan affair. With a gorgeous Lihi Hod dress from Gabriella New York, a navy velvet Chanel clutch, lush florals from the talents at Putnam And Putnam, and a Momofuku Milk Bar, this day was as chic and iconic as the city itself. And it was captured to perfection thanks to Trent Bailey Studio. Head to The Vault to fall in love with it all!

Colors
Seasons
Fall
Styles
Elegant

From The Bride…Shay proposed during a ski trip to Utah. We were with a group of friends – all of whom were experienced skiers or snowboarders. For me – it was my first time skiing ever. On the first day we went out, I spent most of the time on the bunny hill and really enjoyed it, and bragged to Shay that I wasn’t falling at all and was ready for the real mountain. Shay obliged, but said “if you’re not falling, you’re not trying!”. I was sure that I was just a freakishly good at skiing, and went confidently down the mountain and of course found myself falling non-stop, until the last fall when I felt something happen to my knee. I was sick from it, and all our friends and Shay convinced me that my knee was probably just “bruised” and that we should slowly go down and then we could go home. After finally making it down and some hot chocolate, we drove back through the valley and stopped at a pretty snow covered campsite. I was certainly not in the mood to get out of the car, but didn’t want to be the party pooper and joined the group. Shay and I went off to a beautiful tree and snow canopied clearing, and it was there that he got down on one knee and proposed. Needless to say, it was the last thing I expected after falling down the mountain, but immediately cried tears of joy and said yes! I forgot about the knee until the next day when it ballooned to the size of a cantaloupe. That week I found out that I completely tore my ACL, and needed surgery. Long story short – I tore my ACL and then Shay proposed an hour later. It was definitely one of the best days of my life.

We wanted our wedding to feel unique, personal, and we wanted everyone to have a good time. We started looking the NY area and the Bowery Hotel was the third and final place we looked. It was a no brainer – the space felt really special, beautiful, and timeless. And it was six blocks from our apartment, and there was something really awesome about the fact that our wedding was in our neighborhood. That made it feel distinctly personal.

The design at the Bowery is already amazing, and so we did not need to do much more to dress it up beyond flowers. Putnam & Putnam was our first choice among the florists we looked at, and their prior work was inspiration in itself. Their aesthetic and vision is exactly in line with our taste, and so it was easy to really let them take have at it. Everything was stunning, particularly the candlelit backdrop where we said our vows.

A lot of the inspiration for other details were driven by our shared history. Our wedding DJ was DJ Baby Blu – he DJs at Brooklyneer on Friday and Saturday nights and we always have a blast dancing there. Long before we were engaged we both said to each other that he should play at our wedding. Our wedding cake was Momofuku Birthday Cake – the same cake that I got for Shay for his 30th birthday and we both said then that it would be the cake at our wedding (and it provided inspiration for our friends’ wedding too!). The recessional that the musicians played was from Hans’ Zimmer’s “You’re So Cool (part of the soundtrack of one of our favorite movies – True Romance). Our photographer worked at a friend’s wedding and produced amazing, dreamlike photos for them. My hair and make-up was done by Mala – the same woman who has done my hair (and my sister’s) for the last ten years. Our favors were photos from the photobooth Mashbooth – this was such an easy decision since we can never resist a photobooth.

What also made the wedding really special was our ceremony. Our friend Laura Goode officiated. She is a writer, poet, and filmmaker, and she worked with us and our parents for months to put together a really thoughtful and personal ceremony. She translated our relationship beautifully, and our guests couldn’t stop talking about it. We are so lucky she agreed to help us out.

We are not the most DIY of people – although we did a lot of planning ourselves and Amanda at the Bowery did the rest of the heavy lifting (and she did an amazing job, as did the rest of the staff there!). The most tangible DIY element was the wedding programs – our friend Lucy sent us a template and I played around with it to make it our own, and printed them at Paper Presentation on 17th street. The morning of the wedding I was still threading the programs with the ribbon and had to enlist my mom, sister, and friends to help finish them!

For me, walking through the doors and down the aisle with my father was so surreal. It was absolutely stunning to see our closest family and friends in one room, and to have Shay at the end the aisle. Holding hands and saying our vows was the best part of all. And funnily enough, another favorite moment was when we accidentally forgot to exchange rings so we did so right after the ceremony with our parents and siblings circled around us.

The party was a blast and to this day we keep hearing stories from our friends about their versions of the night. And to top it off, we had our friends drinking a special cocktail named “if you’re not falling, you’re not trying”. Many of them were trying very hard that night.

Advice:
– Try to keep it personal! And it doesn’t need to involve a lot of DIY to be personal if that’s not your jam.
– There’s inspiration beyond pinterest! I actually found Putnam & Putnam and my dress designer (Lihi Hod) on instagram.
– Something will go wrong but you probably won’t know, so don’t worry. It’s beyond your control.
– Have fun with it! It’s only one day and the most important thing is the marriage. Planning is a good chance to figure out how you navigate through some difficult situations together.

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Photography: Trent Bailey Studio | Floral Design: Putnam And Putnam | Wedding Dress: Lihi Hod | Cake: Momofuku Milk Bar | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jenny Packham | DJ: DJ Baby Blu | Groom's Attire: Sebastien Grey | Venue: The Bowery Hotel | Bridal Boutique: Gabriella New York

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A NFL Player + Cheerleader Say “I Do” With A Touchdown-Worthy Wedding

This couple’s matchmaker? Just a little organization called the NFL. He, a Buffalo Bills football player and she, a cheerleader for the team met, began dating, and the rest is history. Their rustic, outdoor wedding day (with a color palette inspired by the bride’s engagement ring!) is one for the books featuring blooms by Bows and Arrows and photography by Apryl Ann. Lots more right this way!

Colors
Seasons
Summer
Styles
Al Fresco

From The Bride…The two of us met for the first time our first year in the NFL. Andy was beginning his professional career with the Buffalo Bills & Katie was cheerleading for the team. We crossed paths at a Christmas charity event and remained friendly for the next 2 years. In summer of 2011, Andy walked into the bar Katie was working at during college and it was something like love at second sight. We dated for a little less than two years before we were engaged. Andy asked Katie to marry him in his hometown & our off-season home of Santa Cruz, California. We decided to marry on the 4th of July, 2015 because it was a perfect time in the NFL off-season to have a wedding and still fit in a two-week honeymoon in Bora Bora. We took a big risk by having the wedding completely outdoors outside of Buffalo, New York. The weather is always unpredictable in western New York, but we were blessed with 70 degrees and sun!

The inspiration for the wedding actually started with Katie’s love for her yellow diamond engagement ring. Yellow was a perfect color for summer in our minds and we always knew we wanted a mix of outdoor rustic and subtle glamour. We told our guests to envision & dress along with a summer garden party theme. It was refreshing to see guests relaxed with a more casual attitude and dress. The decision to marry at Spring Lake Winery was a no brainer. We love us some wine & the people at the beautiful vineyard allowed us to bring in all of our own vendors and let us run with our vision. We didn’t have a religious ceremony, so we asked our dear friend, a classic rock radio DJ & announcer for the Buffalo Bills, John “JP” Piccillo to become ordained and marry us. We wanted to make the ceremony short but full of meaning. Katie wrote the ceremony script from scratch & included space for us to read a couple of words we wrote to share with one another. Andy has a fear of public speaking, so when he beautifully spoke in his own words about how he felt about Katie, there was hardly a dry eye in the crowd.

Although we don’t consider ourselves traditional by any stretch of the imagination, we included some traditions we found really special. Katie wore a veil over her face so that “Andy was the first one to see her face at the end of the aisle”. Katie’s something old & borrowed was a 200-year-old handkerchief from her mother’s side of the family, her something blue was a ring from her late grandmother & something new was a beautiful tennis bracelet from the groom. Andy walked both his and Katie’s mom down the aisle & our flower girls & ring bearers walked our beloved French Bulldogs Titan & Olive. We kept the traditions of the formal dances, toasts and cake cutting. It was important for us to honor our loved ones who couldn’t be there with us, so we had a table with photos and candles dedicated to those that had passed on. Katie’s best friend Shawn passed away the year before, so instead of wedding favors, we decided to donate to a drug rehabilitation center in his honor.

Our main objective for the reception was having enough things to do so no one had to dance if they didn’t want to. The decision, inspired by Andy’s dislike for the dance floor, shaped our entire night for the better! We filled our reception with great food, Motown music & fun activities. We are big eaters! Andy is a lineman and Katie loves to cook, so together we decided food should be our focus. We thought of our reception as more of a 4th of July BBQ. For the cocktail hour, we served several different types of pizza, Buffalo wings (of course!), French fries, sliders, grilled cheese with tomato soup & milk and cookies. For dinner, we had stations of Italian food, Mexican food, fresh-rolled sushi & Japanese food & Mediterranean food. Some of the highlights were stuffed banana peppers, meatballs, spicy tuna rolls, calamari, fish tacos and falafel. For dessert, we had 5 different flavored cakes: strawberry shortcake, carrot cake, red velvet, chocolate & peanut butter and cassata cake.

We also had our friends at Lake Effect Ice Cream create an ice cream sundae bar with 4 flavors, tons of toppings, ice cream sandwiches & a flavor named “Levitre Land.” We also had a s’mores station with a small fire pit. At night, we had a taco truck show up for some late night burritos, nachos, and tacos. That was definitely a hit with the crew that stuck around until 1am! We had 3 full bars at the wedding & different stations for wine, whiskey, and beer tastings & cigar rolling. The 21 and older crowd enjoyed our beer pong and flip cup tables along with games of corn hole.

Perhaps our favorite moment of the night, besides the “I do’s” was the few minutes we had completely alone watching the firework show over the vineyard’s private lake. We received the great advice to take a moment to be together to really soak in the moment and we’re so happy we did. Another great piece of advice was to prepare ourselves for something to go wrong. Luckily, the big stuff, like the weather and ceremony were perfect…but there was definitely A LOT of hiccups along the road. The funny part about all of the “mistakes,” was that no one noticed them but us. So, with that in mind, we would tell all brides and grooms to always remember that this day is about YOU. Prepare the best you can to have your dream wedding, but if the wedding can’t be perfect, just focus on the beauty of your marriage.

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Photography: Apryl Ann Photography | Cinematography: Phenomenon Events | Event Planning: KC You There | Floral Design: Bows and Arrows | Wedding Dress: Pnina Tornai | Cake: Panaro's | Bride's Shoes: Christian Louboutin | Engagement Ring: Henri Daussi | Catering: Encore | Catering: Mezza | Catering: Amici's | Catering: Bada Bing | Catering: Aguacates | Makeup: The Makeup Parlour | Hair: Cielo Salon | Band: Nu-Cullers | Ceremony Music: Marie Michele | Venue: Spring Lake Winery | Beer Tasting: Resurgence Brewery | Chalkboard Calligrapher: Daniel Ortiz | Cigar Rolling: Santiago Cigar Factory | Dog Sitters: Outta the Doghouse | Ice Cream Ba: Lake Effect Ice Cream | Luxury restroom trailer: Arwood Waste | Rentals: McCarthy Tents & Events | Rolls Royce: Advantage Limousine | Save the dates: Wedding Paper Divas | Transportaton: AYR Coach | Wedding Suite: Invitations by Dawn | Whiskey Tasting: Shane Moore | Wine Tasting: Spring Lake Winery | Wooden directional signs: Sweet Carolina Collective | fireworks: Skylighters Fireworks

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Jane Austen Meets Gatsby Style in This Glamorous Wedding

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!

Colors
Seasons
Summer
Styles
Al Fresco

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.

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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

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here