When we last left off in the Wedding Diary: Part One – Adam had just left our suite to get ready for the evening separately. My sister arrived, champagne, silk pajamas, hair and make-up tools in tow. We put on a ‘getting ready’ playlist and spent the next hour or so getting ourselves ready for the night ahead. My parents stopped by from down the hall to say hi, my two best friends from college came by and did their own hair and make-up there too before heading off to the venue – it was a revolving door of some of the people I love most. It was a fun period of the day but also in the moment, I was feeling the most stressed. The weather was tenuous at best and we’d just asked 30 of our closest family and friends to come to New York City and wait for us on a rooftop.
The vendors had begun to deliver things, the tables were being set.. really there was no turning back. Suddenly it was 5:00 PM – everyone was heading to the cocktail hour and Leandra, our incredible photographer was coming back to the Ludlow to capture a first look. For the first time since 7:00 AM, I was alone in the room, in my dress. Adam was 3 doors down the hall. Later we recounted that we’d both stood at the window, looking out over downtown and watched it begin to rain. And then we took a few deep breaths and came to meet each other.
Me, in a very simple silk slip dress – found for half price this summer from Reformation and hemmed at my local tailor, vintage paste stone earrings from Alexis Bittar (where I work) and a more walkable block heel sandal with just a touch of sparkle from Loeffler Randall – all brands that I wear and love regularly so I felt completely at ease in them. My hair let down from the morning’s bun to fall in retro waves and parted to the side. Lips bright red in Ruby Woo – the lipstick I wore constantly when I first moved to New York. An ivory mohair cardigan from French brand Sezane to drape over my shoulders in the chilly evening air. The inspiration was Carolyn Bessette at her wedding to JFK Jr. – a simple, timeless elegance + a touch of old hollywood glamour. Adam, in a silk tie neck shirt, wrapped twice, and a double breasted jacquard vest, vintage trousers and black patent loafers.
We were together, come what may. We had a few quiet moments to ourselves and then we were off, into a cab headed from the Lower East Side to Nolita – just as the rain began to stop again.
As we were making our way to the venue, our 30 guests were huddled inside – the bartender passing drinks down the staircase for a banded together makeshift happy hour that everyone was looking back on and laughing about already by the time we arrived. If you look closely you’ll see the place settings still upside down from when they set the tables only to have it start raining. Chairs wiped down before we got there and tablecloths and settings that were miraculously dry enough for us to sit less than 2 hours later.
My Dad met Adam and I downstairs, and then we were in the tiny stairwell leading up to the roof. My best friend Claire, who had spent months helping me expertly craft our wedding playlist and was so generously willing to hit ‘play’ was waiting at the top of the stairs and it was so nice seeing her first. Her being the one to give us our cue to walk.
What I remember: the opening chords of the Beach Boys’ ‘Don’t Worry Baby’ (the song we’d picked for him to walk out to) coming over the speakers, Adam turning the corner and hearing the tiny crowd erupt in cheers. My Dad giving me a steadying look, picking up the hem of my dress to keep it from touching the somewhat wet steps, the feel of his new wool suit against my bare arm. Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Secret Garden’ starting to play, how we made the turn out to the roof just as the music started to swell. How even with just 30 people I felt like I couldn’t quite meet anyone’s eyes until we made the turn and my childhood best friend Joanna came into focus, Adam beside her.
In a happy accident the microphones had been ruined in the earlier rain and so we could exchange our vows to one another quietly. We took our first dance to Smokey Robinson & The Miracles’ ‘You’ve Really Got a Hold On Me’ – a song that reminded us of the early days when we’d first met, both of us swearing we weren’t going to be together but finding it impossible to resist.
And then, as the lights began to go up in the city around us, string lights sparkling, we were free to breath. We greeted our guests, were handed drinks (a French75 for me, a Manhattan for Adam – our signature cocktails for the night) and wandered around the rooftop – never much more than an arm’s length away from one another. We’d pause and listen to a particular snippet of a song we love – mouthing the words to one another.
Every single guest had traveled to be there that night. Most from Pennsylvania but a few from further and it meant to world to have our 30 closest friends and family in this city where we’ve built a life together. My sister and Adam both gave a short toast, we sipped good champagne and then we served dinner from Rosemary’s – one of our favorite local restaurants. I’ve honestly never had a memorable meal at a wedding and so we thought – why try to cater steak? We could just serve great pasta from one of our favorite local restaurants and then whenever we feel like it, we can have the same meal we ate at our wedding.
Keeping in the spirit of sourcing things locally – we had a small lemon curd and olive oil cake made by From Lucie – a French bakery in the East Village (same thing, we can eat our wedding cake on every anniversary if we’d like) and trays of cookies from Bedford Cheese Shop that did our appetizer plates as well – they’re right around the corner from us in Gramercy.
We served coffee in classic NY blue paper coffee cups. I danced with my Dad to Sam Cooke’s ‘Nothing Can Change This Love’. The rest of us swept the dance floor. We played Amy Winehouse’s ‘Valerie’ for my dear friend from college Val as she twirled around. My cousin’s wife Raquel, whom I adore, hooted and hollered – a true country girl in NYC. One of our oldest friends Dave came around with a tray of tequila shots – no idea how he procured it. It was spectacular.
We laughed and danced and then.. like clockwork, it started to rain just as the party was meant to wrap up. We ran for cover downstairs. I changed into a white party dress from Staud and silver platform heels and a handful of us were off to the after party. Final finals (and then some) at The Flower Shop in the Lower East Side. It was a rain soaked blur of a late night adventure until finally I looked over at Adam and said.. let’s go home.
It wasn’t perfect.. nothing is. But it was really and truly ours. And if I had to do it again – aside from maybe getting a really beautiful sunset as our backdrop – I wouldn’t change a thing.
All photos by Leandra Creative Co.