Overlooking the mesmerizing lake view at The Tuxedo Club, Samantha & Matt shared their personal vows to each other. “There’s honestly nothing we would change” the couple said when reflecting on their magical wedding day. The day was an absolute dream, with every little thing going better than anyone could have imagined or hoped for. This fun couple made sure their ceremony included everything that was special to their relationship. “From the outdoor living room featuring chesterfield couches and sheepskin throws to the voluptuous hot pink peonies to the seven-foot donut wall, the sum of the small details made it perfect for us” Samantha raves about the wedding that was “beyond her wildest dreams.”
How and When did you two meet?We don’t agree on when we first met. While we informally met a few times socially past midnight, it wasn’t until New Years 2011 that we (soberly) introduced ourselves and started chatting. We got lucky – our respective roommates and best friends started dating (and are now married with a kid!) so we were bound to meet once their love connection was made.
When did you know he/she was ‘the one’?I don’t recall a specific moment: It may have been when we took our first trip to San Francisco & Napa together and realized quickly that we travel insanely well together. I also remember watching him work his ass off when I decided to move myself via a U-Haul truck from my Union Square studio to his Lower East Side apartment and remember thinking how lucky I was to score such a selfless person that didn’t resent me for having him schlep all of my furniture across the city.
What mattered most to you when planning your wedding?I’m a creative, scrappy and organized person, and I knew that in order to fully relinquish control the day of my wedding, I needed to be super involved with all of the details leading up to the big day. I wanted our guests to walk into our wedding and know exactly whose wedding it was based off the décor and vibes, and I’m confident we achieved just that with some of our unique special details.
Describe the feeling you felt when seeing each other for the first time on the wedding day.The feeling is indescribable. You have this bizarre out of body experience where you think to yourself ‘holy crap – this is my wedding day. We’ve made it here…I’m staring at my forever.’ Matt never cries, and both of us had tears running down our face when we first saw each other down the aisle. You look around and see all of your family and friends and think ‘How did I get so lucky to get to this moment?.’ It’s truly this intangible feeling that I’ll never forget (thanks to my amazing photos and video!)
How did you personalize your wedding?We had an amazing team of vendors around us mobilizing the main features of the wedding, and then we personally worked on a lot of the smaller details that had big impact. This includes: features of our outfits (hot pink heels, rose gold Nike dunks), personalized cornhole boards, lucite personalized namecards, signature drinks & signs, an outdoor living room featuring furniture and décor from our own apartment, family heirlooms on the bouquet, a neon ‘It Was All A Dream’ sign to show homage to our favorite music (i.e. hip-hop), cheeky personalized cocktail napkins, Peter Luger’s steaksauce on every table, a curated song list for the band, Dominos pizza at our afterparty, etc. The details were critical to make our wedding ‘us.’
Any specific details or traditions that you chose for the weekend?We wanted everyone to feel like they were part of the ceremony, because every person attending played a critical role in the forming of our relationship. We honored guests by having them participate in the Jewish tradition of the 7 blessings. Typically the rabbi reads these blessings and instead, we asked one family member from the bride side and another from the groom side to stand up together and bless us as a couple to symbolize our families becoming one. The last blessing was saved for the entire audience, who read the blessing printed on the program. It was a really special moment to look out and see your favorite people supporting and blessing your future.
Your ceremony in 4 words. Authentic – Magical – Inclusive – A Dream!
What were your thoughts when walking down the aisle?We both started to sob when we saw each other, which was really unexpected since neither of us are criers. After 30 seconds of tearing up, I thought “oh crap, is my make-up everywhere?” All jokes aside, it was truly one of the most memorable moments of my life, and I still get choked up rewatching footage from our ceremony.
What music did you choose for the ceremony? We had a string quartet play current songs via an instrumental version. It was awesome to walk down the aisle to songs that have been such a big part of our lives and relationship. From the Beatles to Coldplay to Bruno Mars, our song list consisted of tunes that have been part of our relationship. I walked down to ‘Unchained Melony’ from the movie Ghost, which is one of our favorite movies and always gets the tears going. And boy did it!
Tell us all about the fashion. We wanted our respective outfits to reflect our own unique style and we accomplished that with special touches. Bride = off the shoulder dress, high pony tail, hot pink pumps, rose gold Nike dunks Groom = white tux jacket, sockless Ferragamo dress shoes
Who officiated your ceremony and why did you choose him or her?We had Rabbi Evan Kramer from Maryland come up and officiate our wedding. We’ve been going to the Rabbi’s holiday services for the last 5+ years and love his unique approach to tradition. He’s super inclusive and flexible, and after our very first meeting with him, Matt and I knew we wanted him to marry us. He was always available, always asking the right questions to get to know us and always flexible as it related to personalizing our ceremony to reflect our own style.
What were your vows like?Our vows were very ‘us.’ We both balanced funny/cheesy with nice and sentimental. We each touched upon the unique individual traits that we love about one another, and the collective traits that make us such a strong team.
Did you have a favorite moment or unforgettable feeling from the ceremony you’d like to share?Having my Bubbe (grandmother) 1) be at my wedding 2) walk down the aisle and 3) walk down without her walker was a magical moment for me. After health issues and concerns that she wouldn’t be at my wedding, it was incredible to see how strong and beautiful she looked as my cousin walked her down the aisle. She was beaming.
Why did you select your venue?We wanted a destination wedding without making people venture far from New York City and Maryland. After many trips up to the Hudson Valley, we knew we wanted to get married in a beautiful outdoor setting. My uncles have a place in Tuxedo Park, and after looking at many venues and locations scattered across the Hudson Valley, we realized we were sitting on a goldmine of a location. The Tuxedo Club offering a beautiful “blank” palette featuring insane lake views, delicious food and incredible staff that became family over the planning process.
Tell us about your hair and makeup team.Michelle and her team from Michelle Elise Artistry were goddesses. Outside of being insanely professional, organized and talented, Michelle’s energy was perfect for what I needed. She was cool, calm and collaborative, and her team of make-up and hair stylists were equally wonderful and talented. Everyone looked and felt like a billion bucks.
Did you have any good (or bad) surprises on the wedding day?Everyone told me it’s inevitable that something will go wrong on your wedding day. The best surprise for me was that everything went smoothly beyond my wildest dreams. The weather was perfect, the setting was breathtaking, the band was awesome, the food was delicious and our family / friends had the best time. The only ‘bad’ surprise is how quickly the day went and how your adrenaline and happiness sometimes overwhelm your ability to look around and take it all in. While I remember tons about the night, our incredible pictures and video allow us to relive the moments more clearly.
What inspired you when planning your wedding?Other weddings! From countless blogs and experiences at others’ weddings, I was able to curate exactly what I wanted our wedding to be and not be. Pinterest and Google Images also played a big role!
How would you describe your reception?A colorful celebration – literally and figuratively – featuring our favorite flowers, foods, music, and people!
What were your favorite details of the reception?Any DIY elements or special things that you incorporated? I loved the collective details coming together to make-up a picture perfect day for us. From the outdoor living room featuring chesterfield couches and sheepskin throws, to the voluptuous hot pink peonies to the 7ft. donut wall, the sum of the small details made it perfect for us.
What was your first dance song?We entered the room to ‘In Paris’ by Jay-Z and Kanye West, which has played a big role in our relationship for various reasons. We then danced to Mumford and Son’s ‘I Will Wait,’ which also is one of our all-time favorites. What songs did you dance with your parents? My dad and I danced to a variety of songs, including “The Way You Make Me Feel,” by Michael Jackson, which we always danced to in our basement growing up. Matt and his mom danced to ‘Mama’ by Boys II Men, which was so cute.
What was on your menu?We love playful dishes, so our wedding featured a ton of tapas-styled appetizers including mini tacos & tequila bottles, mini grilled cheeses, an Italian-stlyed meats & cheeses table, crabcakes (to honor my Maryland roots!), and a delicious surf/turf entrée. Matt is in love with Peter Lugers, so we made sure each table had its own Peter Lugers steak sauce.
Did you have cake or deserts?We had a delicious birthday and chocolate layered cake from Momofuku. We also did miniature passed desserts include baby milkshakes, mini whoopie pies, milk & cookies and our favorite – a 7 ft. donut wall.
What are some memorable moments you won’t forget from the weekend of events? There is nothing more special than having everyone you love within a few hundred feet of you…to celebrate your forever love. From the welcome party on Friday night to the Sunday morning brunch, we were surrounded by our favorite people 24/7. While all the details of the physical wedding were perfection, what made it the most special were the people surrounding us. That includes our guests, but also the incredible vendors that became family during the process. It truly felt like every single partner went above and beyond to make our day extra special, and I’ll be forever grateful to these creative minds (Trent & Dara included) who made our weekend so perfect.
Did you learn anything about yourself or each other during the planning process?One insight coming out of the planning is how critical technology can play in the planning of the wedding. Google Drive really helped my wedding planner and I stay on top of all of the moving pieces. We have always been a great team, but the wedding only underscored our strengths as a couple. Matt let me do my thing – which included being super detail-oriented and scrappy. I let Matt do his own thing – which mean I knew when to engage him for a decision (i.e. food + music) and when he didn’t really care to have an opinion. This only honed our communication skills and made it a pretty smooth planning process.
Do you have any budget tips for other couples getting married? Where to splurge and where to share? Every couple cares about different things, and it’s important from the start to know what your non-negotiables are, and what you don’t care as much about. We knew we wanted a killer band, beautiful photographs to look back at and an afterparty to keep the party going, so made concessions to accommodate those things throughout the process. That said, everything really does add up, so recommend getting the biggest and most expensive items out of the way to enable you to back-into your top-line budget.
What was the best advice you received from others?We got great advice, which included don’t separate from each other during the wedding and take time for yourselves directly after the ceremony. Directly after the ceremony, we spent ~15 minutes decompressing in a back room with a tray of the passed appetizers, and it was definitely a surreal and special moment. It’s so important the couple is able to experience the wedding together so that they have the same memories, and too often, brides and grooms split up. We were also told to greet and say hi to as many people as possible before the reception to ensure we could spend the entirety of the time on the dancefloor together.
If you had it to do all over again, would there be anything you would change?There’s honestly nothing we would change.