Where do we even start with this epic Jewish wedding? Catherine’s sensational bridal style? The way she and now-husband Perry, combined their NYC (hers) and London (his) backgrounds? The ceremony they crafted to reflect their “Judaism Lite” approach to religion? The editorial-style photography from Christopher Lane Wedding?
Or maybe the fact that the bride is a beloved member of Smashing The Glass’s Brides Club?
Okay, we’ll go with that last one… Catherine has the absolute sweetest things to say about the advice, tips, and resources she found through being a member of our Brides Club (and also her SMASHED IT bag for her smash glass)!
In Catherine’s own words:
“Karen (founder of Brides Club) was absolutely SMASHING in everything from her one-on-one advice inside Brides Club, to daily tips, and as neither my husband and I are very religious, the vast breadth of Jewish related questions and answers I was able to get answered was priceless.”
Curious? In honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re having a special promo where you can get a FREE month-long trial of Brides Club, now through Sunday only. If you’re planning a wedding right now — whether you’re newly engaged or just weeks out from the big day — do give it a try (and you can see Catherine’s ‘newlywed debrief’ interview in there too!)
So back to Catherine’s bridal fashion sense… this super stylish bride, and she had not one but TWO gorgeous dresses: for the ceremony, an uber-glam long-sleeved Ines di Santo, and for the reception an edgier custom gown by the bride’s friend designer Paul Raymond — and we’re TOALLY obsessed with both looks.
There’s so much more to say, but we’ll let the bride take it from here…
New York Meets London
However, my mother put the kibosh on that (after we had already traveled to and picked the venue in England), claiming the wedding should be in the bride’s hometown. As I am born and bred NY’er, there was no shortage of venue options. We decided on the GPH as it embodied the perfect symbiosis of New York City glamour and London chic. Additionally, my parents’ first apartment was also on Gramercy park and the rooftop terrace has a Robert Mapplethorpe by Andy Warhol portrait… given my mother was Robert’s publisher while he was alive, it further supplanted the idea that the GPH was the venue for us.
New England Chic
My number one priority was for our event is be a party first and a wedding second. Given that we are a little older, I wanted to keep things on the smaller and intimate side. My rule for guests was I had to know them personally… no inviting of the new accountant or hairdresser allowed!
I didn’t have a proper theme, per se… but while I was born in NYC, and have always had residence in the city, my mother and I moved to Boston and I spent my teens traveling between both cities… therefore I truly am a dual city East Coast girl and drawn to all things blue, gold and nautical. While we didn’t have “theme,” our colors were blue and gold, I had New England touches such as striped envelope liners and I insisted on only white flowers. Very clean and chic.
One of my favorite elements paid homage to me and my father’s love of crystals. Our escort cards were crystal agate coasters which doubled as favors for our guests. I also used chunks of agate crystal that were actually bookends as our table numbers! Lastly, my husband and I refer to each other as “my lobster” so everything from the invites, programs, signage, menu and even our vows incorporated a lobster or reference thereof.
Event planning is part of my job, so I did not use a wedding planner. I am also a huge control freak so I figured it would be more hindrance than helpful. It was also important for everything to be curated, selected and implemented by me.
That said, I did utilize a week/day of planner that was, quite frankly, one of the best decisions I have ever made. I met Loni from Loni Page Consulting in Miami where we live, and she is absolutely outstanding. The last thing I wanted to do was sweat the small stuff on the day of the wedding. While it was quite hard for me to relinquish control, our wedding could not have been in better hands.
Why I loved being a member of ‘Smashing The Glass’ Brides Club
Karen was absolutely SMASHING in everything from her one-on-one advisement, to daily tips from the FB page and blog. As neither my husband and I are very religious nor were we raised in particularly religious households, the vast breadth of Jewish related questions and answers I was able to find on STG was priceless.
We found our ketubah and chuppah via STG and I was able to get great ideas such as combining the program with the flower petal bag… (for that last one we couldn’t make it work, but I thought it was genius).
My SMASHED IT bag was one of my favorite, and first, items I had for the wedding.
When the Bride is a Stationery Junkie
I am a stationery junkie so having an invitation that was unique to me and me alone was a must. I believe that the wedding starts with the save the date’s and invitations, both of which we had designed by Vanessa and Bridget at Wynwood Letterpress.
Our save the dates were coasters (another mini feature we brought into the wedding by having the escort card crystal coaster favors!) and featured a flamingo to honor our current city of residence, Miami. The invitation suite brought the blue and gold forefront with our names done by hand calligraphy and then letterpress in gold foil with navy blue envelopes lined in white and gold stripes.
A small lobster was also placed in the corner as well… something we realized may have confused our guests given it was a Jewish wedding and until they heard the vows!
Hair + Makeup
I used Vanessa Ungaro formerly of LAVA. She was absolutely stellar. It was important for me to look like me and she nailed it!
An Ines di Santo Dress
I almost never, under any circumstances, show my arms, even in 90-degree Miami summers so having a long sleeve dress was non-negotiable. I never had a “the one” moment, which troubled me, but after going to a wedding department store in NYC, and having the WORST experience, I tried on dresses at several shops in Miami.
I also poured over countless dresses via Pinterest and always came back to a silk long sleeve dress with lace inserts under the arms by Ines di Santo. Chic Parisien in Miami was the only store that carried this designer, so I had them bring in the sample.
After trying on several from this designer, I “Frankensteined” my dress by requesting a custom fabric change from the silk crepe it was shown in to a four-ply silk… which was approved by the designer. I am literally the only person on the planet who has this exact dress!
For dress number two, my very good friend and designer, Paul Raymond, designed a custom gown for me. I fell in love with a dress from Liz Martinez Bridal but couldn’t stomach the additional cost and not being able to “try before buy.” Wanted something a little more edgy and avant garde to contrast my somewhat conservative main wedding dress. He KNOCKED IT OUT OF THE PARK. Just the right amount of T&A, easy to dance in and one of the most gorgeous garments I have ever had the pleasure of putting on my body.
I had a custom “Mrs. Richman” applique created for the back of my leather jacket — huge hit!
A Custom Crystal Comb
Paying homage, once again, to our love of crystals, my father had a custom comb made for me with pieces of quartz dipped in gold. My veil was cathedral length and custom made as well in a tulle with a chantilly lace border to match the lace inserts on the underside of the arms of dress.
Christian Louboutin Shoes
I have a bona fide SHOE PROBLEM. More specifically as it pertains to Christian Louboutin as my former initials are “CL.” My go-to is the Pigalle 100 so I wore a pair of the Strass Pigalle adorned with crystals that I picked out ages ago… greatest part was I had gone into store to try on and my husband snuck back in and purchased them as a surprise for me last Christmas! He also bought two pairs (one for each outfit) so we would both have red soles… I have officially made him a CL addict as well. Oy vey.
The handsome groom
Perry wore an Isaia navy and black tux for the ceremony and dinner but changed into a deep blue Hugo Boss for the party… with a pair of Christian Louboutins for each outfit. My groom, father, and best man all wore fuchsia Stefano Ricci ties that really stood out and photographed like a dream.
Bridesmaids in Navy
Given our age I really meant it when I said, “You can wear your dress again!” Told my girls they could wear whatever they wanted as long as it was navy… I also had first right of refusal, so everything was run by me. Staying in line with our color scheme, my matron of honor wore a gold dress. I loved the mix and match in the pictures as we all look like US… plus I had the most gorgeous wedding party on the planet, which helped.
A Simple Chuppah
I was delighted to find Chuppah Studio via STG! Our venue was so stunning that we opted for a more simple chuppah — gold posts with a white fringe canopy. Candles adorned the bases and the final outcome was picture perfect.
A Judaism Lite Ceremony
As mentioned, neither Perry or I were raised in a religious household, so we had our ceremony (and coined the term) “Judaism Lite.” Reading our own vows to each other was far and away my favorite part.
A Beautiful Ketubah
Our ketubah was from Ketubahs and More, hand done by Mickie Caspi. It matched our wedding (and home) color scheme and now hangs prominently in our house.
Music is VERY important me but not so much my husband. We had a violinist for the ceremony, so our wedding party walked to ‘I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing’ – Aerosmith, I walked to ‘Whiter Shade of Pale’ — Procal Harum and we all walked out to ‘Marry Me’ — Bruno Mars, ALL of which was played via violin only.
The violinist then plugged in to play conjunction with the DJ for the cocktail hour so we could keep the energy up. At the reception we came out to ‘Milkshake’ — Kelis and had our first dance to ‘Time After Time’ — Cyndi Lauper (Eva Cassidy version). I loved that the violinist literally played for and to us… made it even that much more special.
The DJ handled the rest of the evening playing a mix of 80’s and 90’s hip hop, current hits and loads of classic rock with some edgy ensembles injected in at just the right times.
One flower and one flower alone dominated my wedding, ranunculus. This proved a little hard as November isn’t their season. That said the geniuses at Dejuan Stroud Events blew me away. Again, the venue doesn’t need much, and I wanted everything to look clean — white flowers, candles and climbing ivy everywhere!
Photography was, by far, in the top three most important category. I interviewed no less than 20 or so photographers over the phone and the second I spoke with Chris Lane, I knew we would be working with him… plus he is English which bodes well given my husband’s country of origin! Ha! Chris and his team from Christopher Lane Wedding not only captured the look and feel of the day, but he got US. Moreover, a lot of his work is editorial, and I wanted a symbiosis of “wedding-y” and more editorial feel.
Chocolate Cake and Victoria Sponge
Chocolate, chocolate, with some more chocolate is always my preference (and my father’s) … not so much my husband’s. We had Magnolia Bakery create a confection of chocolate and ganache cake layers covered in white buttercream twinkling with gold dust.
Now, given I have the sweet tooth in the family, I got MY cake, but I wanted to do something special for Perry whose favorite cake is Victoria sponge. So where does one find a Victoria sponge in NYC? Tea & Sympathy in the village around the corner from my old apartment. Having both on display was simply divine and he was so surprised I was able to find it!
All that being said, the next day, I went searching for leftover cake in the boxes of food, dà©cor, etc. in our suite but it was nowhere to be found… I was DEVASTATED to find out our BEO (Banquet Event Order) had directions to throw away the remaining cake. That said, Magnolia Bakery gives you a mini replica on your anniversary so I guess I will have to wait to taste the deliciousness again.
Tip: I had a three-tier cake but only the top was real, and bottom were faux layers. We then had a sheet cake that matched the flavors of the wedding cake which was served to guests. This saved almost $1000!
We were the entertainment! Lol. I would have loved to have flamenco dancers but given the timeline, space, and budget it just didn’t work.
For my photobooth I got cut off sparkly lobsters!
I LOVE a twofer and therefore our escort cards were actual pieces of crystal agate that are used as coasters and doubled as favors. We also had killer welcome bags.
Minimoon in Cartagena
We went on a minimoon to Cartagena right after the wedding and will be traveling around Europe for the proper honeymoon. We have the luxury of living in a tropical paradise and travel a lot so we intend to keep this part of our life together going.
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding
Make an email address to funnel all of the wedding related emails you will have to deal with… we both had on our phones and it made life a lot easier. Pro tip: ours was also the hashtag@gmail 🙂
Breathe. Just breathe. It goes by so fast, if you don’t stop to, literally, smell the flowers, cake, room, everything, you will miss it… And don’t get drunk until the proper party. Nothing more dà©classà© then a drunk bride.
Catherine & Perry’s little white book
Photography and videography – Christopher Lane
Wedding planner – Loni Page Consulting
Venue – Gramercy Park Hotel
Bride’ dress – Ines di Santo found and fitted at Chic Parisien
Bride and groom’s shoes – Christian Louboutin
Groom’s attire – Isaia, Hugo Boss and Stefano Ricci
Hair + Makeup – Vanessa Ungaro
Flowers – Dejuan Stroud
DJ and violinist – Scratch Weddings
Cakes – Magnolia Bakery and Tea & Sympathy
Dance floor and photo booth – New York Lounge Dà©cor
Invitations – Wynwood Letterpress
Chuppah – Chuppah Studio