The Manhattan wedding of Claudia and Felix, two professional ballet dancers, is the perfect way to ease you into your Monday. It’s bursting with style, creativity, fashionable touches, and super original ideas.
They picked a clean, crisp, white canvas NYC loft space, and warmed it up with a farmhouse, rustic feel. As Claudia herself puts it, they wanted to match up their city slicker selves with their dream of a country wedding, and it works brilliantly. They also incorporated lots of meaningful and amusing Jewish, American, and Dutch traditions (Felix hails from The Netherlands) so that their guests had lots of little surprises throughout the day. One of my favourite idea of theirs are the kippot (skullcaps) supplied for every guest with “my mother was right” inscribed on the inside. You get why I’m loving this wedding!
Claudia and Felix also managed to create the most original I’m-not-sure-I’ll-ever-see-anything-like-that-ever-again escort cards / favours — but I’ll let Claudia surprise you with those.
Finally I love Claudia’s Vera Wang dress and Valentino heels more than dark chocolate. And I like dark chocolate A LOT.
The sublime images come from the fabulous STAK Photography who captured every last detail beautifully.
AN URBAN LOFT VENUE
Claudia, the Bride: Our wedding was at a beautiful loft called Studio 450 in midtown Manhattan. The venue has amazing 360 degree views of the city but especially incredible views of the Hudson River. The space itself is industrial yet very clean and entirely white. It also had a lovely upstairs space and some terrace space.
Our initial idea was to get married upstate at a big old house in Rye, NY but as Felix and I are both urbanites at heart and with many out of town guests it seemed impractical. When we came upon Studio 450 we knew it was the perfect space to marry our city slicker selves with our dream of a country wedding.
A COUNTRY RUSTIC FEEL IN AN URBAN WAREHOUSE SPACE
We were inspired to have a country rustic feel to our wedding. We loved the idea of having some wooden farm tables, mason jars with small low arrangements, as well as some burlap and lace accents. As for a colour scheme we wanted to stick more toward the blues and purples as well as white and greens for our flowers.
Studio 450 is a raw space so all the decor was beautiful arranged by Stonekelly. They created a lounge area for the adults in the farmhouse country-chic style, as well as a play area for the many kids at the wedding with pillows and puffs that the kids stacked up and jumped over and off of.
Our table arrangements were a combination of hydrangeas, grasses, field flowers, and herbs arranged in a variety of old jars, glasses, and bottles as well as smaller and larger candles in glasses and small ceramic pots. We also had a variety of rectangular and round tables. The round tables had burlap table clothes and the rectangular farm tables had lace runners.
MY WONDERFUL MAKE UP ARTIST
I had a fabulous make up artist called Nevio Ragazzini. I told him I wanted to go glamorous to match the feel of the dress and I let him work his magic. He choose a beautiful soft pink for my lips and a smokey big eye.
A PAINTING BY THE GROOM FOR THE INVITATION
For our invitation we used a picture of a painting that my husband made especially for the occasion. My husband, Felix, is an artist and as such he wanted to make something for the invitation that represented us as a couple, not just a stock invite. He made an abstract painting with some imagery such as two interlocked rings and AHAVA (‘love’ in Hebrew) written in Hebrew lettering. Also, our invitation was in both Dutch and English, since my husband is Dutch.
A STUNNING 1930’S-ESQUE VERA WANG DRESS
My dress was from Vera Wang. I love vintage so I was attracted to the 1930’s glamour of the style. It was a simple silhouette without too many frills and body hugging. It wasn’t until I tried the dress on did I realise that it was the one. The simplicity of the dress was ultimately what made it so stunning.
I had three simple hair pins with rhinestones that were pinned into my up-do, and for the ceremony I had a long veil edged with clear Swarovski crystals from Sposabella. For the reception I wore a fabulous head piece made by a friend of mine made of white feathers that fanned out to look like a small fascinator.
SPECTACULAR SKY HIGH VALENTINO HEELS
I wore a pair of 4 1/2 inch nude satin Valentino peep toe heel with a large bow made of rhinestones. Sky high – they made a girl feel fabulous!
THE SUPER COOL GROOM
Felix wore a hand- tailored suit from the Netherlands. It was light grey with thin blue stripes in a glen plaid pattern. It had our wedding date embroidered in the inside of the jacket. He wore a light blue tie with a blue and grey striped shirt both handmade by the same tailor.
Felix’s cufflinks were gold love knots which were a gift rom my parents. He wore blue suede Paul Smith shoes and for the party he custom designed a pair of blue and silver patent leather MI Adidas with our wedding date embroidered across the velcro . He also wore a blue and white crocheted kippah for the ceremony.
A SIMPLE AND TRADITIONAL CHUPPAH
For the chuppah we used my fathers tallit with simple birch poles. It was a hand held chuppah that my brothers carried down the aisle and inserted into the base.
Stonekelly added some beautiful white hydrangeas in the base of the chuppah to dress it up a bit but otherwise we opted for beauty in simplicity.
For our ceremony, our wedding party was made up of our entire immediate family including my many nieces and nephews who lent a spontaneous and relaxed feel to our ceremony. We had a Jewish ceremony lead by Cantor Shel Rokofsky with a warm and inclusive vibe.
We also had a special kiddish cup for the ceremony given to us by Felix’s stepmother that had been in her family for many generations. This was very special for us as there are very few Jewish relics left in Europe as many were destroyed in World War II. We are proud to have it in our New York home and to pass it onto our children one day.
THE BADEKEN AND SIGNING OF THE KETUBAH
Our favourite part of the ceremony turned out to be the badeken and the signing of the ketubah. We had planned to do it privately with just our family but many of our guests trickled in as the door was open. Before we knew it we were surrounded by many of our guests which created a spontaneous and almost shtetl-like feel. This was also a great experience for many of our non-Jewish guests as they were unfamiliar with this tradition. The ceremonial exchange of the dowry was quite amusing.
CLASSICAL MUSIC FOR THE CEREMONY, PLAYED BY A JAZZ PIANIST
The pianist Ehud Asherie and his jazz trio played excerpts of Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro March, Handel’s Arrival of the Queen of Sheba, and Bach’s Brandenburger Concerto No. 2 movement #3.
KIPPOT WITH A FUN MESSAGE INSIDE
Another unique detail were the suede light blue kippot. Inside, next to our names and date of the wedding, was inscribed in hebrew, “my mother was right.” This was little inside joke of my mother’s that made many guests chuckle. Through subtle touches we attempted to include Jewish, American, and Dutch traditions so that each guest had a little unexpected surprises throughout the day.
FARMHOUSE COUNTRY DECOR AND FLOWERS
Stonekelly was our florist and they also did the decor and table settings. We gave them as inspiration blue hydrangeas and farmhouse country chic. My bouquet was a surprise. Felix presented it to me when we saw each other for the first glance. It is a Dutch tradition that the groom and his mother choose the bouquet. It was a simple arrangement of white roses and greens. We have it hanging in our kitchen.
Our wonderful caterer Cara Tanenbaum provided the plates, napkins, and silver wear. She collaborated with Stonekelly to see our vision throughout, and arranged a beautiful buffet with a variety of fish, meat and a ton of veggies. It didn’t only taste delicious, it also looked stunning.
CHOOSING OUR PHOTOGRAPHER.. AND MAKING THE RIGHT DECISION!
My husband did a ton of research for the right photographer for us while we were living in Norway as we were planning our wedding from abroad. He must have browsed somewhere between 50 to 100 different websites! We Skype interviewed about 6 of them and ultimately settled uponSTAK Photography. We met STAK at their Manhattan office and we had a great feeling that they would capture the essence of our wedding. And the photos show it!
A BEAUTIFUL CAKE WITH A NOD TO FELIX’S DUTCH HERITAGE
Our cake was baked byLulu Cake Boutique from Scarsdale, NY. It was white textured with alternating quilting and dotting details on every other tier. There were accents of purple and blue tulips as my mother thought it was a nice nod to Felix’s Dutch heritage. The flavours were chocolate and champagne filling with vanilla sponge cake. As it is a Dutch tradition, we cut the cake directly after the wedding ceremony.
PAINTINGS BY THE GROOM AS BOTH SEATING CARDS AND FAVOURS
My husband created a large abstract painting that he then divided into 120 individual small paintings. Each of them was framed, signed and dated on the back. On the back we also wrote the table number, and on the front, the name of the guest.
All 120 frames put together re-created the large abstract painting. This served as both the seating card and favour. Many of our family and friends have reframed these canvases and are now hanging in their homes as long lasting memory to our wedding.
As it was a very hot day, the hottest of the year, we also had wooden fans for all our guests for the ceremony.
ENTERTAINMENT AND CRAZY DANCING
Ehud Asherie and his Jazz trio played for the ceremony, cocktail hour and dinner as well as an epically long 20 minute Hora. After that we had DJ from Scratch Weddings who played for the dancing. We mixed it up with popular and some 80s and 90s dance music. As two former dancers, we had many professional dancers among our wedding guests so the party turned into an old school dance off.
ADVICE TO OTHER BRIDES
Nowadays it’s very common for people of different backgrounds and traditions to get married. Without losing respect for the various traditions, there are many ways to incorporate more than one of them. Be creative about mixing old and new, modern and traditional ideas. Don’t be scared to think differently about how you can incorporate both/ several to make your own tradition and one that is meaningful for both you and your partner.
I was lucky enough to have a creative, opinionated husband to help create our wedding. Involve your partner as much as possible, he may come up with some of the best ideas or solutions.
CLAUDIA + FELIX’S LITTLE WHITE BOOK
Photography — STAK Photography
Venue — Studio 450
Decor and Flowers — Stonekelly
Bride’s dress — Vera Wang
Bride’s veil — Sposabella.
Bride’s shoes — Valentino
Groom’s shoes — Paul Smith and custom MI Adidas
Live Jazz — Ehud Asherie and his jazz trio
DJ — Scratch Weddings
Cake — Lulu Cake Boutique
Catering — Cara Tanenbaum
Make Up — Nevio Ragazzini