Alex and Haven met nine years ago at a small nightclub in Chelsea, New York City. Haven was with his friends on the dance floor, and Alex was by the bar drinking a beer. When Haven walked past Alex, Alex set his beer down and bear hugged him. So brave! His confidence was a hit, and they ended up dancing and laughing the night away. The next few months were a whirlwind of romantic dates and Haven remembers sitting across from Alex at the Frisky Oyster restaurant one evening thinking he was in serious trouble: he was falling in love. Travel adventures followed, as did a proposal and then the wedding. This is their story...
While traveling to meet our Wharton friends for Oktoberfest in Munich, I (Alex) suggested we swing through Paris for a few days on the way. Haven had never been to Paris before, and he happily agreed. Little did he know, I had something special hidden away in my carry-on as we flew across the Atlantic.
Our days in Paris were fantastic. Centuries of history for us to explore. We stroll along the Champs-lysees through the Arc de Triomphe. We venture up the quaint Montmartre hill to the Sacre-Cur. We take in the Paris twilight by riverboat. We experience the famous Parisian cafes. The food. The wine. The history. The nightlife. But the best was yet to come.
Our special day involved a trip out to the Reims countryside to taste champagne in the cellars of Tattinger, Vranken-Pommery and Veuve Clicquot. We enjoy the bubbly so much that we completely miss our return train. Oh no! When we finally make it back to Paris, it is already night time. I hurry us over to Eiffel Tower and casually purchase a bottle of wine along the way. We arrive on the grassy Champ de Mars at 8:55pm. Perfect.
While Haven is distracted taking selfies, I retrieve the ring from my pocket. 9pm comes, and the Eiffel Tower immediately lights up in sparkling brilliance. Nervously, I put my arm around Haven. I tell him I love him and how much he means to me. Then I get down on my knee. He cannot speak as tears roll from both our eyes. Breathlessly, we share that bottle of wine in our first moments as an engaged couple as the Eiffel Tower continues to sparkle.
We chose to marry in North Fork because Alex spent his summers growing up there in his family's beach home is there; to him, there's nowhere more special. We love Bedell Cellars for its picture-perfect grounds - its white cottage, private garden and gorgeous sunset pavilion views.
Our theme was on-trend, soft-hues of nude, pinks and violet, with a splash of gold and royal blue.
"Planning our wedding was a team effort. We had a wonderful full-service wedding planner and integrated caterer, so everything was blended and seamless.
The day itself was so special. We couldn't have been happier with how it was - the most incredible day of our lives so far.
Advice we'd give to other couples getting married? The day immediately before and immediately after the wedding are key! With all the effort that goes into planning the actual wedding and making it perfect, it is so easy to lose sight of the fact that your closest friends and family are often travelling in from very far away, don't all know each other, and will be desperate for something to do for the 36+ hours that they aren't watching you get married. So give it to them! It doesn't need to be fancy, but it really enhances the whole experience.
On the day before the wedding, while you can't necessarily invite everyone to the rehearsal dinner, you can still have a fun group plan for everyone in town for after. All the initial mixing and mingling over drinks on Friday night (say, between your hometown friends and your college friends, or opposite sides of the family) will lead to everyone being best buds by the time they hit the dance floor at the wedding.
On the wedding day itself, try to plan a fun optional group activity (and delegate leadership to someone else since you'll be busy!) Ours was morning yoga by the bay, but this could be anything -- hiking, touring a local historic site, games in the park, etc. Not everyone will participate, but a lot will and avoids people feeling stranded before the wedding.
Finally, on the day after, throw a low key brunch to wrap everything up nicely; it gives everyone a chance to say their goodbyes, exchange contact info with new friends, and gush about how absolutely amazing your wedding weekend was.
In addition, remember to order late night food! Dinner and cake are great, but after a few drinks and a lot of dancing there is nothing like some greasy food to really hit the spot. Fortunately our venue allowed a food truck to show up late night that served some delicious short rib grilled cheese, shrimp corndogs and fried asparagus. And to tend to their hangovers with some delicious Bloody Marys, of course!