I want to become a society lady Rockin' a new rock?!

The sophistication of a black tie affair, the intimacy of a dinner party, and the warmth of a family gathering. This was the vision of longtime loves Donna and Michael when they tied the knot. And with the help of creative force Ashley Peraino—they nailed it! Long Island’s Metropolitan Building set the tone with it’s industrial-warehouse-meets-aristocratic-French-parlor vibes while blush tones in the florals and bridal party are a nod to the bride’s career in the ballet world. A candlelit dinner completed the romantic affair while Renee Hollingshead Photography was on hand to capture it all in these dreamy film photographs.

What made the wedding special and unique?

Our inspiration was the desire to create an event with the sophistication of a black tie affair, the intimacy of a dinner party, and the warmth of a family gathering. Michael and I had been dating for many years, and our wedding day was just as much a celebration of what we’ve been for sometime, as much as what we would become moving forward as husband and wife. A feeling of togetherness was key— if our brownstone apartment could have fit everyone we love into our living room, we would have gladly had our wedding at home! Instead, we found the beautiful Metropolitan Building with its bookshelves, chandeliers, and candelabras, which made for a gorgeous home away from home. The Metropolitan Building takes your breath away. A labor of love by its founder, Eleanor Ambos, the space can be described as merging the industrial structure of a warehouse with the stylings of an aristocratic French parlor. Filled with painstakingly-restored furniture and antique treasures, the curation of it all is a work of art.

Ideas for our color palette began with a blush pink for the bride, attributed to my career in the ballet world, and a deep forest green, for the groom’s love of the outdoors and National Parks. A commitment to mixed metals in flatware and decor contributed to tastefully gilded glamour. Transparent glass tableware, champagne flutes, and serving bowls for salad, bread, and butter made the tables glow and sparkle with reflected candle light. The palette was completed with black ink calligraphy and subtly contrasting ivory linens with white napkins and candles, giving classic elegance to the occasion.

Florals played a big role in creating ambiance in the room. Michael and I were drawn to really dark greenery, so Ashley Peraino and I chose Italian Ruscus for a garland archway, garland “islands” on the tables, and for use in the numerous bud vases to compliment the blooms. Juliet garden roses and Patience garden roses were my “must have” flowers. A trip to the floral district in Manhattan helped us find beautiful Ranunculus, Dahlias, Peonies, Spray Roses, Fringed Carnations, and Spirea to help round out our flower selections. Dozens of bud vases throughout the venue made for delicate arrangements, each one-of-a-kind. The ceremonial garland had wired garden roses around the arch, framing us as we made our vows. Garden roses appeared in illustration on signage, programs, and menus, which I designed, and the two-toned Royal Albert flatware featured their regal Old Country Rose design. Juliets adorned the simply iced wedding cake, with a complimenting Old Country Rose cake server and knife for the cutting.

Our bridal party consisted of a Maid of Honor, my sister, and two Best Men including Michael’s brother and his best friend. However, when I realized I would need help and company on the day of my wedding, I asked some of my closest friends to be part of my “house party”. A house party is a southern tradition that can be described as a second group of attendants that do not participate in the ceremony, but may provide support in other ways during the wedding. Even though I am not a southerner, I adopted this tradition, and enlisted some of my dear friends (who are all current or former professional ballet dancers) to wear pretty dresses and get the party started on the dance floor. I gifted them each a clutch, beaded dangle earrings made by my mom, and heart-shaped sunglasses as a playful favor. They loved them!

Tell us about the gown and where/how you found it!

I found my wedding gown at Lovely Bride in the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan. Lovely Bride’s ambiance is warm and inviting, and their staff is patient and friendly. The dress I chose was the Laine by Anne Barge. I fell in love with the rich silk fabric, the bow at the sweetheart neckline, and the slight drop waist feature, elongating my torso. When I put on my dress, I instantly felt like a special version of myself— more elegant, balanced, and illuminated— a true bride! As I walked down the aisle, sat for the reception dinner, and twirled on the dance floor, the pearl colored fabric billowed and swirled. It helped add the right bit of drama to my presence and magic to the day. Thank you, Anne Barge! To customize the dress to my tastes, I took my dress to Esin Krimidizag of Sew Elegant Bridal in New York City. She’s a seasoned seamstress and worked with me to give the dress a stronger mermaid silhouette and a french bustle. The accessories for my dress included a single tier veil and dramatic dangle bridal earrings featuring round cut, princess cut, marquise cut, and pear cut stones, set into a mosaic drop design. My shoes were simple nude kitten heels with my great grandmother’s clip-on earrings used as shoe clips for added sparkle. After the ceremony, a crystal fringe clutch replaced my bouquet; on my right ring finger was an aquamarine ring as my something blue and on my left ring finger graced my white gold engagement ring and my new rose gold wedding band.

What were some touches added to make the wedding personal?

Keeping to the theme of celebrating our past and future, we guided our officiant, Pastor Emily Brown, to focus on making the ceremony about our enduring commitment to each other and our shared passion for life and our families. Her words were perfect. Building on this, we made many personal touches to our wedding. Two photo books of images of our relationship over the years gave guests a chance to giggle over our baby faces and old hairstyles. Our wedding caterer was a date spot of ours, Pies ‘n’ Thighs in Brooklyn, and Billy’s Bakery, our favorite cupcake shop in Manhattan, made our (banana cake with cream cheese frosting) wedding cake. Homemade family recipe cookies and sweets served as both a favor and a special to way welcome our guests into our big new family.

Our venue, the Metropolitan Building, permits couples to explore the space to freely pick and choose pieces to personalize the space. Knowing this, we scoured the venue for our favorite furniture, mirrors, and decor from their impressive collection and included them in our own original design. The building manager, Carlos Ortiz, made sure every piece we selected was in the proper place for our wedding day. Decor items including family photos, candelabras and depression glass contributed by my mom, and programs, menus, and signage designed by me gave the space an even more customized feel.

Additionally, we had two special drink menus: a signature cocktail list by the bride and a beer list from the groom. The signature cocktails included blush pink Palomas, peach-colored fizzy Macuás (a drink of Nicaragua to honor my father’s heritage made with lemon juice soda, guava juice, and Flor de Caña rum), and the vibrant Aperol spritz. Michael chose a selection of his favorite beers, both domestic and imports, inspired by his travels. The party continued until the last bus left at midnight with DJ Huggy Bear, a dear friend of the ours, masterfully spinning infectious dance music with his signature touch of soul and style. It was an outstanding party from start to finish.

What was the most memorable part of the day?

The flood of emotions during our first look stands out the most, but also the feeling of pride as our officiant told our love story, comforting each other during the ceremony as we felt the nerves of the moment, the euphoria of being pronounced husband and wife, the gasp and awe of seeing our sparkling dining room decor come together, looking into our guests smiling faces during our thank you to everyone before dinner, the incredible speeches from our loving family, our first dance and dancing the night away, and eating leftover wedding cake in the hotel lobby after the wedding.

Tell us how you met and became engaged.

Michael and I met as freshmen in college, and dated over 10 years before getting engaged. We had traveled quite a bit together, attended family events together, and lived together. We were serious loves for some time, but our journey to the altar started with a conversation in Paris, and culminated with an intimate proposal on a snowy evening at a lakeside cabin at the Lake Placid Lodge. It was indeed a romantic and emotional moment. Michael presented me with a beautiful engagement ring he had designed that was inspired by a family ring. It was both modern and classic, capturing my style perfectly. As we discussed what our wedding day would be like, we knew it needed to honor what we had been for sometime, as well as celebrate our future as husband and wife.

Photography: Renee Hollingshead Photography // Florals: Ashley Peraino // Design/Décor/Setup: Ashley Peraino in collaboration with the bride // Invitation Suite and Paper: Graphic Design and Illustration by Bride with floral clip art from SmallHouseBigPony on ETSY // Venue: Metropolitan Building, Long Island City, NY // Dress: Anne Barge purchased at Lovely Bride New York, Alterations by Sew Elegant Bridal New York // Tux & Groomsmen: Custom Suits made by Suit Club New York // Maid of Honor Dress: Adriana Pappell // Bridesmaids: Forever 21 and Nordstrom Rack // Day of Coordinator: D’Anne Park // Calligraphy: Bride // Catering: Pies ‘n’ Thighs, Brooklyn, New York // Cake: Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting by Billy’s Bakery // DJ: DJ Huggy Bear // Jewelry: Earrings by Lord and Grey Bridal on ETSY, Right Hand Ring by Zales // Engagement Ring: Custom Ring designed with Groom at The Image Gallery in Wayne, NJ // Bands: Bridal Band by Zales and Groom Band by Diamond Hut Jewelers // 2nd Dress: Aboverly1 Wedding Dress and Wedding Veil Shop, ETSY // Bridal Makeup: Yuby Leoce of Bobbi Brown Studio Montclair, NJ // Decor: Metropolitan Building; Candelabras and Depression Glass Plates from Mother of Bride // Rentals: Broadway Party Rentals // Sign In Book: Artifact Uprising // Wedding Website: Made by Bride on Wix // Ceremony Music: Marc Anderson // Ring Box: The Mrs. Box