A French-Inspired Vintage Wedding in New York
The Happy Couple
You don't have to travel to Europe to find a grand setting: This designer duo hosted a sophisticated soiree in a historic home just a few miles north of New York City.
Bride Annie Sullivan, in a silk-tulle, French lace, and ostrich-feather dress of her own design, and groom Oliver Cobb, in a Ralph Lauren Black Label tuxedo, pose at the entrance of Alder Manor in Yonkers, New York.
Alder Manor, a 1912 Italian Renaissance Revival-style home in Yonkers, New York, is a semi-restored 72-room estate, with coffered ceilings, a marble staircase, and peeling paint that epitomizes the kind of worn European grandeur that appeals to the couple (he designs interiors and installations; she specializes in wedding gowns). "Olly was born in London, and though I'm from San Francisco, I launched my first dress line in Paris," says Annie. "We both have a very antique-y, Old World sensibility, so we loved the feel of it. Neither of us could believe that it was in a town only five miles north of Manhattan!"
The Bridal Bouquet
Annie's bouquet, created by Martha Stewart Weddings associate style editor Naomi deManana, combines roses, ranunculus, pieris, hellebores, and dusty miller.
The Invitation Suite
Decorative elements from 18th-century French ephemera were worked into the couple's stationery.
The Bride's Family
Annie designed dresses for her sister and mother.
The family gathered for formal photographs on the mansion's steps.
The Groom and Best Man
The happy groom shares a smile with his brother and best man.
Our style director, Kate Berry, was in attendance at the affair.
Flower Girl Dresses
The bride created her nieces' flower-girl attire of feathered collars and skirts.
Olly wore a boutonniere of mini ranunculus and pieris.
The bride's jewelry, Georgian and Victorian pieces in platinum and gold, reflects her penchant for mixing metals.
Annie descended this candle-lined staircase on her father's arm.
Annie and her father.
Annie and Olly exchanged vows in front of a fireplace draped with a garland of Easter lilies. "The roaring fire created such a nice ambience," says Olly.
The couple's friend Matthew Brookshire sang "The Very Thought of You" while playing the ukulele.
The couple's signature cocktail, similar to one served at an adored haunt, Mary Queen of Scots on Manhattan's Lower East Side, is made with rye, Champagne, bitters, blood orange, and maple syrup; the cocktail napkins were printed with an excerpt from a love letter Napoleon sent to Josephine.
Quail egg in a hole was one of the many canapes at the reception.
The Guest Book
For a pretty alternative to a guest book, friends and family wrote messages on note cards printed with antique images and posted them on a board wrapped in linen.
Slender celebration candles with escort-card "cuffs" directed guests to their tables.
Tables are set with a variety of candlesticks, flowers, and fruit. "It looked like it all came straight from the house's cabinets," Annie says. "Since this was the first time we got to meet many of each other's relatives, it was really important to us that everyone get a sense of our relationship," says Annie. So, after the personal ceremony, all 120 guests sat down to a family-style dinner that spanned the manor's library and opulent ballroom, and shared many dishes the couple has savored at the Modern, the restaurant in the Museum of Modern Art.
The venue's striking backdrop inspired an event that recalled more glamorous eras. The flower arrangements evoked Dutch masters' paintings.
At the tables, candles were grouped together to provide mood lighting. "It was so beautiful -- everyone looked luminous," says the bride.
A friend made the dinner menus with decorative elements borrowed from a 20th-century American restaurant.
The First Course
A colorful salad of roasted beets, orange, ricotta, arugula, and black walnuts accompanied the main course, pan-seared lamb loin.
Guests raise glasses to the couple after Annie's favorite part of the reception -- Olly's sentimental toast (the groom favors the time just afterward, "when I could sit back and take it all in," he says).
A Private Moment
The bride and groom steal a candlelit moment. "I was so impressed by every little detail that Annie attended to -- she's got such a good eye," says Olly of his wife's hand in planning their big day. Martha Stewart Weddings' real-weddings editor, Shira Savada, also ensured that Annie's vision was executed and that everything went smoothly.
Instead of a cake, a French croquembouche was served.
Madeleines, tiny eclairs, and macarons gathered from a handful of French patisseries in New York City flanked the croquembouche. "I like that it was whimsical and that people could get up and have a little something at their leisure," Annie says.
Arranged in the shape of a pineapple (a symbol of friendship), this madeleine structure was made by covering a foam form in rolled fondant and then, starting from the bottom, attaching the cookies to it with thin wooden skewers.
At the end of the night, each guest went away with a thoughtfully prepared package of miniature scones, clotted cream, and homemade orange-bergamot marmalade courtesy of Annie's pastry-chef sister-in-law. "We've had so many amazing dinners at restaurants that ended with a gift of jam and morning buns," Annie explains. "We decided it would be nice to wake up to that in a hotel room, and our friends and families loved the gesture." The sweets were flagged with a beautifully calligraphed note (meant to be read, of course, with a dapper British accent): "English breakfast with love, Annie and Olly."
Location: Alder Manor
Catering: Danny Meyer's Union Square Events
Stationery & Calligraphy: Bell'occhio
Wedding Photography: Weddings By Two
Gown and Dresses: Annie Sullivan Couture Bridal