A Decade After They First Met, This Couple Returned to Their Favorite New York City Park to Tie the Knot
Broadway performer Taeler first met financial professional Bill at a fundraiser hosted by a mutual friend in August of 2009, and though they ran into each other a few more times over the course of the next six months, Bill waited until the following March to officially ask his future wife for a date. More than seven years after they met, Bill proposed in the Hayden Planetarium's garden courtyard, and the pair began planning a true New York City wedding at Fort Tryon Park for June 1, 2019. "We wanted to pick a venue that was unique and had meaning to us," says Taeler. "We've been to Fort Tryon Park many times, especially when we first started dating, so it was a fitting tribute to both our relationship and New York City. As soon as we stepped foot on Linden Terrace, we knew that was the place for our ceremony."
The park's beautiful trees inspired many of the wedding's details, from the bride's leaf-shaped earrings to the botanical invitations to the rich green and while color palette. "We wanted it to be simple, classic, and inviting," says Taeler of their overarching vision. Without the help of a full-time planner, Taeler and Bill handled the coordination of their vendors and last-minute details themselves—and pulled off a meaningful celebration that included an outdoor ceremony and a reception for 110 guests on the patio in the park's New Leaf Restaurant & Bar. "It was a lot of work," Taeler says of the process. "Long and strenuous, but ultimately worth it!"
Going for Gold
The couple let the lush greenery of the landscaping at Fort Tryon park inspire their invitation choice: a laser-printed card from Minted with a painted leaf design and gold foil accents, block text and script, and a crisp geometric layout.
After a day full of trying on wedding dresses at boutiques throughout New York City, Taeler found her Allure Bridals lace gown with crystal embellishments at her last stop in Brooklyn. "One of my best friends, Cody (left), had been with me at most of my appointments. Apparently, my face actually lit up and I pressed my hands to my cheeks while looking in the mirror in my dress," she says. "I didn't even realize I was doing it until Cody pointed it out and started laughing and crying and filming me so I could show my mom." Taeler left her hair down and added a vintage cathedral-length veil—a gift from a friend who owns A & D Wholesale Vintage.
Journey to the Dress
A sweetheart neckline and sparkling spaghetti straps—plus an embellished bodice—drew Taeler to her gown; the unlined back, which showed off the garment's boning, and a row of buttons that continued onto the full train made it an indisputable choice.
A New Leaf
Always with Her
The bride's classic bouquet by Julia D'Angelo of Fern Botanica included white-and-cream-colored blooms—like sweet pea, ranunculus, peonies, roses, and jasmine—in a traditional shape. Taeler added a gold vintage locket with a photo of her late father to the white ribbon that tied the blooms together.
Groom in Blue
Bill's wedding look included a navy shawl tuxedo from Black Lapel with tuxedo pants and a white shirt from Imparali Tailors. "Bill has worn suits to work his entire professional life, and wanted to wear formal attire from the two custom tailors that have outfitted his wardrobe throughout his career," says Taeler.
Back to Back
Taeler and Bill waited to turn around for their first look under an archway near their ceremony spot. "The anticipation was building and we couldn't wait to get it all started," she says.
Taking a Minute
After seeing each other for the first time that day, Taeler and Bill paused for some pre-wedding portraits—without losing any of their excitement for the rest of the day ahead. "All of our hard work was coming to life," says Taeler, "and we were about to be surrounded by our loved ones and introduced as husband and wife."
"These are my closest friends and my 'unofficial' bridal party!" says Taeler of her friends Cody, Maresa, and Cassandra. "Bill and I chose not to do an official wedding party because we wanted it just to be us at the altar. But they were integral in making sure the day ran smoothly and were our biggest cheerleaders."
The couple asked their close friend and acoustic guitarist Alex Ortega to provide the music for their ceremony, choosing "Can't Help Falling in Love" for Taeler's walk down the aisle with her mother. "My father passed away when I was young and it's been me and my mother ever since," says Taeler. "We're extremely close and walking with her was very special to me."
White rose petals lined the aisle created by rows of white chairs, while the park's trees created a majestic natural focal point for the ceremony. Taeler and Bill asked a mutual friend to officiate: He knew Taeler growing up, and became one of Bill's best friends during college. The ceremony also included vows the couple wrote themselves.
Their personal choice of officiant resulted in an extremely special ceremony script. "In his speech, he tied in stories from growing up with each of us individually," she says. "He also spoke about how, after knowing each of us, he can see how we fit perfectly."
The Scenic Route
After the ceremony, guests strolled under the majestic trees to reach the restaurant, where a cocktail hour menu included beef sliders, vegetable spring rolls, mini crab cakes, and avocado toast—plus the couple's favorite red and white wine.
On the Waterfront
During the cocktail hour, the newlyweds decamped to the edge of the terrace for photos overlooking the Hudson River and the New York City skyline.
An antique white window frame acted as a seating chart at the reception, directing guests to tables where individual gold frames held their place cards. Delicate greenery, a simple arrangement of white blooms, and twinkling votives previewed the rest of the reception décor.
Lanterns and Greens
The restaurant's outdoor patio offered an intimate space for dinner and dancing. A clear tent allowed unobstructed views of the overhead trees, while white linens and chairs offered a flawless contrast to the space's natural beauty.
Table arrangements included subtle collections of spotless white-and-cream-colored blooms with pops of green foliage and ferns.
A single leaf on each neatly folded white napkin added a burst of color to the monochromatic settings, while gold frames around the place cards offered a spot for mini Polariods from the reception. After a salad course, the couple provided a menu of chicken, salmon, short rib, and vegan risotto.
Table for Two
On the sweetheart table, blush pink linens set off a collection of votives, taper candles, and lanterns in a variety of materials.
Toasting to Love
Taeler and Bill still mention their friends' toasts and speeches as one of their favorite parts of the day. "We felt so overwhelmed by their kind words, honesty, and love," says Taeler.
A First Spin
After their first dance to Sade's "By Your Side," the couple left the music up to their friend, Preston W. Dugger, also know as DJ Duggz. "We put the whole reception in his hands knowing he has great musical taste. All we told him was to make sure everyone dances all night long and he did not disappoint!" says Taeler. "Both of us loved dancing with Bill's father at the reception and then his 92-year-old grandmother at our after-party!"
Taeler chose her favorite Harlem bakery, Make My Cake, to provide a one-tiered textured vanilla cake with buttercream frosting—"with real white flowers for a nice dramatic touch that tied in with the centerpieces," she says.
As the night wound down, Taeler and Bill left the reception through an archway of sparklers. "Plan your celebration around what you want, as opposed to what others want out of a wedding," says Taeler. "It's your day."
Photography, Kati Rosado
Ceremony Venue, Fort Tryon Park, Linden Terrace
Reception Venue and Catering, New Leaf Restaurant & Bar
Day-Of Coordinator, The Privilege is Mine
Flowers, Julia D'Angelo of Fern Botanica
Officiant, Steve Vasquez
Bride's Gown, Allure Bridals
Bride's Tailor, Bethany Joy Costumes
Veil, A & D Wholesale Vintage
Jewelry, P & K Jewelry (earrings and bracelet)
Shoes, Badgley Mischka
Hair, Monique Gaffney
Makeup, LaSonya Gunter
Groom's Attire, Black Lapel (tuxedo jacket); Imparali Tailors (pants); Dolce & Gabbana (shoes); Fine & Dandy (accessories)
Engagement Ring and Wedding Bands, Everett Fine Jewelry
Guest book, PaperPeachShop
Music, Alex Ortega (ceremony); DJ Duggz/Preston W. Dugger (reception)
Cake, Make My Cake