A Traditional Fall Wedding at New York City's University Club

Real Weddings
fall wedding new york city

Photo: Jason Walker and Shannen Norman of Ira Lippke Studios

Sarah and Scott met in 2004 while studying abroad in London. But when their stint overseas was over, their relationship was not. "We maintained a long distance relationship through college," said Sarah, "and then I moved to New York and he moved to Washington, D.C."

Nearly six years later, inside the library room of Washington, D.C.'s Jefferson Hotel, the couple became engaged. "A couple of minutes after we sat down, a waiter came in with a bottle of champagne and a note that read 'will you marry me?'" Sarah recalled. She turned to Scott and found him on one knee, holding a cushion-cut diamond ring. "Fifteen minutes later, our mothers walked in—they had flown to D.C. without me knowing."

Wedding planning began immediately. In just six short months, Sarah and Scott had planned the quintessential New York City wedding. The couple picked Manhattan's University Club, a place they described as "classic with modern sensibilities," to play host to their 225 wedding guests. "It was grand, classic and big enough," said the bride.

univeristy club wedding ceremonytraditional jewish floral chuppah white

Photo: Jason Walker and Shannen Norman of Ira Lippke Studios

Just after sun down on November 12, 2011, the pair said "I do" in a traditional Jewish ceremony. Sarah's parents walked her down the aisle, which was scattered with white rose petals. She met her groom to "Legends of the Fall" by Dodi Li.

strapless reem acra wedding gown for fall wedding

Photo: Jason Walker and Shannen Norman of Ira Lippke Studios

The bride wore a delicately beaded Reem Acra dress purchased at Saks Fifth Avenue's New York Bridal Salon. " The dress was called The King and I. And it had me at the title," Sarah said. "The King and I was one of my favorite movies growing up."

white rose bouquet

Photo: Jason Walker and Shannen Norman of Ira Lippke Studios

The bride worked with Manhattan florist Eric Landgraf to design a bouquet of white orchids, roses, ivy and looping palm leaves.

purple jenny yoo floor length bridesmaid dressespurple-rose-bouquet.jpg

Photo: Jason Walker and Shannen Norman of Ira Lippke Studios

Sarah's six bridesmaids wore purple floor-length Jenny Yoo gowns and carried bouquets of purple orchids, roses and deep-colored calla lilies.

grooms boutonnieres purple hydrangea

Photo: Jason Walker and Shannen Norman of Ira Lippke Studios

Scott wore a white calla lily flanked by green orchids and eucalyptus seeds. It was pinned to his classic bow-tie tuxedo. Each groomsmen's boutonniere was made from a single purple hydrangea.

unique wedding buffet ideas

Photo: Jason Walker and Shannen Norman of Ira Lippke Studios

The couple's cocktail hour hor d'oeuvres—an assortment of Peking duck, bruschetta, smoked salmon and sushi—were "to die for," Sarah said. "Food was a very big priority for us."

elegant wedding escort cards

Photo: Jason Walker and Shannen Norman of Ira Lippke Studios

Guests found their seats inside the ballroom by using the couple's ivory tented escort cards.

unique reception table name ideas

Photo: Jason Walker and Shannen Norman of Ira Lippke Studios

While Sarah and Scott shunned any official theme or color scheme, they gave a nod to where they met by naming their tables after London landmarks—Tate Modern, Mayfair, Selfridges and Abbey Road were all included in the table names. "We had a friend who lived in London bring back miniature double-decker buses, telephone booths and cabs," which were scattered among the tables' name cards, Sarah said.

elegant ballroom wedding decor ideas

Photo: Jason Walker and Shannen Norman of Ira Lippke Studios

Alternating high and low centerpieces of orchids, roses, cymbidium, hydrangea and ivy added drama to the already-breathtaking ballroom.

tall white wedding centerpiece

Photo: Jason Walker and Shannen Norman of Ira Lippke Studios

Sarah wanted a "warm, romantic and classic reception," she said. Taper candles and luxurious brocade table cloths evoked romance that radiated throughout the ballroom.

first dance song ideas

Photo: Jason Walker and Shannen Norman of Ira Lippke Studios

Sarah and Scott shared their first dance to Diana Ross' "I Love You More Today Than Yesterday," played by the Pete Saunders Band.

wedding music playlist ideas

Photo: Jason Walker and Shannen Norman of Ira Lippke Studios

The band's music mix of Motown, 80s hits and top 40 tunes kept guests dancing all night long. "They danced like crazy," Sarah said, recalling that the invigorating classic "Shout" drew the largest crowd to the floor. "Now six months later, people still talk about the music at the wedding."

traditional bouquet toss

Photo: Jason Walker and Shannen Norman of Ira Lippke Studios

Sarah's sister-in-law captured the bride's bouquet from a swarm of single women who gathered for the traditional toss. "The look on her face was just amazing," Sarah said.

classic white fondant wedding cake

Photo: Jason Walker and Shannen Norman of Ira Lippke Studios

A white fondant cake, layered with raspberry filling, was encircled by orchids and tea light candles. The couple also served French apple gallette and a chocolate trio.

candy buffet wedding favors

Photo: Jason Walker and Shannen Norman of Ira Lippke Studios

For favors, guests filled bags with Haribo gummies—the groom's favorite childhood candy.

new york city wedding venue ideas

Photo: Jason Walker and Shannen Norman of Ira Lippke Studios

The bride counts the cake cutting and "the hora, especially seeing my father with this incredible grin on his face being lifted up on the chair," as some of the most memorable moments from their reception. And of all the advice the couple's day-of coordinator, Brian Bennett of the University Club, gave, the couple clung to these as their cherished favorites: "Don't sweat the small stuff, smile, have fun and enjoy."

Venue: University Club || Florist: Eric C. Landgraf Florist || Rentals: Eric C. Landgraf Florist || Caterer: University Club || Cake designer: University Club || Music: Pete Saunders Band through Hank Lane Music || Transportation: Warren Arrington || Photography: Jason Walker and Shannen Norman of Ira Lippke Studios || Gown: Reem Acra || Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Bridesmaids: Jenny Yoo || Groom's Attire: Ermenegildo Zegna || Couple's Wedding Rings: Tiffany & Co.

—Jillian Kramer

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