When Mark and Kevin first met at a club in Richmond, VA, "it was love at first sight," says Mark. He was looking for a place to sit and have a drink while his friend danced, and noticed Kevin sitting alone at a table near the bar. Mark asked if he could have a seat, and the two began talking. Their connection was instant, and from that evening on, they were inseparable.
On February 22nd, 2012, Kevin took Mark out for dinner for his birthday. A group of their closest friends was waiting for them at the restaurant. "I thought 'how nice!'" says Mark. At one point during dinner, Kevin got up from his chair, got down on one knee, and asked Mark to marry him. He was completely caught off guard, but immediately said yes! He was so happy to be able to share and enjoy the happiness and excitement of the moment with their friends.
The couple planned their city wedding in four months, with help from their close friend and wedding planner, Daevid Reed. On June 29th, 2012, they took to the 14th floor of the Ritz Carlton in Manhattan's Battery Park neighborhood, where panoramic views of the harbor and the Statue of Liberty provided the backdrop for a day that Mark and Kevin will never forget.
Both Kevin and Mark wore classic black tuxedos with Armani ties. Mark's was powder blue, while Kevin's was a sleek platinum color. Their boutonnieres, created by their wedding planner, featured shades of green in the form of scabiosa pods, fern curls, Queen Anne's Lace, rosemary, and liriope grass. They took advantage of the beautiful weather and had their portraits taken beneath the trees in Battery Park.
The couple worked with New York-based 14 Stories to arrange their ceremony. They chose non-religious vows and added a personal touch. They played Celine Dion's "Have You Ever Been in Love" as they entered the hotel's sun-filled terrace, allowing the song to play for a few moments before walking down the aisle. Says Mark, "There were no dry eyes anywhere. I think it was the reality and joy of seeing two men who meant so much to each other finally get married."
Daevid came into New York a day and a half before the wedding to source all of the flowers. He wanted to pick only what was in-season and what inspired him in the moment. Light yellow garden roses, oncidium orchids, celosia, scabiosa pods, and Queen Anne's Lace came together into vibrant, fresh centerpieces that were beautiful in the simple reception room.
At each place setting was a single green cymbidium orchid. The menu featured scallops, roasted chicken, beef, and salmon. Smaller arrangements of scabiosa pods and Queen Anne's Lace mimicked the couple's boutonnieres, while roses and orchids added a playful, cheery pop of yellow to the table.
The wedding cake was simply decorated and topped with two cymbidium orchids. Red velvet cake, topped with cream cheese frosting, was the perfect end to Kevin and Mark's intimate wedding celebration.
As the sun began to set, Mark and Kevin stepped back out on to the terrace for one last picture. A DJ played a mix of their favorites, from Whitney Houston to ABBA to Adele.
"The memories we hold dear are of being in New York with family and friends to celebrate our special day," says Mark. "Many who came had never been to New York before, and it was a real treat. It was also the first time our families got to meet." Their advice for couples is to hire a wedding planner–but only after interviewing several to find the one who best understands your vision. And then? "Surrender all the stress and focus on the bigger picture: Getting married to the love of your life," says Mark.
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Ritz Carlton New York, Battery Park || Wedding Planner: Daevid Reed of Daevid's Flowers and Décor with Bernadette Coveney Smith of 14 Stories || Grooms' Attire: Hugo Boss || Grooms' Accessories: Armani || Wedding Bands: Tiffany & Co. || Music: Wendy Kidd Entertainment || Catering: Ritz Carlton New York, Battery Park || Cake: Empire Cake || Photography: Levi Stolove Photography