By now you've read all about how our guest-blogger Carolyn Hsu chose the details for her sophisticated New York City wedding. And here's the end result: a beautiful fall wedding that put an intimate spin on urban glamour!
A twist of fate brought the couple together in December of 2009, at a birthday party where neither of them actually knew the birthday girl herself. "We both attended as guests of friends," says Carolyn. "We started talking in line while waiting to get into the bar, and our first date was for my birthday at a bar near Bryant Park."
In September of 2012, just before Milan's Fashion Week, Derek and Carolyn headed to Lake Como for a little peace and quiet before the madness. "One evening, Derek tried to lure me out onto the terrace," says Carolyn, "but his plan was foiled, as I'd already snuggled into bed with my laptop! Thirty minutes later, room service arrived with champagne, but I hadn't given Derek the opportunity to propose! Somehow in the confusion, I figured out what was going on, so he got down on his knee and proposed in the middle of our hotel room."
The couple chose to marry in the city where they met, and sought out a venue that would give their wedding, on September 29th, 2013, an intimate, unique feel. They turned to Norwood Club, a private arts club in a townhouse in downtown Manhattan, for an event their guests would remember.
The wedding invitation was an elegant combination of traditional and modern. Carolyn wore a pair of vintage diamond earrings, passed down from Derek's grandmother, to add a little extra sparkle to her wedding day ensemble.
Every detail was perfectly thought-out. Carolyn paired vintage-inspired Jimmy Choo pumps with two beautiful bracelets. The first was a Cartier Love bracelet, which her parents gave to her after her engagement to Derek. The second was an ornate crystal piece by Ben-Amun. Her soft, simple bouquet featured mondial roses and gardenias, finished with a silk ribbon.
Derek wore a Lanvin suit with an Hermes tie. He finished off his outfit with an A. Lange & Sohne watch, which was a wedding gift from the bride's parents.
"I knew I didn't want a traditional wedding gown, and when I saw Karlie Kloss wear this Donna Karan dress at the Resort 2013 shows, I knew it was the one for me," says Carolyn. She used her industry contacts to track down the last size. "My mom's first reaction was, 'That's not a wedding dress, that's a red carpet dress!' but ultimately she approved," the bride admits. She added a jeweled belt to define her waist and give the gown a more bridal feel.
Derek's simple gardenia boutonniere matched Carolyn's bouquet.
The ceremony took place in Norwood Club's private garden, and had an unexpectedly backyard feel. A friend of the groom officiated, and the groom's cousin played the cello for his processional. Carolyn processed to Johnny Cash's "Rose of My Heart."
Strings of café lights and paper lanterns hung from the trees overhead. "Because we wanted to keep the feel of the ceremony very organic and natural, we didn't go overly bridal with the decorations," says Carolyn.
"We served everyone champagne when they first arrived at the venue," says Carolyn. "It added to the festivity of the event." Two arrangements of hydrangeas were placed against an ivy-covered wall to designate the altar. Because they had only 75 guests, Derek and Carolyn chose to forgo a wedding party and instead have their parents stand with them.
The couple rented a vintage typewriter to use as an interactive guest book. "Some of our guests went back multiple times, and the messages are hilarious," Carolyn says.
Tables were arranged on the second floor of Norwood Club for dinner. The red walls and eclectic décor created a dramatic environment, so the place settings and centerpieces were kept simple and white.
In an adjoining room, groups of guests cozied up for dinner on velvet banquettes to dine on crab cakes, caprese salad, shrimp and grits, rack of lamb, and roasted chicken. The couple served their favorite cocktail from Norwood Club, a combination of gin, cucumber, and lime.
The low centerpieces featured white hydrangeas, mondial roses, and lisianthus (plus a touch of green).
Since they were already bucking tradition in so many ways, Derek and Carolyn continued with their cake. "We opted for a Mille Crepe cake from Lady M, which is one of our favorite desserts," says Carolyn. "I love how natural and beautiful it is. All it needed was a couple gardenias as a finishing touch."
The couple wanted to give guests favors that they'd actually want (and enjoy), and that were also something they could only get in New York. Flavored chocolate bars from Dylan's Candy Bar fit the bill.
Like many brides, Carolyn does have a regret. "I wish we'd hired a videographer to capture things like the speeches and the fabulous music."
Carolyn's experience as a newlywed is one a lot of people can probably relate to. "In New York, sometimes adulthood can be delayed thanks to roommates, cramped apartments, and nightly takeout," she says. "Being married has made me want to become better at maintaining a home and being more responsible."
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Norwood Club || Bride's Wedding Dress: Donna Karan || Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Jewelry: Cartier, Ben-Amun || Makeup: Margaux Zion || Groom's Suit: Lanvin || Wedding Bands: David Yurman || Florist: Spina De Fiori || Invitations & Paper Goods: Minted || Music: Ceremony - Bon Musique, Reception - Arcadia || Catering: Norwood Club || Cake: Lady M || Favors: Dylan's Candy Bar || Guest Book: Gramercy Typewriter Co. || Transportation: Silver Star Limousine || Photography: Shawn Connell and Jack Jeffries of Christian Oth Studio