Before their wedding on December 1st, 2012, Melissa Sobolewski and Nicki Farag spent years not meeting when they really should have. "We went to rival high schools on Long Island, so we knew of each other but never liked one another," Melissa remembers. Their mutual friends tried to introduce the two women after college, but plans never worked out. Then, in 2010, Melissa decided to pursue her dream of becoming a DJ. She promoted an upcoming event with a series of witty emails, which inspired Nicki's friends to try to kindle a spark once more. As Melissa puts it, "On December 31st, 2010, Nicki (with some encouragement from Makers Mark and her best friends) sent me a Facebook friend request just as I was about to shut down my account." The request was accepted, and the two met for a date not too long after.
Nine months later, in September of 2011, Nicki and Melissa headed to Paris. Melissa spent the day celebrating Nicki, starting with a bread-and-cheese picnic in the Luxembourg Gardens, followed by a shopping spree and a late lunch at Café de Flore, drinks at Cristal Room, and dinner at L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon. A craving for Berthillon, the best ice cream in Paris, led the couple across Pont Marie, the lovers' bridge. They stopped over the Seine, and Melissa got down on one knee and proposed. "We celebrated with ice cream," says Melissa.
See how these brides turned their wedding into an exciting experience for their guests at 632 on Hudson in New York City.
"We were inspired by iconic New York City events, like Capote's Black and White Ball," says Melissa, "as well as the Ascot Gavotte scene from My Fair Lady." True to form, guests were instructed to don formal black and white attire. "We knew we were going to wear red, so we wanted to stand out against our stylish guests. Most of them had never been to a same-sex wedding before, so we wanted it to be an evening they'd really remember."
Nicki chose towering Sergio Rossi sandals, embellished with Swarovski crystals, beneath her cranberry Vera Wang gown. "White isn't my style," says Nicki, who loves the strength, love, and empowerment that the garnet hue embodies. The fitted bodice was finished with a full-tulle skirt and crystal embellishments at the waist.
Melissa's custom tuxedo was designed with Frank Jedda from Kleinfeld Men. The black-and-red fabric was ordered from Italy, and paired with a textured tuxedo shirt embroidered with "True Love Forever." Black onyx cufflinks added a touch of bling.
"Every detail represented our personal style," says Melissa. The brides' red formalwear made a bold statement — exactly what they wanted.
"Our bridesmaids' looks were simple and sexy," says Melissa. "Maybe not typical words to describe bridesmaids' dresses, but they looked fantastic!" The wedding party wore little black dresses, bold red lipstick, and black heels. The bridesmen wore classic tuxedos with a surprise gift from Nicki and Melissa: Nike Air Jordans embroidered with their nicknames and the couple's wedding date.
The flower girls wore sequined dresses and hats by Bijou Van Ness, an ode to 20th century Parisian fashion. The flower boy wore a classic tuxedo and a bow tie made from the same fabric as Melissa's tuxedo pants and vest.
Nicki and Melissa exchanged vows beneath a free-standing chuppah, held up by the brides' four bridesmen, in front of 632 on Hudson's fireplace. Hydrangeas and greenery decorated the four birch posts. The fireplace was filled with candles, pomegranates, and pieces of birch wood.
The couple served three signature cocktails, inspired by the things they love: The Elvis ("Because Elvis is our king," says Melissa.), Tap It Back ("Because we both love SoulCycle."), and The Specs and Hair Fizz, after the main drink in An Affair to Remember.
The reception took advantage of 632 on Hudson's unique layout, featuring multiple floors that guests could explore. "We wanted to avoid forks and knives, so we created a menu that was a filling combination of stations and passed hors d'oeuvres," says Melissa. Breads, cheses, fruit, and charcuterie topped farmhouse tables decorated with photos of Nicki and Melissa were on the menu, while waiters passed bites like bacon-wrapped almond-stuffed dates, mini croquet monsieurs, and individual apple chicken potpies.
In addition to mini pies, tarts, and ice cream sandwiches, Nicki and Melissa cut into a carrot cake topped with cream cheese frosting. "Nicki loves Billy's Bakery (and their carrot cake in particular)," says Melissa. "When we lived in the city, we used to stop in all the time for afternoon treats."
As favors, Melissa's mother made a mix CD of songs about New York City for guests to take home, wrapped in eye-catching packaging.
The brides traveled throughout South Africa for their honeymoon, from a safari to a stay in Cape Town. "Being married has been amazing," says Melissa. "Everything changes, yet nothing changes." Nicki and Melissa advise that brides-to-be keep things in perspective. "It's never really about the color of the napkins. Planning a wedding with your partner is the first real lesson in learning how to compromise and work as a team," Melissa says. "Don't be afraid to break the rules. Use your imagination and have fun with it!"
Ceremony & Reception Venue: 632 on Hudson || Nicki's Wedding Dress: Vera Wang || Nicki's Shoes: Sergio Rossi || Melissa's Tuxedo: Kleinfeld Men || Melissa's Shoes: Church's || Jewelry: Swarovski || Hair: Serge Normant at John Frieda || Makeup: Kari Bauce || Wedding Bands: Vintage || Florist: Melarosa || Invitations & Paper Goods: Ceci New York, Greenwich Letterpress || Music: DJ JP Solis || Catering: Tip Of The Tongue || Cake: Billy's Bakery || Photography: The Stewart of NY