Tamara Lee and Andrew Lenis were born on the exact same day, mere hours (and hundreds of miles) apart. Twenty two years later, in 2008, they met, and Andrew brought this important fact to light. "He found me on Facebook after we'd met at med school orientation, and his opening line was 'Did you know we have the same birthday?!'" remembers Tamara. "I'm pretty sure my response was 'Cool.'"
But he won her over, and after four years of dating, he surprised her in New York City with a 1 a.m. proposal. "Andrew's plan was to propose before taking me to celebrate with friends, but his flight was delayed, so he woke me up as soon as he got to the hotel," Tamara says. "I thought I was dreaming! It's usually hard for me to get out of bed, but once I realized it was real, I was wide awake."
The couple, who are living a medical school fairy tale and headed off to their residency together at UCLA in the fall of 2013, planned their wedding in only nine and a half months. See how their hipster-meets-old New York wedding, on May 25th, 2013, came together, with a little help from their families and some incredible vendors.
The couple loved the old world glamour of the Bowery Hotel, including the hotel's quirky logo, real keys, and bellhops in red and black suits. "The space has so much to offer, even Paul McCartney had his reception there," says Tamara.
The bride kept that glamorous feel alive with her accessories, including Jimmy Choo sling back pumps. "Gorgeous and comfortable!" she says.
Tamara and Andrew wanted something unique and whimsical for their invitation suite, so they turned to Mr. Boddington's Studio. "It captured the fun, elegant vibe we were going for," says Tamara.
Tamara and her bridesmaids carried all-white bouquets made of soft, ruffly flowers. Peonies, ranunculus, garden roses, white lilac, freesia, and lisianthus were tied with grosgrain ribbon left over from Tamara's beaded sash.
"I know my body," says Tamara, "and I knew I'd either end up with a form-fitting mermaid gown or something short. I just had to go with a long dress—it was my wedding day, after all!" She chose Vera Wang's Ethel dress, with a stretch Mikado bodice and full organza skirt. "I had the perfect bridal experience at the Madison Avenue salon. Low stress, simple choices, and champagne when I decided I'd found the one!"
Andrew's attire was the perfect mix of formal and downtown cool. His slim Hugo Boss tuxedo was paired with patent shoes, matte Oliver Peoples glasses, and precisely four days of facial hair. His airplane cufflinks were a gift from his bride-to-be, to commemorate embarking on their greatest adventure yet.
Groomsmen received monogrammed pocket squares to wear with their tuxedos. The groom and groomsmen wore white freesia boutonnieres, accented with passion vine tendrils.
"The first look was incredible, and so New York" says Tamara. "I walked down Bowery Street to meet Andrew, and people passing by smiled but still gave me my privacy." Andrew hid around the corner while Tamara's bridesmaids escorted her to him.
The bridesmaids wore floor-length gray chiffon dresses, which they each wrapped and tied differently. Her Maid of Honor added a brooch at the center of her bodice for a touch of bling.
The groomsmen all wore classic two-button tuxedos to match the groom.
"When Andrew and I locked eyes during our first look, we had this crazy, electric moment," remembers Tamara. "We suddenly realized we were getting married!"
The ceremony took place on the second floor of the Bowery Hotel. The altar was decorated with oversized arrangements of branches and blossoms in iron urns.
Guests were seated for dinner at a series of long tables, topped with tall candles and white flowers. The sit-down meal was catered by the hotel's restaurant, Gemma. "I'm so glad we chose to have the meal before the dancing," says the bride. "We got to eat!"
Before entering the lush, candle-lit reception, Tamara and Andrew waited in the hallway behind the dining room. The band was playing while guests found their seats, so the couple shared a private first dance before making their entrance.
Speeches were kept to a four minute maximum. "Every speaker started off by saying how unfair the time limit was!" laughs Tamara. "But they were the best speeches ever."
Andrew and Tamara skipped the wedding cake in favor of a display of desserts, from cookie sandwiches to bite-sized chocolate tarts. "We wanted to minimize sitting and maximize dancing," says Tamara.
Instead of signing a guest book, guests were invited to write notes and love letters to the couple on vintage postcards addressed to their new home in Los Angeles. "We went straight from our honeymoon to our residencies at UCLA," Tamara reveals.
Favors of passion fruit and Cleveland Whiskey macarons were from the couple's favorite Cleveland bakery, Luna.
Being residents hasn't given Andrew and Tamara much time to revel in married life. "But when we have overlapping days off, we go straight back to newlywed bliss," she says. "It feels like everyone got married at the same time, and it was so fun getting to celebrate so many wonderful occasions with all of our med school friends."
Tamara's advice, especially for brides juggling crazy jobs or school as well as wedding planning, is to take people up on their offers to help. "My mother did an amazing job with the details we couldn't handle while we were at school in Cleveland," says Tamara. "And who knew my brother would be so much help?"
Ceremony & Reception Venue: The Bowery Hotel || Day-of Coordination: Elizabeth Leath of Just About Married || Bride's Wedding Dress, Sash, & Veil: Vera Wang || Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Jewelry: Borrowed from the Bride's Mother || Hair & Makeup: Tomohiro, Takashi, & Fumi of Pas de Deux Salon || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jenny Yoo || Mother of the Bride's Dress: Carolina Herrera || Groom's Tuxedo: Hugo Boss || Groomsmen's Tuxedos: Calvin Klein || Wedding Rings: Vatché, from Spiegel & Son || Florist: Belle Fleur New York || Save the Dates: Lion in the Sun || Invitations & Paper Goods: Mr. Boddington's Studio || Music: Ceremony - String Trio, Reception - The Right Mix, both from Vali Entertainment || Catering: Gemma || Favors: Luna Bakery Café || Photography: Michael Falco of Christian Oth Studio