A Food-Focused Urban Wedding in Brooklyn, New York

Real Weddings

Imagine biting into the most decadent dish you've ever tasted: As its flavors explode across your tongue, you slip into bliss, and you savor the next bite even more. Nikki Reiss' relationship with Brian Dermody was just like that dish—she savored every moment with him as they ate their way across New York City, date after date, over nearly eight years. After all, Nikki's job as Bon Appétit's special events director meant she had the inside scoop on the best food in town, and Brian soon fell in love with new foods—and Nikki.

On a March evening, Brian picked Nikki up from her job in Times Square, and suggested a meal at Bryant Park Grill. They sauntered toward the park, but never made it to the restaurant. "He couldn't wait any longer," Nikki says. "He dropped to one knee in the middle of the park and asked me to marry him. Gardeners were cheering, and of course I said yes!"

The couple skipped the grill and headed straight for August, a restaurant operated by their mutual friend, chef Josh Eden, who whipped up their favorite meal—roast chicken—to celebrate the occasion. After sharing in such a special moment, it was a no-brainer that Josh was invited to ordain the couple's wedding 18 months later.

While Nikki and Brian didn't set out to plan their September 21, 2013 wedding with a specific theme, it soon became obvious that food should take center stage. "It started with making sure the menu was perfect and reflected some of our favorite eating experiences," Nikki says of their Brooklyn nuptials. "From there, it just took off naturally—the floral arrangements included fresh herbs, our save-the-date was a beverage coaster, and our escort cards were made with wine corks!"

A traditional gown simply wouldn't do for Nikki. "I always knew I wasn't cut out for the standard strapless all-white gown," the bride explains. Instead, she chose a stunning Amanda Wakeley shift that wowed her entire wedding party and won over Nikki's mother, who'd envisioned her daughter in a princess-style gown. In fact, the mother-of-the-bride so adored Nikki's dress, she paid for it—and swears she'll borrow it one day!

The back of Nikki's dress was draped in strands of gold beads that fell at different lengths across her exposed back. Gold sequins and beads embellished the waistline, above a flowing chiffon skirt.

The front of Nikki's dress was covered in a scalloped pattern of gold sequins and beads. On her left hand, the bride wore an aquamarine ring, a present her father had once given her mother. "It was my something blue!" Nikki says.

Brian kept things classic in a tuxedo and bow tie, tucking a polka dot pocket square into his breast pocket for added pizazz. "My dress felt very Grecian, but the gold and white against his simple tuxedo also seemed very Old Hollywood to me," Nikki says.

The bride swept her hair to the side, clasping her braids and curls with a custom gold wreath and floral pin made by BHLDN's accessories designer. "She admitted she'd been dying to style someone who chose my dress!" Nikki explains.

Her shoes? Gold, of course! The Yves Saint Laurent sandals perfectly complimented the bride's other gilded accessories.

Bridesmaids donned draped Monique Lhuillier dresses in a charcoal hue, while Nikki's maids-of-honor wore black so they would stand out. "I wanted to keep it all super clean and elegant," Nikki says.

Brian was inspired by James Bond when he selected his groomsmen's attire, a collection of slim-fitting tuxedos with alternating long and bow ties. "James Bond describes Brian's style to a 't'—down to the martini in hand!" Nikki says.

Nikki carried a bouquet of café au lait dahlias tied with gold twine, satin ribbon and something very special: a small, blue beaded bracelet that Brian made as a child and his mother gave to Nikki at her bridal shower. The altar was flanked by arrangements of branches hung with votive candles and bud vases with soft pink dahlias. "We kept it simple so the venue could speak for itself," says Nikki. The couple held their ceremony inside The Liberty Warehouse, a rustic, rehabbed liquor warehouse in Red Hook with views of the Statue of Liberty outside its windows. "We loved all its raw qualities, including exposed brick walls and original columns," Nikki says.

Both her mother and father escorted Nikki down the candlelit aisle to the tune of Aerosmith's "It's Amazing," played on a piano. "The lyrics illustrated exactly how I felt at that moment," Nikki says.

Josh Eden—who is the chef at the restaurant the couple dined in to celebrate their engagement— officiated their nuptials, sharing stories about Nikki and Brian and how they fell in love over food.

The couple left the ceremony to Blind Melon's "No Rain," because "I can't think of a more joyful song!" Nikki says.

Guests found their table assignments for the reception pinned to wine corks from bottles Nikki and Brian shared together over the years. Many flavors mix to make a delicious meal—similarly, the couple's reception décor blended the flavors of their favorite restaurants to create a warm and welcoming reception space. A dash of string bistro bulb lights added an Italian feel, while mix-and-match reclaimed barn wood tables added rustic elegance. "Another reason I love The Liberty Warehouse," adds the bride, "is the working fireplaces. Lighting is so key to an event, and all these elements made the room look like it was glowing." "We wanted to add a softness and a small hint of color to the reception," Nikki explains, so the couple lined their long tables with bud vases filled with blush dahlias and fragrant, fresh herbs such as basil and rosemary. Mercury candleholders were scattered between the flowers, adding to the room's soft, romantic glow. Because they kept their décor clean and simple, Brian and Nikki made sure their food brought color to each table. The menu featured dishes from the couple's favorite New York restaurants, including Salumeria Rosi, ABC Kitchen, Barbuto, and August. Vibrant salads, such as heirloom tomato and salad and a sautéed corn, machengo, jalapeno and lime mix, paired exquisitely with decadent lobster tails, pastas and indulgent meat and cheese boards. Momofuku Milk Bar, the bride's favorite dessert shop, prepared the couple's wedding cake—three tiers of exposed dulce de leche, salted caramel pretzel, and caramel malt cake adorned with dahlias—as well as cookies and the shop's famed Birthday Cake Truffles. "Our band was incredible," Nikki gushes. The nine-piece ensemble "just killed it" with big-band tunes and sultry songs, accompanied by the bride's best friend and coworker, who is a former cabaret singer. She crooned "Peel Me A Grape" to the couple, which "was the perfect song for both me and Brian as I'm so high maintenance and he will be the one who has to deal with me for the rest of his life!" Nikki says. Matchbooks bore the couple's custom logo—two martini glasses, each prepared the way Nikki and Brian drink them! The matches were handed out alongside heart-shaped sparklers, tied with tags that read, "Nikki and Brian: The Perfect Match." When it came time for Nikki and Brian to leave their reception, guests whipped out their sparklers and sent them off in glowing, brilliant fashion. The couple honeymooned in Greece, and have settled into a comfortable normalcy since they've been home. "We are still basking in the excitement of calling each other husband and wife on the occasion that a new introduction comes up," Nikki says. "Oh—and I'll admit, it's been nice to make room for all our wonderful presents!"

Nikki's advice for brides is to enjoy the engagement, and to try to accomplish one big thing per month, balanced with some time off from planning. "The last three months will be hectic no matter what, so try to get as much done as you can beforehand," she says. And don't forget to get your fiancé involved. "I was surprised by how many opinions Brian had about the wedding. Don't forget it's his day, too!"

Ceremony & Reception Venue: The Liberty Warehouse || Day-of Coordinator: Overland Entertainment || Bride's Wedding Dress: Amanda Wakeley, from Mark Ingram Atelier|| Hair Piece: BHLDN || Shoes: Yves Saint Laurent || Hair: Dream Dry || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Monique Lhuillier || Wedding Bands: London Jewelers || Florist: Opalia Florals || Invitations & Paper Goods: Swiss Cottage Designs || Music: One Love || Catering: River Café, Salumeria Rosi, ABC Kitchen, Barbuto, August || Cake & Favors: Milk Bar || Rentals: Party Rentals, Ltd. || Photography: High Pass Pictures

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