Though dating in New York is notoriously tough, Carly and Eric Ritter met on a blind date in the Big Apple. It's a good thing they hit it off so quickly, because one of those "only in New York" circumstances presented itself a mere 24 hours later, when Eric resigned from his job to travel around the world. Carly was afraid she'd never hear from him again, but upon his return two months later, Eric called to "schedule their second first date." "After that, we never stopped seeing each other," Carly says.
At 7 a.m. one brisk Friday in October, Carly stepped out of the bedroom, in her nightshirt and socks, to find her favorite flowers covering the counter tops and candles lighting her way down the hall, where Eric was down on one knee.
He had arranged for Carly to have the day off from work so they could spent the entire day together, jaunting among their favorite spots around the city: breakfast at Maialino (the location of their third date), lunch at ABC Kitchen, and dinner at RiverPark — where their families made a guest appearance.
But the couple saved the best venue for the big day, tying the knot on August 3, 2013, at Tribeca Three Sixty, complete with a huge dance floor and sweeping city views. They called in Roey Yohai Photography to document the couple's Big City love story.
The couple's classically-styled invitations — featuring calligraphic script — featured a warm color palette of gold and ivory.
The bride's bouquet of cream freesia, blush roses, ivory Calla lilies, and white hydrangeas showed off a sprinkling of greenery and was wrapped in ivory satin. "I love when you can see the flowers' stems and a few greens pop out between the blooms," Carly says of the creation by Tantawan Bloom. She chose a pair of silver and gold Jimmy Choo heels to sparkle alongside her airy gown.
Carly found her Lela Rose gown during her first bridal appointment, at Mark Ingram Atelier. "It has the most beautiful lines, embroidered details, and dramatic back — it was perfect!" she says. Both she and her mother fell in love with the flowing train and floating neckline.
Eric wore a sleek black tuxedo and sharp bowtie, accented by a single white calla lily boutonniere. He accessorized with a favorite sentimental token: his grandfather's watch. To modernize her classic look, Carly added glitter tips to a neutral manicure and a jeweled pin to her updo. Her pearl and diamond bracelet and matching drop earrings tied all of the details together.
"All the bridesmaids bought a floor-length dress in champagne, gold, or blush," Carly says. "I really wanted them to feel beautiful and comfortable but, more importantly, to find something they would wear more than once."
The groomsmen followed Eric's lead by donning traditional tuxedos, but mixed it up with straight silk ties and blush spray roses as boutonnieres.
Flower girl Grace practiced her aisle debut well in advance, filming a few funny videos of her various strutting styles to show the bride before the big day. "She actually took the job very seriously and made sure it was perfect," Carly says. "The two of us have a beautiful relationship."
Grace's Marchesa for Target dress was a pre-season prize Carly found months before the wedding. As a public relations director, she had seen the dress in a fashion press preview. "I immediately knew I wanted my flower girl to wear it, so I ran to a Target pop-up shop in the city to nab it before it arrived in stores," she says.
"Our chuppah, the canopy above our altar, was so ethereal," Carly says. "While walking down the aisle, and even just sitting in the room, it felt as though you were floating on a cloud."
For a romantic glow, the altar was framed with tall branches dressed in dendrobium orchids and surrounded by hanging candles. Glowing lanterns lined the aisle.
Carly and her parents walked down the aisle as they walked arm-in-arm to "She" by Elvis Costello.
The couple exchanged vows during a traditional Jewish ceremony, standing beneath the father of the bride's tallit (prayer shawl), drinking wine from an heirloom Kiddush cup, and concluding with the breaking of the glass. "It was all very special to us," Carly says. "My father wore that tallit at his bar mitzvah, and the Kiddush cup was the same used by Eric's parents at their wedding. We even kept the pieces of glass to put on display in our home."
Place cards were displayed on a table covered with lush pink roses and dahlias, succulents, and orchids. Crisp white place settings popped against the rosy table linens and clusters of bush-toned blooms. Natural bark vases and pillar candles on silver pedestals added texture and dimension to the centerpieces.
Standing out among the blossoms were tall, delicate branches adorned with cymbidium and dendrobium orchids and greenery. "We wanted to add a natural, slightly rustic touch to our romantic feel," says Carly. "Putting together lavish arrangements with wood and bark did just that."
The pair enrolled in classes at New York Wedding Dance and, at the reception, took their first spin to "Crazy Love" by Van Morrison. "But we wanted to have fun and not take ourselves too seriously," Carly says. The music cut to Beyoncé's "Crazy in Love" for a surprise finale complete with fun choreography.
Scattered fondant rosettes and tiny hearts on the couple's cake set a playful and energetic tone.
Colorful confections were a hit with guests, who had their choice between chocolate-covered strawberries and a candy bar starring Swedish Fish and Gummy Peaches in addition to cake.
Though the newlyweds were thrilled with Kevin Osborne from Hank Lane Music, Eric wanted to join in on the entertainment. He took piano lessons for nearly five months so he could surprise his new wife with a performance of Bob Seger's "You'll Accompany Me." "I'll never forget it!" says Carly.
Post-nuptials, Carly and Eric set out for East Africa, exploring Mozambique, Tanzania, and Kenya. "The entire wedding was the most beautiful experience; from getting ready in the morning to our first kiss, to the non-stop partying, each moment was a treasure," she says. "And as much as I loved planning the wedding, now we're focused on relaxing and settling in to married life. We cook dinner together on Sundays and keep a much shorter to-do list." Speaking of to-do lists, Carly encourages brides to delegate. "Accept that you can't handle it all by yourself, and let your loved ones help you. That's why they're offering!"
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Tribeca Three Sixty || Wedding Planner: Cynthia Pesce || Officiant: Rabbi Joni Brenner || Bride's Wedding Dress: Lela Rose || Bride's Veil: Mark Ingram Atelier || Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Hair: Rita Palumbo of Oscar Blandi Salon || Makeup: Jason Ascher of Barneys New York || Groom's Suit: Hugo Boss || Groom's Shoes and Cufflinks: Salvatore Ferragamo || Groom's Shirt, Bow Tie, and Pocket Square: Alan Flusser || Mother of the Bride's Dress: David Meister || Flower Girl's Dress: Marchesa for Target || Florist: Tantawan Bloom || Invitations & Paper Goods: William Arthur || Music: Kevin Osborne of Hank Lane Music || Catering & Cake: Tribeca Three Sixty || Rentals: Nuage Designs || Accommodations: The Andaz Wall Street || Videography: Love in Progress || Photography: Roey Yohai Photography