A Sophisticated Black Tie Wedding at New York's Gotham Hall

Real Weddings
Bride and Groom at the New York Public Library

Photo: Nathan Smith of Ira Lippke Studios

Blind dates are ubiquitous in New York, but they rarely work out as well as it did for Marissa Schaevitz, now 30, and Evan Levey, now 32. "Evan's mother and one of my co-workers set us up," says Marissa. "Her email to him with my contact info started 'Your future wife...' She was right! We talked on Friday, and had our first date on Monday. We met for drinks, but drinks turned into dinner, and it took off from there!"

In November of 2011, Evan surprised Marissa with an over-the-top engagement. She came home after work to find their apartment filled with candles, and Evan wearing the same shirt he'd worn on their first date. After popping the question, Evan opened the door and an a cappella group walked in, singing "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz. "If that weren't enough," says Marissa, "when I went into the bedroom to change for dinner, I found our bed covered in roses." The couple headed to the site of their first date to celebrate and, to Marissa's surprise yet again, their families were there waiting for them. "I couldn't have been more shocked!" says Marissa.

The couple spent a year planning their wedding, settling on an elegant black and white theme that was very New York. Nathan Smith of the fabulous Ira Lippke Studios joined Evan and Marissa on November 17th, 2012, to document the love-filled day.

Formal Wedding Invitation

Photo: Nathan Smith of Ira Lippke Studios

"Our vision was an intimate spin on drama and elegance," says Marissa. "We wanted everyone to have an amazing time and know how special they are to us, in an incredibly sophisticated setting." The venue of choice? New York's Gotham Hall.

Lace Mermaid Vera Wang Wedding Gown Bride with Simple Hair in a Vera Wang Wedding Dress

Photo: Nathan Smith of Ira Lippke Studios

Marissa's gown set the tone for the day. "I wish I could wear my dress all the time," says the bride of her strapless lace Vera Wang mermaid gown. "My priorities were to feel sexy and comfortable, and this dress did that and more." The bride kept her hair soft to contrast with the structural bodice and layered skirt. Her necklace featured the stones from her late grandmother's engagement ring. "It meant the world to me to have her with me on my wedding day," Marissa says. She also wore her mother's garter.

Watch Groom Gift Ralph Lauren Shoes and Tie Ralph Lauren Tuxedo with Blue Heart

Photo: Nathan Smith of Ira Lippke Studios

Marissa surprised Evan with a new watch the morning of the wedding. He added it to the velvet slippers he wore with his Ralph Lauren tuxedo. "He never wears socks, and our wedding day was no different," she says. As another surprise, Marissa had a heart of fabric from the dress she wore on their first date sewn inside Evan's tuxedo jacket.

Bride and Groom in New York City

Photo: Nathan Smith of Ira Lippke Studios

A fur coat kept Marisa warm in the November chill, adding another layer of glamor to the duo's chic ensembles.

Bride in a Vera Wang Gown and Fur Jacket

Photo: Nathan Smith of Ira Lippke Studios

The texture of Marissa's bouquet matched the layers of tulle in her mermaid skirt. She carried white-and-cream garden roses, sweet peas, vandela roses, and tea roses.

Groomsmen in Tuxedos and Bridesmaids in Black Monique Lhuillier Dresses Wedding Party in New York City Bride and Groom at the New York Public Library

Photo: Nathan Smith of Ira Lippke Studios

The bridesmaids and groomsmen followed the couple's lead, donning classic tuxedos and strapless chiffon dresses by Monique Lhuillier. The bride's sisters, her maids of honor, wore crystal belts to dress their gowns up even more.

The couple and their wedding party toured around New York City before the ceremony, stopping on the steps of the New York Public Library for a photo op and an impromptu dance party!

Orchid Wedding Chuppah Jewish Wedding Ceremony at Gotham Hall First Kiss Gotham Hall New York

Photo: Nathan Smith of Ira Lippke Studios

"The chuppah was breathtaking," says Marissa. Twisted branches were covered with dendrobium orchids and draped with white organza. "Since the ceiling is so high, we made it a little higher than usual to fill the space."

Marissa's cousins served as the flower girls — but forgot an important part of the job. "They didn't drop a single petal," reveals the bride.

After their first kiss and the traditional breaking of the glass, Evan and Marissa walked back up the aisle to "Higher & Higher" by Jackie Wilson, played by a string quartet.

White Candle and Flower Wedding Centerpiece White and Silver Place Setting Wedding Reception Table with Textured Linens

Photo: Nathan Smith of Ira Lippke Studios

Round tables were topped with rosette-textured linens and two different centerpieces. Glass pedestal candlesticks, topped with pillar candles, were surrounded by loose roses, hydrangeas, and orchids. Crystal candelabras with ivory lampshades were placed in the center of a similar mix of white and cream blooms. Silver bead-edged chargers added a modern touch to the place settings.

First Dance at Gotham Hall in New York Wedding Guests Dancing to "Shout"

Photo: Nathan Smith of Ira Lippke Studios

For the first dance, the band played Rascall Flats' "My Wish." "At the end, Evan picked me up and spun me around," says Marissa. "I loved catching my parents' eyes mid-spin!"

Later in the evening, the band played "Shout," and the wedding party got really into it. "We were all lying on the floor, laughing and having a blast," says the bride.

Tate Cookie Wedding Favors Mini Prosecco Bottles with Straws

Photo: Nathan Smith of Ira Lippke Studios

As favors, Evan and Marissa gifted their guests bags of Tate's chocolate chip cookies. "A close friend of mine passed away shortly before the wedding, so we made a donation in her honor and included a note about it with the cookies," says Marissa.

As the evening continued, waiters passed individual bottles of prosecco to help keep the party going.

White Piped Wedding Cake

Photo: Nathan Smith of Ira Lippke Studios

The couple's four-tiered cake was cookies and cream flavored, and frosted with buttercream. "It was delicious! One bite was not enough," says Marissa.

Artist Painting the Wedding Reception

Photo: Nathan Smith of Ira Lippke Studios

An artist captured the scene as the evening progressed, providing the bride and groom with a beautiful memento.

Bride Crowd-Surfing

Photo: Nathan Smith of Ira Lippke Studios

"I can't explain how much fun we had," says Marissa. "At one point, Evan and I were both crowd surfing. It was incredible!"

The couple honeymooned in Thailand, and are still reminiscing about how much love was in the room that night. Marissa's advice to brides is to choose your vendors wisely. "Work with people who are great at what they do, know your venue, and know each other," she says. "The fewer variables, the better!"

Can't get enough of Marissa and Evan's gorgeous wedding celebration? Head over to Carats & Cake to see even more!

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Gotham Hall || Wedding Planner: Laura Goldstein || Officiant: Rabbi Ronald Sobel || Bride's Wedding Dress: Vera Wang || Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Hair: Yossi Ivgi || Makeup: Valdez from Kimara Ahnert || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Monique Lhuillier || Groom's Tuxedo & Shoes: Ralph Lauren || Florist: Belle Fleur || Invitations: Arlene Segal Designs || Music: Bobby Attiko Band || Catering: Thomas Preti || Favors: Tate's || Videography: Motoko Fukuyama of Love in Progress || Photography: Nathan Smith of Ira Lippke Studios

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