When Philip Cotty and Andrew Partington first met in February of 2008, romance wasn't meant to be. But by late summer of that same year, the two knew they had found something special, and on September 10 they became an official couple. Six years later, while on vacation in Fire Island the week before Andrew's 30th birthday, Phil popped the question on his favorite day: June 21, the longest day of the year. "The rest of the weekend turned into one long beach engagement party with friends," Phil says.
After seven years together, both Philip and Andrew knew they wanted an unpretentious wedding surrounded by friends and family. They spent months hunting for a venue on Fire Island, but when the logistics of getting their guests there proved challenging, they chose New York City's Sunset Terrace at Chelsea Piers, an indoor-outdoor space with front-row seats to the Hudson River sunset — and the supermoon eclipse happening on September 27, 2015. But that didn't mean the couple abandoned their beachy aesthetic all together. "We didn't want the wedding to feel themed, but we stilled wanted to include bits of Fire Island," Andrew says. Read on to see how they added ocean-inspired elements to their big city bash, as captured by Agaton Strom.
Great fashion was important for Phil and Andrew. "We didn't want to be matchy matchy, but rather wanted to stand out on our own," Phil says. "We didn't want to be over the top." As a model manager, Andrew admits he has an obvious love of clothes, and was able to pull his wedding day attire from his own closet. That's right, he already owned this incredible Saint Laurent tuxedo, which features black lapels on a midnight blue jacket. "After Phil asked me to marry him, I immediately thought about what I would wear, and I thought that tux could be the perfect piece," Andrew says. "It's just a little left of super traditional, but still super classic."
With Andrew's look locked in, the grooms turned their attention to finding a unique tuxedo for Phil to wear. They found a similar black jacket with midnight blue lapels (the perfect opposite of Andrew's attire!) at the Calvin Klein Collection store and never looked back. "Andrew is very conscious about his style and about what is a good piece of clothing," Phil says. "We like to buy things that are long-lived. When we're looking at spending real money, we want things that are high quality."
Both men finished their looks with bow ties and Lanvin patent leather shoes.
Before the ceremony, the couple hit the city streets with their photographer and adorable French bulldog, Bowser.
Guests gathered at the Sunset Terrace and watched as the couple's adorable ring bearer, Jack, and flower girl, Addison, made their way down the aisle. Jack was especially careful about guarding the two Cartier ring boxes. "Fun fact," Andrew says, "I dragged Phil to Cartier about two or three years before we even got engaged, just to try on the trinity bands, which I had decided would be the perfect wedding band. It was a not-so-subtle hint!"
With views of the Hudson River behind them, the two exchanged vows in a ceremony officiated by Phil's cousin that began with a quote from Edward Kennedy's opinion in the Obergefell v. Hodges decision. It read: "No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a union, two people become something greater than once they were."
While the couple exchanged rings, Phil surprised everyone (including Andrew!) by singing "Widmung" by Robert Schumann, accompanied by a live harpist.
Everyone enjoyed cocktails in an adjoining room before finding their seating assignments at tables named for Phil and Andrew's favorite beach walks (Fire Island-speak for boardwalk "roads" lined with summer homes) just as the sun began to set. "There's nothing like the views of the Hudson River at sunset, so we timed the reception precisely for guests to enter and be able to get as many personal pictures with perfect light and amazing views," Phil says.
The duo wanted to keep their centerpieces simple and easy to enjoy, so Andrew, who has a background in the floral industry, decided to DIY them himself. He filled stained wooden boxes with a mix of different grasses succulents, a nod to the landscape around Fire Island.
After dinner, the couple cut into their red-velvet and banana wedding cake (the grooms' favorites!).
As the Sunday-evening dancing and dining wound down, guests headed out onto the property's deck to watch the serendipitous lunar event — one that hadn't happened in more than 30 years! — before calling it a night. "I'm a bit of an astronomy nerd, so when we heard about the supermoon, I felt like we were getting nature's firework show for free," says Phil. Adds Andrew, "I find when people look into the sky, they reflect, so it was a nice moment to consider why we were there."
Ceremony & Reception Venue: The Sunset Terrace at Chelsea Piers || Phil's Attire: Calvin Klein Collection || Andrew's Attire: Saint Laurent || Invitations & Stationery: Wedding Paper Divas || Catering: Neuman's Kitchen || Cake: Billy's Bakery || Music: Kristi Shade; DJ Lina Bradford || Photographer: Agaton Strom
Want more inspiration just like this? Then watch another couple's New York City wedding video below.