When Melissa McGinnis and Kyle Gibson shared their first date at The Wren in New York City, they probably didn’t imagine they’d be taking wedding photos there four years later. But that’s exactly what happened! Kyle popped the question in the couple’s New York City apartment shortly before departing for a much-deserved vacation. “I was rushing around doing some last-minute packing ahead of a flight for a weekend away in Turks & Caicos. When I turned around from pulling some clothes out of my dresser, Kyle was down on one knee and asking me to marry him,” remembers Melissa.
With the Big Apple playing such a large role in the couple’s love story, it only makes sense they wanted their big day to be a chic and sophisticated formal wedding with a downtown vibe. Their vision set, Melissa and Kyle chose the Bowery Hotel, an intimate space set within the hustle and bustle of the big city, for the big day. The venue's unique architectural details, like exposed brick, textured floors, and Gothic-style lighting, gave the wedding an aesthetic that was one part Old World charm and two parts modern elegance—the perfect foundation for Melissa, Kyle, and the team at Ever Swoon to build upon. Their gold, navy, and blush color palette added a romantic air to the evening while their attention to detail ensured no opportunity for style went overlooked. Looking at the photos, all captured by Whyman Studios, it’s hard to believe you’re still in Manhattan!
The invitation suite was the epitome of New York style. A custom illustration of the Bowery Hotel’s entrance was the focal point, with the city skyline serving as an eye-catching detail on the envelope liner. The gold-and-black invitations covered all the necessary information in a chic, personalized way. One of our favorite elements? The map of New York City that shared a few of the couple’s favorite places to eat, drink, and play.
A lot of brides take a girl squad along when searching for the perfect dress, but Melissa brought her brother instead. “He's one of my closest friends. He drove me out to a Reem Acra trunk show and was with me when I found the dress," Melissa says. "The woman at the salon, who could tell I was disappointed that my mom wasn’t there, let us break the rules and send her a few pictures before I made the final decision."
With both her brother's and mom’s approval, Melissa went home with a romantic lace and chiffon wedding dress. The strapless look was pulled together with a figure-flattering ribbon sash at the waist. "I couldn’t stop smiling when I had it on,” she says. “I could imagine walking down the aisle, hanging out with friends and family during cocktail hour, and dancing until the wee hours of the morning.” Equally as stunning were Melissa’s shoes: crystal-covered Christian Louboutin pumps that subtly complemented her diamond solitaire necklace, gifted by the groom.
Melissa always envisioned her bridesmaids in navy gowns, and her intuition was spot-on. After trying on a few different styles, the women put on a satin high-low style with a flattering V-neck and full skirt. The bridesmaids described it as a true party dress, and that was all our bride needed to hear. The 'maids accessorized with metallic heels and dangling earrings.
The groom owed his perfectly tailored look to, well, his tailor. The custom tux was fitting for a classic New York City wedding, complete with monogrammed dress shirt, bowtie, and cufflinks. The groomsmen also all wore their own tuxedos and skipped traditional boutonnieres in favor of pocket squares. The best accessory of the day was, without a doubt, Oscar, the couple’s Yorkie.
The ceremony took place on-site, in a room with exposed brick walls, a patterned tiled floor, and a gorgeous fireplace with bold brickwork. The couple added an assortment of tall candles and a floral arrangement with trailing greenery, making it the perfect backdrop for their vows. Each wooden seat was marked with a program tied together with a single black ribbon.
Melissa and Kyle had musicians perform during the ceremony, but it was a number by Kyle’s brother and sister-in-law that stole the show. The couple sang a song that was also used during Melissa’s parents’ wedding, adding a memorable personal detail to the already romantic event. As for their vows, the bride and groom chose to mix their own words with traditional vows. "We each wrote a personal statement in which we affirmed why we wanted to marry the other person,” explains Melissa. "We then recited formal vows in order to make symmetrical promises to each other."
With the bride and groom officially Mr. and Mrs., it was time for the celebration to begin. An aptly titled mirror was displayed outside the ceremony space, featuring guests’ table assignments in gorgeous calligraphy. As a plus, the gold frame perfectly fit the venue’s Old World vibe.
The reception room featured long wooden tables draped with ivory linens under iron chandeliers. An abundance of candlelight softened the room’s bold features and created a romantic ambiance throughout the space. Gold chargers added unexpected texture and fun to the elegant table setting that also included centerpieces of garden roses, peonies, and ranunculus in pink and coral tones. Finally, each setting had its own personalized menu with a single flower resting on top to welcome guests to their seat.
As with any New York City event, one cocktail is never enough. That’s why the bride, the groom, and their dog each had signature drink at the reception, including a Moscow Mule, a Cucumber Cooler, and a Pigalle. But with all that drinking comes a fair share of dancing, an activity the bride and groom had prepared for by taking dance lessons in the months leading up to the wedding. In fact, Melissa recalls these lessons as one of the most enjoyable parts of her planning process. "The weekly lessons provided a time for the two of us to just relax, laugh, have fun and just focus on each other instead of all the wedding to-do’s.”
A vanilla buttercream frosted cake was the meal's main event. Hazelnut, strawberry, and vanilla buttercream all came together to create a flavor assortment far too delicious to waste smashing on anyone’s face.
When the reception ended, guests who weren't ready to head home hit the the after-party, a generous gift from the bride’s brother. But even with the celebration stretching far into the night (and maybe even the morning!), the couple took a moment to focus on what was most important. "The best advice I received, and the advice I would pass on, is to find one moment during your reception for the two of you to step back from the celebration and take it all in. Right before we entered the main room for our first dance, the two of us were able to watch all our friends and family on the dance floor. It was that moment that I was able to finally take in everything we had planned and how many people we loved were celebrating us at this super special moment in our lives."
Venue & Catering: The Bowery Hotel || Wedding Planner: Ever Swoon || Bride's Wedding Dress: Reem Acra, purchased at The Wedding Salon of Manhasset || Shoes: Christian Louboutin || Hair & Makeup: Face Time Beauty || Groom's Attire: Imparali Tailors || Flowers: Blade Floral and Event Designs || Invitations & Paper Products: Fourteen-Forty || Music: Hank Lane Music || Cake: Nine Cakes || Rentals: Smith Party Rentals || Videographer: Kiss the Bride Films || Photographer: Whyman Studios