When Broadway producer Arielle Tepper and entrepreneur Ian Madover began planning their February 2006 wedding, it suddenly became clear that the sky was the limit—literally. "Ian and I were walking through Central Park after a snowfall, and we looked up and said, 'Our wedding should look just like this!'" says Arielle.
The two chose to hold their ceremony and reception at the Pierre in New York City, a sentimental spot for Arielle, since her grandmother lived there and her parents were also married in the historic building. "We really wanted a nontraditional wedding in a traditional venue," the bride says. To help implement the theatrical details they'd imagined, the couple recruited event designer Ed Libby and Leslie Mastin of State of the Art, a New York City–based event-planning company. The result, after numerous meetings and set designs, was a total transformation of the Pierre into a dramatic fantasyland complete with evergreens, icicles and faux snow adorning the ceremony and reception rooms.
Arielle and Ian held their Jewish ceremony under a chuppah covered with "snow," and then a cocktail hour in a separate room decorated with park benches, fire hydrants and sleds covered with "ice" and more snow. Even the trip to the arctic ballroom, where the reception took place, continued the winter wonderland theme: Guests walked through a tunnel of white fabric pulled taut and uplit in blue, made to look like an elongated cave of ice.
Once inside, they found walls adorned with white batting that was carved to resemble dripping snow and, at one end of the dance floor, trees with branches that intertwined to create an arbor. Plush white carpeting covered the floor, and each table was draped with white velvet cloths and sheer fur-trimmed overlays. To add some warmth, Arielle and Ian had chosen a comfort-food menu that included fried chicken and burgers, with s'mores and hot chocolate for dessert. What warmed the bride's heart, though, was a surprise wedding gift from her groom: Ian, who had secretly taken piano lessons for five months, serenaded her with her favorite song, "Crazy for You," by Madonna. "We had the greatest time of our lives," Arielle says. "It was the biggest show I've ever opened and closed in one night."
Learn From Arielle and Ian
Set the mood: The couple gave their friends and family a glimpse of what was to come by including in each boxed invitation a white winter scarf with their wedding date embroidered near one end.
Spell out the details: The bride and groom wanted to keep guests in the loop on the unique elements featured in the event. Each place setting had an envelope filled with details on all of the touches used in their wedding.
Be playful: Ian loves to make T-shirts for Arielle for every occasion, so the couple had a T-shirt station set up for guests to make their own to take home as a favor. Another fun touch: As a nod to Arielle's Broadway background, the couple designed their ceremony program to look like a Playbill. —Cristi L. Hansen