The goal for the November 2007 wedding of Alanna Stack and Byrd Leavell was simple: “We wanted to celebrate fall in New York City,” says the bride, who grew up on the city's Upper West Side. They chose the venerable University Club, a venue right off Fifth Avenue known as much for its architecture as for its impressive library and art collections, as the site of their wedding reception, to reflect the city's history. “It felt like a great place to be on a crisp fall night,” Alanna says. And to give a nod to the season, they decided on an autumnal color palette of red and gold. With the help of New York City-based planner Loulie Walker, of Loulie Walker Events, Alanna, an avid reader, and Byrd, a literary agent, made literature a theme of their reception, to show their shared love of books.
After a ceremony at St. Vincent Ferrer and a reception at the University Club, the revelry continued in the cocktail-hour space, which Walker had transformed into a lounge. A DJ played as guests nibbled mini grilled cheese sandwiches and hamburgers, and—even people we didn't expect to stay,” the bride says. The highlight of her day, though, had come earlier: “Byrd and I were walking along Fifth Avenue on the way to the reception, and people were cheering and high-fiving us,” Alanna says. “It was a moment.”