Following a romantic 2019 proposal in Savannah, Georgia, Dylan Baker and Warner Cooley began dreaming of a large wedding in the same city. Covid-19 put a stop to travel—and their plans of a destination wedding—but rather than delay their nuptials, they were spurred toward the aisle for another reason entirely.
“Finding out that both my parents were sick with cancer was the start of it all,” bride Dylan remembers. “Warner and I knew we wanted something, despite a pandemic, despite having people there or even having a dress and tux. The passing of my mom, Susan, was the biggest turning point for both of us in realizing that to have a wedding with those we loved, we needed help.”
So the couple, who met in 2011 during freshman orientation at Sacred Heart University, turned to wedding planner Eleni Sopasis. She encouraged them to go through with the wedding—and sooner rather than later. Little did they know, it would be just three short weeks later. Decisions were made quickly, and the couple had a few “musts”: live music over DJ, charcuterie plates for each guest, and a vibe of simple, understated elegance. “We are both more simplistic people and really just wanted to be surrounded by good people and good food,” the bride says. “Both were accomplished.”
The March 2021 wedding was a breathtaking display—Savannah greenery-meets-industrial New York City—with special tributes to Dylan’s mother throughout. It was everything the couple had dreamed of. “My vision was clean and light; no crazy bright colors, but tones of black, gray, green and white,” Dylan says. “Regardless of even having any guests, Warner and I knew we wanted a simplistic, romantic wedding.”
Dylan and Warner scaled down their guest count from 170 to just 12 family members and friends, which made the invitations all the more special. Boxed Wedding Invitations created a stylish suite housed in thick charcoal envelopes edged with gold. Guests also received welcome boxes tied up with pretty green ribbon which included miniature bottles of Prosecco and a card offering the history of Long Island City and information about the big day.
Dylan’s wedding-day look was all about the dress. “I did not go crazy with accessories,” she admits. She opted for a simple pair of earrings to complement her stunning round solitaire engagement ring and new diamond wedding band, and found a pair of comfortable Kelly & Katie heels at DSW.
From the moment I saw this dress, the back was the reason I wanted it.
“The easiest part of planning was picking my dress,” Dylan says. Back in October 2020, she saw Made With Love’s Archie dress—a soft, double French crepe gown with a plunging cowl back—online and snapped a photo. “From the moment I saw this dress, the back was the reason I wanted it. It is elegant, simple and effortlessly beautiful.” She took her dad and planner along to one store that she knew carried the style—Vows Bridal in Watertown, Massachusetts—and took home the sample that day. She decided against a veil to allow the back to shine.
More than two dozen white roses filled Dylan’s bouquet, and secured around the stems was a framed photo of her late mother. “Dylan’s mom was certainly watching over her,” Eleni says.
Warner’s Calvin Klein tuxedo featured a black satin vest and black tie. He accessorized it with a white pocket square, Vincero watch and white rose boutonniere to match Dylan’s bouquet.
The couple’s intimate first look was one of the most special moments for Dylan. “This was everything I expected and more,” she says. “It was so fun and magical to see each other all done up before everyone else saw us in full effect.”
When their Savannah nuptials at the Charles H. Morris Center were put on hold, “the hunt was on for something similar,” Dylan says. “I found The Foundry on Pinterest, of all places.” She was drawn to the industrial feel and knew immediately she’d found the right place: “The history, the natural light, [and] the exposed brick was perfect.” While the venue features seven unique spaces, Dylan and Warner hosted their ceremony in the Main Space and reception in The Greenhouse.
“The ceremony decor was dramatic but simple, if that makes sense!” Dylan says. Drama came in the form of thousands of white roses and interspersed greenery; simplicity came through natural light and the arrangement of the aisle, which was formed by black Chiavari chairs grouped in twos and spaced apart for social distancing.
Luscious low white floral arrangements and pillar candles lined the aisle, which led to a stunning asymmetrical ceremony backdrop that did double duty as a photo backdrop for guests at the reception. “The Ivie Joy team made it feel like you were in your own private botanical garden,” the bride says. “The smell of freshly cut roses was beyond my wildest dreams.”
The couple took precautions and followed New York state regulations at their wedding—but did so with style. “We checked for negative results, implemented Covid-friendly serving styles and provided a station with mini sanitizers and face masks,” planner Eleni says.
The wedding was planned around Dylan’s father’s chemotherapy schedule, so his walk down the aisle beside her became a beautiful, memorable moment. “There are no words to describe how beautiful you looked, and how amazing it was to witness your dad healthy enough to walk you down the aisle," Warner told Dylan afterward.
The couple booked Eva Engman, a reiki master and certified sound healing practitioner, to officiate their ceremony. “We gave Eva small details and quotes that she used to form the right words for our vows,” Dylan says. The most meaningful quote incorporated came from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, one of Dylan’s mother’s favorite films: “To have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever.”
The couple chose “All of the Lights” by Kanye West—performed by a string quartet—for their recessional.
With such a small guest count, Dylan and Warner opted not to have bridesmaids or groomsmen—but just for fun, the female guests coordinated to wear the same shade of green, one of the couple’s wedding colors.
“One thing Warner and I decided on very quickly was that a DJ just would not work,” Dylan notes. “However, we had no idea we would end up with a string quartet! I am still blown away at how amazing they were.” Luminous Sounds String Ensemble played all genres of music, even learning some of the couple’s favorite songs, throughout the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception.
Floral arrangements of white roses and greenery topped tables, and the back of each menu card included instructions for a photo scavenger hunt, encouraging guest interaction. Photos were posted to social media with the couple’s hashtag, #WarnerSealedTheDyl.
Cocktail hour featured appetizers like grown-up grilled cheese and fried chicken in waffle cones, “truly things I could eat every day for the rest of my life,” laughs Dylan. A signature rum punch cocktail, dubbed “Ja-Makin’ Me Cooley” paid tribute to the groom’s Jamaican heritage and was served on cocktail napkins customized with fun facts about the newlyweds.
For the reception, guests moved into The Greenhouse, a stunning space at The Foundry overrun with ivy and flooded with natural light from ceiling skylights. “It’s one of the dreamiest spaces the venue has,” Dylan says.
White linens were layered with gold-rimmed chargers and white plates. Chic matte-black flatware was a unique addition that elevated the look. Tables were spaced far apart for safety, of course, but also so that couples could “have their own kind of romantic evening, as well,” Dylan says.
Guests were met with individual charcuterie plates at their seats. “This was specifically for me and my best friend, Melissa,” the bride laughs. “It was something everyone enjoyed, however.” Dinner by Dish Food & Events followed, and included a shredded kale Caesar salad and entrees of grilled filet of beef, slow-smoked pork shoulder, and butternut-squash ravioli.
The string quartet took up Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely” for the newlyweds’ first dance. It’s been their song since 2017, when they went on a date for Dylan’s birthday to Mastro’s Steakhouse and sang along while live musicians performed it during dinner.
“My dad chose the song we had our father-daughter dance to,” Dylan says. “I think this was the first time my dad and I have actually ever danced together! This moment was truly something special.” The song? “My Girl” by the Temptations. Later, Warner and his mother danced to “Make You Feel My Love” by Adele.
Additional signage throughout the space indicated that the couple’s 12 guests were selected for a reason.
The two-tiered cake by Cakes by Lana New York was decorated with white roses and flecks of edible gold leaf. Inside: chocolate cake with Oreo filling, per Warner’s request. “He is the sweet tooth in our relationship, and the cake was one of the most important parts of the day for him,” Dylan laughs.
Miniature cakes for each guest or couple mirrored the larger cake and kept things Covid-friendly. They were displayed along an ivy-covered wall and then served to each seat after dinner.
While things are rarely perfect, March 20—the first day of spring, our wedding day—was the closest thing to it.
Though the decision to go ahead with their small-scale wedding was a difficult one, it ultimately was an incredible, intimate, and fun affair. “The day was a fairytale,” Dylan recalls. “There was so much love, pure happiness, [and] occasional tears. While things are rarely perfect, March 20—the first day of spring, our wedding day—was the closest thing to it.”
Venue The Foundry
Planner Eleni & Co. New York
Bridal Gown Made With Love
Bridal Boutique Vows Bridal
Bride’s Shoes Kelly & Katie
Bride’s Jewelry Dareth Colburn
Groom’s Attire Men’s Wearhouse
Officiant Eva Engman
Invitations and Signage Boxed Wedding Invitations
Hair Mia Farah Beautique
Floral Design Ivie Joy Floral Arts + Events
Catering Dish Food & Events
Cake Cakes by Lana New York
Rentals Broadway Party Rentals
Lighting Universal Light & Sound
Photography Twah Dougherty Photography