When Alessandra (Ali) Leone, a design student, and Cody Milch, president of LaundryLux, realized that a destination wedding in South America would prevent their grandparents from attending, they immediately axed the idea. “Truthfully, their presence was more important to us,” Ali says.
From there, the New York City-based couple landed on Cedar Lakes Estate, just 70 miles away from Manhattan. It would allow the couple to create a destination wedding experience, with everyone staying onsite, while also making travel easy on their friends and family. “We really wanted everyone to leave the weekend feeling like they just made a ton of new best friends,” the bride adds. There, the couple threw a three-day celebration, kicking off with a Friday night welcome party with 200 guests and ended with a Sunday brunch that included cookies decorated with photographs of Ali and Cody’s faces.
They collaborated with Sara Landon of Sara Landon Events on the décor and logistics and L’Atelier Rouge on the floral design. Ultimately, the weekend included an outdoor Jewish ceremony, massive ceiling installations in the estate’s luxe barn, a multi-course dinner that featured Cody’s custom wine from Mendoza, Argentina, and a parade to the afterparty lead by a brass band playing Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love.” “I kept coming back to the word ‘ethereal’ when describing the overall theme of the weekend,” Ali says of the vibe. “The togetherness was all we ever dreamed of.”
Read on for all the details of Ali and Cody’s rustic-chic wedding, planned by Sara Landon Events and photographed by Sarah Falugo.
Ali says she and Cody has a lot of fun planning the wedding, but she did struggle with the invitations. “It's such delicate phrasing and so much time and money goes into this aspect of the wedding,” she says, continuing “Yet 99 percent of them go straight into the trash and that upset me!”
Ali and Cody met during a party at his New York City apartment, where Ali says that they “spent most of the night alone chatting in a corner where Cody jokingly told me that he loved me.” A few weeks later, they went on an official date—Cody cooked her dinner on his terrace—and Ali and Cody started falling for one another.
Cody proposed on a trip to Napa Valley, where "everything seemed to go wrong." First, Ali ended up with tonsillitis upon landing in San Francisco, which derailed most of the plan for wine tasting. They did, however, manage to go hot air ballooning above the vineyards. “After about two-and-half hours of delays and relocation due to a terribly foggy morning, our balloon finally had to lift off,” Ali explains. “After a quick 25 minutes in the air, our balloon was hoovering so low to the ground, also due to the poor weather conditions, we almost had to make an emergency landing to which Cody calls out ‘I have to do it now!’” He then dropped to a knee with a ring in hand.
The couple threw a 200-person welcome barbecue on Friday night to commence the celebrations. Ali wore a pink midi dress by Temperly London, and Cody opted for a beige suit and dress shirt.
Night one was full of toasts and fireworks, while the next day included a full itinerary of activities around the Cedar Lakes Estate property before the ceremony and reception.
Ali’s wedding party all got to choose their own outfits, but they did get ready in matching pajamas—with sparkling wine, of course!
The couple exchanged traditional gifts before the ceremony. Cody gave Ali a custom sapphire ring which she wore for the reception, and Ali gifted Cody a pair of vintage gold cufflinks from the 1950s.
“I’m a firm believer in following your gut and, when it feels right, going for it,” Ali says of immediately ordering her dress after trying it on. It was only her second stop looking for gowns, where she fell in love with the Lee Petra Grebenau design—complete with a custom removable overskirt and 3-D appliqués.
Ali accented her look with a simple headband, but lots of sparkles: She rented diamond earrings and bracelets from Verstolo!
Ali and Cody did a first look at a private spot near the lake.
Ali, who loves flowers, went with a very classic and feminine bloom for her bouquet: lily of the valley. It, along with her gown, reinforced the ethereal vibe of the ceremony.
Cody donned a custom P. Johnson suit with a shawl collar in a midnight navy, a color that set him apart from his groomsmen wearing black tuxedos.
Ali’s bridesmaids wore dresses in shades of pink, champagne, and white, a palate that Ali liked from the start. “I love how champagne and white photograph together,” she says.
Family and friends joined the couple for the traditional signing of the ketubah before the ceremony.
“The Ketubah signing ceremony was so emotional and special,” Ali says. “We were surrounded by our bridal party and immediate families in the most serene setting on the lake. That was when everything hit me.”
We wanted our ceremony to look like it was plucked from a fairytale, and the wrought iron gazebo really pulled that all together.
“We wanted our ceremony to look like it was plucked from a fairytale, and the wrought iron gazebo really pulled that all together,” Ali says of the gazebo that served as their chuppah. It was decorated with pastel blooms, including lots of baby’s breath, by L’Atelier Rouge. “I particularly loved the aisle lined with some of my favorite flowers,” she adds.
A string quartet played a rendition of “Latch” by Disclosure for Ali’s entrance alongside her mother and father.
“We wanted the ceremony to feel authentic to who we are and expressing our love for one another was the only way we knowhow,” Ali says of exchanging their own vows during the Rabbi-led ceremony.
Being able to put down my deepest feelings for the person I love most, read them aloud to all of our families and friends, and make it through without crying was a real feat for me!
One other personal moment? As part of the Jewish ceremony, the couple sips wine to mark their transition to a married couple. For Ali and Cody, they used Cody’s Argentine wine.
“Being able to put down my deepest feelings for the person I love most, read them aloud to all of our families and friends, and make it through without crying was a real feat for me,” Ali says of forgoing tears when she’s a “very emotional person.”
The couple made their exit with lots of smiles to “You’ve Got the Love” by Florence and the Machine.
“Cody and I have always been about bringing people together, whether it be different groups of friends or crazy family members,” Ali says. “We wanted this weekend to be no different.”
The couple’s reception was set in the barn at Cedar Lakes Estate. The couple's planner, Sara Landon, and floral designer, L’Atelier Rouge, impressed the couple by including massive floral chandeliers in shades of pastels—running with the couple’s ethereal theme in the rustic space. “Our reception was full of every soft pastel-colored floral you could imagine,” the bride says.
“The hanging floral installation over our 50-foot-long head table was beyond anything we had discussed,” Ali says. “[It] truly gave a whimsical wow moment for everyone entering the venue directly behind the installation.” Lace tablecloths added romance to the room along with cloud-like tall arrangements of pastel-hued baby’s breath.
Place settings included gold-rimmed glass chargers, gold flatware, and crystal stemware to reinforce the romantic, ethereal vibe of the rustic venue.
“The only complaint we had was that everyone ate too much at each meal to fit into their wedding looks,” Ali jokes about the food at Cedar Lakes Estate. That included an artisan pizza food truck, a full raw bar, short ribs, and a dessert buffet. Among the wines served during dinner included a wedding edition of Cody's own.
The couple took their first dance to Jimi Hendrix’s “Bold Is Love” but it wasn’t the first time the guests had hit the dance floor. “As the band tried to gather the crowd for dinner, they opted for ‘Shallow,’ from a Star Is Born soundtrack that elicited a 250-person singalong on the dancefloor,” Ali says. “It was the ultimate highlight of the evening.”
Butterfly Bakeshop designed the couple’s three-tiered marble loaf cake decorated with a mix of real and sugar flowers. They also served a massive spread of desserts, including red velvet cupcakes and rhubarb pie jars.
The newlyweds participated in the traditional hora dance during the reception.
A 12-person band and DJ duo performed for the dance party in a barn space filled with disco-inspired orbs hanging from the ceiling. The bride changed into an after-party outfit by Sahroo, which turned out to be perfect for crowd surfing.
Guests played tambourines as the brass band led the group to the afterparty to continue the fun. After the celebration, Ali and Cody embarked on an epic European honeymoon, including stops in Ravello, Italy; Douro Valley, Portugal; Mallorca, Spain; and Provence, France.
Wedding Venue Cedar Lakes Estates
Wedding Planner Sara Landon Events
Officiant Rabbi Peter Rubinstein
Welcome Party Dress Temperley London
Bridal Gown & Veil Lee Petra Grebenau, from Spina Bride
After Party Dress Sahroo
Shoes Manolo Blahnik
Hair Melissa Rende
Makeup Lucas Dean Bowman
Mother of the Bride Dress Rubin Singer; Dolce & Gabbana
Groom’s Welcome Party and Wedding Attire P. Johnson
Engagement Ring IND Gem Lab
Wedding Bands Jennifer Fisher
Floral Design L’Atelier Rouge
Invitations & Other Paper Goods Bella Figura
Rentals Events Unlimited; Revival Vintage Rentals
Draping Gio Draping Events, Inc.
Friday Night Entertainment Henry Heinitsh Music
Saturday Entertainment The Eleven Band; Bonnie Thorton
Dance Lessons The Dance
Balloons My Deco Balloon
Fireworks Fireworks Extravaganza
Dance Floor Graphics Bombshell Graphics
Auto Visual Legato Productions
Catering Cedar Lakes Estate
Cake Butterfly Bakeshop
Photo Booth MirMir
Transportation John Peters Professional Limousines, Inc.; West Point Tours, Inc.
Videography Adrian Toto of The Day Collective
Photography Sarah Falugo