Set-ups get a bad rap, but sometimes, your friends know best. Just ask Geo Karapetyan and Jay Serpe, who were introduced by Geo's best friend from Columbia (a high school friend of Jay's!) during the summer of 2009. "We saw each other four nights in a row during the first week of knowing each other," says Geo. Three and a half years later, days after Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, Jay surprised Geo with a trip to Paris, a night at the opera, and a proposal on the steps of the Palais Garnier opera house.
Though Jay and Geo met and fell in love in New York City, they got out of town for their wedding last May. "We wanted a space that was modern, but had a natural feel," says Geo. Roundhouse Beacon — a hotel 60 miles north of Manhattan with exposed brick, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a waterfall view — was just the place.
Both Geo and Jay donned Tom Ford for their wedding day, with Geo in midnight blue with a black bowtie and Jay in black with a white bowtie. "We spent time trying on tuxedos from different designers, and nothing came close to the structure, quality, and fit of the Tom Ford tuxedo. It's ageless," says Jay.
Also sleekly structured? The couple's silver-and-slate invitations. "We wanted something masculine, crisp, modern, and with a strong feel," says Geo of the pocket design and graphic monogram.
The grooms decided to escape the bustle of New York City for their big day. "City weddings can feel so rushed, so we knew we needed to look elsewhere. The Hudson Valley was the perfect mix of modern design and a natural setting."
Continuing the modern theme, the ceremony took place beneath a lucite chuppah topped with white hydrangeas, orchids, and roses. Jay and Geo walked down the aisle hand-in-hand to a ceremony officiated by the Honorable Stefan R. Underhill (a Federal District Judge and friend of Jay's parents) and Edward J. Finley II, a friend of the grooms'. They combined Jewish tradition with readings from Plato's Symposium and words the grooms had shared with their officiants about the meaning of their relationship. At the end of the ceremony, both grooms broke glasses.
The 10 bridesmaids, decked out in silver and gray gowns of their choice, each carried single-variety bouquets in hues of orange, fuchsia, and purple, while the two groomsmen donned classic tuxedos.
Escort cards were a nod to the grooms' alma maters, Princeton and Columbia. Tigers and Lions were decoupaged with vintage wallpaper and tied with cards bearing guests' names.
During cocktail hour, guests were treated to a drink named in honor of the couple's pup, Cooper: a combination of bourbon, St. Germain and ginger ale. Hors d'oeuvres included grilled bacon with egg yolk vinaigrette and tuna ceviche with orange.
To bring their vision of a sophisticated, modern ball to life, Geo, Jay and their planner started with a gray and slate color scheme, brightened up with centerpieces of orange, purple, and fuchsia roses, orchids, peonies, calla lilies, anemones and tulips. Clear and smoke Lucite chairs kept the feeling crisp and airy, tying in to the Roundhouse Beacon's towering windows and exposed brick.
"We added chrome and glass vessels to give the tables texture," says Jay. Gray pillar candles topped off the centerpieces.
After their first dance to "Song on the Sand" from La Cage aux Folles, Jay and Geo invited their guests on to the dance floor for the Hora. "We went through a number of bands before finding Hank Lane. A friend of ours went to a wedding where one of their bands played and had a blast, so we knew we had to get in touch with them," Geo says. "Once they knew what kind of ambiance we wanted, they narrowed it down to Marc Koslowe, and it was a perfect match."
When Jay and his mom took to the floor for their mother-son dance, they started off with "I Could Have Danced All Night" from My Fair Lady before switching to Pharell's "Happy" — and breaking into a choreographed routine with Jay's sisters!
After indulging in truffle butter-roasted Chatham cod with risotto and grilled filet mignon with mashed potatoes, guests tucked in to slices of buttercream-frosted vanilla cake with cream cheese and raspberry mousse fillings.
The reception ended with a kick line to "New York, New York," but the night wasn't over yet. The couple and their guests headed in to Beacon for drinks at Dogwood before returning to the 2EM lounge at the Roundhouse.
The grooms, who honeymooned in Maui and Kauai, recommend making space in your budget for non-negotiable items. "For us, it was photography and music," says Jay. "We were able to splurge to get exactly what we wanted."
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Roundhouse Beacon
Wedding Planner: BrownHot Events
Grooms' Attire: Tom Ford
Shoes: Salvatore Ferragamo
Wedding Bands: Tiffany & Co.
Floral Design: Carolyn Dempsey Design
Invitations & Paper Goods: Storkie
Ketubah: Ketubah Arts
Catering & Cake: Roundhouse Beacon
Photobooth & Favors: MV Studio
Photography: Hudson River Photographer