When Michele Jacabacci realized she might have feelings for Chris McCarthy in June 2011, the pair had already known each other for a few years through mutual friends. It wasn’t until Michele’s bridal shower, though, that the couple realized they’d actually known each other much longer. “Our moms put together a photo album of us through the years, and unbeknownst to even them, we discovered that we’d been in the same camp group when we were six!” says Michele. Whether they’d known each other for a few years or a few decades, in March 2015, during a trip to Hawaii, Chris decided to make it official. “It never occurred to me that Chris would ever travel 5,000 miles with an engagement ring,” says the bride. But during a morning walk along the beach in Oahu, Michele was absolutely shocked when Chris got down on one knee.
Chris and Michele began to plan their June 25, 2016, wedding and knew a gorgeous venue with views of New York City was their number-one priority. “The view from the Mandarin Oriental absolutely fit the bill and was the perfect backdrop for our romantic, elegant design,” Michele says. With shades of pink, gold, and cream throughout the space, they wed at a black-tie celebration with 183 guests in attendance. The photos, by Whyman Studios, will transport you to this iconic New York City hotel. Don’t forget your tux!
It all began with luxe, textured invitations by RedBliss Design. A silhouette of the city’s skyline, as well as gilded floral swirls and pockets full of all the key details, gave guests a peek into what was in store.
“I visited nine different stores before finding my dress,” says Michele. “But for me, it was much more about finding the right saleswoman who was honest and helpful and knew what would look best on my body.” The winning design was a draped tulle and lace gown by Isabelle Armstrong that had a full horsehair and tulle skirt. Michele paired her dramatic gown with simple (but shimmery!) Stuart Weitzman sandals, a soft updo, and a pair of earrings that included a stone from a piece of her mother’s jewelry.
The bride’s soft bouquet mixed white peonies, Juliet garden roses, spray roses, and a hint of seasonal greenery.
The ceremony took place in the ballroom, overlooking Manhattan’s skyline.
The altar was decorated with sheer white fabric and flanked by arrangements of branches, hydrangeas, and garden roses. “We spent a lot of time personalizing the ceremony with our officiant,” says Michele. “We talked about everything from our love of Wheel of Fortune to the little idiosyncrasies that we love about each other.”
Chris’s custom tux was finished with a very special accessory: a Rolex! “Since the day we met, Chris always joked that if he bought me a ring, I’d have to buy him a Rolex. He didn’t think I’d ever do it, but I saved money every week for two years and surprised him with it on our wedding day!” Michele reveals. The happy newlyweds took portraits around the Mandarin Oriental, with Columbus Circle in the background.
Guests made their way to the reception up a staircase decorated with lush greenery, peonies, and roses. Michele and Chris chose a variety of linens, like a gold-sequined version on the escort-card table, to add some texture to the reception space and create different experiences for each part of the celebration.
Inside the ballroom, mixed rectangular and round tables were topped with different blush linens. Gold candelabras displayed tapered candles, while low gold vases were full of peonies, roses, and stock in cream, blush, and fuchsia.
“Red Bliss designed amazing letterpress menus in gray and cream to accent the tabletops,” says Michele. The dinner menu included zucchini-blossom fritters with eggplant relish, as well as pan-roasted Chilean sea bass with purple potatoes and citrus beurre blanc.
They look totally real, but the flowers draped down Chris and Michele’s Sylvia Weinstock wedding cake were all made by hand! Layers of yellow cake were accompanied by key-lime filling and buttercream icing. In addition to cake, guests were treated to a dessert bar full of bite-size sweets.
An event painter captured the evening, including the couple’s first dance, to “Wanted,” by Hunter Hayes. “We had secretly been taking dance lessons and surprised everyone with some extra-special moves,” says Michele.
At the end of the night, guests headed downstairs for fresh pizza and warm pretzels. Says Michele, “Start planning early. The best vendors will book up quickly! And make sure you’ve got some wiggle room in your budget, since you’ll probably end up spending more than you’d planned!”
Venue & Catering: Mandarin Oriental
Wedding Planner: Rebecca Shenkman of Pink Bowtie Events
Hair: Breno Miranda of Licari Cutler
Makeup: Donna Griffin of the Makeup Studio New York
Bridesmaids' Dresses: Melinda Eng
Groom's Attire: Alan David Custom
Groomsmen's Attire: Men's Wearhouse
Engagement Ring & Wedding Band: Mazza Fine Jewelry
Flowers: Blade Floral & Event Design
Invitations: RedBliss Design
Music: Erik Marshall Band of Hank Lane Music
Cake: Sylvia Weinstock Cakes
Event Painter: Martin Hardy
Lighting: Stortz Lighting
Virtual Event Design: Michelle Edgemont
Videographer: Kiss the Bride Films
Photographer: Whyman Studios