On the first day of her hospital orientation in Cleveland, Leanna-Marie Robertson was surprised to see another newly-minted doctor walk in with a motorcycle helmet in his hands. “I immediately thought that he wasn’t from around here,” says Leanna. The mystery man—Gordon Sims—sat next to Leanna at lunch, and the pair realized they’d be working on the same medical team for the next five weeks. (It's safe to say that sparks flew in that Cleveland hospital!)
Less than a year after they started dating, Leanna brought Gordon to her home country of Trinidad and Tobago (their first trip as a couple!). “We checked into a boutique hotel on the beach in Tobago, and woke with the sunrise one morning,” she remembers. “We headed out to our balcony to watch the sunrise, and Gordon ran back inside to get his T-shirt. When he came back out, he had such a distinct look on his face, and started to tell me that he wanted to spend forever with me.” Before she could process what was happening, Gordon was down on one knee.
The groom is from New York City and the bride is from Trinidad and Tobago, and neither wanted to plan a wedding from afar. Instead, they decided to wed in Cleveland—the city where their love story began. “Once we chose to get married in Cleveland, picking a venue was easy," Leanna says. "There’s no place as grand or as breathtaking as the Cleveland Museum of Art!” For their romantic May 27, 2017, wedding, Leanna and Gordon kept the guest list intimate (only 50 people!), highlighted their favorite elements of the venue (the floor-to-ceiling windows), and left the rest (like a wedding party) behind. Keep reading to see the totally personalized, romantic wedding, as planned by a Charming Fête and photographed by Jenny Haas.
Gordon and Leanna took cues from from the museum’s design and set a design scheme that combined gray velvet, marble accents, and crisp white flowers with hints of deep, warm burgundy.
Leanna’s A-line Legends Romona Keveza gown featured a scalloped hem, lace overlay, and sheer detail at the back. After deciding between two very different styles, Leanna had a few fittings just to be sure—including one the night before her wedding! “I realized I’d never worn the dress for any amount of time," she says. "After I picked it up from the seamstress, I put it on and wore it around the hotel room—it looked perfect, but I could barely breathe!” Thankfully she was able to get back to the seamstress in time, ensuring a perfect fit for the big day.
Leanna accessorized her gown with lace-up flats from Stuart Weitzman—that were comfortable through the ceremony and late-night dancing.
The ceremony took place in the museum’s atrium, where bamboo trees lined the aisle. “When I came down the aisle, Gordon’s friends started a rip-roaringly loud applause," Leanna remembers. "I didn’t expect it at all, and it added so much excitement to the moment. It was the perfect sound effect to greet my oh-so-handsome groom at the altar!”
Gordon and Leanna wrote their own vows, but the bride discovered later that the groom, who wore a navy blue tuxedo, made his up on the fly! “He never wrote anything down, and just spoke from the heart in that moment,” she says.
“Having such a small guest list meant that everyone who was there was equally special to us,” says the bride. (Including their adorable, tuxedo-clad ring bearer!)
Guests dined at long tables topped with gray velvet linens, white hemstitch runners, and centerpieces of garden roses and peonies, highlighted with greenery. Other tables featured garlands of greenery with pops of fresh flowers, while the bride and groom sat at a marble-topped sweetheart table. Everyone enjoyed the couple's signature cocktail, the Salty Dog.
“Our dinner menu was exquisite,” says Leanna. The museum’s chef prepared Asian-style braised beef short rib and lump blue crab cakes during cocktail hour (alongside a display of local cheeses, pickled vegetables, and dried fruits), and a pistachio-crusted goat cheese salad and herb and garlic-stuffed chicken (with glazed radishes and leek cream) for the main dish.
Gordon and Leanna’s three-tiered wedding cake featured layers of chocolate filled with vanilla frosting. And, of course, no wedding is complete without a late-night surprise! After the dancing got started, guests noshed on tater tots and chicken and waffles (served in cones!).
“Gordon and I were engaged for almost two and a half years before we got married,” says Leanna. “By the time we approached the two year mark, I knew we had to get the ball rolling!” So she did a ton of research, and finally hired a wedding planner, who helped all the other pieces fall into place. “Put in the time to find the right vendors, as they can make or break your day. You want people who are talented and committed, and who will work hard to make your day perfect. Assemble the very best team around you!”
Wedding Planner: A Charming Fête || Venue: Cleveland Museum of Art || Bride's Dress: Legends Romona Keveza || Alterations: Miranda’s Vintage Bridal || Bride's Veil: Something White Bridal || Bride's Shoes: Stuart Weitzman || Hair & Makeup: Jeneen Jelnik and Lindsay London || Groom's Attire: Suit Supply || Engagement Ring: Brilliant Earth || Wedding Bands: Tiffany & Co., Brilliant Earth || Paper Products: Tied & Two, Butler’s Pantry Calligraphy || Catering: Provenance || Cake: Luna Bakery || Ceremony Entertainment: Bellflower String Quartet || Reception Entertainment: LoKey Entertainment || Rentals: BBJ Linen, Event Source || Caricature Artist: The Nose Caricature Company || Photography: Jenny Haas