Cassie Russo met Sean Sweeney for the first time in January 2010 when mutual friends introduced the pair. The pair hit it off, and after four years of dating, Sean knew he was ready to propose. After months of trying to come up with the perfect surprise proposal, inspiration struck as he planned to pick Cassie up at the airport on March 31, 2013. "Sean was unrecognizable dressed in a suit, tie and black aviators, and he posed as a professional driver picking me up," Cassie recalls. "He was holding a sign that said 'Cassie Russo' on the front, and as I approached him at baggage claim he turned the sign around and it said 'Will you marry me?'" Sean got down on one knee while the entire airport cheered.
With the help of Claudia Hanlin at the Wedding Library, Cassie and Sean planned a glamorous, Old Hollywood-inspired wedding at New York City's Gotham Hall. They enlisted Bia Sampaio to capture every moment of their roaring '20s bash on June 28, 2014.
The couple chose platinum, gold, and white invitations from stationer Bella Figura. These glitzy shades were carried throughout their ceremony and reception, but Cassie and Sean were careful to avoid letting their theme become over-the-top. "We didn't want our guests to be able to point out and say, 'This is a 1920s themed wedding,'" the bride says. "We were more inspired by the sense of abundance, exuberance, and fun of the era." Each guest received a welcome gift from the couple including a split of champagne, snacks, and confetti, along with a welcome note and weekend itinerary.
Cassie fell in love with the second wedding dress she had ever tried on for her ceremony. An embroidered tulle A-line wedding dress created by Monique Lhuillier, which boasted a sheer neckline and long sleeves, had everything she wanted in her bridal look. "Nothing compared in the slightest to how this dress made me feel," she remembers.
She added a matching veil, nude Christian Louboutin pumps, and a pair of glamorous earrings from Kenneth Jay Lane to finish out her look. A vintage-inspired hair comb held back her softly waved hair. Cassie worked with a florist to create a white peony bouquet, accented with berries and dusty miller.
Cassie's two sisters served as her maids of honor and wore white gowns with sheer lace details. Her remaining five bridesmaids donned glittering champagne-hued Adriana Papell gowns. Each bridesmaid toted a white-and-pink peony bouquet while Cassie's sisters carried ombré versions that also included bronze, coral, and lilac blooms.
Sean emitted '20s glam in his own way, too. He and his groomsmen all looked dashing in classic black tuxedos from Top Man. The groom chose rhinestone slipper loafers for an extra dose of Gatsby style.
Choosing Gotham Hall for their ceremony and reception venue was any easy choice. "We wanted a place where our local guests would feel that they were transported to a new environment, and wanted guests from Europe to experience the best of New York," the bride says. "We love the beautiful architecture of Gotham Hall and that we could replicate the feeling of old New York and a magical, Gatsby-like experience." Choosing the detailed space meant that the couple could keep their ceremony décor relatively simple. The couple added a few oversized arrangements of white hydrangeas near guests seats and had a candle-lined aisle to complement the glowing chandeliers already part of the ballroom.
Cassie's father walked her down the aisle while a live string quartet performed Salut d'Amore by Elgar and Canon in D. The smiling couple walked out hand-in-hand to Mendelssohn's Wedding March.
Their ceremony space was then "flipped" for a formal dinner, and guests found their seating arrangements on glowing Lucite blocks. Their signature cocktails, the Cassitini and the Sweeytini, were the couple's two favorite martinis.
Three banquet-style tables surrounded the dance floor and smaller, round tables filled the rest of the space. The couple tucked bars and lounge spaces around the rest of the space so their guests could move around the ballroom. Each table was covered with ikat-patterned metallic linens and topped with trumpet vases of baby's breath. Smaller arrangements of white roses, peonies, and sweet peas added depth to the tables.
Metallic chargers and hand-glittered menu cards added another dimension of glamour to the space. Guests enjoyed a dinner of arugula-and-mint salad and either herb-crusted filet of beef or pan-seared arctic char. For dessert, the couple served a stunning five-tiered white-and-gold wedding cake, complete with cascading sugar flowers. The tasty white cake was filled with a mixture of chocolate ganache and raspberry.
For Cassie, who is a professional choreographer, music and dancing was an important part of her day. She and Sean shared their first dance to "Home" by Philip Philips before she took to the dance floor with her father to share a special moment to a song with lots of meaning. "Vali Entertainment customized a slower version of Billy Idol's 'White Wedding,'" she says. "It was the first song I ever danced to as a toddler. My dad was exercising in our basement and I hung out next to him jumping around to that song."
Following the cake cutting, Cassie changed into a knee-length Reem Acra wedding dress, complete with an illusion neckline and feather detail. Their 15-piece band kept everyone dancing all evening long, and at the stroke of midnight the entire room was filled with confetti.
The couple, who enjoyed a two-week road trip up the coast of California for their honeymoon, suggest other couples make the most of their wedding planning process. "Embrace every second of the journey because it's over in the blink of an eye," they say.
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Gotham Hall
Wedding Planner: The Wedding Library
Officiant: Reverend Louis Olivieri
Bride's Wedding Dress & Veil: Monique Lhuillier
Bride's Jewelry: Kenneth Jay Lane
Bride's Shoes: Christian Louboutin
Hair: Gina Rossi-Foley
Makeup: Robin Lynette
Bridesmaids' and Mother-of-the-Bride Dresses: Adrianna Papell
Groom's and Groomsmen's Attire: Top Man
Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Hamilton Jewelers
Florist: Stonekelly Events
Invitations: Bella Figura
Additional Paper Products: Design Corral
Ceremony & Reception Music: Vali Entertainment
Catering: Great Performances
Cake: Cheryl Kleinman Cakes
Furniture Rentals: Luxe Event Rentals
Plate & Chair Rentals: New England Country Rentals
Linen Rentals: BBJ Linen
Transportation: Gray Line New York
Accommodations: The New York Palace
Videographer: Valerie Barnes Film
Photo Booth: The Booth
Lighting: Bentley Meeker Lighting & Staging
Dance Floor: NY Lounge Décor
Photographer: Bia Sampaio Photography