One New York Couple's Colorful Wedding at the American Museum of Natural History

Christian Oth Studio

Dorie and Chad first met as engineering students at Princeton, but didn't begin dating until their final year on campus. They moved to New York City, but academia beckoned again, and they headed to Philadelphia to get their MBAs at The Wharton School. It was there in Philadelphia that, after a nice dinner and a long walk home, Chad proposed to Dorie in their apartment. "He knew that if he planned anything elaborate, I would see right through it!" she laughs. "I also loved having the private time together before we told our family and friends."

The couple came back to Dorie's home city of New York for their wedding, choosing the church down the street from her childhood apartment for the ceremony and the iconic Milstein Hall of Ocean Life at the American Museum of Natural History for the reception. "We've built our life together in the city, and we wanted our wedding to represent that," says the bride. But that doesn't mean it was traditional. Karen Bussen helped the pair create a warm, colorful event full of vibrant yellow hues (Dorie's favorite!) and wove in unexpected, playful touches. Keep reading to see all the bright details, photographed by Christian Oth Studio.

One of the bride's favorite parts of getting married in her Upper East Side neighborhood was getting to sleep in her own bed the night before, then getting ready with her bridesmaids in her childhood home.

The invitation was traditional — almost. Yellow edges hinted at the surprise the bride and groom had in store.

Christian Oth Studio
Christian Oth Studio
Christian Oth Studio

Dorie chose an Oscar de la Renta gown with a flowing, layered skirt. "I added removable cap sleeves for the ceremony, and loved that the skirt was perfect for swooshing on the dance floor," says the bride. She paired her gown with Jimmy Choo pumps, but skipped the veil in favor of a crown of baby's breath.

The bridesmaids carried bouquets of bright yellow flowers, mixing roses, tulips, and ranunculus. The hues popped against the women's mismatched gray gowns. Dorie's bouquet was an all-white combination of stephanotis and baby's breath.

Christian Oth Studio

Chad looked sharp in a Hugo Boss tuxedo, complemented with a stephanotis boutonniere. Once the bride was ready to go, she and her husband-to-be walked down the street to the church.

Christian Oth Studio

Chad's niece, Kylie, was the flower girl. She was a perfect match for Dorie in a ruffled white gown and a crown of baby's breath.

The couple exchanged traditional vows, but added a modern element to the ceremony with a reading from one of Chad's favorite books, Marcel Proust's "In Search of Lost Time."

Christian Oth Studio
Christian Oth Studio

"My parents surprised us with a gift after the ceremony," says Dorie. She and Chad were led to the park across from the American Museum of Natural History, where a bench was marked with a plaque in honor of their wedding day.

Christian Oth Studio

Inside the museum, guests were greeted by vibrant colors — and some of the museum's towering dinosaurs. Instead of numbers, escort cards sent guests to tables named after an animal that could be found in the museum.

Christian Oth Studio

Inside the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life, yellow light created the effect of daylight, while café lights lit the band. Tables were topped with a collection of roses and tulips in yellow, peach, orange, and hot pink. "I wanted guests to wander from table to table and find something new," says Dorie.

Christian Oth Studio
Christian Oth Studio

The yellow lighting created a feeling of warmth, making the huge space feel cozy and welcoming. Dorie and Chad entered as a troupe of African drummers played.

Christian Oth Studio

The 240 guests kept the dance floor packed all night. "The museum staff said they'd never seen anything like it before," the bride says. On the dance floor alongside Dorie was friend and actress Emmy Rossum, who loaned Dorie a vintage diamond and emerald bracelet as the bride's "something borrowed."

After a meal of Tuscan kale salad, pan-seared salmon, and peppercorn-crusted beef, Dorie and Chad cut into their passion fruit and vanilla buttercream cake, decorated with intricate sugar flowers that matched the table décor.

Christian Oth Studio

Just when it seemed like the evening was coming to a close, Dorie and Chad led guests back upstairs to the Hall of Biodiversity for a Cabinet of Curiosities-themed after party. "We made sure that every detail we picked would make our guests' experience even more enjoyable," says Dorie. "Anything that wouldn't make them have an even better time was skipped." The newlyweds left for an African safari just three days later. Says the bride, "It was enough time to catch up on sleep, but soon enough that we were still riding our post-wedding high!"

Wedding Team

Ceremony Venue: The Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest

Reception Venue: American Museum of Natural History

Wedding Planner & Floral Designer: Karen Bussen

Bride's Wedding Dress: Oscar de la Renta

Shoes: Jimmy Choo

Jewelry: Nina Runsdorf

Hair & Makeup: Once Upon a Bride

Groom's Attire: Hugo Boss

Wedding Bands: Cartier

Invitations & Paper Goods: Mr. Boddington's Studio

Music: Marianne Bennett Orchestra

Catering: Restaurant Associates

Cake: Nine Cakes

Rentals: Party Rental Ltd.

Lighting: Storz Lighting

Favors: Donation to Hot Bread Kitchen

Videography: Hart Pictures

Photography: Christian Oth Studio

Related Stories