It's a love story for the ages: Alessandra, 26, and Bryant, 39, grew up just blocks from each other in the Philippines, but didn't meet until they were both living clear across the world, in a city of 8 million people. At a rooftop party right after Alessandra moved to New York in 2009, the two couldn't believe the odds. "Bryant and I both found it such luck that we met on the other side of the world in this great city we call home," Alessandra says. "We officially began dating a month later."
One evening after they moved into an apartment in downtown Manhattan together, Bryant popped the question over a cold bottle of wine — and surrounded by a sea of unpacked boxes. The proposal was spontaneous and heartfelt, just like Bryant, Alessandra says. In September 2013, the two made it official with a grand, dramatic ceremony at New York's soaring St. Patrick's Cathedral, followed by a gilded reception at the swank Bowery Hotel. Crystal candelabras, metallic details, and a killer wine list rounded out the ultra-glam affair. Take a look at their black-and-gold bash below!
Alessandra, a graphic designer, was excited to add her design-minded eye when custom-creating the couple's invitations. She went with a black suite stamped with gold foil to reflect their color palette.
Alessandra fell in love with one of the first dresses she tried on at Vera Wang's bridal boutique. "It was five years old, hiding in a corner and about to be discontinued," Alessandra says. "But there was something so un-bridal about the design and construction that it felt like a piece of wearable art. Even six months after the wedding, I couldn't be happier with the choice." Her three older sisters had worn her cathedral-length veil down the aisle before her. "I felt really lucky that the four of us could share in this small tradition," Alessandra says.
Alessandra's big splurge was a pair of Givenchy gold python sandals. Her earrings and bracelet, passed down from her grandmother before she died, had been in her family for generations.
Instead of choosing one dress for her seven bridesmaids to wear, she let them run the show. Each 'maid chose her own dress in a shade of gold. Alessandra's sisters and matrons of honor stood out in black beaded columns, while the guys all wore black tuxedos and custom gold leaf rose boutonnieres.
Alessandra and Bryant had a traditional Catholic ceremony in one of New York's grandest churches: the newly restored St. Patrick's, a breathtaking Neo-Gothic cathedral in the center of Manhattan. "It was so beautiful and grand, it didn't need any extra decor," Alessandra says. She wore a bouquet of cascading white orchids that included gold leaf detailing. The two filled their ceremony with Filipino traditions, including having candle, cord, and veil sponsors.
As soon as Alessandra and Bryant stepped into the Bowery Hotel, they felt like they were transported into another time. The boutique hotel's dark brick walls, hanging chandeliers, and gilded details made for an extra-decadent ambience, and Alessandra channeled that with equally luxurious decor, with the help of wedding planner Tamra Sanford of Ever Swoon. Alessandra custom-designed all the signage herself, including the menus, escort cards, and table numbers.
"The aesthetic of the Bowery called for something darker and candlelit," Alessandra says. "I wanted a wedding that embodied the old-world feel of the venue, and used a palette that mimicked the gold and brass of the chandeliers." Long tables laden with crystal chandeliers and green-and-white flowers complemented the hotel's gold and black tones beautifully.
For their first dance, Alessandra and Bryant twirled to "City of Blinding Lights" by U2, a nod to their life together in New York.
After a delicious three-course meal catered by Gemma, the restaurant in the Bowery Hotel, guests sampled a three-tier cake with two flavors: one half was chocolate with salted caramel filling, an the other half was vanilla with chocolate caramel filling. Delicious!
After they said "I do," Alessandra and Bryant jetted to Mallorca, then to Mykonos and Santorini, for a twelve-day honeymoon. Now back in New York, they're loving married life and making sure to make the most of every minute of their time in the city they love.
Ceremony site: Saint Patrick's Old Cathedral
Reception site: The Bowery Hotel
Gown: Vera Wang
Hair: Joy La Rosa at Sam Brocato Salon
Makeup: Donna Kim
Veil: Inno Sotto
Rings: Hans Brumann
Groom's tuxedo: Michael Andrews
Paper Goods: designed by bride
Wedding Planner: Tamra Sanford of Ever Swoon
Florist: L'Atelier Rouge
Music (ceremony and reception): DJ Sir Shorty
Cake: Butterfly Bake Shop
Photographer: Liesl Henrichsen of Photo Pink