A Formal Fourth-of-July Wedding in New York City

It was all about the black-and-white glamour at this couple's celebration at the Mandarin Oriental hotel

Updated 04/06/14
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Photo by Lilian Haidar

Rebecca Thaler and Ami Ziff's relationship is a modern New York romance. "We met through friends on a Tuesday night at Marquee Nightclub in 2008," remembers Rebecca. "We spent the whole night talking, and he called me the next day to take me to Mario Batali's Otto for dinner. We've been together ever since!" And the Big City love didn't end there. Ami got down on one knee in June of 2012 in front of the Verrazano Bridge, which Becky's grandfather designed during his career as an engineer. "Ami knows how important my grandfather is to me, and he wanted to include him in the engagement in some way," explains Becky.

This city-loving couple kept their July 4th, 2013, wedding close to home, choosing the Mandarin Oriental as the venue for their elegant, modern celebration.

Photo by Lilian Haidar

The invitation's ornate calligraphy set the scene for the couple's formal celebration. Becky had two wedding bands, exchanging the unadorned band with her husband during their Jewish ceremony.

Photo by Lilian Haidar

Photo by Lilian Haidar

"I found my Monique Lhuillier gown during my first dress shopping appointment," reveals Becky. "I'd made an appointment during one of her trunk shows on Long Island, but assumed I'd have more appointments in the City. But when I put on this dress, I immediately fell in love with the unique beading and the gorgeous silhouette." She paired her gown with silver Christian Louboutin peep-toe sling-backs.

Ami donned a Ralph Lauren Black Label tuxedo and a custom tuxedo shirt from Manolo Costa. His cufflinks were a gift from his father on the day of the wedding.

Photo by Lilian Haidar

Rebecca loves pink, so she had her bridesmaids carry blush pink bouquets, and asked the florist to make a hot pink bouquet for her maid of honor. "I'd planned on carrying my bouquet of white peonies down the aisle, but I fell in love with the hot pink ones and swapped with my maid of honor before the ceremony," she reveals.

Photo by Lilian Haidar

Photo by Lilian Haidar

Photo by Lilian Haidar

The wedding party wore black to contrast with the wedding's white and mirrored décor. They chose between strapless and spaghetti-strap chiffon designs by Amsale. The groomsmen paired their tuxedos with black skinny ties and white pocket squares.

Before the ceremony, the couple joined their wedding party for a photo op in front of Lincoln Center's fountain, then they shared a glass of champagne as they made their way to the Mandarin Oriental for their big moment.

Photo by Lilian Haidar

Becky's four flower girls wore blush pink tutus and hot pink flowers in their hair. "They did a great job," she says of their trip down the aisle.

Photo by Lilian Haidar

Photo by Lilian Haidar

Ami's brother officiated the ceremony, beneath a Lucite chuppah hung with the bride and groom's maternal grandfathers' bar mitzvah prayer shawls. Hundreds of white orchids gave a lush, natural touch to the modern ceremony space.

"We'd struggled to find a rabbi we connected with," says Becky, "until we decided to have Ami's brother do the honors. He has a beautiful voice, and it was so meaningful to have him marry us. It was so personal."

Photo by Lilian Haidar

At the reception, guests were treated to Ami and Becky's signature watermelon cocktail, served with their favorite candy: watermelon gummy bears.

Photo by Lilian Haidar

Photo by Lilian Haidar

Photo by Lilian Haidar

Guests were seated at a combination of long and round tables, dressed with shimmering silver linens and topped with white orchids, roses, and peonies. Lots of candles, mirrored runners, and Lucite chairs amped up the shine even more.

Photo by Lilian Haidar

Photo by Lilian Haidar

The couple opted for food stations instead of a seated meal. "We wanted our guests to be able to eat when they were hungry or just stay on the dance floor!," says Becky. "But we assigned tables so that everyone would have a 'home base.'" The stations were a Taste of Italy, a Taste of Asia (where the couple honeymooned), and a Taste of New York (where they fell in love). Each station had a drink paired with the food options.

Photo by Lilian Haidar

An oversized white sugar peony decorated the front of Ami and Becky's wedding cake. Layers of flavors ranged from red velvet cake with cannoli icing to champagne cake with vanilla bean icing. "I wish we'd gotten to eat more than the bite we had when we cut the cake," says Becky.

Photo by Lilian Haidar

At the end of the evening, to celebrate the Fourth of July, Becky and Ami passed out sparklers and tequila shots around the dance floor. Shortly after the wedding, they headed to Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, and the Maldives for their honeymoon. "It was amazing," says the bride.

Her advice? "Do what you want, and don't ask too many people for their opinions," says Becky. "You'll just get confused!"

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Mandarin Oriental || Day-Of Coordination: Ever Swoon || Bride's Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier, from Wedding Salon of Manhasset || Veil: Wedding Salon of Manhasset || Shoes: Christian Louboutin || Jewelry: Bracelet - Jenny Packham, Studs - London Jewelers || Hair: Steven Rice || Makeup: Natalie Livingston || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Amsale, from The Wedding Library || Groom's Tuxedo: Ralph Lauren Black Label || Wedding Rings: J & J Zaidman || Florist: L'Atelier Rouge || Invitations & Paper Goods: East Six || Music: Jason Fioto of Generation Events || Catering: Mandarin Oriental || Cake: City Sweets & Confections || Rentals: Party Rental Ltd., L&M Sound & Light || Favors: Economy Candy || Videography: Edward Neary of Joseph Edwards || Photography: Lilian Haidar

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