After college, Samantha Gentile and Peter Rotchford ran in the same circles. (Two mutual friends had gone to Georgetown together, and their friend groups combined once they were all working in New York City.) Yet, for 17 months, they missed each other. "Pete spent New Year's Eve with some of my friends when I was on a trip with another group, and he even ended up in the background of one of my photos from our friends' joint birthday party," Samantha recalls. The two finally met while out in the West Village in October 2011. "He initially mentioned that he 'recognized' me from Facebook, which made me laugh," she says. They started dating—and in six-plus years, have since matched two separate sets of friends, who are both now engaged. "Needless to say, our matchmaking hit ratio is second to none," says the bride, laughing.
When it came time for their wedding, the pair of matchmakers was just as intentional about designing their own dream day. "We knew we wanted an intimate, downtown wedding with an old New York feel and Southern Italian influences," explains the bride. They found that in Cave du Vin on Lafayette Street, a space that Samantha describes as both cozy and elegant. The dinner locale was also perfect thanks to its proximity to St. Patrick's Old Cathedral (the predecessor to St. Patrick's Cathedral on 5th Avenue). "We also knew that, regardless of the weather, we wanted a wedding march, reminiscent of the ones we had observed in Southern Italy," she says. "And not only was the church walking distance to Lafayette, but it was the second Roman Catholic Church in all of New York City, completed in 1815, which really appealed to our love for old New York." The couple decided to let the two venues (and city!) shine by sticking to minimal details and a neutral palette. Keep reading to see how everything came together, thanks to the help of the bride's dear friend, Excel. (Ha!) And Leila Brewster on the camera, of course.
For her bridal beauty, Samantha wanted a "traditional, chic look that wasn’t too ornate, but still said, 'Bride.' ” That translated to a clean, low bun (with a modern twist) that perfectly coordinated with her Dolce & Gabbana earrings and off-the-shoulder neckline.
The bride always thought she'd wear Marchesa on her big day. Her dream dress, a cream silk faille ball gown, featured an off-the-shoulder neckline (a customization by the bride) and statement monarch train. "That, coupled with my veil, made me feel like a real-life princess walking down the aisle," she says.
Samantha was set on Manolo Blahnik for her bridal shoes. "I love Sex and the City and Manolo Blahnik, so I knew I needed the Hangisi style, but I didn't want blue," she says. "Luckily, they came out with the fun metallic version just in time for my wedding."
For flowers, the bride wanted something that was elegant, but also looked like it could have been handpicked moments before. (Hello, Meghan Markle vibes!) This translated to a loose, deconstructed bouquet of green thistle, olive leaves, eucalyptus, cream garden roses, vendela roses, white blushing bride protea, and white lisianthus.
The groom wore a classic tux purchased from the J.Crew men's shop down the street. Adds Samantha, "Pete’s not the biggest fan of shopping, and he had purchased this tux a year prior, which fits perfectly, so he opted to wear it on our big day."
Samantha let her bridal party select their own gowns. Her only guidance? Channel Charlotte Goldenblatt at Carrie and Big's first wedding!
The in-house organist played all of the ceremony music on the organ, which was completed in 1868. "The sound was truly magical," says the bride. The couple exchanged traditional vows: "I'm a bit of a traditionalist," Samantha says.
Following the ceremony, the couple walked alongside their wedding party through the streets of Manhattan. "Our wedding march was really special to me, as this was a big part of the vision for our wedding," says the bride. "We had all of our closest family and friends around us, we had just been married and all of the bystanders on the street smiled and shouted well-wishes as we passed. It will always be one of my favorite New York memories, and it was inspired by our other love, Southern Italy."
For the reception, the couple set about creating an intimate affair that felt like a fun party with their closest family and friends. Their decor—white florals on butcher-paper covered tabletops—embodied this low-key nature as well.
In fact, Samantha and Peter used all the decor (minus the florals, of course) that the restaurant already uses. The blue touches on the napkins and place cards coordinated with their invitation suite and seat cushions.
The dinner menu featured halibut à la Grenobloise and dry-aged steak alongside pommes frites (a nod to the restaurant's French fare and the bride's guilty pleasure snack!).
The couple selected "At Last" by Etta James for their first dance but they made sure dancing wasn't just about them. "My amazing parents were celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary shortly after our wedding, so I wanted to make sure that we gave them a special shout out on our big day," she says. "I had our band play their wedding song, 'Truly' by Lionel Ritchie, and we all shared a special dance all together!"
Ceremony Venue: St. Patrick's Old Cathedral || Reception Venue & Catering: Cave du Vin at Lafayette Grand Cafe & Bakery || Bride's Dress: Marchesa || Bride's Veil: Peter Langner || Bride's Shoes: Manolo Blahnik || Bride's Earrings: Dolce & Gabbana || Bride's Dancing Dress: Rachel Zoe || Groom's Attire: J. Crew || Hair & Makeup: Brushed with Honey Beauty || Wedding Bands: Cartier || Floral Design: City Blossoms || Invitations & Paper Products: The AV Design Factory || Reception Music: 45 Riots || Cake: Magnolia Bakery || Videography: Mesh Films || Photography: Leila Brewster