Tell us your love story!
We met at a bar in the West Village, The Duplex. We were both friends with a group of people who have been meeting every Friday night for the past 20 years. They are the most wonderful diverse pack of New Yorkers. We had known them independently for years without running into each other. Until finally we both showed up the same Friday. Marisa walked up to me and asked: “Who are you? And how do you know MY friends?” I was slightly intoxicated, and a bit intimidated but somehow I managed to play it cool enough for her to call me the next day.
What about the proposal?
I am not big on making a theater out of romance, so there was no big rehearsed plan. I had gotten a simple ring and we were about to leave for Europe to spend time in Paris and in the South of France, so I figured I would find an opportunity at some point in those gorgeous settings to pop the question. A week before we left, on a quiet Sunday morning at home, I realized that it was actually the perfect moment. It was quiet and simple; it was home. So I clumsily asked her to marry me over pancakes. The rest of the day was spent drinking champagne with friends in various neighborhoods of the city. It was a good day.
When did you know that you were meant to be with each other?
I don’t think it can be pinpointed to a single moment. I probably fell in love with her the moment I heard her laugh – but I don’t believe in the idea of “being meant to be with someone”. It relies on the idea of fate, and fate has little to do with marriage. Life is messy, and love can be fickle, it takes conscious effort to navigate a lifetime together. You get married because you are ready to promise you will never stop trying. Over the years, through every small and big moment we shared, it became evident to me she was the person I will always fight for.
Going into the wedding planning, what did you definitely know?
I am French and Marisa is Austrian-American so we both have family and friends living all over the world. We were originally split between a beach wedding with 15 people and a big bash with everyone. Ultimately we decided that having all of our friends and family in one room together was special – and this was probably our only opportunity for that, so we settled on a medium sized wedding in New York City where we live. We also knew we wanted really good food and cocktails but no formal sit down dinner where a friend would be stuck next to great Aunt Bertha all night. We wanted it to be a fun party for everyone, not just for ourselves.
What surprised you during planning? What was easy, what was difficult?
How early you need to plan these things! It was crazy – we started planning in November for an August wedding thinking we had plenty of time and most of the venues we liked were booked out two years in advance. We wanted something really different and intimate. We found 632 on Hudson after a long search for alternative venues. It felt like home (a really nice one!) – which is what we would have done had we owned a brownstone in Brooklyn. It is a double-wide townhouse in the West Village decorated entirely by the owners collection of furniture, art and objects from her travels all over the world. There is an art-deco bar, a Chinese room with a huge antique Chinese bed (where the Rolling Stones were photographed!), a roof deck with seating areas and views of water towers and an impeccable 1920’s speakeasy in the basement that feels right out of Boardwalk Empire. Marisa has Celiac Disease so we were worried about finding a good caterer that could accommodate an entirely gluten-free wedding. We reached out to every vendor on the approved list and only one responded with an emphatic yes. Thankfully Marcey Brownstein ended up being exactly what we wanted – fantastic, casual food that felt like we were hosting at home. They created overflowing boards of cheese and charcuterie, grilled flank steak with summer salads featuring veggies grown on their upstate farm and even made Marisa gluten-free ice cream cones.
Any advice for couples planning weddings now? Anything you would have done differently or anything you’d like to add?
Find solid vendors who have a good attitude and understand who you are and what you need. We ended up becoming good friends with both our photographer, Carole Cohen and our caterer/event coordinator Leslie Russell at Marcey Brownstein, which goes to show we worked with people who were on the same wavelength as us.
What was your favorite part of your wedding day?
It was probably the ceremony. We had my business partner and dear friend Jeff officiate and he wrote the most touching words. We walked down the aisle to Louis Armstrong’s intro to “La Vie en Rose” (a nod to our French/American roots). Another favorite moment was during the after-hours which we held in the basement speakeasy at 632 on Hudson. We had our friend from Paris on the piano playing ragtime and a cousin playing Debussy. Everyone was beaming, drinking and eating leftover pizza. It was incredibly intimate and gorgeous. Can you tell we loved our wedding day?