The Plaza Hotel Saved Our Wedding
The Plaza Hotel is arguably the most iconic venue in New York City. It has held celebrities, presidents and royalty. People dream about getting married there, Kate Hudson even battled Anne Hathaway on screen for a coveted spot. My husband and I never dreamt of a Plaza wedding because we never thought it would be in reach. But we got married there.
Our relationship has been so much easier than planning our wedding turned out to be. We met casually through a mutual friend. Things escalated naturally and with ease. We’ve rarely spent time apart since meeting; there was a familiarity that occurred from the first day and ultimately brought us to the point of getting married.
For years, we talked about our dream of getting married at The Diamond Horseshoe, a newly resurrected avant garde Art Deco ballroom literally underneath the heart of Times Square. It has incredible details you’ve never seen before: rooms covered in wax, wallpaper made from actual butterfly wings, taxidermy leopards and a chandelier that looks plucked from The Phantom of the Opera is crashed into the bottom of a grand staircase. We were the second wedding they had ever booked. We had secured our band, chosen flowers, sent out save-the-dates, set up our cake tasting, and were on track. Seven months before our wedding date, my husband Nick got a nightmare phone call from the hospitality group managing the space telling us they'd been shut down and were cancelling all events.
We immediately left work and began calling nearly 90 venues - theaters, warehouses, lofts, you name it. We must have called every venue in New York. 7 months out, nearly 75% were booked. Every venue on our maybe list was gone, and we knew we weren't going to come anywhere near what we had budgeted. The first venue we visited, though beautiful, resulted in tears, mostly a reaction to what we had just lost.
On a whim, Nick contacted The Plaza. He explained our situation and honestly didn’t expect a response. They quickly responded, understanding our panic. Their events director got on the phone with Nick with a proposition. The Plaza’s wedding schedule was full for the spring. Most Plaza wedding receptions are held in the Grand Ballroom, but she explained that for our wedding date she had one available ballroom. The Grand Ballroom was reserved for a charity event, but the The Terrace Room was available. The Plaza was less familiar with throwing a reception in that room, but we were a happy to give it a test run! We met with her the following day and made the decision almost immediately.
As soon as the wedding venue was secured we had to start over. The style of everything went from quirky to much more traditional. Of course, there were still hiccups along the way, including needing to relocate our ceremony space. And the day before the wedding the entire hotel went on strike, causing us to relocate all of our guests. Even with the bumps in the road, our wedding day was beyond anything we could have imagined.
While we wanted a decadent black tie affair, it was important to us that it also felt like an intimate occasion. We had been very hands-on, and probably not the traditional Plaza couple. I (Robert) am a Creative Director for a Broadway as agency, so I had designed every detail and Nick helped in the assembly and logistics of everything. We called in every favor we could.
Everything had to be branded in our color palette and designed logo. Our engagement photo set the tone, we wanted them to be unique - classic, but fun. Broadway photographer Murphy Made took the photos. They were seen on our website, invites, envelope liners, and on mounted boards in our cocktail hour space.
The most memorable details were at each place setting. Each place card has an individualized note stating why each guest was important to us and listed a favorite memory with them. We wanted to make sure each guest felt welcomed and important to us, we had an overwhelming amount of feedback on that specific detail. I designed enamel pins that had illustrations of Nick and I on them. It was really fun seeing all the pins across the dance floor.
Our centerpieces were comprised of hand selected and re-purposed individual antique lamps as centerpiece vases, antique crystal dishes, antique mirrors and candelabras. Each table had a book prompting guests to leave us a memory on the corresponding anniversary.
In the foyer off the ballroom we sourced a neon sign with our hashtag. We printed the seat assignments on vinyl and adhered them to a massive gilded mirror that Nick was gifted. We also created two photo ops for our guests. We hired Murphy Made to capture posed portraits of our guests, which we sent to them after the wedding. We also had a simpler traditional DIY Photo Booth with props we designed to allow guests to share photos that evening. Our guests left with favors of hand glittered champagne bottles and chocolate truffles from Brooklyn.
THE WEDDING DAY:
Since the Plaza was one strike we were graciously rebooked at the Leona Helmsley sweet at the Park Lane hotel. Our day started with photos in Central Park at 6AM. The park was empty. In a day so heavily over scheduled it was great having a quiet moment with my husband to be where we could take our time and enjoy each other's company before the day got into gear.
The ceremony was intimate and light. Nick’s uncle Ken officiated. A band comprised of friends and family served as the entertainment for a pre-show as guests entered and provided live music during the ceremony. Our reading was “Blessing of the Hands” by Daniel L. Harris. We created a mold of our hands during the reading which is now displayed in our home. Nick hated the idea, but we laughed and cried through it, and it serves a wonderful memento.
During the reception the guests rarely left the dance floor. We had choreographed dances with our mothers that brought the house down. During dinner we did a photo race where we went to each table during one song to ensure that we got a photo with all of our guests. After dinner, Nick and I changed into custom sequin tuxedos created by Any Old Iron.
Our wedding was nothing like we could have pictured at the start of planning, but all of the challenges along the way only brought us closer together and made the day that much more special to us. - Robert
Photography: Jimmy Chu Photography
Flowers: The Room in Bloom
Videography: Visualize Media
Posed Portraits: Evan Zimmerman
Engagement Photos: Murphy Made
Band: The Broadway Project
Lighting/Sound: Bentley Meeker
Sequin Tuxedos: Any Old Iron
Printing: Cherry Lane
Print & Pin Design: Robert Postotnik (Instagram @rpo_ny)