Anna & Michael: An Elegant, Tropical Celebration at Catch Steak NYC
When Anna and Michael met at the end of 2020 during the pandemic, dating was anything but casual. “Life still wasn’t back to ‘normal,’” Anna remembers. “Because many places to socialize weren’t open, we immediately spent a lot of time together.” The situation was to Michael’s favor because he was on a waiting list to get a new puppy (It was Michael’s profile photo with his parents’ puppy that initially caught Anna’s attention). “I was really excited when it finally arrived,” she says. “Michael goes to work very early every day. I was working remotely so he asked me to stay over for a week to help.” Raising a puppy in New York City isn’t easy. “My patience was definitely tested. I threatened to go back home a couple of times,” she jokingly says. “That first week turned into me pretty much moving in and we have been inseparable ever since.”
Anna and Michael got engaged in March 2022 while on vacation in Miami. “He told me were going to meet his younger sister for a drink in their hotel room before dinner,” Anna says. Unbeknownst to her, Michael had reserved a suite at the W hotel. “He proposed to me on the balcony as the sun was setting over the ocean,” she remembers. “I was completely taken by surprise.” Michael’s elaborate scheming wasn’t done just yet – he had arranged for Anna’s parents, her cousin and husband (who flew in from New York) along with his sister and husband (who flew in from San Diego), grandparents, and parents (who were already in Florida) to be at Cipriani to celebrate. “I thought it was going to be just the two of us,” Anna says. “The look on my face of sheer joy upon seeing our families at the restaurant was priceless.”
From day one of planning, the couple envisioned their wedding to be a laid-back party but elevated for the once-in-a-lifetime occasion. “Catch Steak NYC had everything we were looking for in a venue. The space is intimate with a cool New York City vibe. We also liked that it could accommodate the ceremony, reception, and after party all in one location,” Anna says.
With the venue secured, Anna could start thinking about what to wear. “I was set on Monique Lhuillier from the start and fell in love with one of her dresses after seeing it on Instagram,” she says. COVID was impacting every aspect of the wedding industry including fashion. During her appointment at the designer’s Manhattan boutique, Anna was warned that the fabric needed for the dress may not be available in time for her wedding. “They actually told me not try on the store sample, because they didn’t want me to get my hopes up. Thankfully, they pulled through because as soon as I saw it, I knew I was going to wear that dress no matter what,” Anna says. Her breathtaking choice featured a fitted bodice with a dropped waist that gave way to a full skirt. Exquisite floral lace covered the entire gown beginning with a high neckline and long sleeves running down through an extended train, bringing a sense of delicate romance to the classic design. “I loved that the lace top was detachable, giving me a second look for the reception,” she notes. Beauty, jewelry, and accessories were effortless yet refined – the bride wore her hair down in loose waves styled by Ryan Austin of IGK salon, a natural makeup look by Stephanie Perez, sparkling statement earrings (her ‘something blue’ and ‘something borrowed’ from Michael’s mother), and Jimmy Choo shoes. She carried a bouquet composed of garden and spray roses, ranunculuses, lisianthus, and sweet peas in various shades of white. Michael stepped into his role as groom, dressing up in a custom dark blue and black trimmed tuxedo with diamond studded cufflinks (a gift from his grandfather), a white ranunculus boutonniere, and Saint Laurent shoes.
Anna and Michael married on an unseasonably warm 70-degree day in early November 2022. Florals and décor were used to distinguish and set the tone for each part of the wedding as the event went along. “My mother-in-law was integral to the planning and design of our flowers,” Anna says. “I told her what I wanted and she along with our planner (LaBella Planners) worked with Bride & Blossom. The end result was perfect.” The couple exchanged vows in a Jewish ceremony under a Lucite chuppah adorned with cascading strands of white roses and an overhead arrangement of Phalaenopsis orchids, hydrangeas, roses, and lisianthus complemented by touches of Israeli and Italian ruscus. The modern and sophisticated decorative style carried over to the chiffon draping backdrop, ‘ghost chair’ seating for guests, and candle lit aisle way.
“Michael and I originally wanted to have a destination wedding, but knew logistically, it would be near impossible to pull off in the eight months we had to plan,” Anna points out. “Instead, we decided to have a lush island oasis be the theme of our reception.” After enjoying celebratory cocktails, guests headed to dinner where they were welcomed by a tropical paradise from floor to ceiling. Banquet tables were topped with taper candles and votives, which illuminated the vibrant arrangements of mokara and dendrobrium orchids, delphiniums, roses, and stock with jungle greenery hanging from above. Punctuating the head table was a ‘floating’ centerpiece composed of silver harlow stands topped with jewel toned blossoms and verdant greenery that included monstera and banana leaves (the bride’s favorite). Completing the dynamic layout, long tables were decorated with an elegant row of mix and match bud vases.
As everyone dined on delicious cuisine cooked and served straight from Catch’s kitchen just steps away, the ceremony space was being flipped over to host the ultimate newlywed celebration complete with crystal chandeliers, disco balls, and suspended blooms. “We wanted the feel of a beach party with a DJ, non-stop music, drinks, and dancing with everyone having a blast,” Anna says. To let loose in comfort, she changed into a second number, a shimmering cocktail dress by Alice + Olivia.
The couple incorporated personal touches throughout their wedding that reflected their fun-loving personality. “I wanted our dog, Kobe, to walk down the aisle. Michael was totally against the idea – Kobe can be a handful,” she says with a laugh. “To honor Kobe, we named our signature cocktail after him. And my best friend, Victoria, who lives in California and couldn’t come to our wedding because she just had a baby, designed adorable bar signage with Kobe’s portrait.” Epic weddings often lead to epic hangovers. “Michael owns Long Island Bagel Café. We had a wall of bagels with gift bags for our guests to fill up and have for the morning after.”
In a day filled with endless special moments, we asked Anna if she remembers any with fondness. “Seeing Michael for the first time in my wedding dress is a moment I will never forget.” She continues, “While taking photos outside of our hotel, we came across outdoor games set up on the street. Michael and I are very competitive and love cornhole. We had so much fun stopping to take a few shots of us playing in our wedding attire.” Any air of their wedding being cookie-cutter, stiff, and overly formal evaporated during the ceremony. “All of Michael’s friends gave him pointers on how to step on the glass. He must have gotten so worked up trying to figure out his technique because it took him three attempts to break it. He took a bow and had everyone laughing – it set the mood for the rest of the night.” She finishes, “The speeches given by Michael’s sisters and our parents were so heartfelt and really moved us.”
Congratulations, Anna and Michael! Thank you for sharing your Real BB Wedding Story with us!
Couple’s Vendor List
Venue: Catch Steak NYC
Photographer: Zäni and Duwayne Photography
Planner: LaBella Planners
Bride’s Dress: Monique Lhuillier (ceremony) Olivia + Alice (after party)
Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo
Groom’s Shoes: Saint Laurent
Hair: Ryan Austin from IGK Salon
Makeup: Stephanie Perez
Stationery: Proper Notice
Cake: Lulu Cake Boutique
Music: DJ Jason Fioto from Generation Events
Lighting: Ambient Events
Linens: The Finishing Touch NYC
Favors: Long Island Bagel Café