Christina & Ben: A New York City Fairytale At The University Club
Many of us can attest that our first impressions of romance came from the fantastical animated films by Disney. But very few can say that Disney played a direct role in finding their true love. Christina and Ben both have acting backgrounds and met while working as performers for Disney Cruise Lines. Getting into character day in, day out in such close quarters, close bonds with colleagues inevitably form. Christina looks back at that exciting time when their relationship was transitioning from a working friendship to something more and fondly says, “I guess you can truly say, ‘it all started with a mouse.’”
We are delighted to introduce Christina, our BB Featured Bride for September. She and Ben married on a charmed day last spring. Here, she shares the first chapter in their Real BB Wedding story.
Part 1: Proposal & Planning
Recounting when she first realized that Ben was going to be someone special in her life, Christina says, “I was sick, and Ben went out on the ship to find soup. He ended up taking care of me the entire night. It was then that I saw him as not just someone I was dating, but as the person who was going to care for and support me.” She continues, “Disney brings a lot of like-minded professionals together – they care about families and creating beautiful memories. This mutual love of creating special moments for others brought us close.”
After making landfall, the couple eventually settled in New York City. One Saturday morning when Christina’s parents were visiting for the weekend, she woke up feeling drained and not in the mood to do anything. Her mom called and insisted she come over for brunch. “I told her I didn’t feel like getting dressed up. She said not to worry, I should just come over because there was a dress waiting for me. It sounds crazy, I know. But my mom is my best friend and very generous in this way, so I didn’t think anything of it.” Christina arrived at the hotel and was served avocado toast and coffee. After breakfast, her dad mentioned his shoes needed mending and the only place that could do it was Saks Fifth Avenue. At Saks, her mom suggested they head to the beauty counter so Christina could get her makeup done and try out a new eyeshadow she had been interested in. At this point,” Christina says, “I am still thinking this is just a fun day with my parents.”
Later in the afternoon, her mom received a call from Christina’s best friend who was pretending to be her dad. The bride remembers, “Jill, who was also my maid of honor, shows up and says, ‘I am here to kidnap you.’” The day of pampering continues with stops at a dry bar and nail salon. Just as they finished, Ben appeared to take Christina for a walk in Central Park.
A romantic stroll and conversation built up to Ben turning to her and proclaiming, “And I love you more than I love pizza.” Christina responded jokingly, “Well, not more than Buffalo chicken pizza.” “Of course not,” he teasingly replied. They made their way to Shakespeare Garden where Ben got down on one knee and asked Christina to marry him. The bride reminisces, “Of course I said ‘yes.’ But honestly, I blacked out.” A hidden photographer captured the entire moment. The surprises weren’t over just yet. After a proposal photo session, the couple headed to Langhorne Hotel where they met Christina’s parents along with Ben’s mom, who had just flown in from England, for a congratulatory party.
When it came time to look for venues, the couple knew they wanted to celebrate in a space that felt grand, yet warm and inviting. Christina remembers, “We looked at so many places that were big, but also felt cavernous and cold with a ‘hall-like’ atmosphere.” The couple started planning before Covid and had a guest list of 300 plus. As the situation grew more serious, they looked for ways to make modifications that wouldn’t compromise their original vision. “There were moments when we thought that we would have to cancel our wedding entirely. Carla at Bride & Blossom was an absolute rockstar during this time and a joy to work with. She was on the phone every day calling up venues to help us find a location.” An appointment was made for the couple to walk through The University Club of New York. “We were immediately taken by the beautifully ornate decorative details,” Christina recalls. “Despite being regal and stately, it still felt intimate and welcoming.” Established in 1899, the University Club is a landmark exemplifying Renaissance Revival architecture. The interior opens to soaring vaulted ceilings painted with frescoes, arched hallways, marble columns, and a ballroom. You must be a member or be sponsored by a member to be married there. “My father’s friend belongs to the Club, and he was gracious enough to sponsor us,” Christina says.
Painting a picture of their big day, the couple drew inspiration from how they met at Disney, specifically Beauty and the Beast. “We wanted our wedding to be a sophisticated take on our favorite fairytale. We loved the grand library – it was the perfect backdrop for photos.” For floral decor, the bride chose an elegant and romantic look captured in a palette of white and green with subtle notes of pale blue.
Stay tuned for next week when Christina shares all the details about her stunning Eve of Milady ballgown.
Couple’s Vendor List
Venue: University Club of New York (reception) + Church Of Our Savior (ceremony)
Photographer: Nela Kekic for Christian Oth Studio
Bride’s Dress: Eve of Milady from Bridal Reflections
Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo
Bride’s Veil: Galia Lahav
Groom’s Tux: The Black Tux
Bridesmaids’ Dress: BCBG
Invitations: Til Dawn Dear
Music: Naked Twister
Favors: Olde English Crackers
Escort Car: 1956 Rolls Royce Phantom from Royal Luxury