The scene in Capitale’s Grand Ballroom looked like a luxurious party from the Gilded Age of New York. But the excited mood was very of the moment and the event about to unfold was all about celebrating a modern day love. Here, our featured bride Claire shares the final chapter of her Real BB wedding story.
Part 4: Reception, Décor, and Special Moments
After taking their seats, guests waited for the newlyweds to make their party arrival through the venue’s downstairs doors. But Claire and James had bigger plans. She recalls, “No one expected us to make an entrance from the balcony catwalk! It was perfect. ‘Signed Sealed Delivered’ by Stevie Wonder played as we walked down the spiral staircase and met all of our family and wedding party on the dance floor. We all immediately started dancing!” And with that, the tone was set for the rest of the night.
Décor was simple and elegant with a touch of drama. Tables were adorned with an array of centerpieces in white, deep red, and burgundy. One style featured tall arrangements of Phalaenopsis orchids, hydrangeas, and slightly angled roses set in sleek cylinder vases illuminated by candles. The second style displayed low cluster arrangements of roses, cymbidium orchids, and hydrangeas complemented by floating candles. The tablescape was marked by a surprising decorative element – ostrich feathers. “That was all me. Everyone was a little unsure about the idea,” Claire says with a laugh. “But growing up, we split our out time living on a farm and near the ocean. I loved the simple look of the feathers, and that they reminded me of my childhood.” The striking combination of sophisticated florals, plume accents, and Art Deco inspired table numbers and menus evoked a unique style that put a modern spin on vintage glam.
In a night filled with one amazing moment after another, there were a few that Claire holds especially dear. She remembers, “Right after we said ‘I do,” James and I were able to spend an hour, just the two of us, and reflect on what we had actually just done. We went straight from the aisle to a private room upstairs where appetizers and champagne were brought to us. And for the first time we were alone as husband and wife.” They were sure to take full advantage of their private escape. “After eating, James and I stood on the catwalk and watched as the band rehearsed, so technically that was our first dance! It was fun to look down as our guests filtered in for cocktail hour – they had no idea we up there watching them.”
Claire also looked forward to the speeches, especially her Dad’s. “I think he was a little nervous, but he had no reason to be. It was perfect. He spoke about how ‘Sweet Child O’Mine’ had become our song over the years – each time one of us hears it, we text the other. And when he finished, we stepped right into the father-daughter dance to that song. We were both crying. I think everyone was crying!”
Ultimately, Claire and James wanted to be able to look back and know that their wedding day was love filled, from start to finish. That meant gathering their family and friends together to enjoy great food and music. It also meant passing over usual customs of tossing the bouquet, garter, and wedding cake for a tradition that held more meaning. Claire says, “Instead, we popped a bottle of champagne to signal the start of the dancing and shenanigans. Now, some background: years ago at one of my first New Year’s celebrations with James’ family, his dad popped a bottle of champagne using a saber, and since then it has become a tradition for most parties. Our wedding was not going to be an exception!” James’ best man had gifted them an engraved champagne saber to mark the occasion. After the “champagne ceremony,” the band played “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love”, from the Blues Brothers (the couple’s favorite movie). Claire says, “James and I got everyone on the dance floor with us once again, and the party really took off from there!”
The night ended with everyone gathering on Capitale’s front steps with raised sparklers in hand to cheer the newlyweds on as they made their grand exit. They dashed into their vintage taxi getaway car and took off into the night. Claire adds, “Only to return a short while later for the after party!” And all festivities were captured on video below!
From the very beginning, Claire and James knew their wedding was going to be a genuine expression of their love for each other, their family and friends, and the city they call home. And in order to tell their real love story at Capitale, tradition was going to have to wait at the door. Claire reminisces, “I could not stop smiling the entire night, and I remember every moment and every detail – It was the most amazing experience of my life.”
Congratulations, Claire & James! Thank you for sharing your wedding story with us!
Photographer: Susan Shek Photography
Video: KLassey Productions
Bride’s Dress: Pnina Tornai
Bride’s Veil: Justine M Couture
Bride’s Shoes: Christian Louboutin
Groom’s Tux: Brooks Brothers
Groom’s Shoes: Allen Edmonds
Hair & Makeup: Beautini
Favors: Gracious Bridal + StuffforEverything
Music: Jenna Wynne Band (Hank Lane Music)
Vintage Taxi: NY Film Cars