As guests gathered in the grand ballroom for Claire and James’ ceremony, they were greeted by a magnificent atmosphere that signaled this was going to be an incredible evening. A dramatic play of light and shadow filtered through the room marked by a soaring ornate coved ceiling and Corinthian columns. While impressive in size and spectacle, Capitale still offered a sense of intimacy and warmth that the couple envisioned for their wedding.
Part 3: Ceremony
“We knew we wanted everything to be classic, elegant, and romantic,” Claire recalls. When it came to ceremony décor, the bride kept it very simple and understated, choosing elements that would enhance the venue’s brilliant interior. The aisle was composed of a white runner accented with clusters of pillar candles set in stylish cylinder vases. The candlelit walkway led to a gilded wall topped with a Tiffany clock dated to 1895. The elegant backdrop encapsulated the old New York feel that so charmed the couple when they first saw the venue.
Claire looks back, “We were surrounded by all of our friends and family. And our wedding party was especially important to us.” Her bridesmaids were a mix of childhood best friends along with the women she had formed special bonds with as an adult. “I didn’t have a maid of honor, because my girls mean so much to me and have seen me through various stages of my life. There is so much love and history between all of us and I wanted them all to share that.” James was also supported by his closest friends along with his brother-in-law and Claire’s brother.
The family affair continued with their flower girl and ushers who were James’ cousins and Claire’s friend (who she considers like a brother). She says with a laugh, “And a special shout-out to our teeny-tiny ring bearer, Jackson. He was only three months old and completely stole the show. And he somehow managed to sleep through/be silent the entire evening!”
The couple’s untraditional approach to saying “I do” was sensed the moment the ceremony began. Taking to the aisle first, James walked his and Claire’s mothers to their seats. “It meant so much to my mom especially, because she knew before anyone, including us, that we would end up together.” Looking absolutely stunning in her Pnina Tornai dress, Claire was escorted by her father to an acoustic version of “Soul Sister” by Train. “My mom has always said that the song reminds her of me and James.”
Without personality and sentiment, even most the luxurious weddings are nothing more than a stage of glitter and shine. Once the bride met her groom, it was clear that everything about this wedding was genuine and from the heart. “Joe, one of our best friends as well as groomsmen, was our officiant. James and I wanted to be married by someone we love and whom we know loves us. Joe was the first to come to mind (plus, he’s an orthopedic surgeon, so we knew he could handle the pressure!). He did a fantastic job – the perfect mix of humor and sentiment. He made everyone laugh and tear up (especially me, and even James!). We didn’t even proofread what he wanted to say beforehand, we trust him that much,” Claire said.
After exchanging vows, Claire and James shared their first kiss as an excited crowd looked on. The newlyweds made their recessional walk to an acoustic version of “Jessica” by the Allman Brothers. “Or as we call it in my family, “Moving Song,” Claire says. “We moved quite a bit when my brother and I were growing up, and we ALWAYS heard the song each time we made the trip from one house to the other. Very cosmic…” She looks back, “Again, very untraditional. No “Here Comes the Bride” for us!”
And by bucking tradition, Claire and James made this day feel real and a true reflection of their love for not only each other, but their family and friends.
Look forward to next week when Claire shares the final chapter in her Bride & Blossom wedding story!
Couple’s Vendor List
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