A Vibrant, Garden-Inspired Wedding at The Plaza in New York City

Kira and Lawrence

Photographed by: Fred Marcus StudioLocation: New York City, New York, United States

For 10 years, mutual family friends tried their best to set up Kira Winter and Larry Sadaka. While attending Washington University in St. Louis at the same time, the encouragement from loved ones failed: “For four years we completely ignored this advice, and each other!” Kira laughs. Several years later, their paths crossed again while living in New York, and though Kira and Larry had grown adept at ignoring others’ advice, fate was on their side. “We arrived [at the party] within moments of one another, and with the first exchange of hellos, there was an instant spark, and an immediate feeling of butterflies in my stomach,” confides Kira. 

A couple of years later, the couple discussed becoming engaged and began looking at rings together. However, Larry insisted that the proposal be a surprise. From then on, Kira waited. And waited. “Every time we had plans, I would get dolled up, and prepared to say ‘Yes!,’” she explains. “Night after night, dinner plan after dinner plan, I waited for the big moment, until eventually I gave up hope that it would come.” Weeks passed until one Wednesday. Kira arrived home from work and made a mad dash to freshen up for their dinner plans with Larry’s parents, who were arriving earlier than expected. The couple raced each other to the doorway of the bedroom, and as a confused Kira started to look up at Larry, she saw candlelight and rose petals in the shape of a heart. “I remember gasping, giggling, and clutching his jacket, mentally begging myself not to forget any detail,” she describes. On bended knee, Larry asked her to marry him. “My response was ‘Obviously!’”

Because the bride had recently accepted a new teaching position in Los Angeles, it was imperative that the nuptials occur within the next several months. With the guidance of a talented wedding planner, Kira and her mother began making plans for a spring celebration in the heart of Manhattan. Of special importance was that each vendor held a sparkling reputation. “We paid very careful attention when researching and did not consider any that fell below a certain expectation of service,” the bride explains. 

The evening ceremony was a floral fantasy. Magnificent arches of flowers and foliage decorated the aisleway, while romantic golden uplighting further evoked a feeling of a dreamy ambience. Larry’s parents escorted him to the stunning chuppah decorated with hundreds of roses, hydrangeas, and peonies in shades of peach, pink, and vanilla. Kira had also arranged for her grandparents’ scarves to be woven into the arbor as a way to “have their memory present.” The bride was a vision of classic beauty, dressed in a strapless lace gown and holding a colorful bunch of lush peonies. Her haired was pulled onto one side and secured with a floral hair comb. During the service, traditional Jewish customs were carried out using Larry’s family heirlooms, such as his father’s Kiddush cup and his grandfather’s tallit.  

For the reception, the grandeur continued, with towering floral centerpieces showcasing blooms in a soft summer palette. “I was in love with the idea of incorporating cherry blossoms,” the bride explains, “because they are soft and feminine, but also untamed with their branches.” The space looked like a royal garden with shimmering gilt details and luxurious fabrics gracing tables, as well as doorways. To add to the enchanted atmosphere, large flower arrangements covered alternate wall panels of the ballroom. 

The couple’s first dance was to Mat Kearney’s “New York to California,” which represented their journey. “It was so nice to start the reception in each other’s arms,” remembers the bride. Loved ones noshed on the couple’s favorite foods, including: Peking duck, sushi selections, a variety of seafood, choices of Mediterranean fare, and scrumptious chicken Parmesan sliders. The signature cocktail, containing vodka, Aperol, and Champagne, was appropriately titled “Santa Monica Sunset” as a nod to their new home. The five-tiered confection was cut and offered to guests before they began their full-on dance party. “Our wedding cake was beautiful and delicious!” confirms Kira of their vanilla and chocolate masterpiece with cookies and cream filling.

Until 3AM, guests were on the dance floor. “Our band was phenomenal!” says Kira, who was happy that the reception and after-party reflected the happy and fun-loving couple she and Larry are. Most important to the newlyweds was that their family and friends knew how special they are, so Kira and Larry toasted to all who made the night so special. “I hope it was evident what a joy it was to share the occasion with all of them,” the groom confides. “Despite the large number of [attendees, the event] still felt intimate and special.” Ultimately, Kira’s fairy tale had come to fruition: “Love was tangible in every moment of the evening, and I think that was the most unique feature of all,” she affirms.