For a couple as beloved as Susan Bruzenas and Adam Harrington, one wedding just wouldn’t do. While an elegant New York City affair provided the backdrop for a traditional celebration with family and friends, an incredible second wedding in Bhutan was a gift that allowed Susan and Adam to explore their commitment to one another in a very different and personal way.
Enjoying a life that juxtaposes the glamour and glitz of New York with a love for nature, Susan and Adam found a location for their first wedding that reflected both: Bryant Park Grill rooftop in Manhattan’s Midtown. A cosmopolitan setting surrounded by the park’s coveted greenery, the Grill was a beautiful setting for their November affair. It was a chilly time of year that, for the loving couple, evoked nothing but warmth. “We chose this date at the beginning of the holiday season to represent how much we love the holidays and spending them with family and friends,” remembers Susan.
Surrounded by 130 of these friends, the bride embraced her independence by walking herself down the aisle. Adam waited for her inside the ceremony tent that was adorned only by sheer white draping and crystal chandeliers. They said “I do” during a spiritual (but nondenominational) ceremony; a friend read a personal passage, and the bride and groom lit a unity candle to honor their union. Just before exiting as husband and wife, the entire audience closed the proceedings by reciting a group blessing.
The reception took on the appropriate feel of a Manhattan supper club, with intimate tables set against banquettes that were illuminated from behind. Sprays of white orchids were gathered in tall glass vases that were filled with glass marbles to reflect the candlelight around the otherwise dark interior. A seasonal dinner that began with a roasted pear salad was topped off by a vegan wedding cake—a three-layer, dark chocolate creation topped with contrasting fresh white orchids.
Rather than sit and eat, the couple took to the dance floor for a seemingly nonstop night of celebration. Adding to the overwhelming feeling of joy was the happiness Susan was able to share with her sister, the matron of honor. Her sister was battling cancer and the time they spent together “as two strong women dancing was amazing,” says Susan.
Even after saying their last goodbye that night, Susan and Adam still had a whole new adventure ahead of them. Five days later, the newlyweds flew to the Kingdom of Bhutan, a country to which Adam feels deeply connected, to spend time with their dear friend, a Buddhist Lama. The timing of their trip coincided with the birthday celebration of Bhutan’s king and the local townspeople insisted on throwing a 200-person wedding celebration for Susan and Adam, as if they were royalty themselves.
After donning silk robes, Susan and Adam participated in a traditional Buddhist wedding ceremony. For several hours, they meditated on life and on their blessed union. The celebration that followed included the country’s best dancers and a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. “It was so much to take in,” recalls the bride. “There were moments where I said to Adam, ‘I’m just a girl from New Jersey,’ and the love, how they went out of their way for us…I couldn’t believe they were all there for us.”
It was an inspiring experience, an unparalleled outpouring of love that affected the couple in a way that is difficult to verbalize. One thing Susan and Adam can say with certainty, however, is that Bhutan is a country they plan to visit for many years to come. They are already planning a trip next spring to introduce another member of their family to the community—their future baby boy, who is due to enter Susan and Adam’s world just shy of their first anniversary.