With more than 100 people socializing at an event in a New York City penthouse, Hannah Olliff and Max Ross still managed to meet and instantly connect. “Within a few sentences, she had fully captivated me,” Max reveals. They discovered they were both volunteers for the nonprofit organization hosting the fête. “Although we became fast friends and would travel all over the world together for this same company, we did not begin dating until four years later,” admits the bride. “As it turns out, we are still involved with the nonprofit today as members of its Board of Directors.”
Nearly six years after their initial encounter, Max created a second very special memory at that same penthouse by proposing to his sweetheart amidst thousands of flickering candles. “I kept thinking back to the first night we met, as there are very few moments that can compare. I knew that had to be the place!” the groom describes of the memorable surprise, which also involved flying in their closest family and friends to celebrate.
Though Hannah and Max currently reside in Atlanta, Georgia, the couple opted to host their nuptials in the town where they were first introduced and in a location all their loved ones could enjoy. They also wanted to select a venue that was unique to New York and captured the essence of the city. Opting for a magnificent venue with a historical background and an impressive 75-foot ceiling, the duo chose décor inspired by the architecture of the site, focusing on its Art Deco elements – but not so much that it could be called a “theme.” “Those were our guiding thoughts throughout the process and they helped influence our decisions on everything from florals to musicians,” shares the bride. The pair worked with their stationer to customize a geometric motif that was incorporated throughout the celebration. They also settled on a cool geometric ice sculpture that held Champagne bottles and rounded out their planning decisions by hiring a string quartet and jazz band.
Over 160 guests from all over the world ventured to the metropolis that holds such special meaning to the couple to witness the ceremony, which began at 6PM. Hannah and Max’s choices, remniscent of a Gatsby-style celebration, exuded a luxurious ambience. Ivory and gold elements were incorporated into the space, including the floral arrangements, which were complemented with extravagant bullion-toned feathers; the professional lighting design highlighted the beautiful architectural detail of the space whilst a magnificent chandelier glistened and sheer fabric – suspended from the ceiling – draped artfully around the circular guest seating.
In spirit of the vintage vibe, the bride avoided a common ball gown and instead spent her special day wearing a whimsically beaded dress, featuring a light airy skirt designed for easy movement and dancing; the bodice boasted an illusion neckline and the back showcased trailing epaulettes in lieu of a traditional veil. Hannah proceeded down the aisle on the arm of her father holding an all-white bouquet of cascading orchids, calla lilies, ranunculus blossoms, and gold-tipped roses. Bridesmaids held similar nosegays and wore long champagne-toned ensembles.
For the reception, tablescapes were decorated in a stunning fashion. Collections of various floral centerpieces featured the same style and hues of the ceremony, but with dramatic detail, such as giant gold-dipped sago palms as well as angular and geometric elements. “The flower arrangements were all so grand… some of them made me think of fireworks and added to the excitement of the event,” Hannah illustrates.
The sounds of live music filled the air, along with a DJ so that guests could enjoy a blend of genres. “We settled on a DJ/band hybrid for the reception, essentially a DJ with three accompanying musicians,” explains Hannah of the group, who joined in on the dance floor and interacted with guests. “We wanted our wedding to be one that our guests would remember as beautiful and elegant but also fun… it was the perfect blend of two worlds and we couldn’t be happier with our choice.” Max adds with a smile: “I’m pretty sure that 90% of the people at our wedding played the bongos that night.”
The groom says that all the hard work was worthwhile: “I participated in virtually all aspects of the planning process – not just because the whole celebration was important to me, but because I enjoyed being involved.” Hannah stresses that the event reflects the styles and personalities of two people rather than just one half of the couple. “It’s not only the ‘bride’s day,'” she affirms.
Before making their way to the after-party to join their guests, the newlyweds took some time to thank their vendors and wish them a good night. Hannah reflects, “All of our planning, stress, and excitement for two years had all finally come together and it was everything both of us could’ve wanted. It was just this great sense of accomplishment.”