Though Nicole Schloss and Greg Chatzinoff were matched on a popular dating app in 2018, their story actually began 17 years prior. They first met while attending summer camp in 2001, became Facebook friends in 2007 – “when the thing to do was ‘friend’ everyone you’ve ever known,” laughs Nicole – and exchanged messages in 2015 after Nicole recognized Greg as the one chosen for a shooting contest at a basketball game they attended separately at Madison Square Garden. When it was finally time for their first date, both Nicole and Greg knew they were meant to be.
“What is most memorable about our first proper meeting is how effortless and easy the entire evening was,” Nicole remembers. “I was nervous, as I would be for any first date, but there was an element of comfort, knowing I had a major shared experience with Greg from our summer-camp time.” Greg, too, knew they had something special right away. “From the minute we sat down and started talking, it felt as if there was a shared history and understanding that neither of us had ever experienced on a first date,” he adds.
Within a few months, they each knew they had found The One. With her parents’ blessings secured, Greg worked with Nicole’s family to orchestrate the perfect surprise proposal. On the last day of the Schloss family’s annual vacation in St. Barths – which Greg was not invited to attend, as they were not yet engaged – Nicole climbed the rocky dunes to Saline Beach to find her beloved standing by the ocean next to their initials written in the sand. “It was perfect,” she muses of the magical moment.
As both the bride and groom are from New York City, they were initially adamant about having a big Manhattan wedding; however, due to Covid concerns, they needed to either postpone or pivot their plans entirely. A 320-person winter wedding at an iconic venue was transitioned into an intimate soirée at a boutique hotel in the Hamptons with just 28 loved ones in attendance. “The best decision for us was to drastically scale down the event,” explains Nicole. “Only immediate family and the bridal party were invited to attend in person, whereas the rest of our guests were invited to watch via livestream.”
Since a January wedding date meant their nuptials could not be held outdoors, the celebration was hosted within the indoor-capacity limitations directed by CDC guidelines and state regulations. To ensure attendees and wedding professionals alike felt safe, every single person was tested leading up to and on the day of the nuptials. “I could not be more grateful for my family, my now husband, and my wedding team for helping to pull it off and make it look like it was the original plan all along,” shares the bride of their newly imagined wedding day.
“As much as we wanted the big, classic Manhattan wedding… I wouldn’t change any of it. It was perfect!”
The ceremony took place in the historic barn of the hotel, which had been enveloped with lush white florals and greenery that covered nearly every surface of the space. Twinkle lights were suspended from the rafters above, and candles flickered down below to create the romantic ambience the pair envisioned. “The barn was transformed into a magical woodland wonderland… I melted in tears the moment I walked into the room!” muses the bride. “I never thought I would be a ‘barn wedding’ type of girl, but it was just perfect. Turns out you can have a black-tie barn wedding after all!”
Loved ones found their seats atop cozy, green velvet chairs and sofas to witness the couple’s Jewish ceremony and heartfelt vow exchange. “Our rabbi conducted an amazingly personal service and acknowledged our 200+ guests watching over livestream,” remembers the bride. “All of our friends and family who watched virtually have said they felt like they were there in person, which is a testament both to the videographer’s vantage points and the rabbi for keeping them engaged from afar.”
With such an intimate guest list, everyone was seated for the dinner service at one of two long tables covered with indigo velvet linens. “The sleek, modern studio is all white with floor-to-ceiling glass windows, which called for an explosion of color!” expresses Nicole of the design that provided a warm, inviting ambience.
Lush centerpieces showcased vibrant, jewel-toned ranunculuses, delphiniums, French tulips, and lisianthus blossoms accented with greenery that ran down the center of each table, and similar blooms and candlelight were displayed in bookcases at the back of the venue. “The illusion of the candles, all reflecting off the glass windows, felt like living inside of a Yayoi Kusama infinity room,” notes Nicole. “It was unreal.”
After dinner, friends and family headed back into the barn for the dancing portion of the evening. To kick off the party, the bride’s family surprised everyone with vanilla rum shots from St. Barths as an ode to the pair’s engagement. “I was so floored, I was actually speechless!” exclaims the bride. “It was the most fun and energetic dance party… I think we all needed that release!”
“The most unique feature of our wedding was how ‘normal’ it felt against the backdrop of the circumstances,” confirms Greg of the special day, noting the comfort level of everyone in attendance was due to a combination of early voluntary and mandatory on-site testing. The bride adds: “As much as we wanted the big, classic Manhattan wedding… I wouldn’t change any of it. It was perfect!”