On a walk through Central Park, Samantha Golkin and David Nigliazzo's relationship was about to take a very special turn. David twirled Samantha as if beginning a dance at the iconic New York City location, but as she finished spinning, he was down on one knee presenting her with a beautiful oval-cut diamond engagement ring. Samantha, of course, said yes and the duo began planning a traditional Jewish wedding with a "classic, elegant New York feel with vintage touches," shares the bride.
Just four months before the wedding, Samantha was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a double masectomy only three months prior to the ceremony. Despite adversity, the couple kept their spirits high and looked forward to the joyous event. Though the grand celebration was attended by 200 guests, Samantha and David's goal was to make their wedding seem personal and intimate. They chose a unique venue in the city, which was constructed in 1922, as the setting for their Gatsby-inspired nuptials.
On the day of the ceremony, snow began to fall, which provided an extra element of beauty to the couple's wedding day. Since their favorite band is The Beatles, an acoustic guitarist played soothing music throughout the ceremony. The bridal party, dressed in strapless eggplant gowns, walked down the aisle to "I Want to Hold Your Hand," and the bride, who was elegant in a beaded ball gown with a sweetheart neckline, glided towards her husband-to-be to the sounds of "Here Comes the Sun."
Following the Jewish service, guests enjoyed cocktail hour before entering the reception ballroom. As an ode to the bride's New York roots and the groom's hometown in the South, the couple's signature cocktail was dubbed the "Southern New Yorker." Passed hors d'oeuvres included mini lobster BLTs, chicken and waffles, and other bite-sized treats, while stations included an extra-creamy "Mac-n-Cheesy" bar with fried chicken, lobster, and truffle toppings, a Pan Asian station, and a Southern BBQ station.
Once inside the ballroom, guests found their seats at round tables covered in dark purple linens topped with gold chargers, ivory china, and centerpieces adorned with white roses, hydrangeas, and orchids. Since the bride and groom's grandparents had each celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary the same year – which taught the couple that the "key" to a successful marriage is to marry your best friend – a key motif was implemented throughout the wedding décor. Vintage keys were placed throughout the room and were found on place card holders, napkins, and tables. In honor of the bride's mother, who succombed to breast cancer in 1990, each place setting featured a gold menu and a card showcasing a painting by the mother of the bride. In lieu of favors, a donation was made to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Following a sit-down dinner service, attendees enjoyed slices from a four-layer wedding cake featuring vanilla buttercream cake with chocolate ganache and cannoli filling. The confection was wrapped in gold ribbon and adorned with white roses to match centerpiece designs. The groom's cake featured vanilla cake with raspberry filling and was designed to look like Albert the Alligator, the mascot of the University of Florida Gators. "With many University of Florida alumni in attendance, the Florida Gators cake was quite a hit!" shares Samantha, who also shares this advice for couples planning their own celebrations: "Take a moment during the ceremony and reception to breathe it all in. This is your wedding, enjoy it!"