Denise Vasaya and Josh Chervokas met through mutual friends. They were not set up; in fact, the bride and groom feel fortunate that it even happened at all, for they had known the same people for ten years without ever being introduced. While it seemed that fate had finally brought them together, it also kept them apart for another couple of months while Denise and Josh went off on previously arranged vacations. When they reunited, it took Josh only a year to propose with a nearly century-old family heirloom ring.
The bride and groom selected the July 4th holiday weekend for their celebration, which happened to be the same weekend that they had shared one of their first dates. For the venue, the couple chose Loft Eleven in Manhattan because of its panoramic views of the city and minimalist, open floor plan. The ivory room was the perfect accompaniment to enhance the richness of the couple’s gold, blue, and green color palette, conceived of by Denise, a freelance designer and artist.
Paying attention to each detail, the bride found wallpaper treated with an authentic hand-applied gold leaf design, and used it to create the aisle runner, the table runners, and the cones that held lavender buds for the guests to toss. Denise marvels at how the paper “gave a regal feel to the aisle and how the light of the candles reflected beautifully on the table runners giving a hint of opulence to the tabletop. The whole room had a gorgeous warm glow.”
Thirteen hydrangea pomanders, named after the thirteen tenets of marriage, were hung on the aisle chairs during the ceremony and then repositioned above each table for the reception. Thirteen chocolate coins with the couple’s monogram, wedding date, and wedding vows were tucked into ivory boxes decorated with the same ribbon used on the programs and invitations. These favors doubled as place cards, and each guest’s name was printed on their own box.
Blue hydrangea served as the focal point for the centerpiece arrangements, which – along with green hypericum berries – overflowed from square vases. Alternating with votive candles, the centerpieces were spaced along the banquet-style tables. Above, paper lanterns hung playfully from the ceiling, completing the festive look.
The intricate four-tiered, round wedding cake both complemented and offset the simplicity of the venue. The butter cream frosting was a soft apple green dotted with sugar hydrangea blossoms in shades of blue and green.
Not to be outdone by the décor, Denise and Josh confess that the budget for their wedding attire was disproportionately high relative to their overall expenditures. Wearing a stunning gown designed by Cymbeline of Paris and looking dashing in his bespoke suit, Denise and Josh looked right at home in the elegant environment.
In order to create a personalized wedding that honored their relationship, their multifaceted heritages, and their 116 guests, Denise and Josh included several cultural traditions in both the ceremony and reception. Each tradition was announced or performed by a loved one from the same country of origin as the ritual itself. Wedding traditions from the Philippines, Lithuania, Italy, Germany, Poland, and Ireland were all performed in order to prepare the couple for the joys and challenges of marriage and to bestow upon them strength, commitment, vitality, and happiness for many years to come.
As a recent birthday gift, Josh had written a very special poem for Denise, which they also decided to incorporate into their ceremony. It was featured in the programs, inviting guests to read along as Josh’s sister recited it aloud.
When it came to the celebration itself, Denise explains, “We wanted humor to play a role.” Their hope was certainly realized when the stepfather of the bride satirized “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” poking fun at the bride’s love of designer shoes. And during the traditional “money dance” the DJ played a special mix, which included songs that mentioned the word “money.” But that wasn’t all. “Since it was, in fact, a German tradition,” says Denise, “We also included the German version of ‘99 Red Balloons,’ which culminated in a tongue-in-cheek red balloon drop. It was a most unexpected and hilarious part of the wedding!”