An engagement party at a New York City ballroom was the romantic backdrop against which Kim Azoulay and Mark Roshanski were initially introduced; but after a few short minutes of intriguing conversation, the pair was inadvertently separated with no means of reconnecting – not even each other’s last names. “Over 500 guests were celebrating,” Kim explains of the needle-in-a-haystack situation in which she found herself that night. “I scoured the party looking for Mark, but unfortunately never saw him again.” Little did she know, Mark was trying trace her too, anxiously texting other party guests about “the mystery girl from California.” Five months later, friends finally managed to link the two… and once reunited, the pair never looked back.
Having met in The Big Apple, it seemed a given that Kim and Mark would eventually marry in Manhattan; however, the pair ultimately opted to hold their nuptials in the Lone Star State where the parents of the bride reside. “We wanted a weekend of events that were about family and friends, something more than a single night at an iconic New York hotel,” says Kim. Three days of celebrations were enjoyed, the highlight of which was an event so dazzling even the groom was stunned. “I am Russian,” says Mark, “so an ‘over-the-top’ mentality is something I’ve lived with my entire life. This wedding, however, was even more over-the-top than I ever anticipated.”
Each phase of the wedding reflected a distinct and separate theme, beginning with the premise of the Gardens of Versailles. “I wanted everything to be manicured and perfect like a garden,” says Kim of the cocktail reception that commenced the day’s events. Hosted at the historic mansion where the nuptials took place, the pre-ceremony soirée was a fantasy of flowers. Blossoms spilled from urns that lined the corridors of the atrium, while smaller arrangements in vibrant colors adorned alfresco tabletops. “Some of the bars were made of hedges capped with Lucite tops, while others were white lacquer with Swarovski-crystal patterns,” Kim adds.
The Versailles concept was followed by the premise of an enchanted forest. “I wanted to have a ceremony with a vibe,” says the bride. “As a result, we needed to use many, many components to create the perfect atmosphere.” First, the entire ballroom where the service took place was re-carpeted in green, and every inch of exposed wall was draped in diaphanous fabric. In addition to enhancing the room with color, creative lighting techniques were used to project leaves onto the drapery and enhance the ethereal setting with a misty effect. Sounds associated with nature were piped into the room for an unexpected audio experience as well.
The décor for the ceremony included a canopy of moss and other greenery that ran the length of the ballroom. The structure was accented with garlands of orchids in addition to lanterns that cast a peaceful glow. Chairs covered in green organza were arranged in patterns reminiscent of leaves, and a runner composed of rose petals wound gracefully through the space. “The runner was spectacular!” enthuses the bride, who chose the winding shape to symbolize a natural forest path. “It was handmade and featured thousands of rose petals in different shades of pink.”
The highlight of the décor was an extravagant chuppah abounding with flowers. Each of the structure’s posts was paved in blooms arranged in a lattice pattern, and a massive awning of orchids and roses glinted with crystals and garlands of flowers. “I will never forget looking up during the ceremony and feeling as if I were standing beneath more flowers than are housed in the Botanical Gardens in Brooklyn,” says Kim.
The groom took his place beneath the chuppah with his parents by his side, a memory made priceless by the underlying circumstances. “My father was battling a serious illness, and his condition had taken a turn for the worse; but he still successfully walked me down the aisle, and his sheer joy at the moment was very apparent,” Mark shares. The emotional experience was quickly followed by another: “Kim being released by her parents into my arms to be my wife is a moment that will forever remain engrained in my head and heart,” the groom declares.
The celebration transitioned to a new locale, and the entrance to the reception space was remarkably dramatic. “A tunnel was constructed so guests were taken on a journey into the ballroom,” Kim describes. “Black and white carpeting was installed, as were sheer white curtains backlit by massive Lucite candelabras covered in orchids.” After exiting the passageway, attendees were awed by the stunning exhibition of a space transformed into a breathtaking palace.
Two additional levels had been added to the floor of the 10,000-square-foot ballroom (all of which was overlaid in crisp white carpeting). The walls of the space were hidden behind glittering panels of grey with crystal “windows” backlit with the couple’s custom monogram. Mammoth chandeliers with bespoke petal lampshades were suspended overhead, and a shimmering installation of crystals and orchids cascaded above the dance floor.
The décor in the room infused the space with glamour. Made-to-order furniture included tables, chairs, sofas, and settees in neutral shades that emphasized the colors of the floral design. “The flowers were all jewel toned and there wasn’t one corner of the ballroom that was neglected,” says Kim. “There were several different kinds of centerpieces, from handmade lamp stands made entirely of roses, to crystal candelabras overflowing with flowers.” A mélange of different table linens included crystal-covered overlays and napkins embroidered with the couple’s monogram.
The evening featured a multitude of wonderful additional details. The crystal-covered wedding cake was an absolute dream; the father-daughter and mother-son dances were enhanced with videos from the pair’s respective mitzvahs; and at midnight, Kim’s parents celebrated their 40th anniversary. And amid all the excitement, the spirit of the day was beautifully summed up in a toast that was given by the sister of the bride.
“She said, ‘When you take away all the lighting, and furniture, and crystals, and flowers, what you will be left with are two people who genuinely love and care about each other,’” remembers Kim. “And that is what a wedding – no matter how big or small – is ultimately all about.”