It became clear to Brooke Lustig the moment she met Ken Lande that theirs was no ordinary introduction: “I knew he was the guy for me.” Ken had just moved into the same college dorm as Brooke, and it just so happened that their roommates were best friends from high school. Brooke and Ken shared an instant connection, and their relationship deepened throughout college. Not long after graduation, Ken proposed to Brooke while on vacation in St. Bart’s, surprising her in a villa decorated from floor to ceiling with tropical flowers.
Even though Brooke is from Denver and Ken from Dallas, they both agreed there was no better city for celebrating their nuptials than New York, and certainly, there was no finer location for accommodating their 500 guests than the legendary Waldorf Astoria hotel. Its level of service and grandeur suited them perfectly, and they set about planning a celebration steeped in breathtaking details. Wisely, they entrusted their most important day to some of the best in the business – wedding consultant Harriette Rose Katz, floral and event designer Preston Bailey, and confectionary artist Sylvia Weinstock – while relying on one another and their parents to finalize every last detail. Brooke’s mother was integral in designing the reception’s décor and is credited by Bailey with dreaming up the fountain-inspired centerpieces. “She’s an amazing entertainer,” he says of Mrs. Lustig’s keen sense of event design. Taking her idea to the next level, Bailey and his team created towering white pedestals overflowing with roses, hydrangea, peonies, and orchids all in shades of white and pink – Brooke’s favorite color. “It had been my dream since I was a little girl to have a pink wedding,” she says. Crystals hanging from each centerpiece mimicked droplets of water and coordinated with the strands and strands of glimmering crystals that surrounded the giant mirrored ball centered over the one-of-a-kind dance floor. Designed by Bailey to resemble a toile pattern, the oversized pink and white dance floor played host to the revelry that lasted until five in the morning.
But first came the ceremony, which featured a draped and gathered chuppah fashioned like a jewelry box. Like the reception location, the ceremony room was swathed and carpeted in pale pink fabric. Preceded by twenty-four bridesmaids and groomsmen, Brooke, wearing a custom made Reem Acra gown, and her father walked beneath floral archways to meet her husband-to-be. They were married in a Jewish ceremony officiated by the groom’s second cousin, a rabbi from Denver. He read aloud the vows the bride and groom had written for one another, which provided Brooke and Ken with an opportunity to absorb the gravity of their own words. “We were able to look into each other’s eyes and listen to how much we loved one another,” explains Brooke.
The newlyweds’ entrance into the ballroom was announced by a troupe of performers in Chorus Line-like costumes, after which the couple took to the floor for their first dance. On the tables, guests found a variety of gifts, including heart boxes inscribed with the couple’s names and slippers made of chocolate. Midway through the evening, female guests received a pair of flip-flops so they could remove their dress shoes and pamper their overworked dancing feet. After dinner, Brooke and Ken cut the remarkable cake – a seven-layer design by Weinstock, covered in her signature sugar flowers in shades of pink.
Brooke and her father commanded the spotlight for their dance together, accompanied by a beautiful live performance of “Because You Loved Me” by recording artist Peabo Bryson. Later in the evening, when everyone––including the couple – thought the night might be winding down, Mr. Lustig surprised Brooke and Ken with a appearance by their favorite band, the Neal Diamond cover group Super Diamond, for after-party entertainment that lasted into the wee hours of the morning. “It was the best surprise of all,” remembers Brooke. “We had the best night of our lives!”