Weathering the storms of life is certainly the hallmark of a relationship with a solid foundation, as Ashley Moffatt and Ryan Feit discovered. During their courtship, they maintained a long-distance relationship for two years, while Ryan was away at business school and Ashley worked in New York. However, the instance that put everything into perspective for Ryan was when they faced Hurricane Sandy in Ashley’s studio apartment without running water or electricity for an entire week. “Together, we were able to make the best of a tough situation and still managed to have a good time,” he recalls. “I just knew she was The One; she made me so happy.”

After careful research to design the ideal engagement ring, Ryan planned to propose on their two-week European vacation. Towards the end of their sojourn, they had dinner at Le Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower. Ashley had been looking forward to seeing Paris and was enjoying the expansive vantage point from their table. Halfway through the meal, Ryan asked the maître d’ to take their picture. As he made the motion to sit by her, the next thing Ashley knew, Ryan was asking her to be his wife. “Ryan had secretly put his camera on video mode and the entire proposal had been recorded, which was really amazing because we were later able to share the moment with our family and friends. It was the perfect ending to the perfect trip,” confirms the smiling bride.

Ashley took it upon herself to plan their fall wedding – the couple’s favorite New York season – for 250 guests, and had a great time in the process. Nevertheless, she enlisted the assistance of an event coordinator to help things go smoothly during the final weeks leading to the big day.

The bride and groom selected an elegant hotel with French origins – a nod to where their journey down the aisle began. “I love white orchids. They are my favorite flowers, and I wanted them to play a major role throughout the entire wedding,” Ashley adds. Starting with a 10-foot tree composed of curly willow branches and ivory orchids from which guest place cards were suspended with ribbons to complement the breathtaking neo-Renaissance trompe l’oeil murals and grand marble staircases of the rotunda of the venue. This element also inspired the gorgeous chuppah anchored by four trees that reached up to the ceiling and came together to create a canopy of vanilla orchids.

Ashley glided down the aisle wearing an ethereal Monique Lhuillier gown with intricate embroidery, lace cap sleeves, a sprinkling of sequins, satin sash, and full tulle overskirt. She held an arm sheath bouquet of pearl phalaenopsis orchids, roses, ranunculus, and mini calla lilies. For her “something borrowed,” Ashley donned a pair of her grandmother’s earrings, gifted to her by her grandfather. “[They] have one of the best marriages I know, and I hoped the earrings would bring me as much love and good fortune in my own,” she shares. In remembrance of Ryan’s grandmother, the crystal wine set she had bequeathed him was used during the service. The newlyweds exited to Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me” – the first song they slow danced to while dating.

In the reception ballroom, antique gilded candelabra draped with ivy held taper candles, white orchids, roses, hydrangeas, and lisianthus, as well as a few pink blooms were interspersed with petite arrangements featuring the same blossoms along the center of long tables. Larger versions of this compilation, plus snapdragons and blush hybrid delphinium, emerged from crystal trumpet vases on round tables. The wedding cake crafted by Sylvia Weinstock was embellished with cascading sugar flowers that mirrored the floral designs. The golden scroll pattern gracing the luxurious linen overlays was reflected on china chargers and menus. Napkins with the initials of the couple’s surname in bullion thread were a refined finishing touch.

Ryan felt that his most significant contribution to the event was their first dance. “I thought it would be really fun to reenact the tango scene from the movie Scent of a Woman, which was actually filmed at The Pierre,” he explains. “Neither of us knew anything about the tango, but we took lessons and the final dance turned out to be a huge success.” Adding their own twists and incorporating a rose, it was an unexpected performance for their friends and family.

The entertainment was an important component for Ryan, so the couple searched for a band that could set the right energy level for the festivities. “Our band was amazing… That was one of the first decisions we made, and we even booked our wedding date around their availability,” he says. “The dance floor was packed all night.”

“Start taking note of things you like and don’t like about weddings you attend, so you have some input when you’re asked for an opinion or to help make a decision,” is the sage advice Ryan offers future grooms. “Also, equally important, make sure you know when it’s better to just smile and nod during the planning process.”