Melissa Urfirer and Ben Gottesman may have both grown up in Manhattan, but it wasn’t until they were in college that they were introduced. This may seem surprising, considering Melissa was a freshman at University of Pennsylvania while Ben was a sophomore at the University of Miami; however, one of her best friends had an older sister who was close with Ben. During winter break, Melissa and her friend found themselves at a party at Ben’s house. “The second we started speaking, I knew she was The One,” he confides. While in school, Ben was a successful DJ between his studies. He got hired to play at University of Pennsylvania’s Spring Fling, where he saw Melissa again. “We just knew we were going to end up together,” she muses. He ended up extending his trip for the rest of the week, and they made their relationship official over the summer.
Years later, the happy couple were living together in Washington, DC. Ben, now a lawyer, made tickets for a fictional “Federal Bar Association Gala” in New York. Claiming his firm was putting them up in a hotel, he said he and Melissa should have a “stay-cation” in their hometown. They entered the venue of the so-called gala and were interviewed by a camera crew that Ben secretly hired. Then, the pair walked into a room filled with candles and photos of the lovebirds from throughout the years, as well as artwork depicting each city they lived in during their relationship. At last, Ben got down on one knee and asked Melissa to be his wife.
Though the sweethearts wanted to tie the knot in New York to be close to the majority of their family and friends, it was important that they find a unique venue. A former bank in Brooklyn turned out to be the perfect event space, particularly because the groom’s family is from Brooklyn and he lived there as a child before they moved to Manhattan. To further ensure that their nuptials would be anything but ordinary, Melissa and Ben worked with their floral designer to execute a creative vision for the big day. After being encouraged not to be afraid to use color, vibrant blooms were chosen to embellish the Lucite chuppah. Additionally, the backdrop behind the vow exchange was a collage of flowers, and the aisle was lined with blossoms that appeared to grow from the ground of the indoor venue.
Following her 16 bridesmaids wearing black dresses and carrying bright pink and coral peonies, Melissa walked down the aisle in a stunning A-line gown with a lace bodice and similar details in the skirt. “She looked like a princess, and I remember feeling like I was the luckiest guy in the world,” the groom notes. Musicians played “Pachelbel’s Canon” – the same song that scored the processional of both the bride’s mom and aunt on their respective wedding days.
The whimsical garden aesthetic continued into the reception. “All of the flowers were absolutely insane – I had never seen flowers like that before,” Ben asserts. Blossoms were frozen in the ice bar, trees with white blooms were placed throughout the space, and a backdrop in the same style as the one from the ceremony all helped to give the room a magical ambience. The centerpieces varied in design – some featuring pillar candles, some with candelabra – using salmon, blush, and cream peonies, peach snapdragons, sweet peas, and white roses tied together with cascading jasmine and clematis. Projected lighting created an illusion of sprawling vines all over the walls.
Given his DJ past, the groom cared deeply about the music and entertainment at the festivities. As another event in Brooklyn led to the streets around the venue being shut down, the couple had encouraged guests to leave plenty of time for travel. Unfortunately, this resulted in a large portion of attendees arriving extremely early. “Luckily, Ben had found an amazing street band to play in front of the venue and welcome guests; so they were dancing with the band until we opened the doors,” Melissa shares. Another group played during the reception, helping everyone to dance the night away until 1AM. A mix of pop, house, and Latin music along with tunes from the 80s and 90s kept the revelers on their feet. “They blew the roof off the place!” the groom exclaims.