An Industrial-Meets-Organic Wedding in Long Island City
Following a romantic 2019 proposal in Savannah, Georgia, Dylan Baker and Warner Cooley began dreaming of a large wedding in the same city. Covid-19 put a stop to travelâ€”and their plans of a destination weddingâ€”but rather than delay their nuptials, they were spurred toward the aisle for another reason entirely.
â€śFinding out that both my parents were sick with cancer was the start of it all,â€ť bride Dylan remembers. â€śWarner and I knew we wanted something, despite a pandemic, despite having people there or even having a dress and tux. The passing of my mom, Susan, was the biggest turning point for both of us in realizing that to have a wedding with those we loved, we needed help.â€ť
So the couple, who met in 2011 during freshman orientation at Sacred Heart University, turned to wedding planner Eleni Sopasis. She encouraged them to go through with the weddingâ€”and sooner rather than later. Little did they know, it would be just three short weeks later. Decisions were made quickly, and the couple had a few â€śmustsâ€ť: live music over DJ, charcuterie plates for each guest, and a vibe of simple, understated elegance. â€śWe are both more simplistic people and really just wanted to be surrounded by good people and good food,â€ť the bride says. â€śBoth were accomplished.â€ť
The March 2021 wedding was a breathtaking displayâ€”Savannah greenery-meets-industrial New York Cityâ€”with special tributes to Dylanâ€™s mother throughout. It was everything the couple had dreamed of. â€śMy vision was clean and light; no crazy bright colors, but tones of black, gray, green and white,â€ť Dylan says. â€śRegardless of even having any guests, Warner and I knew we wanted a simplistic, romantic wedding.â€ť
Dylan and Warner scaled down their guest count from 170 to just 12 family members and friends, which made the invitations all the more special. Boxed Wedding Invitations created a stylish suite housed in thick charcoal envelopes edged with gold. Guests also received welcome boxes tied up with pretty green ribbon which included miniature bottles of Prosecco and a card offering the history of Long Island City and information about the big day.
Dylanâ€™s wedding-day look was all about the dress. â€śI did not go crazy with accessories,â€ť she admits. She opted for a simple pair of earrings to complement her stunning round solitaire engagement ring and new diamond wedding band, and found a pair of comfortable Kelly & Katie heels at DSW.
From the moment I saw this dress, the back was the reason I wanted it.
â€śThe easiest part of planning was picking my dress,â€ť Dylan says. Back in October 2020, she saw Made With Loveâ€™s Archie dressâ€”a soft, double French crepe gown with a plunging cowl backâ€”online and snapped a photo. â€śFrom the moment I saw this dress, the back was the reason I wanted it. It is elegant, simple and effortlessly beautiful.â€ť She took her dad and planner along to one store that she knew carried the styleâ€”Vows Bridal in Watertown, Massachusettsâ€”and took home the sample that day. She decided against a veil to allow the back to shine.
More than two dozen white roses filled Dylanâ€™s bouquet, and secured around the stems was a framed photo of her late mother. â€śDylanâ€™s mom was certainly watching over her,â€ť Eleni says.
Warnerâ€™s Calvin Klein tuxedo featured a black satin vest and black tie. He accessorized it with a white pocket square, Vincero watch and white rose boutonniere to match Dylanâ€™s bouquet.
The coupleâ€™s intimate first look was one of the most special moments for Dylan. â€śThis was everything I expected and more,â€ť she says. â€śIt was so fun and magical to see each other all done up before everyone else saw us in full effect.â€ť
When their Savannah nuptials at the Charles H. Morris Center were put on hold, â€śthe hunt was on for something similar,â€ť Dylan says. â€śI found The Foundry on Pinterest, of all places.â€ť She was drawn to the industrial feel and knew immediately sheâ€™d found the right place: â€śThe history, the natural light, [and] the exposed brick was perfect.â€ť While the venue features seven unique spaces, Dylan and Warner hosted their ceremony in the Main Space and reception in The Greenhouse.
â€śThe ceremony decor was dramatic but simple, if that makes sense!â€ť Dylan says. Drama came in the form of thousands of white roses and interspersed greenery; simplicity came through natural light and the arrangement of the aisle, which was formed by black Chiavari chairs grouped in twos and spaced apart for social distancing.
Luscious low white floral arrangements and pillar candles lined the aisle, which led to a stunning asymmetrical ceremony backdrop that did double duty as a photo backdrop for guests at the reception. â€śThe Ivie Joy team made it feel like you were in your own private botanical garden,â€ť the bride says. â€śThe smell of freshly cut roses was beyond my wildest dreams.â€ť
The couple took precautions and followed New York state regulations at their weddingâ€”but did so with style. â€śWe checked for negative results, implemented Covid-friendly serving styles and provided a station with mini sanitizers and face masks,â€ť planner Eleni says.
The wedding was planned around Dylanâ€™s fatherâ€™s chemotherapy schedule, so his walk down the aisle beside her became a beautiful, memorable moment. â€śThere are no words to describe how beautiful you looked, and how amazing it was to witness your dad healthy enough to walk you down the aisle," Warner told Dylan afterward.
The couple booked Eva Engman, a reiki master and certified sound healing practitioner, to officiate their ceremony. â€śWe gave Eva small details and quotes that she used to form the right words for our vows,â€ť Dylan says. The most meaningful quote incorporated came from Harry Potter and the Sorcererâ€™s Stone, one of Dylanâ€™s motherâ€™s favorite films: â€śTo have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever.â€ť
The couple chose â€śAll of the Lightsâ€ť by Kanye Westâ€”performed by a string quartetâ€”for their recessional.
With such a small guest count, Dylan and Warner opted not to have bridesmaids or groomsmenâ€”but just for fun, the female guests coordinated to wear the same shade of green, one of the coupleâ€™s wedding colors.
â€śOne thing Warner and I decided on very quickly was that a DJ just would not work,â€ť Dylan notes. â€śHowever, we had no idea we would end up with a string quartet! I am still blown away at how amazing they were.â€ť Luminous Sounds String Ensemble played all genres of music, even learning some of the coupleâ€™s favorite songs, throughout the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception.
Floral arrangements of white roses and greenery topped tables, and the back of each menu card included instructions for a photo scavenger hunt, encouraging guest interaction. Photos were posted to social media with the coupleâ€™s hashtag, #WarnerSealedTheDyl.
Cocktail hour featured appetizers like grown-up grilled cheese and fried chicken in waffle cones, â€śtruly things I could eat every day for the rest of my life,â€ť laughs Dylan. A signature rum punch cocktail, dubbed â€śJa-Makinâ€™ Me Cooleyâ€ť paid tribute to the groomâ€™s Jamaican heritage and was served on cocktail napkins customized with fun facts about the newlyweds.
For the reception, guests moved into The Greenhouse, a stunning space at The Foundry overrun with ivy and flooded with natural light from ceiling skylights. â€śItâ€™s one of the dreamiest spaces the venue has,â€ť Dylan says.
White linens were layered with gold-rimmed chargers and white plates. Chic matte-black flatware was a unique addition that elevated the look. Tables were spaced far apart for safety, of course, but also so that couples could â€śhave their own kind of romantic evening, as well,â€ť Dylan says.
Guests were met with individual charcuterie plates at their seats. â€śThis was specifically for me and my best friend, Melissa,â€ť the bride laughs. â€śIt was something everyone enjoyed, however.â€ť Dinner by Dish Food & Events followed, and included a shredded kale Caesar salad and entrees of grilled filet of beef, slow-smoked pork shoulder, and butternut-squash ravioli.
The string quartet took up Stevie Wonderâ€™s â€śIsnâ€™t She Lovelyâ€ť for the newlywedsâ€™ first dance. Itâ€™s been their song since 2017, when they went on a date for Dylanâ€™s birthday to Mastroâ€™s Steakhouse and sang along while live musicians performed it during dinner.
â€śMy dad chose the song we had our father-daughter dance to,â€ť Dylan says. â€śI think this was the first time my dad and I have actually ever danced together! This moment was truly something special.â€ť The song? â€śMy Girlâ€ť by the Temptations. Later, Warner and his mother danced to â€śMake You Feel My Loveâ€ť by Adele.
Additional signage throughout the space indicated that the coupleâ€™s 12 guests were selected for a reason.
The two-tiered cake by Cakes by Lana New York was decorated with white roses and flecks of edible gold leaf. Inside: chocolate cake with Oreo filling, per Warnerâ€™s request. â€śHe is the sweet tooth in our relationship, and the cake was one of the most important parts of the day for him,â€ť Dylan laughs.
Miniature cakes for each guest or couple mirrored the larger cake and kept things Covid-friendly. They were displayed along an ivy-covered wall and then served to each seat after dinner.
While things are rarely perfect, March 20â€”the first day of spring, our wedding dayâ€”was the closest thing to it.
Though the decision to go ahead with their small-scale wedding was a difficult one, it ultimately was an incredible, intimate, and fun affair. â€śThe day was a fairytale,â€ť Dylan recalls. â€śThere was so much love, pure happiness, [and] occasional tears. While things are rarely perfect, March 20â€”the first day of spring, our wedding dayâ€”was the closest thing to it.â€ť