An Intimate Rooftop Wedding in the Heart of New York City
Growing up in the same Australian town, Kate and Sam Taylor have been dating since their teens. And four years ago, they decided to embrace a dream they'd always talked aboutâ€”by moving to New York City! So rather than return to their homeland to tie the knot, the couple decided to marry in the city they felt represented their new life together. "Itâ€™s a long way from home and our friends and family, but we have loved every minute of our adventure here," Kate says of the Big Apple.
Since 65 of the 80 wedding guests flew in from Australia to attend the pair's September 20, 2017, nuptials, Sam and Kate made a point to showcase their favorite parts of their new home. To start, they decided to host the event at Gary's Loft in the heart of Manhattan, which Sam describes as one of the most "dreamy" city spots. "We fell in love with this venue and nothing else compared," says the bride. "We wanted something very New York with an amazing view to wow our international guests." To further ensure that their big day stayed true to their tastes, the duo planned their wedding themselves, with the help of their vendors and a few friends. "It was stressful at the time, but it meant we had everything just the way we wanted it," says Kate.
Both sides of the wedding party got ready in Brooklyn, with the girls taking over a suite in the Wythe Hotel and the guys next door at the Williamsburg Hotel. "From either balcony, we could see each other, which made for some fun photos," says the bride.
Kate's bridesmaids lived a 24-hour plane ride away, so letting them pick their own dresses proved to be the easiest shopping option. Her only requests were that they wear gowns within a nude/pink color range and nude heels. "I wanted them all to wear something that suited them and that they loved and could wear again," she explains.
As for her own gown, it was love at first sight when Kate tried a Galia Lahav embellished number with a plunging neckline, layered skirt, and removable long sleeves (which she took off for the reception). "The fit of the dress and the gold exposed zipper and long train sold me," she says.
With such a statement-making frock, the bride decided to keep her hair and makeup on the more simple side. She also completed the look with Alexandre Birman white leather sandals and diamond ear cuffs from Meira T.
The bride and her 'maids all carried a blend of pink morning dew roses and Majolica spray roses, tied together with vintage satin ribbon.
The "first look" concept hadn't been on the couple's radar until their photographer suggested it, but Kate says it ended up being one of their favorite moments of the day. For their own take on this pre-wedding tradition, the bride and groom met on the bridal suite balcony at the Wythe Hotel, overlooking the Manhattan skyline. "It was such a special moment seeing each other for the first time in private and really helped with the nerves," she says. In order to have more time with guests during cocktail hour, the pair also posed for pictures before the wedding on the streets of Williamsburg and at the New York Public Library.
Sam donned a Ralph Lauren tuxedo, Gucci loafers, a bow tie, and his pop's watch, which had been passed down in his family for generations.
The ceremony and cocktail hour took place on the Gary's Loft rooftop. Because their chosen venue was already so stunning (you can't compete with a historic building right next door!), the couple understandably didn't want to go overboard with decor. With the help of the groomsmen, Sam crafted a wooden arch for the ceremony....the day before the wedding in his basement! The couple decorated the structure with wild greenery and florals.
For a special touch, a close American friend officiated the ceremony. The trio worked together to write the ceremony script and vowsâ€”and the officiant even threw in some Australian slang and quotes that he had picked up from the pair over the years, much to the satisfaction of the wedding guests. Sam's sister also read a Robert Fulghum poem titled "Union," and a three-piece jazz band helped set the mood.
Straw baskets filled with rose petals lined the aisle so guests could shower the newlyweds following the ceremony.
After, the festivities migrated to the venue's penthouse level, an all-white space with exposed piping and wooden floorboards, for the reception. The couple utilized preexisting furniture from the loft, including white couches, antique mirrors, and an old-school bathtub that doubled as an extra bar.
"We wanted our day to feel like a big family gathering or house party, rather than a formal event," says Kate. To achieve that, the couple decided on two long dinner tables to seat their nearest and dearest.
With a soft and romantic theme in mind, Sam and Kate also relied on cream, pale pink, and gold hues to decorate the indoor area. They hung cascading flowers of various lengths from the ceiling and adorned each table with hand-blown glass vases filled with pink and gold anthuriums and roses.
Dinner, which was served family-style "to create the vibe of a big family gathering in a New York apartment," featured catering from one of Sam and Kate's favorite local restaurants, the Fat Radish. Menu highlights included radishes in olive tapenade, seared tuna with watermelon and chili, tomato feta basil salad, hanger steak with smashed fingerlings, and sea bass over beet mash.
As for dessert, the couple turned to another beloved New York eatery, Momofuku Milk Bar, to share sweets with their Australian guests. They dug into a three-tiered, multicolored wedding cake with chocolate chip passionfruit, chocolate malt, and strawberry lemon flavors. Gluten-free cupcakes from Erin McKenna's Bakery also made an appearance.
In honor of their first kiss all the way back in 2004, Kate and Sam chose Childish Gambino's cover of "Into You" by Fabolous, which had been playing in the background at the time, as their first dance song. For reception entertainment, the couple hunted down one of their favorite DJs, Dash Speaks, who frequently performs at one of their go-to speakeasy bars. "He played all of our fave songs,"Kats says.
Sam's completely on-the-spot speech was another reception highlight. "He really surprised everyone," says the bride. "It ticked all the boxes and had everyone laughing, and then tearing up with his beautiful words."
To close out the evening, the couple and their guests sang and danced to one last song, "Empire State of Mind" by Jay-Z, before heading back up to the roof for a final toast and glimpse of the Empire State Building. "It was the perfect end to the night," says the bride. "The view of the city could not be beat."