Show-Stopping Ceremony Décor Without a Single Flower? This Chic New York City Bride Made It Happen

When it comes to finding the one, timing is everything. Just ask Alexandra Tirsch and Zachary Pascal, who had their fair share of “missed connections” before getting together. They both attended Indiana University, but never met. Then, they were introduced at a mutual friend’s party in 2007, but were seeing other people. The two even made plans to hang out at a basketball game in Bloomington, but their plans just didn’t work out. So it wasn’t until 2008 when, out of all the bars in all the world, she walked into his...right as he was leaving! Even though their final connection was quick, it was still enough to do the trick. The very next day, Zach and Alexandra made plans for dinner and the rest, as they say, was history.

While getting together took some time, choosing a venue did not. Envisioning a classic New York City wedding with a modern edge, Guastavino’s, a Manhattan event space with an exposed brick ballroom, immediately fit the bill. “We went to see it with my parents and loved it right away," says Alexandra. “We booked it on the spot.” The bride and groom knew they wanted a chic black and white color palette, infused with lots of greenery and candlelight, that would bring the space to life — and boy, were they right. As evidenced by Julian Ribinik’s gorgeous photos from the day, Alexandra and Zach made this New York City landmark all their own in spectacular fashion.

"We wanted our wedding to feel like us, and to be classic with a modern edge," the bride says. Complete with granite arches, stone enclaves, and vaulted ceilings, Guastavino’s, nestled in a cozy spot beneath the Queensboro Bridge, was the perfect backdrop a celebration with a clean, modern aesthetic but with classic, romantic details. To set the vibe for their day, Alexandra and Zach chose black and white invitations with a modern calligraphy script.

As Executive Director of Jennifer Fisher jewelry, it’s no surprise that Alexandra had impeccable taste when it came to choosing a wedding dress. She wore a lace, tulle, and organza Elie Saab gown complete with an eye-catching cascade of floral appliques. “I knew I wanted something with a skirt before I even started looking for a dress," says the bride. "I feel strongly that this is the one day you can wear something like that in your life, so you might as well do it!" And since Elie Saab is her favorite evening wear designer, the bride knew she could expect impeccable attention to detail. She customized the already incredible silhouette with removable leather straps and a leather belt. "It was very out of the box for me and I am happy I went for it."

Alexandra accessorized with a pair of blue Jimmy Choo shoes, and, of course, a selection of jewelry from Jennifer Fisher, including diamond initial stud earrings to reflect both her and her soon-to-be husband’s names.

For his tuxedo, Zach donned a grosgrain jacket and Burberry tuxedo pants along with a custom bowtie.

Confident in their fashionable friends, the bride and groom asked both the men and women of their wedding party to choose their own outfits for the day. The bridesmaids’ black gowns paired nicely with chic Calla Lily bouquets, while the groomsmen’s tuxedos were classic and uncomplicated — a look polished off by personalized pocket squares from the groom.

Throughout the planning process, Alexandra knew what she wanted, and the process of designing the chuppah with her florist was no different. While some questioned her decision to skip flowers during this important part of the day, the bride stayed true to her intuition. “My florist was amazing and really let me have my vision here,” she says. “She asked me, 'Are you sure you don't want flowers?' But I just knew I didn’t want them. My dress had so many floral details, so I wanted the chuppah to be simple and different.” And so, a lucite chuppah topped with lush greenery and ferns made for a gorgeously modern space under which the couple exchanged vows with the guidance of both a priest and rabbi.

Alexandra walked down the candle-lined aisle with both her mother and father. "We lined the aisle with large circular vases with candles and had them surrounding the chuppah and edges of the room," says the bride. "Candlelight was important to me. I think it evokes a special mood and makes the space feel intimate."

The pair decided not to write their own vows but invited two close friends to share meaningful readings during the ceremony. Once Alexandra and Zach were pronounced husband and wife, they made their exit to an acoustic version of Katy Perry's "Firework."

Guests found their seating assignments on a table laden with white orchids, the bride's favorite flower, and lilies. The sleek black cards were a nod to the couple's invitation envelope.

The newlyweds took advantage of the the reception's sky-high ceilings and chose to decorate tables with alternating arrangements of tall green branches and smaller clusters of anemones, peeled roses, fringed tulips, and orchids. Black menus with white calligraphy stood out against against the crisp white linens. And, to make sure the room was filled with plenty of warm candlelight, tables of all shapes and sizes were adorned with elegant lucite candelabras.

The cake was inspired by a design that made its way into many of the day’s festivities — from envelope liners to pillows at the cocktail hour. Done in a smooth white fondant with hand-painted black strokes all around it, this four-tiered cake was designed to mimic one of the bride’s favorite patterns: “Channels” by Kelly Wearstler. Topped with fresh peeled roses, it was almost to pretty to eat. That is, until you learned it was filled with alternating layers of red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and chocolate cake with vanilla mascarpone filling.

Instead of fretting over décor that only lasts a night, the couple had a truly bright idea for a unique keepsake. “I wanted something fun to hang over the upstairs reception bar that sits under a stone cave and decided to do a neon sign," Alexandra says. “It read, ‘Your love is bright as ever’ which is a lyric from our first dance song, 'XO' by Beyonce. It was definitely a challenge getting this done, but we loved it and now it hangs like art in our apartment."

When there’s a disco ball and a checkered dance floor at your wedding, you clearly know how to throw a party, and this couple did not disappoint. Thanks to a flawless playlist curated by the groom, and a lively rendition of “Sweet Home Indiana” from the Brooklyn Sound Band, Alexandra and Zach led their guests through a fun-filled night.

"The most important thing for us was for everyone to eat great food, drink and have a great time," the bride says. "I think we definitely accomplished that. We wanted this to feel like a great party and reflect us as a couple in that sense. It was inviting, warm, and most importantly, fun. In the end, all the small details you stress over no one really remembers, but they do remember how you made them feel!" By the looks of this packed dance floor, we'd say the couple's guests felt entirely welcome.

As for advice for brides-to-be, Alexandra has this to say: “Do not sweat the small stuff. There are lots of ups and downs that come with planning your wedding and it is easy to get caught up in every last minuscule detail. I panicked over a lot of smaller details, like cocktail napkin designs, and linens, and I am sure no one even noticed or remembers them. As my father reminded me throughout, your guests are going to remember great food and great music, not much else!"

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