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Oliver & Sasha

— Raw New York Garden Wedding


8 June 2014


125 people


Levi Stolove Photography

Oliver & Sasha by Levi Stolove Photography
Oliver & Sasha by Levi Stolove Photography

A couture vintage beaded gown, Proenza Schouler shoes, Givenchy tuxedos, Emilio Pucci inspired bridesmaids dresses and a romantic ceremony set in an industrial space beautifully transformed to be reminiscent of an overgrown rose garden. This chic summer wedding in New York City is the perfect juxtaposition of raw industrialism and whimsical garden romance.

The creative vision of bride and renowned fashion stylist Sasha Leibowitz enchanted the sun-drenched Foundry. With a refined style and eye for beauty, salvaged wood meets hanging wisteria and exposed bricks are covered in climbing ivy. A floral chandelier is suspended from rusted beams with fresh white blooms scenting the summer air. Under a clear roof tent and set in an ivy garden, raw farm tables are lavishly adorned with soft linens, crystal vases, mismatched stemware and lush arrangements of white flowers.

Captured by New York photographer Levi Stolove, a beauty story of Sasha & Oliver’s chic city romance is told…

HOW WE MET: A crazy story actually. About eight years ago on Halloween, ironically I was dressed as the bride from hell, and Oliver was in a  Zoro mask. Approached by a drunk passer by, this man looked at us and said, wow you look like a happy couple. Without blinking an eye or consenting with each other we turned to the stranger, and told him we had been happily married for years, had three kids at home... One who was in there terrible twos, and rambled on about there names and this faux married life we had together… and then as you do at a party, we went our separate ways forgetting the drunken conversation ever happened. Two years later, about a year into our relationship, as couples do, we had a fight, and as a joke Oli turned to me and said, "Whatever your not my true love, I met my bride years ago at a Halloween party." I turned to him, breathless and realised he was my Zoro! Up until that point we thought we were introduced by mutual friends, but as fate would have had it, our paths crossed before we even knew. 

OUR ENGAGEMENT STORY: Oli had been planning the proposal for weeks, chose the ring with my mum, asked permission from my Grandfather, had all his friends helping with the plan, etc. So he knew it was coming, me on the other hand, I was caught entirely by surprise. It was New Years Eve and we were visiting friends in Australia. I was waiting for Oli to meet me to get ready for the night, feeling anxious as all my friends had already started the celebrations. I got a call from him to say he had car problems at Nelsons Bay and asked to go pick him up. I was furious and cursing every word under the sun because we were going to miss the party. I got to the park effortlessly which was odd (especially on NYE), as all the police let me through (they were all in on it too), and when I got there I texted him to come to the car, and he replied asking me to come to the beach. I was initially hesitant but then I looked over and saw him standing in a suit, with flowers in his arms and petals going all the way to beach with an incredible picnic basket all set up. He got down on one knee and we both were crying. He filmed the whole thing, it was pretty incredible. And then we jumped in the car and drove to our friends place where they threw a huge party for us and everyone was there. All my friends were crying and popping bottles. It was perfect.

MARRIAGE TO US MEANS: Oooof, hard one. Let me get back to you on that!

WEDDING LOCATION: We literally attempted about 100 different venues, cities and countries before we found this one. Between me, Oli and my family, we all wanted to have it in different places, which confused things a lot. Oli wanted a tropical island, my family wanted Australia, and I wanted somewhere outside New York, like the Hamptons or Woodstock. We finally all agreed on New York, and my mum flew over and we went hunting for a venue. We had exhausted every option when suddenly the night before she left we found The Foundry. We took one look at it and knew it was the place. It was perfect, the combination of a raw space with lots of greenery - it was an architectural gem. It had different spaces so we could hold the whole wedding in one place. Then it was just about finding a date to do it on, as the venue is booked years in advance. We went on hold for a few dates and waited a few weeks till something opened up, and the rest fell into place. 

THEME/STYLE: Romantic is the best way to describe it I think. Our dream was to always get married in nature, but because we live in the city and had so many overseas guests, we had to find a space close by and literally turn it into an overgrown rose garden. The décor was all very soft, feminine and dreamy, with a combination of salvaged wood and industrial style furniture. 

BUDGET: Lets just say it ended up being three times what we originally had planned. 

PHOTOGRAPHY: Levi Stolove. A close friend who is a wedding planner recommended him. I assumed, like most things with the wedding, we would be meeting with a million photographers before we made a decision. However Levi was the first person we met with and I signed the contract with him on the spot. We hate anything posed or unnatural, and he was so cool and natural and I knew he was exactly what we wanted. He was really easy to communicate with, was unobtrusive and fit in with our crowd really well. When we got the photos back they were exactly what I had expected them to be. They were really perfect and he captured everything we wanted. 


BRIDE’S DRESS: As a stylist I knew this would be the hardest thing for me as I am always seeing new things and changing my mind. I always knew I didn’t want anything over the top, but something sexy and simple. I looked at all the couture bridal houses but couldn’t find anything I liked so I decided to have something made. I originally tried a designer in Australia, but it was too hard to do from New York. I then had another seamstress here do something, but it didn’t work out either and we turned it into something I could use for a shoot. Literally weeks before the wedding I still had no dress, I searched everywhere, and finally came across a vintage couture gown on an online auction which I fought for, bought it and had it shipped from the UK.  I had only seen it in photos and knew it would only arrive a week before the wedding, so the obsessive stylist in me thought it would be safe to have a backup, so I pulled a favour with a design friend and flew to LA to meet with Michael Costello and we literally created a dress on the spot, and I flew out that night and had the dress sent to me a few days later. Both dresses arrived the week before the wedding, and as luck would have it, they were both perfect. So different but exactly what I wanted to wear, so I ended up wearing both. The Elie Saab was completely beaded, cap sleeved with sheer panels on the chest and waist and a completely open back, long and slim fitted, and the Michael Costello was white super low cut, and low back with a big flowing skirt with a long train, which was made up of almost 15 yards of fabric. I wore the couture for the ceremony, with my custom headpiece and Reem Acra veil and then the Costello for the party with huge crystal Balmain earrings. 

BRIDE’S SHOES: Proenza Schouler – white strappy with signature Proenza square hardware.

BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES: I fell in love with a Emillo Pucci runway look almost a year ago, and decided I wanted the bridesmaids to look sexy, trendy and in that style. I ended up having a Parsons graduate custom make the dresses for me. They were probably the most work out of everything and there were a few trial and errors to get them right, plus all my bridesmaids lived on opposite ends of the globe, so we made them all made by measurement and then altered the week of the wedding. They wore cropped cap sleeve tops and a full skirt in like a light beige geometric floral fabric. They then all changed into black Reformation low back dresses for the party. 

BRIDESMAID’S SHOES: They all wore their own. 

FLOWERGIRLS/PAGEBOY OUTFITS: The page boy was my one year old nephew, Asher, and he wore a little white Gucci shirt & bowtie, with tux pants. The ‘flower girl’ was our puppy dog Brooklyn, she wore a handmade floral head piece around her neck. 

JEWELLERY/ACCESSORIES: I picked my accessories months before I even knew what dress I was wearing. I got a custom floral headpiece made by a designer in the UK (inspired by a Zuhair Murad show) and it was made of porcelain flowers and crowned around the back of the head, open at the front. I got my cathedral lace veil made by Reem Acra. The Balmain earrings I bought assuming to wear at the rehearsal dinner, but loved them so much I ended up saving them for the actual wedding day. 

WEDDING RINGS: The engagement ring was a Tiffany style six prong, and our wedding rings were rose gold, very simple but made exactly the same by a jeweler in the diamond district of New York. However on the day I got married with my Grandmothers ring - a family tradition.

GROOMSMEN ATTIRE: Oliver wore a Givenchy black slim cut tuxedo and custom star collar tips, with a Gucci white modern shirt, white bowtie and black Lanvin shoes. The Groomsmen all worn black Calvin Klein tuxedos and black bowties.  I wanted all the boys to look sharp and dapper, and there were so many of them, I knew that the safest option was a black tux. 

HAIR: My hair was styled loosely in a massive french braid. My hair stylist was Ryan Mitchell, the best editorial hair stylist I know. An Aussie boy in New York and he was incredible. I don’t know anyone else who could have done such a perfect job for me. He did my hair for all the events that week and killed it. My colourist was Ryal Pearl (also a legend colourist) and they both work at Cutler Salon on West Broadway. 

MAKEUP: Another incredible Australian in New York is makeup artist Stoj Bulic. I had worked with her many times before and knew she was the one to use on my big day. 

STATIONERY/INVITATIONS: The invitations tied back to the original save the date and were again, very romantic and relaxed. We had them printed in a light beige font on thick card stock, wrapped in thin rope inside a full lace envelope, and sealed with a light grey personal wax seal stamp. 

FAVORS/BONBONNIERE: We had a lot of overseas guests (108 to be exact), so we wanted something iconic and New York based. We gave a gorgeous Coffee table book called ‘Humans of New York’, and cookies from Dean & Deluca in different shapes of New York landmarks. We also put in a custom note to each of the guests and recommendations of restaurants, shops and place to see in New York. 

FLOWERS & BOUQUETS: My florist was by far the main reason my wedding turned out to be the incredible dream setting and look. Her name was Jenevive Peralta, who was the most talented human I have had the pleasure of working with. She literally took my vision and created it into something I couldn’t have even thought up. I wanted the whole venue to look like an overgrown rose garden, with hanging wisteria, vines everywhere, really loose and effortless, but soft and romantic. Everything from the table floral arrangements, the tent, to the suspended chuppah from the ceiling, to the bouquet were assortments of different wild roses. I went to the flower market with her a week before the wedding and chose the flowers, all whites and greenery. The photos do not even do it justice, I was blown away on the day when I walked into the venue. 

VIDEOGRAPHY: We used Tweed Video, and I chose them from recommendations and then there previous videos were exactly what we would have wanted. We just asked them to capture as much of the fun and love in the room as they could. We havn’t got the video back yet, but they were fantastic and we expect to be happy with the result. 

PREPARATION: We were staying at the south loft at the Wythe hotel, which is a really trendy boutique hotel in Williamsburg and has stunning views of the city. The morning of the wedding we all got ready at the hotel, with breakfast, hair & makeup pretty much all morning. I had all the bridesmaids there, my mum, sister & dad. Oliver was a few blocks away at our apartment with all the Groomsmen and his mum. 

CEREMONY DÉCOR: We got married in a room which was literally covered wall to wall in ivy, with a huge skylight, it was really breathtaking, so all I asked for was an incredible floral chuppah. I didn’t really know what or how it would look in the end, but it came out better than I could have imagined. We also got wooden carts to stand on which the florist had flowers spilling out of, and we had a live acoustic singer next to us, who sang while the guests entered.

RECEPTION DÉCOR: I pretty much chose everything and designed the whole room, down to the different style glasses, plates, silverware, salvaged wood tables, linen, crystal vases, etc. I am a very hands on person and am used to doing a lot of creative direction, so I loved this part of the process. I was heavily involved in everything, and sourced items from all over the place, ordering things online and going to antique markets. It was all tied into the romantic floral theme, very neutral colours and lavish table settings on big wooden long farm tables, silver charger plates, large crystal candelabras and flowers everywhere. The setting for dinner was outside in a clear tent in an ivy garden with the Queensbourough bridge in the foreground, so it was pretty easy to work around that. 

WEDDING PLANNER: I was fortunate enough to have a close friend who is a very successful event coordinator in New York, she guided me in the initial stages, pointing me in the right direction with vendors and gave me a lot of advice, however I was on my own for the most part. It was a little terrifying and very overwhelming, I managed on my own for most of it but then I finally decided to get someone in to basically pull all the pieces together and run the production side of it closer to the event. Her name was Lauren Sozman, from Lolli event and she was great, and managed everything for me, from the contracts, final payments, timelines, etc. I couldn’t have done it without a planner in the end and am so happy I did that! 


CAKE: No cake, just lots of incredible deserts. 

WEDDING SONGS: I walked down the isle to Corrine Bailey Ray, Just like a star. We had our first dance under the chuppah to Nothing at All, by Alison Kraus, and had my father daughter dance to Just the Way you are. All these songs were sang by vocalist Amanda Brown. 

ENTERTAINMENT: We had the Village Underground play, they are an incredible band which play at an iconic underground music venue in New York. We knew we wanted them the first time we heard them play. My husband created the playlist, it was a range of old school covers, really fun and easy to dance to. 

FOOD & BEVERAGES: We had Sonnier & Castle cater, they are top in New York and the food was out of this world. We went for two tastings, and decided on a menu with a light salad to start and an option for three types of main course. We also had six custom bars set up which were all different stations for different types of drinks, like the vodka bar, the wine bar, the tequila bar, etc. 

TRANSPORT: We had pre-ordered Ubers.

HONEYMOON: We always planned on doing our honeymoon at the end of the year in South Africa, but straight after the wedding we went to Montauk with friends from home, which was just another party in itself. We were so exhausted so as soon as all our guests left we booked a one way flight to Costa Rica, and then went via Nicaragua for a week, and then Mexico for the last week. It was very impromptu, but exactly what we needed. We travelled around a lot, but I would definitely recommend Tulum and Playa Del Carmen. I had been there before a few times for work, but it’s a great honeymoon spot. Stunning white sand beaches, incredible restaurants, cave diving, and tequila! 

GIFT REGISTRY: Restoration We just moved into our new apartment, so this was the best place for everything, they have the most incredible furniture, décor and the best Belgium bed linen ever!! 

CELEBRANT: Because we were not having a religious ceremony we decided to have my brother marry us. Oliver and I are both very close to him so it made sense to have him perform the ceremony. We had him registered in New York, which was relatively easy and he did a great job. We wrote our own vows and the whole thing was very emotional and pretty special. 

READINGS: We both wrote our own vows, separately… yet they funnily enough had a lot of similarities. I started crying on the first line I said mine. 

ANY OTHER SPECIAL DETAILS: We had welcome drinks for all the guests at the Penthouse at the Standard Hotel on the Thursday night prior to the wedding, which was pretty spectacular. There were 360’ views of New York on the most beautiful day. We also hired out The Fat Radish for our rehearsal/shabbat dinner the Friday night, we hosted 70 of our closest friends & family, and had the tables covered in old polaroid cameras, huge four foot braided challahs along each table and had speeches by our parents. It was a really perfect night and perfect venues for both events. 

SOURCES OF INSPIRATION: The Lane obviously! I literally had a folder on my desktop and every time there was something small that I liked I pulled the image into there and kept referring back to them.  

A MEMORABLE MOMENT: Holding mum and dads hand down the isle, and the butterflies and tears that came as I got in front of Oli under the chuppah.  

ONE THING I WISH I KNEW BEFORE I STARTED MY WEDDING PLANS: That New Yorkers are crazy and book things so far in advance that it was almost impossible to lock down a date and venue that didn’t conflict with something else. Also, there is no amount of planning that you can do to avoid the chaos that surrounds the wedding when it all starts happening. You just need to enjoy it and don’t stress. I was very lucky to have a really incredible support team around me which helped keep me relaxed and do things for me when I felt overwhelmed. 

IF I COULD GIVE OTHER BRIDES TO BE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE: Make sure you have a good wedding planner who is organised, experienced and aggressive in the planning process. It makes the world of difference. 

Don’t drink too much, you want to remember the night! 


PHOTOGRAPHY: Levi Stolove Photography

HAIR: Ryan Mitchell

MAKEUP: Stoj Bulic

FLORIST: Jenevieve Peralta

CATERING: Sonnier & Castle

CELEBRANT: Dean Leibowitz


VIDEOGRAPHER: Tweed Weddings

GIFT REGISTRY: Restoration Hardware

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