A Fashion Stylist's Guide to NYC Weddings

— Wedding Reception Planning

Planning A City Wedding
Planning A City Wedding

Our favorite city weddings are defined by intimacy; a serenity born not from seclusion, but immersion. These are weddings that feed off the city, ceremonies that draw on the energies that reverberate around every corner. They are weddings held on rooftops and in warehouses, spaces transformed with dramatic florals and suspended lighting. They are stories informed by their city, unions unfolding before iconic skylines and inimitable backdrops…

The recent nuptials of fashion stylist Julie Brooke Williams and advertising creative Mathieu Zarbatany beautifully captures the essence of a New York City wedding. Boldly embracing its surrounds, their wedding was held in a creative Brooklyn event space filled with a guest list of fashion photographers, directors, stylists, designers, writers and artists. Dressed in prêt-à-porter from the likes of Proenza Schouler, Acne Studios and Gianvito Rossi, this is a wedding defined by the city, and the aesthetic and creative spirit that resides within it.

We caught up with Julie to find out how her day unfolded and her top tips for throwing a chic city NYC wedding...

What was the inspiration for your wedding?
We wanted it to feel like a party so our inspiration was to keep everything fun. As we were planning, if anything became too stressful we reminded ourselves that the minutiae didn't really matter - that no one would remember whether we had this specific side dish, that song, that fork, etc... we kept it grounded and kept in mind the kind of wedding we'd want to be a guest at. 

Why was NYC the perfect location?
We decided we wanted to get married locally, because we fell in love here and it's our home... and we didn't want to totally inconvenience our friends, we knew we'd be inviting only a small bunch so we wanted to ensure our closest friends could be present.

(Interview below the gallery)

Tell us the story behind your dress and look:
I found my dress at Barneys NY one day while I was shopping by alone. I worked for Barneys as a stylist, and remembered putting the Proenza Schouler dress on our model in the showroom, and thinking what a bold wedding dress it would make. 

I had been to a couple of bridal showrooms and high-end shops before this and tried on a lot of stuff, but when I saw the dress hanging in Barneys, it was the only one.It was a size too big, but I tried it on. It felt totally right. It wasn't perfect, it needed to be heavily tailored, and I needed to get back to the gym to feel great in it, but it felt right. I immediately purchased it. I tried on a few things after, just to be sure, and every time I did, it made me love my dress more. 

I paired it with Gianvitto Rossi "Peggy" sandals with a lucite heel, and simple oversized modern earrings by Hannah K. I obsessed about my earrings, and pulled/purchased at least 15 pairs, but the ones I wore I purchased the day before in a shop named Orobo in Williamsburg. I also had a lower heeled shoe that I put on when I couldn't take the pain anymore - a pixie sandal by Aquazurra.

I decided very last minute to wear a simple veil, and borrowed a two-tier, elbow-length veil from my dear friend Molly at Yestadt Millinery. I accessorized it with some large orchids sourced by my friend and florist Jackie at ExtraFloral. The only other thing I wore was my father's wedding band on my right hand, as he passed away when I was young and it was my way of keeping him with me. 

How did you choose your venue?

We looked at a lot of venues in the Brooklyn area, as we searched we realized how pricey everything is and why a lot of couples look to marry upstate or in the country.

A friend of mine was working with Kinfolk 94, and I connected with their events manager for a tour. It's a perfect mix of modern and hippie (just like us) and felt casual but chic. The price was affordable and they had our ideal date free – it was a no brainer. The venue is set up like a beautiful speakeasy/club, and half the venue is encased by a gorgeous geometric dome that refuses to be ignored.It is such a beautiful space with a great vibe and an effortless style.

How did NYC influence your styling and aesthetic choices?
I feel that in general, NYC and Brooklyn specifically reflect my style in everyday life. I'm a native here and a New Yorker to the core. Mathieu has been here for over a decade and also embodies such a NYC lifestyle - we wanted our celebration to feel metropolitan and chic, but also real and not too fussy. We encouraged our guests to dress outrageously fun, we served Jewish deli, we toasted with beer and cocktails, the decor was minimal and Mathieu wore sneakers with his suit.

In a vibrant city like New York with a myriad of post ceremony picture backdrops, what space did you gravitate toward?
We honestly didn't want to travel too far, or have to start taking photos so many hours before the ceremony. When we scouted around the neighborhood, as well, everything felt so "Williamsburg-y", and to us, we wanted the city streets to fall behind and the images be centered on us rather than the environment. Mathieu and I scouted weeks before to find the right areas and streets very close by that would most likely be the least crowded. We wanted clean walls, no graffiti or logos, it was a challenge to find... we settled for the cleanest walls we could locate in a two block radius. There was construction next to the venue, and a huge U-Haul parked in front the entire time that showed up in so many of my friends’ photos – you can't control everything! We went with the flow.

What was your experience choosing the perfect vendors to execute your vision style? 
When it came to vendors, we wanted everything to be local and have that New York feeling. Vendors that live or work in the city also have a better idea of how to navigate the particularities of parking and loading/unloading in busy spaces!

To coordinate all our vendors, we hired Elise from Starling on Bond. She helped us coordinate vendor deliveries, payments and everything in between!

For catering, we went with Joel from Mile End, a French Canadian Jewish Deli in NYC that serves smoked meats, latkes, poutine, white fish salad on handmade bagel chips etc. We went in for a tasting and knew it was meant to be!  

Our florals were done by Jackie Hartnett of Extrafloral. She used exotic florals and romantic whites mixed with lots of green which really softened our space.

JULIE AND MATHIEU’S CONTACTS:

PHOTOGRAPHY: Paul O’Reilly

BRIDE’S DRESS: Proenza Schouler

BRIDE’S SHOES: Gianvito Rossi, Aquazzura

BRIDESMAID’S DRESS: Rachel Zoe

BRIDESMAID’S SHOES: Aldo

FLOWERGIRL’S DRESS: Miss Maticevski

PAGE BOY’S SUIT: J. Crew

GROOM’S SUIT: Acne Studios

GROOM’S SHOES: Jill Sander

JEWELRY: Ceremonial ring from Mania Mania, wedding band from Mociun, earrings from Hannah K and Mathieu’s wedding band from Anna Sheffield

HAIR: Amber Duarte

MAKEUP: Erin Green

FLORIST: Extrafloral

CAKE: Empire Cake

CATERING: Mile End

WEDDING PLANNER: Elise from Starling on Bond

CELEBRANT: Alexandre Frenette

VENUE: Kinfolk 94

ENTERTAINMENT: DJ Lindsey

HONEYMOON: Amalfi Coast, Italy

REGISTRY: Zola

PHOTOBOOTH: Party Shots New York

DÉCOR: Patina Rentals

TAILOR: Carol Ai

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