A venue bottling up the magic of New York City, Amanda & CK were married at Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn with sweeping views of the iconic skyline. Softening the converted 1901 industrial building’s timeworn brick walls and black and white tiles, an ethereal ceremony backdrop was created with draped silk inspired by the bride’s gown. Adding warmth and ambience, flickering candles were woven amongst sculptural blooms and strings of festoon lights were suspended above.
180 hand-painted ten-foot branches hung from the ceiling in the reception space at the Wythe Hotel and sculptural hydrangea formations were a play on shape and scale. Tables were draped in linen, artfully dotted with white fruit, hydrangea, 15 inch taper candles and scatterings of salt.
Names / Amanda Scot Ellis & CK Swett
Wedding Date / January 21st, 2023
Guest Numbers / 128
Budget / $110k
How We Met
Tinder. We texted a bit before our first date, and when I told him I am an interior designer, he said “ok I’ll dress like an Eames chair to impress you”
Our Engagement Story
By the time we “officially” got engaged, we’d already – as a couple – designed and paid for the ring, and booked the photographer, florist, and DJ. Our first date was at Lilia, and when CK suggested we change our dinner plans from another restaurant to an outdoor table at Lilia, I was suspicious there might be a proposal but not certain, because I didn’t think the ring was ready yet. When we sat down, CK was as casual as I’ve ever seen him, but I couldn’t help myself and said “now would be a great time to get engaged!” His only response was “Amanda!!!” And then he bent to one knee and pulled out the ring.
What We Love Most About Each Other…
Agreeing to walk together into the unknown. We don’t know what the future holds, but we know we are each other’s best chance. It’s saying to each other “I’m going to place all my bets on you, and I promise to be worthy of your bets too.”
“When we sat down, CK was as casual as I’ve ever seen him, but I couldn’t help myself and said “now would be a great time to get engaged!” His only response was “Amanda!!!” And then he bent to one knee and pulled out the ring.”
We were drawn to The Wythe firstly because their restaurant, Le Crocodile, is one of our favorites, so we knew the catering would be tops. The Wythe Hotel is perfect for hosting a January wedding: the ceremony was in the covered garden, the reception was in the main hall, the after party was in the screening room, the after-after party was at Bar Blondeau, and the brunch the next morning was back at Blondeau. Out of town guests stayed at the Wythe or in one of the other 3 hotels on that block. There were no transportation logistics to sort out and no one had to suffer January in Brooklyn if they didn’t want to!
Black Tie Winter White-Out
We didn’t have a bridal party, but I did invite 13 women to get ready with me, and we had a hair & makeup team for anyone who wanted it. My sister had asked everyone to submit songs that remind them of me to a shared playlist, and we listened to it all day and drank a lot of champagne and ate croissants. CK got ready for the wedding with his parents. He’s an only child, and the pictures of the three of them getting ready are so special.
“Walking in to see everyone I love dressed to the nines in black and white, with the music playing and the warm glow of candlelight – it was one of the best moments of my life.”
Theresa Kelly. We wanted someone with a true artist’s eye, someone who would capture a feeling rather than a shot list. We wanted wedding photos that felt candid, editorial, cinematic. CK and I both have art backgrounds and it was fun to meet Theresa and discover we share a lot of the same references and inspiration. Building a friendship with her was one of our favorite parts of wedding planning.
Nikki handled the ceremony on her own and it was heavenly. Inspired by my wedding dress, she draped an ivory silk across the back wall and made these sort of tall sculptures entirely from hydrangea. Walking in to see everyone I love dressed to the nines in black and white, with the music playing and the warm glow of candlelight – it was one of the best moments of my life.
I feel like the luckiest bride in the world that my best friend is the majorly talented Nikki Pettus of Strega Flora. Her style is hyper-artistic, romantic, and as quirky as the event will allow her. I’ve seen her style a table with plastic dinosaurs. She and I have been scheming for my hypothetical wedding for years. When it became a reality, I knew I wanted a monochromatic color scheme with a focus on scale and texture. For a long time I thought I wanted the whole event to be in shades of Yves Klein blue, but when we booked the Wythe with its warm brick walls and wooden floors, we pivoted to all-white instead. The tables had arrangements of hydrangea, sweet pea, and dried helichrysum and we used small votives to supplement the 15” white taper candles. I love how Nikki often uses fruits in her tablescapes, but to keep it all-white my sister and I spent the holidays plasterizing 200-ish plastic pears, figs, oranges, and dried poppy pods. I loved the fruits! A lot of guests stole them off the tables at the end of the night, which made me happy. At some point during wedding planning, I ordered oysters at dinner and they came out on a bed of beautiful, fluffy white salt. I texted Nikki and said I wanted to cover the tables in salt. Sourcing the perfect salt became a massive joke between us, but I do like the way it turned out in the end.
An even bigger joke of the wedding and something I will probably never live down in my family is the ask I made of my father. Nikki and I had the idea to cover the ceiling in long white branches, and my father has access to a property where they are often pruning dogwood & elm. I asked him if he could start setting some branches aside for me to paint over the holidays, but I should’ve known that he – a restless obsessive who loves a project and widely celebrated World’s Best Dad – would take the assignment and run. He ended up hand-painting 180 ten-foot branches and he and my mother drove them to the wedding in a U-Haul. I don’t think we were able to use even half of them in the end but he’s an overkill kind of guy. His father of the bride speech was dedicated to the branches, and now everyone is in on it. He’s really the best.
Headpieces & Veils
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Wedding Planner & Stylist
My day-of coordinators were Ashley and Dawn of Dawn Mauberret events. I cannot recommend them highly enough. Because of them, I felt like I could truly be in the moment and relax on my wedding day.
Hydrangeas were a given from the start because they become so sculptural en masse, and we knew we wanted to play up shape and scale. Because I’m so drawn to texture, bleached amaranth was all over my early mood boards. I love the uniform soft white and the sort of alien drippiness of it. What I didn’t know is how toxic the bleaching process is. It is the ethos of Nikki and Strega Flora to only use materials and processes that are non-harmful to the planet, and as her best friend and biggest fan I gladly welcomed alternative ideas. We settled on yearning desert amaranth – same idea but all natural – and something we both learned 48 hours before the wedding: only grown in Israel and definitely not available when we needed it. Nikki called an audible at the flower market and replaced it with fluffy Japanese sweet pea, and it turned out to be better than our original plan. My bouquet is one of the weird things I miss most about the wedding. I loved it so much. It was mostly sweet pea and orchids, but Nikki worked in some painted twigs that had broken off the branches, and I snuck in the vintage pin some friends had given me as a bachelorette gift that says “love”. I wish I could’ve kept that bouquet forever.
Our Save the Dates were printed through Minted using a photo that our friend Victor took of us during an engagement shoot. Our invitations were by Idyll Paper. Our menus were designed and printed (on Idyll paper) by Foxy & Winston.
We served cookies (salted chocolate chip) and cupcakes (earl grey cake with white chocolate buttercream). We had mini espresso martinis passed around on the dance floor.
Fashion & Beauty Notes
Bride’s Dress & Shoes
My wedding dress was the ‘Sterling’ by Louvienne, and then I changed into a black mini dress by Solace London.
Wedding Rings, Jewelry & Accessories
My engagement ring is a 2-carat cushion cut champagne diamond, set in a custom-modified 18K gold ‘Monroe’ setting by Greenwich St Jewelers. The wedding band is Greenwich St Jeweler’s ‘Charlton’. CK does not wear a wedding band and instead got a tattoo of an A on his ring finger the week before the wedding. Many jokes about how he was having cold feet and/or how there are 12,000 common names that begin with A followed.
Hair & Makeup
Stefanie and the team at Pre-Dame Beauty are the best I have ever worked with, for any wedding or otherwise. The first thing I noticed about their brides was how gorgeous everyone’s skin looked. I loved my trial, but Stefanie and I decided together on wedding day to change the look to a heavier eye and subtler lip than we’d planned. We were going for dramatic and timeless. And whatever she did to my skin – it was flawless. My hair was in a loose sort of french twist. I’ve never felt more beautiful.
By elevator! We did not leave the building all weekend. It was so luxurious.
We haven’t planned one yet. I’m glad we have that to look forward to.
Ceremony Song: “Moon River” By Audrey Hepburn
After Ceremony Song: River By Leon Bridges
First Dance: “Can’t Nobody Love You” By The Zombies
CK was adamant (with no objection from me) that we hire his friend Lukas Walters to DJ. They used to party together in their younger years and are nostalgic for the same stuff. He had us fill out a thorough questionnaire, but besides our no-play list we let him take the reins. He knows how to read the room. It was a GREAT party.
We were married by my uncle Neal, and there was no contest. It couldn’t have been anyone else.
Last summer, we unexpectedly lost my grandmother, who I was very close with. She was a huge lover of poetry, and when we were clearing out her house, I picked up her copy of Rumi. She had bookmarked “Blessing The Marriage” She didn’t know we were getting engaged at the time of her stroke – I had a plan to surprise her, but it didn’t happen in time – so I can’t say for certain it was saved for me, but I have a feeling it was. My cousin Savannah read it at the ceremony in her honor.
A memorable moment…
At the very end of the night, we returned to our bridal suite, sat down, and both started openly cry-laugh-crying. We were a hot, blissful mess. It was the best night of all time.
One thing I wish I knew before I started my wedding plans…
It is going to take up so much of your mental energy. You’ll be happy to have your brain back when it’s over.
Sources of inspiration…
Pinterest, but mostly content that wasn’t wedding-specific: art, nature, fashion, etc.
Wedding Venue / Wythe Hotel
Bride’s Dress / Louvienne
Bride’s Shoes / JimmyChoo
Wedding Rings / Greenwich Jewelers
Stationery / Idyll Paper
Entertainment / Lucas Walters