For Hoboken residents Genna and Steven, a venue with a view of the NYC skyline was a must. Their Battello wedding was filled with nods to the Big Apple, from a vintage NYC taxi to a vendor who made hand-spun mozzarella on-site.
The couple met on Hinge in August 2020 (mid-pandemic) after Genna had come back from a month of remote working and living in Florida with her grandparents. Genna already had a one-way ticket to Colorado to live with her friend for a bit in October, so the couple didn’t think much of dating for those few months knowing a looming “end” was nearing. In a turn of events, Genna randomly invited Steven out to Colorado a few weeks in. He boarded a plane (N-95 mask and all) to a complete strangers home after about 7 dates. “We had so much fun in Colorado, and by the time we came back it felt like we had been together for years,” says Genna.
They got engaged on October 14, 2021. Before Genna left for Colorado, the couple had had one “last first date” to say goodbye. Steven proposed at that same spot, on the same date. “I, of course, didn’t put two and two together but I had a feeling he was onto something that night,” says Genna. “He proposed in the kitchen of his studio apartment, a place that meant so much to us throughout our relationship (reminder: pandemic times). There were flowers and Steven laid out a series photos of our big memories and milestones each with a note on the back that I had to flip over to read the message, at the end he was down on one knee,” says Genna. That night, they went to celebrate with Genna’s parents who also live in Hoboken and Steven had organized a dinner for their families to meet the following night, which was the ultimate surprise.
“Our wedding on April 29, 2023 was NYC-centric, as we have been Hoboken residents for many years and we only looked at Battello as a venue since we knew it was the one and only that we could envision getting married at with the amazing views, food, and basically in our little city,” says Genna. Genna and the bridesmaids (including her sister as maid of honor, mom and grandma) got ready in a community room on the rooftop floor of their high-rise apartment building while the groomsmen (including dads and grandpas) were in their two-bedroom apartment a few floors lower.
“My mom did my make-up and my childhood hairstylist did my hair. She has done my hair for my communion, proms and every haircut throughout my life since I was 5! It was so special having these women be such an important part of my life and also on this big day,” says Genna.
Genna did a first look with her dad and her bridesmaids. The bridal party took a trolley to the church while Genna, her parents and her sister took a vintage NYC taxi (@filmcarsny).
They got married two blocks away from their apartment at St. Ann’s Church in Hoboken. They created custom newspapers (@newspaperclub) as programs in the church, which featured the processional on the back, but most importantly their parents’ and grandparents’ wedding photos and anniversaries in the inside as homage.
It was pouring rain and their dog-walker brought their 1-year old rescue puppy, Margot, to meet them after mass for a few photos. “Steven and I embraced the downpour and took some photos with the taxi outside the church before heading to Battello for our bridal party and family photos. Despite the rain, it was the perfect solution since Battello greeted us with drinks and everyone was able to hang out in the space before guests arrived,” says Genna.
All was calm until everything kicked off for cocktail hour, including the hand-spun mozzarella vendor they brought in (@vinniesmootz) to be make on-site for guests. “We found Vinnie by chance, and our guests loved the ‘interactive’ touch seeing him swirl the mozzarella around,” says Genna.
In terms of custom elements, Steven’s mom and step-dad helped make the seating chart by cutting the foam boards, designing square cubes and ordering monogram stickers from Etsy. The couple also made custom Chapsticks that had a wedding design with their names and date as part of the bathroom bins that guests were encouraged to take with them. They also had custom cocktail-sized napkins (@foryourparty) and cocktail toppers (@theedibledesignco) of their monogram from the invitation, and featured on the menus. Each guest had a wooden nameplate which was placed at their seat to make the experience super personalized to them.”Our guests were able to leave messages on our audio guestbook (@fetefone),” says Genna, “which was such a fun treat to receive all the messages, well wishes and voices after our wedding.” For signature drinks they brought in a local brewing company beer (Bodi Blonde from Hoboken Brewing Company) which was a staple of their relationship. Their signature cocktail was a “Margot-rita” in reference to our puppy and favorite drink. Their wedding cake was a vintage design with the brides’ grandparents’ cake topper from their wedding 60 years ago. Plus, they included the zeppole bar add-on from Battello and also brought in Bang Cookies (@bangcookies). “It’s something we are known for since we always send them to friends as gifts, bring to events, and Steven LOVES chocolate chip cookies.”
“At the end of the night, we hired the Pizza Vita (@pizzavitanj) food truck,” says Genna. “We created custom ‘Just Married/Mr. & Mrs. Savarese’ pizza boxes for our guests to take with them as they headed out, or to our after party which was the icing on the cake and I think one of the surprising hits of the night as this wasn’t something we had originally planned to do but it was one of my favorites!”
A few more special things: the bride’s earrings were passed down from her great grandmother, and the bride wore her mom’s wedding dress to the rehearsal dinner. The groom’s four sisters weren’t bridesmaids but had a part in walking down the aisle in midi-dresses of the bridesmaids style/color. They did maid-of-honor and best man speeches at the rehearsal dinner with a more intimate group of people, at Antique Loft (@antiquelofthoboken).
“Battello speaks for itself,” says Genna. “It’s unlike any other venue we’ve seen and you can’t compare the views anywhere else! Besides the food and service (which we enjoyed for many years for dinners) the space has such great ambiance. We love how we barely needed any decorating/florals and could focus on the more important things to us.”
Cocktail hour included a hand-spun mozzarella station from Vinnie’s Mootz. He offered regular and three stuffed mootz types including prosciutto and roasted peppers, housemade sundried tomatoes with sriracha spread, and broccoli rabe. The venue-provided stations included a pasta station (rigatoni cacio e pepe, ricotta gnocchi with sweet sausage bolognese), a carving station (aged ribeye with horseradish cream, porchetta with salsa verde), and more.
Dinner started with a harvest greens salad followed by the following entree choices: boneless short ribs with swiss chard, potato gratin, short rib jus; roasted Atlantic salmon with roasted artichoke, tomato confit, fingerlings garnished with english pea emulsion; and seasonal vegetable risotto (vegetarian option).
Dessert included coffee and tea service with house-made biscotti. The wedding cake was vanilla cake with cannoli filling. There was a warm zeppole station with Tahitian spiked vanilla and lemon scented zeppoles tossed in sugar and served with housemade nutella cream and burnt bourbon caramel dipping sauces.
“I didn’t know what style I wanted at all,” says Genna. “I went in with an open mind and let the professionals do their job. I Do I Do was the first place we went and I loved how the stylist picked styles she felt like would be right for me based on my feedback/thoughts. My dress was the third dress I tried on (and I cried) but to be sure we went to two more shops where I basically kept trying to re-create the dress. That’s how I knew it was the one. I cried every time I put it on thinking about Steven at the end of the aisle, it was more about the feeling than the dress. I also didn’t tell anyone details or show my dress to avoid any expectations and added stress around what people knew about, it was truly the best surprising everyone day-of.”
“Our favorite part was taking a moment to ourselves to take it all in,” says Genna. “We took a walk up the staircase at Battello to look down at all our guests and the people who shaped us on the dance floor celebrating this milestone for us which was something we’ll never forget. And of course, walking down the aisle (without a first look) was a special moment too!”
“Our custom pizza boxes were a surprising best thing we did,” says Genna. “They were a last-minute purchase just for fun because I thought it would be so cute (and they weren’t too expensive) but being the end of the night, they ended up being the icing on the cake as our guests were walking out the door and treated to the special boxes. I really am so happy we did them, it was the best thing we did!”
“Try to enjoy the little things,” says Genna. “Make everything special: going for fittings, picking out wedding bands, we even looked through our wedding photos on our TV together with a glass of wine to celebrate. Don’t let one day ruin relationships, and stick together day-of no matter what so you can enjoy all of the small moments of the day. Also, the more you tell people the more expectations there are! We kept most of the little things a surprise just in case something went wrong and to protect ourselves from being stressed day-of. No one (aside from my parents) knew about the food truck, the vintage taxi, the custom newspaper and chapsticks, or even my dress style until day-of which was so great seeing people’s genuine reactions.”
The couple went to South Africa including Cape Town, wine region, a safari (Little Bush Lodge at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve) then Seychelles and Dubai for a night on the way home.