Grace and Scott’s Chateau Grande Hotel wedding featured vibrant pink and purple florals that were romantic and exuded spring. These blossoms set the tone for their elegant yet fun affair.
Grace and Scott met through Scott’s brother and sister-in-law. In 2017, Grace moved into their old apartment and they quickly became good friends. Grace knew of Scott, but never had met him because he lived in New Orleans at the time. In 2019, Grace’s friends and Scott’s parents invited Grace to join the family at a restaurant to celebrate Scott’s 30th birthday. “He joked when he saw me, ‘so, who is this girl crashing my birthday party?'” says Grace. “I loved his sass and I said, ‘let me buy you a drink.’ Scott was smart, funny and right from the start. Later, when I saw his smooth dance moves, that was it. He was the best wedding date ever.”
The couple went to a jeweler in Scott’s hometown and Grace was heavily involved in the process of selecting the ring. It was Thanksgiving 2020 and Grace, who is a wedding photographer, had to shoot someone else’s proposal. Afterward, Scott had planned on proposing to Grace on the Jersey City waterfront. However, before it took place, the couple stopped by his parents’ apartment so he could show them the ring. His mom had just finished her first treatment of her second round of chemo for cancer and she was resting in their bedroom. Grace heard them oohing and ahhing. “I caught a glimpse of Scott’s eyes and we both gestured, why not now? So, rather than wait for an Instagrammable moment, we decided to go with the real-life one. His mom and dad were thrilled we shared our special day with them. His mom passed away three months later,” says Grace.
The couple leaned into an art deco vibe and a roaring twenties theme for their big day on May 20, 2022. “I wanted it to be a fun, elegant affair that communicated, ‘we’re back, we’re vaccinated and hopefully out of the woods after the pandemic.’ I wanted a glamorous event—black-tie optional—sprinkled with a lot of fun,” says Grace. Grace chose vibrant colors with the help of RAM Florals. The centerpieces and floral arrangements were romantic, abundant and exuded spring. A heart-shaped arbor dressed up the ceremony area and was used as a backdrop for the sweetheart table. Her bouquet had white in it, but it popped with vibrant colors—magentas, purples and blues. “I chose different styles of black dresses with sparkling sequins for the bridesmaids’ dresses,” says Grace. “Simply the Best” was the couple’s first-dance song. “My best friend and maid of honor, Allie Moss, is a professional musician and sings with Ingrid Michaelson. She did an amazing performance and our dance was very special,” says Grace.
Chateau Grande Hotel was the perfect setting. “I wanted a new, boutique hotel where people could stay overnight and not have to travel. As soon as I saw the C’est La Vie Bar at Orchard Park by David Burke, the hotel’s restaurant, I knew I didn’t need to look any further,” says Grace. It has an art deco look that suited their theme. “While our wedding was smaller, the Chateau Grande Hotel staff and menu packed a lot of class, finesse and fantastic food into our wedding day. I’ve photographed weddings at Park Chateau Estate—a much larger, over-the-top wedding site with the same owners as Chateau Grande Hotel that is located on the same property. I have witnessed their ability to hold first-class weddings. I was confident that the service and food at Chateau Grande would be as elegant as Park Chateau. It was spot on,” says Grace.
Chef David Burke’s reputation for delivering world class food, beverages and service is well known. “It did not disappoint,” says Grace. The cocktail reception started with 11 passed hors d’oeuvres, including fresh Maine lobster roll, prosciutto fig, deviled egg, seared Wagyu beef, crispy vegetable dumplings, mushroom arancini, falafel, roasted pepper hummus, mini crab cakes, dry-aged prime beef sliders, smoked chicken quesadilla, Chef Burke’s famous clothes line bacon. The fabulous looking and tasting stations included a Mediterranean sampler, a cheese display and breads, a pasta station and carving station with bone in prime rib and roast turkey. They also had a three-course plated dinner with a seasonal burrata salad, a choice of chicken breast seasoned with lemon and thyme and lemon garlic jus or grilled filet mignon with pinot noir reduction. The vegetarian option was roasted oyster mushroom, charred broccoli with miso tomato vinaigrette. Dessert was a slice of the wedding cake from Calandra’s Bakery and David Burke’s signature, whimsical cheesecake lollipop and very fun cotton candy, served family style.
“I went to Kleinfield’s in New York City with my dad, which was a lot of fun and very special for us. I chose a strapless gown with 3-D floral appliqués and a trendy corset top made by Eve of Milady. I loved it as soon as I put it on. I felt beautiful in it. I changed into a lavender sequin dress by Retrofete for the cake cutting ceremony,” says Grace.
“It rained. I was so disappointed. But I could hear Scott saying, ‘Are you really going to let that get you down and spoil our day?’ I adjusted my expectations and got into a fantastic mood and embraced the moment,” says Grace.
Don’t get lost in tiny details. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Look to your friends who are in the industry or who have held a wedding for referrals. Stay within your budget. “Get a friend to be your officiant. It makes your ceremony so much more, personal and real. My friends shared some embarrassing information – which was approved by me beforehand – during our ceremony, it was funny, authentic and sweet. It is something we will remember forever and will retell with our friends and future children. I wouldn’t change a thing,” says Grace. She adds, don’t plan big things after your wedding day because you will be exhausted.
Italy in May to celebrate our one year anniversary.
Eve of Milady, Retrofete (second dress)
Stuart Weitzman+ more