On a cold, miserable January night in 2017, Natalia Christenson planned to get into pajamas and watch TV, but a co-worker invited her to see a band in New York City. The decision to go changed her life. In the crowded bar, Natalia, 32, of Summit, found herself near Tommy Landers, 27, of Teaneck, and they chatted a bit. Natalia was about to leave without saying goodbye to Tommy, but he was such a nice guy that she felt compelled to turn back and find him. They went out a few weeks later. “It was the most wonderful first date of my life and the rest is history,” Natalia says. “He’s always optimistic, he’s always positive, and he has this soft, calming presence. If I were to draw up everything I would be looking for in the perfect person, it would be Tommy.”
Will you marry me?:
Natalia and Tommy were walking across New York’s Central Park on a rainy, gusty day in November 2019, when Tommy stopped near a scenic pond, with his sisters waiting on a nearby bridge, and dropped to one knee. The foul weather made the proposal even more special because the usually crowded area was empty. “It felt like such a personal, intimate moment,” the bride says. “It was so perfect.”
Details of the day:
By the time their August 8, 2020, wedding date arrived, the months of uncertainty and stress of wedding planning during the Covid-19 pandemic lifted, and Natalia and Tommy enjoyed a beautiful wedding day. “It was overwhelmingly surreal and magical,” the bride says. The couple tied the knot in a 3:00 p.m. socially distanced wedding ceremony at Natalia’s childhood church, St. Teresa of Avila in Summit, and celebrated at a tented, outdoor reception at the Hamilton Farm Golf Club with plenty of space. “It was fun, everyone danced, and we had a great time. It was the best day of our lives.”
The reception was elegant and romantic, full of candles and roses, the peachy colors of summer—including real peaches in the centerpieces—perfect weather and breathtaking scenery. After not knowing if the wedding would even happen due to the pandemic and because her original venue canceled on her just five weeks before her big day, Natalia says the event was so amazing. “It felt like there was this halo over the day,” she says. “It was like a miraculous bubble of perfection, and everything melted away and we were so grateful.”
Natalia stunned in a Reem Acra A-line wedding gown with a high neckline, short sleeves and three-dimensional floral appliqués, while Tommy wore a classic custom tuxedo by Black Lapel. Her bridesmaids chose their own long, summery, floral-patterned dresses, and the groomsmen wore dark-blue suits.
Their photographer whisked the couple off to take photos as the sun was setting. “It felt like a fairy tale,” Natalia says. “It was a moment in the midst of the whirlwind of the wedding where we were pulled away to this really beautiful place and had this wonderful moment.”
The diamond chandelier earrings that Natalia’s mom had handmade for her in India. “I’ve never worn anything so beautiful in my entire life,” Natalia says.
What went wrong:
In addition to the couple’s original venue canceling on them abruptly, they lost a block of hotel rooms and dealt with the aftermath of Tropical Storm Isaias, including power outages in the days before their wedding. But Natalia knew everything would work out, and she urges brides to believe the same. “All of the challenges are just things you have to roll with and accept and not get too worked up about,” she says. “At the end of the day, you found a wonderful person that you want to spend the rest of your life with.”
After a honeymoon to visit Big Sur and the Napa Valley in California, the couple is at home in New York City.