NYC Wedding at the Water Club | New York City Wedding Photographer
Diane and Mark love New York City. The couple met and fell in love there and the city is an important part of who they are. Even though they now live in the Bay Area of California, they knew New York was the place for their celebration. We met up on a cloudy Saturday in September.
Diane and Mark both got ready at the Roger Hotel in the Flatiron District of Manhattan. We then look a white stretch limo around to some of their favorite New York City spots. We visited Brooklyn Heights, the East Village, and finally Grand Central Station. Our final destination was The Water Club which sits on the East River. Here, Diane and Mark met up with friends and family for an evening of NYC wedding festivities. It was colorful, kitschy, and most of all, fun! In other words, it was perfect for this amazing couple!
I asked Diane to tell me more about their story, the wedding day, and the inspiration behind it all:
Diane and Mark’s New York City Love Story
Mark and I met at a mutual friend’s birthday party on Sunday, September 9, 2012. The party was at our friend’s apartment on the Upper East Side. She and her husband had a nice patio for day drinking and grilling oysters. For some reason, I took extra care in getting ready that day. I made sure to wear one of my favorite dresses, and I had a general feeling of anticipation and happiness. I wasn’t expecting anything in particular to happen, and knew it would be the usual crowd.
I was already there, chatting with friends, when Mark showed up. Everyone else seemed to know him, but I had never seen him before. Our friends were skeptical that we’d never met, as we’d both been friends with everyone else for years. I complimented his sneakers — he’s an aficionado of shoes — and moved on to other conversations.
In the beginning, I wrote him off. He was most likely too young for me, I thought. But as things progressed, he impressed me with his sense of humor and easy-going manner. Mark sounded great on paper. Three years older than me (surprising given his youthful looks), a lawyer, and a graduate of Michigan and Cornell. As the wine kept flowing, we held hands and talked increasingly only to each other. At the end of the night, I checked my phone. Mark had texted: “Let’s hang out, Y/N?” I said Y.
The next day, hungover at work, I received a follow-up text asking how I was feeling. We ended up chatting on Gchat all day for the next two days, setting up a first date on Wednesday, September 12. We like to say our dating anniversary is 9/11 though, because we already knew by then that we would be together.
On our first date, we decided to dress up and planned to not have a plan. Mark would pick me up at my office in SoHo, and we would see where the streets took us. We ended up going to the San Gennaro Festival in Little Italy, then for some dinner and drinks in the East Village. During the date, he revealed a secret: He had actually known about me before the birthday party.
Mark had seen one of our friends @ me on Twitter. He followed the thread, checked out my profile, and then my personal website. He was interested, and when he saw that I had RSVP’d to the birthday party on Evite, he decided he would go as well. Even though he hadn’t been planning to attend. Mark was going to be spending the night in White Plains (about an hour north of NYC) with his best friend from law school the night before. That would have entailed heavy drinking and staying up all night playing video games. So it turns out I wasn’t the only one who made a special effort getting ready for the party. Mark had rushed home on the train from White Plains earlier that day, showered, and worked on his appearance. All this so he could meet me. The rest is history!
This was a nice little entrée to the day. I wanted to be as surprised by Mark’s outfit as he’d be by mine, so he did his best to hide it from me before the wedding. I knew about certain little things he’d considered, like his colorful cummerbund. I saw him practice tying his bow tie for six months, so those were the things I was eager to examine when I first saw him.
Pineapple Street in Brooklyn Heights
The first year of our relationship, we listened to Chiddy Bang’s “Breakfast” album a lot. The first song, “Intro”, features a little boy saying, “You gotta meet me at the corner of Pineapple Street. And you gotta meet me. If you dare meet me, you’ll never come back home.” Well, for the longest time, weirdly, both of us thought he was saying, “You gotta meet me at the corner of Pineapple Street. And if you don’t meet me, meet me.” We would say that to each other all the time (especially if we were meeting up somewhere), and laugh at the “if you don’t meet me, meet me” part. Except then we realized that wasn’t what he was saying at all. We were like, “Why did we both think that was what he was saying??” We still say it that way sometimes.
Otto’s Shrunken Head Tiki Bar
We love tiki and definitely wanted photos taken at Otto’s Shrunken Head Tiki Bar. We have almost every tiki mug they sell at Otto’s in our collection. It’s where we had our going-away party when moving from New York City to California. The photos Jeff took there are our absolute favorites.
Grand Central Station
We wanted to include locations that were meaningful to us. Both of us spent a ton of time at Grand Central because we lived in Westchester County when we first moved to NY. Every time I’m back in NYC and smell the musty old steam grates outside Grand Central, it feels like home.
The Water Club Wedding Venue
Both of us used to see the Water Club when we’d be riding in taxis on the FDR, so it was somewhat of a curiosity, at least for me. It always looked lively and fancy, but out of the way, like a twinkling blur as we’d drive past. That’s what made me think of it when I was considering venues. I wanted to have the wedding near the water —I don’t know why, but that idea stuck with me.
I looked at venues in Battery Park, Chelsea, and DUMBO before visiting the Water Club. One smelled like fried fish, one was too expensive, and one was too industrial. I actually didn’t think the Water Club was going to be the one. I had this notion that it might be too outdated, and, to be fair, the outside isn’t as impressive as the interior.
My sister and her kids were with me when I went to look at it. I thought we would pop in for a moment, but we ended up staying for over an hour. We fell in love with the space, the view, and especially the catering director, Joanne. I can’t say enough good things about her. I loved her right away for her warmth, her joie de vivre, her crazy stories, and that she’d break into song mid-conversation. She gave me some flowers and hummed the wedding march while painting a picture of how the day could be, and that was it.
The Wedding Ceremony
I messed this up! I meant to start walking down the aisle at a certain point during the song. But I got distracted and missed my cue, and then my dad and I were just standing there waiting for nothing. Finally my dad was like, “Can we go? Let’s go” and we started walking. Fortunately, guests thought it was my dad’s fault (ha)—my cousin’s husband asked me if my dad was too choked up to move! People also told us how well Grandmaster did as the officiant, which I appreciated. The rest of the ceremony went great, though. I had some slight difficulty getting Mark’s ring on, but other than that, it was just what I wanted—short and sweet.
NYC Wedding Decor Inspiration
Mark and I are into tiki bars, so I knew we wanted to incorporate that vibe into the day somehow. I wanted everything to look vibrant and colorful. As an artist, my paintings and general aesthetic are very bright and colorful. Being at the Water Club also inspired me to include nautical elements into the theme. For example, the treasure chests with gold coins and matches (I’ve collected matchbooks since I was 10).
Aside from photos, the flowers were the most important thing to me. I wanted them to be jewel-toned with some tropical vibes, such as birds of paradise, palm fronds, and more. The effect was classic with a funky twist on a NYC wedding, which fits my personal style.
The cake followed the look of the flowers to a tee, which was pretty much exactly what I wanted. I discovered the bakery (Nine Cakes) via Mimosa Floral Design’s Instagram story—that was a real coup for me.
I found my dress during a visit to NYC, where my sister had made me a bridal appointment at the Bridal Salon. I didn’t know I wanted a ball gown until I tried one on. I knew that I did not want a dress that everyone else had. This was the last dress (out of three) that the “dress whisperer” at the Bridal Salon had selected for me to try on. I half expected to go home empty-handed, but when I tried this dress on, I immediately felt like a princess. I decided to buy it then and there.
The NYC Wedding Reception
I can’t believe how fast five hours flew by! It felt like a blur. We didn’t even have time for everything the MC wanted us to do (e.g., starting a slow dance set, which we skipped). We were so busy greeting tables and running around that we hardly ate and felt like we missed everything. It felt like we barely got to see anyone, which is why we are so happy with how the photos turned out! Looking through them, it’s wonderful to see how much fun people had, and remembering moments we forgot.
NYC Wedding Photography
“I wanted a photographer who would be able to capture our personalities. I was looking for a particular mood in all the portfolios I scoured. I immediately loved Jeff’s work, especially the photos that looked unconventional. I didn’t want to be a “basic” bride. I wanted to eat pizza; I wanted to have fun. And that is actually the mood he captured in all our photos. We had a ton of fun that day, even if it didn’t feel like it at the time with all our obligations! There is so much joy in those pictures and Jeff captured some truly special moments. For that, we can’t thank him enough.” – Diane
I’d love tell your story! Let’s connect and I’ll tell you why being a NYC wedding photographer is one of my favorite roles.