Cristina and Jason’s Simply Chic Wedding in an Industrial Event Space
Cristina Plana and Jason Toff met more than 11 years ago at a grocery store in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Flash-forward to 2012, Jason (now the general manager of Vine) scheduled a business trip to Europe during his stint with YouTube. Cristina (the owner of Riles & Co., a candle company) planned to meet him in Switzerland and then travel with him to Paris. After arriving in the City of Love, Jason immediately suggested going for a walk, which was a welcomed diversion from the itinerary Cristina had planned. The journey ended at Pont des Arts bridge, known for its love locks. Jason nervously expressed his love for Cristina, got down on one knee, almost dropped the ring in the Seine River, and proposed. Cristina responded with a resounding yes.
The couple wed on May 24, 2014, at The Foundry, a 19th-century former warehouse in Long Island City, New York, and celebrated with 131 guests. The festivities had a minimal and romantic atmosphere. “There’s a beauty in simplicity, and I knew I wanted our wedding to be a reflection of who we are and how we felt,” says Cristina. “We are simply in love, and we didn’t want a ton of fuss or fussy things to distract from that.”
The Stationery Suite
Cristina and Jason wanted to get married somewhere in or near New York City, since they’d built their home in its East Village neighborhood. They also wanted a nontraditional and unexpected venue. Their search led them to The Foundry. “It was raw, industrial, and simple but stunningly beautiful,” says Cristina. “It just felt like us.”
Cristina began hunting for her wedding gown with no idea of what she wanted. As soon as she laid eyes on this Anne Barge gown at Lovely Bride, she couldn’t help but gasp in awe. The blush-colored “Blair” dress felt magical to the bride. “When I think about my wedding dress, I just feel giddy,” she says. She completed her bridal look with Zara shoes and minimal jewelry. Jason wore a navy tuxedo from J.Crew, a matching bow tie from H&M, and vintage cuff links. He also sported his dad’s navy yarmulke for the ceremony.
Cristina’s shiny gold clutch was by Whiting & Davis.
The bride asked Face Time Beauty for a low, not-too-polished chignon.
Poppies & Posies created a bouquet featuring peonies and garden roses in a color scheme of blush and cream. “It was big and lush and so romantic,” Cristina recalls. “I never wanted to let go of it.”
An elevated outdoor space that overlooks the Manhattan skyline created the perfect atmosphere for the first look.
Cristina and Jason posed for portraits before guests arrived so they could enjoy the attendees as much as possible. Photos were also taken inside of The Foundry and on the sidewalks of Long Island City.
A Warm Welcome
The groom’s parents walked him down the aisle to “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles; the bride’s parents escorted her to “Hoppípolla” by Sigur Rós.
Though Cristina’s sister served as maid of honor, the couple opted out of having a traditional bridal party. “It was important to me that our guests enjoy themselves as much as possible and that our wedding be as relaxing an experience as possible,” Cristina says. Instead, the families of the bride and groom acted as a bridal party of sorts, standing at the chuppah during the ceremony.
A Special Guest
At a strong and energetic 91 years old, Jason’s grandmother, Evelyn Toff, was a special wedding guest—as the only grandparent that Jason and Cristina have left between their two families. Evelyn, also known as “Nanny,” walked down the aisle with Jason’s sister, Lisa, and her boyfriend. “Family is so important to us,” says Cristina. “It’s something we both value about each other, so to have Evelyn there and a part of the wedding was just incredible and so meaningful.”
A Father Figure
Jason’s father, Ken, officiated the Jewish ceremony. During opening remarks, he acknowledged beloved family members. “This was important to us because it allowed, in some small way, our relatives who had passed to be there with us,” Cristina says. Ken also recited a short poem to the couple before the pronouncement of marriage.
The 6 p.m. service was “short and simple but full of meaningful rituals,” Cristina says. Jason recalls that hearing Cristina’s vows was the highlight of the wedding, saying they made him “weep like a little boy.”
After the ceremony, the newlyweds spent a few minutes alone to let everything sink in. According to Cristina, the quiet moments with her husband created great memories in the midst of the fast-paced day. In reflection, Jason agrees, noting that a wedding is the “best party of your life” because you spend the day surrounded by the people who matter most. “Everyone at your wedding loves you and wants the wedding to be awesome, and they’ll do everything in their power to make it awesome,” he says. “Everything on a wedding day can feel hurried and overwhelming, so remembering that will allow you to relax, really be in the moment, and appreciate everything happening.”
The Cocktail Hour
Cocktail hour took place in the venue’s greenhouse. Michael Stuart created passed hors d’oeuvres, including crab cakes, salmon blini, truffled steak and eggs, mini baked potatoes, mini grilled cheese, and truffled lobster rolls. A duo with a keyboard and saxophone played a variety of instrumental music.
Bartenders served drinks like sweet tea (Jason’s favorite) and Kir Royales (Cristina’s favorite).
Prior to the big day, Cristina and Jason asked their parents for old photos of the couples in each family. At the wedding, the pictures were framed and placed onto a bookshelf. “It was important for us to share where we came from and the love that’s existed in our families for generations,” Cristina says. “It was also really touching to watch our guests, including our family members, look through them and enjoy the history and memories they brought.”
The Escort Cards
As a unique way to display escort cards, Cristina created index cards for each guest by using card stock, a label maker, and rubber stamps.
Escort cards were set out in old card catalogs.
A clear tent in The Foundry’s courtyard housed the reception. Long rectangular wooden tables and matching chairs were set up for dinner. “It was important to us that everyone at the wedding—our close friends and family—felt like part of one big family during the reception, so we had barn tables arranged in long rows so everyone could meet and get to know each other and enjoy dinner together,” says Cristina. The bride placed a candle from her company at each table setting as a wedding favor.
The Table Numbers
The crafty bride used ribbon to tie vintage metal numbers to IKEA pitchers.
Each table had a centerpiece of flowers matching the bride’s bouquet in order to create a “romantic garden” atmosphere. The colorful blooms contrasted with the rustic barn tables, wooden chairs, and industrial lanterns.
Wedding Paper Divas printed dinner menus to match the stationery suite. For the first course, guests chose between crispy quail breast with fried quail egg and heirloom tomato salad with country bread and burrata. Entreés included New York strip steak with potato purée and crispy spinach; peppercorn crusted tuna with coconut jasmine rice and sugar snap peas; and ricotta gnocchi with peas and mushrooms.
Cristina’s mom and sister, Jason’s parents, and Jason’s friend gave heartwarming speeches.
Betsy Thorleifson from Nine Cakes worked with the couple to create the five-tiered dessert. The newlyweds chose two flavors—one that represented each of them. Jason went for dark chocolate cake with strawberry cream cheese frosting, while Cristina picked vanilla cake with lavender buttercream and fresh strawberries. “Both flavors were so incredible, our family and guests still mention the cake to us—and my mom still asks for leftovers,” she says. To tie the cake in with the décor, some of the wedding’s flowers were created in sugar form. Betsy also crafted some subtle etchings in the frosting to reflect the details of Cristina’s gown.
In addition to wedding cake, the newlyweds served mini cupcakes, caramelized apple phyllo tartlets, peanut butter mousse, pecan pies, and triple brownies.