One Couple's Classic New York City Wedding
Lilliana Medina and Christopher Ruiz met by complete happenstance. She was friends with his brother, and Chris tagged along with his sibling one day to pick her up from work. The sparks were immediate. They started dating about a month or so after they met but broke up after a few weeks, remaining friends for a while. Two years passed and they got back together. Lilly says she felt like she had finally found her other half—right in front of her the entire time. Both attribute the time apart as something that only made their relationship stronger.
About a year and a half of dating led to a Valentine's Day to remember. Chris had organized an entire day of romance that didn't go quite as planned. The couple had tickets to an observation deck on a New York City skyscraper that had no visibility that day because of snow, so they grabbed pizza and headed back to their home in the Bronx instead. When they entered their living space Lilly noticed tea lights everywhere and a cute little tree with a pouch hanging from its limbs. Upon closer inspection, she saw her favorite anime character from the movie Totoro on the pouch, and when she took the bag off and opened it, there were a bunch of small acorns and one giant one carved out of wood. The big one opened up and inside was an engagement ring. She turned around to see the love of her life crying so much he could barely pop the question.
Two and a half years later, on October 22, 2017, they became husband and wife. With help from Wish Upon A Wedding, Lilly (who lives with Young Onset Parkinson's Disease) and Chris worked with a slew of wish granters that brought their big day to life and made it one to remember. Just under 50 guests (including some from Puerto Rico and Florida) came to celebrate on the beautiful fall afternoon at SECOND floor in Manhattan. The love-filled day was designed with lots of greenery, good food, and of course, some acorns.
Lilly had no idea what kind of dress she wanted to wear. "I watched so many episodes of Say Yes to the Dress that I already expected things to look differently on my body than they did in pictures," she says. "I'm five foot nothing and tiny for my age. I didn't want to get a dress that made me feel young." But as soon as she tried on the le Spose di Giò satin dress at Mark Ingram Atelier, she felt like a bride. "I never knew I had curves until I tried that dress on. It made me feel like a woman. I knew that Chris would have never expected me to choose a dress like that." To give her some additional coverage, she added a lace Marchesa bolero, and rounded out her ensemble with jewelry by Nina and Vince Camuto shoes.
Chris wore a suit and shirt from Baldwin Formals.
The Blushing Bride
Lilly wore a few fabric flowers in her hair (a gift from a good friend at her bridal shower) and carried a bouquet by L'Atelier Rouge, which featured a mix of roses and a variety of eucalyptus and greenery.
Of the day and her bridal transformation, Lilly says, "I kind of delayed everything because the shaking would not go away. But as soon as I put my gown on, the shakes went away completely and I had a good five to six hours. I swear, it was like I was Cinderella for a night."
The Venue (and a Surprise)
Leslie Mastin and her team suggested SECOND floor as the wedding venue because they felt it fit the vibe the couple described and the photos on her Pinterest board showing industrial spaces and brick walls. "The first thing I saw as I was walking toward Chris for our first look was the big screen displaying the little cartoon versions of us that was on our invitations," Lilly says of the jumbotron in the courtyard of the venue. Throughout the night, a slideshow of the couple’s engagement photos and a few photos of their dogs were shown.
The First Look
"Our first look will forever be etched into my memory," Chris says. "I'm so thankful that we did that because seeing the love of my life have all of her worries melt away and just have a huge smile on her face was pure bliss."
Lilly agrees, noting that seeing him under the big screen was one of the most memorable parts of the day.
The late afternoon ceremony took place under an installation of greenery and Edison-style bulbs. Lilly's father walked her down the aisle as a song from the movie Totoro played—the same movie that Chris used as an inspiration for when he proposed. "As soon as I heard the song I started crying," Lilly says of the noteworthy tune played by a string quartet.
Lisa Traina crafted the ceremony to include mentions of the couple's beloved pups and a gesture of love and gratitude to the bride's and groom's mothers by gifting them white flowers.
The pair also lit a unity candle. "It couldn't have been more perfect," Lilly says of the tradition. "Chris is the light of my life."
Please Be Seated
After the ceremony, everyone moved into another room for cocktail hour. Guests enjoyed a bevvy of appetizers including steamed bao buns with crispy shrimp, boneless chicken wings with a serrano lemongrass and caramel glaze, mini garlic knots, and a flatbread with San Daniele prosciutto and fig jam, all prepared by the catering team at SECOND floor.
After guests got their fill of the pre-dinner bites, simple escort cards guided them to their seats.
The ceremony room was flipped for the reception, where wood tables were arranged and decorated under hanging greenery and trailing orchids. "It felt like a fairy tale forest," notes the bride. "I wanted to take it all home with me! I could not stop crying when I first saw it."
Centerpieces were terrariums filled with flowers and vines to soften the industrial setting and combine nature with New York City. Because of their involvement in the proposal, acorns were scattered along the tables (and used in the groom's boutonnière).
Dinner was served via stations that included different types of sliders and All-American sides, a plethora of pasta options, a taco bar, and a fall vegetarian salad.
A Table for Two
The newlyweds shared a sweetheart table, decked out with geometric terrariums, candlelight, and greenery sprawling down to the floor.
The Wedding Cake
Nine Cakes made the naked cake, which was dressed up with a cascade of white and green flowers. The cake itself was coconut flavored, with a passionfruit curd and vanilla bean buttercream. "I'm still getting compliments on how delicious it was," notes Lilly.
After the cake was cut, waiters passed around mini cheesecake cannolis, passionfruit ice cream cones, chocolate tarts, and Meyer lemon tarts. As an added surprise, there was a candy bar that the venue and Leslie Mastin Events set up.
The First Dance
Gavin DeGraw's "You Got Me" played as the newlyweds danced together, joined soon after by their parents. Another special song was played during the reception—"You and Me" by You+Me. The first time the bride and groom heard the song play they were convinced that it was made for them, and they loved hearing it on their big day.
For a Good Cause
Lilly was born in Puerto Rico, and although she moved to the United States when she was a baby, she went back for a few years as a teenager. When hurricanes hit the island the month before the wedding, Lilly felt the need to do something. One of her friends started a GoFundMe to help those in need of food and water in her home town, and instead of giving guests tangible favors to take home from the celebration, Lilly and Chris donated to the cause.
Photography, Hechler Photographers
Location and Catering, SECOND floor.
Event planning, Leslie Mastin Events
Wish Granting, Wish Upon A Wedding
Flowers, L'Atelier Rouge
Videography, McKenzie Miller Films
Officiant, Lisa Traina
Cake, Nine Cakes
Rentals, The Tabletop Company
Bridal Styling, The Stylish Bride
Makeup, Kimara Ahnert
Grooming, Martial Vivot
Groom's suit and shirt, Baldwin Formals
Lighting, Pegasus Productions
Photo booth, D'Primo Photobooth