A Rainy, New York Castle Wedding with a Fairy Tale Ending

Photo: Judy Pak Photography

A near-hurricane couldn't keep this Secret Garden-inspired wedding from being a beautiful affair.

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Rebecca & David

couple eating cake
Judy Pak Photography

By Valerie Rains

There are moments in life when things not going according to plan is the best thing that could happen. Take the first time David Krantz laid eyes on Rebecca Goodman, at a group dinner in the Hamptons in the summer of 2013. "I was being introduced around the table, and Rebecca immediately caught my attention," David recalls. The only problem? He was there to be fixed up with one of her friends. Still, the two hit it off, talking on the phone and texting—with Rebecca sometimes even asking David to come rescue her from a bad blind date. "Eventually, I realized I'd been seeing the wrong person," says David, who works in commercial real estate (Rebecca is in fashion communications). The two had a beyond-friends date that August, and just over a year later, he proposed during a first-anniversary spa trip.

Selecting a wedding venue was easy for the New York City couple: David's family had held many events at the nearly century-old Oheka Castle Hotel & Estate, in Huntington, New York, and the property's formal gardens made Rebecca swoon. "They're so lush and beautiful," she says. "When you drive through the gates, you feel like royalty." She envisioned an elegant outdoor wedding that would showcase the setting, "with loose, tumbling flowers, plus rambling vines and petals up to my ankles on the aisle. Like a romantic, secret garden."

A massive storm that rolled in on the big day, June 27, 2015, washed away that wedding dream—but not the fairy tale. The backup plan was to wed beneath ornate Maria Theresa chandeliers in the castle's Otto Kahn Ballroom, down an aisle strewn with ombré petals and flanked by foxgloves, ferns, abutilon, allium, and hyssop. "I was so calm that day, nothing was going to take away from how happy I felt," says Rebecca. As 249 guests looked on, the bride's uncle performed a traditional Jewish ceremony—and by the newlyweds' first kiss, there wasn't a dry eye in the house.

The couple shared a moment alone post-vows while friends and family had cocktails, then they rejoined the party for a feast that included Chilean sea bass, pan-seared chicken breast, and garlic-rosemary lamb chops. After a round of celebratory speeches, the dancing started and didn't stop. So as not to interrupt their guests' fun, the bride and groom decided to go off to the side to cut the cake—without fanfare, just the two of them. "It ended up being really special," says Rebecca. Yet another time when straying from the script led to the best of all possible outcomes. "It was our day, and we owned it," says David.


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Calligraphed Stationery

Judy Pak Photography

A hand­-drawn sketch of the castle and a camellia­-print liner were all the frills needed for the calligraphed and letterpressed suite. "I wanted it to be very romantic but also very clean, and to put the focus on the lettering," Rebecca says.

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A Stately Setting

Judy Pak Photography

The 117-room Oheka Castle dates to 1919. "My family on my stepfather's side is close with the owners of Oheka, and we'd had family events there in the past," says David. "It was so special to have a personal connection to the venue, instead of just picking a place because it was beautiful. It was a way to tie together the history of my family and the future of my new family."

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Princess Moment

Judy Pak Photography

In a champagne-colored Inbal Dror lace dress, Rebecca awaited a glimpse of her groom, "When we did our first look, both of us were crying," Rebecca says.

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A Bouquet to Remember

Judy Pak Photography

"I got chills seeing my bouquet for the first time," Rebecca says about her clutch of garden roses, sweet peas, clematis, foxgloves, and rose geraniums by Nicolette Camille.

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Gifts for the Girls

Judy Pak Photography

For her attendants, the bride filled totes with floral-printed robes, monogrammed scarves, and bottles of bubbly in custom-printed tissue that matched the stationery.

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Mismatched 'Maids

Judy Pak Photography

The 'maids chose their own gowns in a range of soft, muted shades.

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Just Us Guys

Judy Pak

Surrounded by his groomsmen and two ring bearers—including his brother, Rebecca's brother and brother-in-law, and her two half-brothers—all in black tuxedos, David prepared to say his vows to his bride. As a thank-you gift, the groom presented each member of his wedding party with a Tom Ford tie.

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Berries and Buds

Judy Pak Photography

The men wore boutonnieres of garden rosebuds, young blueberries, and sweet pea tendrils.

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The Littlest Attendant

Judy Pak Photography

The groom, in a Prada tux, stole a hug from a friend's daughter, one of two flower girls, wearing Little Dreamers Inc..

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Stunning Views

Judy Pak Photography

After years of neglect, the castle's formal gardens—with their three fountains and eight reflecting pools— were reconstructed in the 1980s according to original drawings. "I fell in love with photos of the gardens, and there were only two weekends left for the summer, so I booked the venue before I saw it in person!" Rebecca says.

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An Indoor Garden

Overhead Flower Installation
Judy Pak

When a summer storm forced the couple's ceremony indoors, floral designer Nicolette Camille managed to preserve the secret-garden vibe they'd planned by creating a "planted aisle" lined with foxglove, nicotania, abutilon, huechera, allium, ferns, hyssop, and smilax.

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The Chuppah

Judy Pak Photography

Wild smilax, cotinus, garden roses, and peonies twined around the couple's chuppah, draped with Rebecca's grandfather's tallit.

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Ceremony Details

Judy Pak

The programs, which explained some of the traditional Jewish elements of the ceremony, were calligraphed by Sarah Ragan. Kippahs were available for all guests to don for the ceremony.

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The Ring Pillow

Judy Pak Photography

The bride's two half brothers walked down the aisle, one carrying the rings on a hand-stitched pillow made from the bride's grandmother's handkerchief.

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The Ceremony

Judy Pak Photography

Cloaked in David's grandfather's tallit, the newlyweds embraced for the first time as husband and wife during their 30-minute service. They then recessed to "God Only Knows" by the Beach Boys.

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A Pause for Pride

Judy Pak Photography

Rebecca and her ushers waved rainbow flags to honor the Supreme Court's ruling on marriage equality, issued the day before.

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The Escort Cards

Judy Pak Photography

The classic, understated escort cards and table numbers were lettered with soft-brown walnut ink. Like the invites, these petite envelopes were lined with the floral print.

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Motherly Love

Judy Pak Photography

Side by side, the mother of the groom (left) and mother of the bride beamed on the big day.

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The Reception

Judy Pak Photography

Table arrangements of garden roses, young blueberries, foxgloves, heuchera, and sweet peas in mixed-metal footed compotes gave the reception an effortlessly romantic feel.

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Floral Details

Judy Pak

The centerpieces continued the garden party aesthetic.

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Cutting the Cake

Judy Pak

In keeping with the wedding's tone of understated elegance, Rebecca and David's five-tier, red velvet and dulce de leche wedding cake was adorned only with a lightly textured buttercream frosting and a trail of ombré flowers. "Cutting the cake was a very special moment for us—I loved that we did that off to the side, that it was something that just the two of us shared," Rebecca says.

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The First Dance

Judy Pak Photography

The newlyweds kicked up their heels to Jefferson Starship's "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now."

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Sweet Favors

Judy Pak Photography

Guests went home with boxes of pink-grapefruit gummies, wrapped in the event's signature camellia print on vellum paper.

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Judy Pak

Location, catering, and cake, Oheka Castle Hotel & Estate
Event coordination, SL Events
Flowers, Nicolette Camille Floral Design
Photography, Judy Pak Photography
Videography, D.P. Weddings
Stationery and calligraphy, Sondra Simon of The Sophisticated Scribe
Calligraphy, Ragan House
Music, Manhattan City Music
Rentals, Broadway Party Rentals
Bride's gown, Inbal Dror
Bride's shoes, Jimmy Choo
Bride's hair, Marie Robinson Salon
Bride's makeup, Wei Lang
Makeup for mothers and bridesmaids, Ashley Esposito
Bridesmaids' dresses, Adrianna Papell; Reformation; Bhldn; Monique Lhuillier
Flower-girl dresses, Little Dreamers Inc.
Groom's tuxedo and shoes, Prada
Groom's shirt, cuff links, and suspenders, Victor Talbots
Groom's and groomsmen's bow ties, Tom Ford
Transportation, Ultimate Class Limousine Worldwide
Favors, Haribo Pink Grapefruit Slices; Papermart "two-piece full-lid plastic stationery box (#830937)"
Bridesmaids' gifts, DigiWrap custom tissue paper; Love Ophelia robes; the Yellow Note bags
Kippahs, Kippah.com
Cake stand, E. Isabella Designs

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