A Micro Wedding with a Tea Ceremony and Dinner for Six in Upstate New York
Ellen and Adam started out as co-workers and friends; the two corporate law attorneys at Paris Weiss met in March 2015. Over two years later, on a trip to the Austin City Limits music festival, their friendship turned romantic. Two years after that, Adam was down on one knee: He initially planned a proposal in Rhode Island with a sunset sail to follow, but when Ellen suggested they go on an international trip instead, he quickly changed gears. The night before they left for France, the couple shared a romantic dinner at Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York. "The servers took us to a private shed, which I didn't think much of as they typically served one of their courses outside of the main dining room," Ellen remembers. "I was completely surprised, and didn't understand what was happening until he started bending on one knee. The following trip was the loveliest way to celebrate our engagement!"
The couple's original wedding plans included inviting 150 people to Wave Hill in Riverdale, New York, on June 6, 2020. But when April rolled around and COVID-19 surged around the country, they decided to postpone the wedding to October 30, 2020. And then, lo and behold, Ellen found out she was pregnant—and they knew they needed to rethink their plans entirely. "There was a dark period in June when even thinking about wedding logistics brought us to tears, and we were on the verge of canceling everything and picking a random weekend to elope," Ellen admits. But a call with their planner, Adrienne from Ruffles & Tweed, and the events director from their venue, Erica, was all it took to get them back on track.
All they needed to do was pivot. So, Ellen and Adam decided to host a micro wedding on August 8, 2020, for just six guests at their original venue, Wave Hill; they will throw a larger celebration there on June 5, 2021. "Once we embraced the idea of a micro wedding and set our date and plan, a huge emotional weight was lifted and the ideas immediately started flowing!" the bride says. They spent just a month planning their garden celebration along the Hudson River, which was brought to life via a blue, coral, and bright pink color palette.
Dress with a Bow
The bride wore her original wedding dress—a strapless A-line gown from Carolina Herrera with layered tulle and a bow. She went shopping with her mother and close friend, and shared pictures of the final four options with her mother-in-law. "Naturally, each person had a different favorite!" Ellen says. She ended up going with the dress no one chose. "It was classic, but the bow and front opening added a subtle, playful touch—lovely for a garden wedding, and how I like to think of myself," she says. The dress was fitted in just three weeks, and the last appointment took place the day before the wedding.
Pearls and Pumps
Ellen accessorized with a Mikimoto pearl set on her wedding day, a gift from her parents, and held a loose natural bouquet with garden roses, lisianthus, astrantia, and ruscus sprigs. Her Christian Dior shoes were a suggestion from her photographer, after she saw the wedding dress and learned Ellen would be wearing pearls. "Similar to my dress, the shoes are classic with a playful dot detail that is reminiscent of pearls, but less literal," she says.
Navy and Pink
Let's Get Married
The couple had recently purchased an apartment in Tribeca together, so they decided to get ready and have their first look there. "All our nerves melted away when we saw each other," Adam says. "I loved the dress and both of us couldn't wait to get to Wave Hill to get married!" When there, they posed for pre-ceremony portraits in the locale's scenic gardens.
"As we wound through the narrow paths, Adam held my dress up so I wouldn't trip, which made me think in that moment that he would always keep me safe," Ellen says.
Under the Pergola
The duo's ceremony took place underneath a pergola overlooking the Hudson River. Natural arrangements were placed on either side of the altar, with flowers in shades of pink, peach, coral, and accents of blue.
No Glass, No Problem
Ellen and Adam recorded an instrumental version of Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide" before the wedding, which played during the processional. The groom's brother officiated the service, during which Ellen and Adam exchanged personal vows. The couple planned to incorporate the Jewish tradition of breaking glass, but Adam forgot to bring it to the ceremony—so they did it at the reception instead. "One of the great things about a micro wedding is that it's much easier to stay relaxed and go with the flow. It became a funny moment later when I brought out the glass and broke it at dinner instead," he says.
Both sets of parents gave readings during the ceremony, including humorous haikus and a poem by Maya Angelou. "During the ceremony, my mom was so overcome with emotion (in classic Jewish tradition, she'd been begging me to marry Ellen for years!) that she couldn't get through her reading, and my dad stepped in to help her finish her poems," Adam says.
The Tea Ceremony
Instead of a cocktail hour, Ellen and Adam decided to host a traditional Chinese tea ceremony, using Ellen's parents' tea set.
Intimate and Unrehearsed
"This was one of the most intimate and unrehearsed parts of the wedding," Ellen says. "It was touching to hear our parents speak their thoughts about us as a couple and each of us individually."
Bold and Colorful
The reception took place on the patio at Wave Hill; the colorful, relaxed décor contrasted the more formal, rustic motifs they'd selected for their big wedding. It felt perfect for the summer moment. With social distancing in mind, the couple put two tables together, creating one communal station with double the space.
Denim and Blooms
Their table was topped with textured denim linens and held a mix of blue-and-white striped and dotted china. Bud vases and vessels in varying sizes held bold arrangements of roses, dahlias, wildflowers, and lisianthus. Floating candles and footed votive candles were the finishing touch.
Ellen and Adam hired Great Performances to prepare a modern American menu for their guests. They decided to skip a DJ or band and enjoy the intimate seated dinner with their parents, Adam's brother, and his brother's fiancé. They also skipped the wedding cake this time around—but they plan on having one at their larger celebration next year.
To couples in the midst of planning their weddings during the pandemic, Ellen has some advice. "It is okay to hit pause to figure out what is right for you as a couple," she says. "Once we embraced a smaller wedding, we decided to go all-out and had a ton of fun planning, and ended up with a day full of laughter and love with our closest family that we will treasure forever. As we have told others, it was our dream wedding (minus 142 people)!"
Photography, Baird & Lim
Venue, Wave Hill
Wedding Planning and Event Design, Ruffles & Tweed
Flowers, Rachel Cho Floral Design
Invitations, Bella Figura
Bride's Gown, Carolina herrera
Bride's Jewelry, Mikimoto
Bride's Shoes, Christian Dior
Bride's Hair, Tokuyama Salon
Groom's Attire, Hall Madden
Groom's Accessories, Kent Wang; Allen Edmonds
Catering, Great Performances
Rentals, Party Rental Ltd.