A Classic New York Wedding at the Bowery Hotel

wedding portrait on rooftop
Lucy Cuneo

Despite attending Barnard and Columbia at the same time and sharing a group of mutual friends, Jessie and Julian didn't speak until three years after college. "I tried to talk to Jessie at a friend's party in Brooklyn, but she was dating someone else at the time and basically ignored me," says Julian. "A couple months later, Jessie was single and we ran into each other at a pre-Thanksgiving party at a friend's apartment and spent the whole night talking."

After seven years of dating, Julian proposed on a weekend trip in upstate New York with his grandmother's diamond reset into a new band by Jade Trau and a meticulously doctored version of one of Jessie's favorite books. "Throughout our relationship, we had spent many weekend mornings exploring different used bookstores wherever we were—Brooklyn, Maine, Cambridge, Montana," says Jessie. On a weekend trip to Hobart, New York, the couple spent several hours browsing vintage volumes before Julian called Jessie's attention to a 1970s edition of Joan Didion's Run River, "a book I talked about on our first date that Julian promptly went home and read," says Jessie. "When I flipped the book open…my first thought was, 'Oh my god, someone donated this book and forgot they had hidden their ring inside!' When I looked at Julian, he got down on one knee. I was so shocked, I think my first words after 'Yes!' were, 'I think I'm going to throw up.'"

The New York City-based couple chose the Bowery Hotel for their 170-guest wedding on November 16, 2019, and hired planner Jove Meyer of Jove Meyer Events to create a colorful, classic ceremony and reception that Jessie and Julian wanted to be "fun, comfortable, elegant, and easy." Meyer had the couple pull a series of 40 images to use as inspiration—an exercise they found challenging, but rewarding. "I mostly saw the feeling of an image, while Jessie saw very specific details," says Julian. "For example, I picked a photo of an old-school New York restaurant where a woman was jumping off a table in an evening gown, and Jessie looked at it and said, 'I don't like those water glasses.'" The final lineup of photos included stills of films by Fellini and the Coen brothers alongside images of tiki bars filled with paper lanterns, hanging florals, and iconic New York eateries. "I think we both looked at the images we'd compiled and worried the wedding was going to look totally disjointed and random," says Jessie. "One of Jove's most impressive skills is being able to really listen to each person, make them feel heard, find common ground, and find incredibly creative and beautiful ways to incorporate each person's taste, vision, and values into a really cohesive vision."

The final design included rich shades of indigo, red, mauve, berry, and purple incorporated into dramatic floral arrangements and custom papers—plus unique custom elements, like a chuppah woven by the groom's mother and a ceremony officiated by the couple's siblings. "I think the most important thing to us was that all of our guests felt comfortable and able to have a good time," says Julian, "instead of making the event feel too stuffy or formal."

01 of 17

Bright and Beautiful

simple elegant wedding invitations
Lucy Cuneo

A minimalist invitation suite combined the couple's names in hand-lettering with clean, modern fonts—accented by a colorful liner—from Katie Fischer Design, while a playful save-the-date previewed the wedding's location. "Julian and I found an old postcard featuring the Bowery Hotel," says Jessie. "With the magic of Photoshop, we added ourselves to the crowd and used it as our save-the-dates. It was fun to see who found us, Where's Waldo?-style."

02 of 17

Point of View

wedding couple hugging on rooftop
Lucy Cuneo

Jessie and Julian shared their first look on the terrace of her Bowery suite, with iconic views of New York City in the background. "Right before I felt a bit nervous—nervous about how the day would go, nervous about posing for pictures, and nervous about everyone having fun," says Jessie. "As soon as Julian and I were together we were laughing and joking around like any normal Saturday and I didn't worry about a single thing the rest of the day."

The couple kept their wedding-day looks elegant and understated, with Julian in a gray-green suit from Suit Supply and Jessie in a strapless column wedding dress in ivory silk and wool-blend satin twill from Gabriela Hearst. "I went to a few beautiful boutiques and designer showrooms and had nice experiences, but all the dresses felt too bridal for me," says Jessie. I ended up ordering this one off Net-a-Porter and once I tried it on, I wasn't interested in any other dress. When I put it on, I felt elegant but completely comfortable, just how I wanted our wedding to feel."

03 of 17

Flower Girls

bridesmaids holding warm tone wedding bouquets
Lucy Cuneo

Jessie and Julian each asked several friends to join their bridal party, but didn't require them to wear matching outfits or process during the ceremony. "I wanted my bridesmaids to feel as comfortable and confident as possible, so I really let them have free range over what they chose to wear," says Jessie. "I sent them the color palette of the wedding and we ended up with a beautiful mix of dusty rose, deep red, and greens." The women's vintage-inspired bouquets included eucalyptus, ranunculus, and wax flowers—plus roses for the bridesmaids and peonies for the bride.

04 of 17

By the Fireside

floral decorations on wedding fireside
Lucy Cuneo

An eye-catching emerald-colored fireplace in the ceremony space served as a backdrop for the couple's vows. Red, peach, and pink flowers contrasted with the green tiles and textural stacks of wood, creating an intimate, lived-in feel.

05 of 17

Hand in Hand

bride and father walking down aisle for wedding
Lucy Cuneo

Jessie and her father walked down the aisle together to "Dream a Little Dream" by Mama Cass as guests smiled and looked on. "Six days before the wedding, my dad decided he needed to master his motorized balance board," says Jessie. "Cut to him walking me down the aisle with a bandage on his forehead and a slight concussion."

06 of 17

All in the Family

groom smiling at bride during wedding ceremony
Lucy Cuneo

The couple asked their siblings—Julian's sister, Isabella, and Jessie's brother, Ellis—to officiate their ceremony. "We figured they are the two people in the world who know us best, and would be able to get a few laughs from the crowd," says Jessie.

07 of 17

Love Is in the Air

couple kissing under wedding chuppah at ceremony
Lucy Cuneo

Jessie and Julian exchanged vows under an intricate chuppah designed and woven by Julian's mother, a textile artist and architect. "She spent months thinking about the design, making samples, having video calls with us and Jessie's parents, and then eventually weaving it," says Julian. "She and my father—who's also an architect—then designed and built the frame to hold the chuppah out of copper tubing and drove it down from Cambridge to New York with copper pipes hanging out the back of their car. It was really special to have this traditional part of the wedding handmade by my mother and then held up over us by four of our close family members and friends."

The ceremony text included a reading of a letter from Mark Twain to his wife, personal words from Ellis and Isabella about their relationships with Jessie and Julian, and the exchange of traditional promises. "We wanted to say the very standard and basic vows to each other during the ceremony," says Jessie.

08 of 17

The New Mr. and Mrs.

wedding couple kissing in front of bar
Lucy Cuneo

After the ceremony, the newlyweds took a few moments alone before joining guests at the cocktail hour. "I think we did the best of both!" says Jessie. "We were able to sneak back to our suite and have a moment to ourselves, and actually got to eat some of the delicious food. We then joined the party for the second half of the cocktail hour."

09 of 17

Setting the Bar

deep warm toned floral arrangements on wooden wedding bar
Lucy Cuneo

At the cocktail hour, lavish arrangements from Putnam & Putnam adorned the iconic bar space, where timeless mixed drinks—Manhattans, French 75s, Negronis, and Mexican Mules—were served alongside buckwheat blinis with smoked salmon and creme fraiche, yellowfin tuna burger sliders, and beet lollipops with caramelized hazelnut crust.

10 of 17

Getting Carded

elegant gold scripted wedding placement cards
Lucy Cuneo

A jewel-toned escort card table previewed the reception's color palette and Old World-character with deep blue linens and escort cards laced with traditional gold calligraphy.

11 of 17

Epic Blooms

pink and red floral arrangements with placement cards
Lucy Cuneo

Berry-colored taper candles and staggered-height floral arrangements completed the tableau.

12 of 17

Lounge Act

candle lit wedding lounge with hanging lanterns
Lucy Cuneo

Dramatic paper lanterns suspended from the ceiling; swooping, draped fabric; and plush furniture turned the terrace into a secluded private retreat for the couple and their guests.

13 of 17

High Spirits

elegant candle lit wedding reception tables
Lucy Cuneo

Existing green velvet curtains and exposed brick were complemented with elaborate hanging floral installations that added color, shape, and texture to the room while highlighting the striking light fixtures and wooden ceiling.

14 of 17

On the Menu

elegant red and pink wedding place setting
Lucy Cuneo

Dark blue denim table linens set off the gleaming flatware and bright, asymmetrical centerpieces. Custom menus also served as place cards, detailing the meal's courses: caprese salad, cacio e pepe pasta, and an entrée of pan-seared salmon, filet mignon, or roasted eggplant.

15 of 17

Toast of the Town

guests toasting at reception long tables
Lucy Cuneo

One of the couple's favorite moments was the best man's speech, which included an impromptu singalong with the groom. "Julian's best man, Brendan, is one of the funniest people you'll ever meet, and his delivery was flawless that night," says Jessie. "He had everyone roaring—it was really a highlight." Jessie and Julian also took the microphone to honor each other. "During the reception, we each made toasts where we talked about our relationship and each other—the kind of stuff you'd talk about in self-written vows—but it felt more like us to follow those speeches with a martini toast," says Julian.

16 of 17

First Dance

bride and groom dancing on patterned floor at wedding reception
Lucy Cuneo

Jessie changed into a tulle dress from Monique Lhuillier for the reception—a last-minute purchase she made the weekend before the wedding when she realized her ceremony gown didn't allow her to dance comfortably. She and Julian opened the dance floor after weeks of lessons with a performance that didn't quite go as planned. "Though the dance wasn't choreographed per se, we did have a pretty specific plan—however, as soon as the band started playing our song, we realized they were playing a very different rendition, and our plan went out the window," says Julian. "We ended up just cracking up and doing the best we could with the move we'd learned. It was our first challenge to overcome as a married couple." Coincidentally, they'd chosen a song about working together: "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off." "We're not very sentimental people and we just felt like a song about the reality of disagreement in a relationship—you say potato, I say pot-ahto—and ultimately overlooking those disagreements and not 'calling the whole thing off' felt more fitting for us than a sappy love song," says Julian.

17 of 17


moody romantic portrait of couple embracing
Lucy Cuneo

Photography, Lucy Cuneo Photography
Venue and Catering, The Bowery Hotel
Wedding Planning and Event Design, Jove Meyer Events
Flowers, Putnam & Putnam
Videography, Kiss the Bride Films
Stationery, Katie Fischer Design
Cake, Nine Cakes
Music, 74 Events (after-party); Element Music (reception)
Rentals, Party Rental LTD; Two of a Kind Rentals
Bride's Gown, Gabriela Hearst (ceremony); Monique Lhuillier (reception)
Bride's Accessories, Christian Louboutin shoes; Bloomingdale's earrings
Hair, Mischa G; Treehouse Social Club
Makeup, Gina Daddona
Groom's Suit, Suit Supply
Lighting, Stortz Lighting
Draping, Drape Kings
Engagement Ring, Jade Trau
Groom's Wedding Ring, Omi Gold
Painter, The Celebration Artist

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