A Rooftop Wedding in New York City with a Monochrome Color Palette

brides holding bouquets with white flowers
Anée Atelier

Sydney McNeal, right, and Angela Filley, left, met on Bumble in 2016, and four years later, over French onion grilled cheeses and a bottle of Sancerre, became engaged. The pair knew they wanted to host an intimate, beautiful micro wedding on a rooftop in New York City, "but didn't have a hard list of requirements," they say. Enter Tracy Taylor Ward of Tracy Taylor Ward Design. "We both were in very demanding jobs while planning the wedding, so we needed someone full-service who could really take the reins and guide us every step of the way with the logistics, design, and vendor sourcing," say the brides. "From day one, Tracy and her team were a genuine joy to work with. Everything they did, from the overall vision to the smallest detail, was executed flawlessly and with care."

Though they say "decision fatigue" ("There were a million decisions to be made and they were all so important—the pressure was high!" they share) was the most difficult part of planning, one element was a no-brainer: sourcing their venue. "Tracy presented a few options given our preferences and when we saw pictures of The Standard East Village, we knew it had to be there," they add, noting that they also loved that the locale was LGBTQ-inclusive ("The area in the hotel where the post-dinner dancing took place is a fun gay bar!" they say).

When their July 10, 2021, wedding date arrived, they stepped into a personalized big day, attended by 30 guests, that included all of their musts. Sydney knew she wanted to wear her natural hair down, so her god-sister, Amanda, and maid of honor, Tori, teamed up to make it happen; they meticulously finger coiled her curls ahead of the ceremony ("This is such a special memory because hair is so personal and important, especially for Black women. To have my best friends take care of that on the day-of was so special," says Sydney. "They did an incredible job and we got to spend so much time together, which was a lot of fun!"). Angela was able to introduce her family, who lives far away, to her wife's—a highlight that brought both brides so much joy. Most importantly, they did it their way: "Looking back, we are so glad we did exactly what we wanted, as opposed to having elements that we compromised on for other people," they explain.

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Perfect Looks

brides holding hands on new york city rooftop
Anée Atelier

The pair's wedding planner, Tracy Taylor Ward, put Nordeen Bridal on Sydney's radar; she opted for a two-piece set composed of the "Navlyn" cape top and "Tamsin" pants, made from heavy stretch silk satin. "Nordeen is a new minimalist modern bridal attire line designed by Brenna Simmons who was Tracy's first employee 11 years ago and is extremely talented," notes Sydney. "As soon as Tracy sent me the link to the outfit, I knew it was perfect. I also loved being able to support another LGBTQ- and POC-owned company."

Angela, on the hunt for a slip-inspired wedding dress, came across Danielle Frankel's label online and decided to pop into her New York City atelier. "It's a cliché, but the 'Florence' was the first dress I tried on at the shop and I knew it was the perfect one," she says of the silk-satin A-line with lace trim around the back.

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Sparkling Stilettos

sparkly stilettos with a red sole
Anée Atelier

Sydney's Christian Louboutin stilettos added a touch of sparkle—and a dash of red—to her ensemble.

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A First Look with City Views

brides sharing first look on new york city rooftop
Anée Atelier

The pair's first look took place on The Standard East Village's penthouse suite's rooftop terrace, which was adjacent to their ceremony site. "We were just so full of excitement and butterflies," say the brides. "It was absolutely a living dream to see each other in white knowing that the day we'd been looking forward to for so long had arrived. Being outdoors with a view of the city, right where we were going to be wed, was so special. After the first look, we felt a lot calmer! Getting ready was fun, but the anticipation was so high—once we saw each other, we calmed down and were able to really be in the moment."

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Meaningful Vows

brides exchanging vows new york city rooftop wedding ceremony
Anée Atelier

Two olive trees—a nod to Angela's Greek roots—framed the pair's vow exchange (per Tracy's suggestion, the trees now live in the duo's living room: "It has been so nice to have a daily reminder of the best day of our lives," they say). Officiated by Reverend Jeddah Vailakis, the spiritual, non-denominational ceremony included hand-written promises. A particular highlight? Angela's vows included quotes from poems Sydney had written to her on their first Valentine's Day.

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Finally Married

brides holding hands during wedding recessional
Anée Atelier

"Jeddah reminded us prior to the ceremony that it was just about us—our vows to each other," explain the duo. "Taking that seriously, we were in our own world standing up there. Our eyes were locked and I honestly think we forgot there were other people there—for a moment, at least." But when their promises were finished and they "came out of our little world," they turned to their loved ones in awe: "Truly everyone was weeping," they say. "It was so moving to see how our individual stories and our life together had such a profound impact on our guests. It was a good reminder that even though our vows were just about us, our story is about so much more—it's about our village!"

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Signature Sips

wedding cocktail with orange slice
Anée Atelier

In addition to a top-shelf open bar—with an emphasis on Champagne—the pair served one signature drink, made with jalapeño-infused tequila, honey, and pineapple.

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Hanging Out

bride sitting with friends laughing
Anée Atelier

The pair snapped a few celebratory portraits post-ceremony, but certainly didn't want to miss the cocktail hour—and the chance to visit and mingle with loved ones—they say.

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Monochrome Moment

wedding reception tablescape with white floral centerpieces and gold accents
Anée Atelier

The monochrome-inspired reception layered shades of white and cream; two long tables, with 15 guests at each, were covered with ivory linens and topped with a series of centerpieces—which featured peonies, ranunculus, lisianthus, olive leaves, and bleached ruscus—in a myriad of sizes.

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Unique Candles

neutral wedding reception tablescape with greenery accents
Anée Atelier

Pillar, taper, and female bust candles, which showcased a variety of body types and were a subtle nod to Greek sculpture, rounded out the look.

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So Much Love

brides kissing at wedding reception table
Anée Atelier

According to the pair, the meal they shared during the reception was a particular big-day highlight: "Since Angela's family lives many hours away, our families haven't been able to spend a ton of time together. It was wonderful to watch everyone interact and it was also incredibly special to hear speeches from our family members and closest friends. It sounds simple, but you're so rarely in a room with the people you love most," says Sydney.

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Bas-Relief Cake

white bas relief leaf wedding cake
Anée Atelier

Nine Cakes created the pair's simple white confection—a lemon cake with raspberry buttercream—complete with a bas-relief olive branch.

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First Dance

brides sharing first dance
Anée Atelier

"For post-dinner dancing, we rented out No Bar, the LBGTQ bar downstairs, and we brought in DJ Prince Hakim (he is the son of Kool and the Gang, and a family friend of Sydney's)—we let him do his thing," shares the pair. For their first dance, they chose "Conversations in the Dark" by John Legend; they sourced it by culling through the playlists Sydney has made Angela over the course of their partnership. "This one resonated most with our relationship and is just so beautiful," they say.

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brides kissing on new york city rooftop
Anée Atelier

Photography, Anée Atelier
Venue and Catering, The Standard East Village
Wedding Planning, Event Design, and Floral Production, Tracy Taylor Ward Design
Paper Products, Paper with Benefits, a division of Tracy Taylor Ward Design
Officiant, Reverend Jeddah Vailakis
Sydney's Attire, Nordeen Bridal
Sydney's Shoes, Christian Louboutin
Angela's Attire, Danielle Frankel
Angela's Hair, Christopher Marrero
Music, DJ Prince Hakim
Cake, Nine Cakes
Rentals, Party Rental LTD

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