New York romance, an unbelievable menu and views of New York Harbor & even lady liberty herself…
Alessia & Mike chose The Liberty Warehouse on New York Harbor as their wedding ceremony and reception venue. They poured themselves into every detail of this wedding and made it uniquely their own, designed with their rustic romantic style, foodie sensibilities and their wedding guests in mind.
They wanted to create a relaxed, free-flowing atmosphere where guests were served creative, exquisite hors d’oeuvres all night long and could eat and dance as they pleased, so they chose to have a Progressive Cocktail Hour rather than a structured, sit down dinner (much more about that to come).
Going with that relaxed vibe, their decor is vintage rustic, with a natural, organic feel, Alessia and Mike created this stunning display with the help of their wedding coordinator/stylist, 500 Watt Designs by Dana Lynne. Ivy, candlelight, re-purposed wine barrels and a monogrammed G to signify their new family name and all the memories they have to create ahead of them.
Rawr!!! Lions were carved on the antique red velvet chairs that Mike and Alessia sat on during the reception, and I wanted to show off that intricate detailing. I photographed Alessia & Mike’s wedding rings in the lion’s jaws, literally. Her ring is an oval cut diamond and her wedding band is a pave set white diamond band custom designed by Alessia’s employer, Jacob and Co.
I met Alessia in 2012 when I photographed her bridesmaid, Lori’s wedding and told me I’d be her wedding photographer then, before Mike even proposed! More about that story and their Brooklyn Bridge engagement here.
They were drawn to my creative, artistic photography style is and gave me free reign to follow my instincts and “do my thing” on their wedding day. I love to capture color, light and emotion and love this unique photo of Alessia reaching for her wedding gown:
After the wedding Alessia wrote me an incredibly kind note:
“As soon as I met you, I knew that you would be the only person I wanted to capture my wedding day. Your work speaks for itself in EVERY aspect. There wasn’t even a second thought about having anyone else working with us that day. Working with you was SO comfortable… we didn’t even notice that you were even there most of the time until we looked for you…. you made everything easy and comfortable. We both felt like we were just hanging out with a friend.”
Here are Alessia’s stunning 6 inch Badgley Mischka peep toe platform pumps, bring on the sparkle…
Alessia and her sister, Veronica, have a pretty incredible relationship. They are the best of friends and she has been there through all parts of her life and recently most notably during wedding planning. She would joke that Alessia would kidnap her to take her on wedding field trips, ha!
On the day of the wedding these two couldn’t be more joy-filled or supportive of each other…
I love the classic feel of black and white photography and the attention that it can bring to textural details like the exquisite lace on Alessia’s dress and the sparkle of her engagement ring. I used a macro lens, shallow depth of field and slow shutter speed to convey the intimacy of this moment…
It was very difficult to choose a favorite photos of Alessia to share, because I captured several lovely portraits, but this one gives you a feel for the kind of person that she is. In Mike’s words,
“Alessia is the kind of person that always sees the best in everything and everyone. She wakes up with a smile on her face and goes to sleep with one as well. She leaves for work at 6am and sometimes gets home at 8pm and she always walks in the door smiling and never complains. She is just a pleasure to be around in every aspect, she is my best friend. I look forward to everything I do with Alessia.. We could pretty much be sinking in quick sand and have something to laugh about together. 🙂
I also like this image because it shows Alessia’s bright eyes, gorgeous hair and those incredible Jacob and Co diamond chandelier earrings…
Jorge Buenabad was Alessia’s make-up artist and ws so great to work with! Not only was he done *on time* but he was even a little early! I can’t stress enough how important that it is to find a make-up artist that is both talented and professional, such an incredible asset!
Alessia’s bouquet was filled with rustic, romantic blooms in soft neutral hues with pops of a cranberry/wine color. They chose primarily anemone, garden roses and succulents. Eltingville Florist provided all florals and were amazing to work with from start to finish.
The roots of Alessia’s friendships are deep– she has been friends with her bridesmaids for over 20 years!
You have already met her sister, and maid of honor, Veronica, who has been in her life from the start. Her friend Lori, whose wedding I photographed a few years ago and whose brothers’ wedding I photographed this year was actually the first friend that she made when she moved to the United States from Italy as a little preschooler. She met Jacqueline & Gabrielle (sisters) in school.
I wanted to do something different and fun with them and give a little sneak peek of the reception space, showing off the velvet couch, exposed beams and Edison bulbs that Alessia was so excited to see. Strike a pose, VOGUE haha!
Alessia’s gift: Now it’s Mike’s turn for the spotlight ;). Mike loves watches. For their first Christmas together Alessia bought him a watch box to hold all of his watches. When they moved in together they created a clock wall which you can see behind Mike.
She bought him a Jacob and Co. watch as his wedding gift, I like how you can see the emotion in this image and the clock wall in the background.
I asked Alessia what made her fall for Mike, she said…
“It is obvious why I fell for my husband 🙂 ( I love saying that). Mike is one of a kind, he is incredibly handsome, has a contagious smile, but most of all has the biggest heart of any person I have ever met. Mike is the type of person that would help anyone in need at the drop of a dime, no questions asked & not expect or want anything in return.
I love when he tells a story (and trust me he has plenty of them) because its almost like he gets into character, he is extremely animated. we met and instantly bonded over food! Seeing him on the wedding day made my heart happy, he looked like a million bucks , so dapper, so tall I was proud to be standing by his side.”
I have several images of Mike, but like this one a lot because you can get a feel for his relaxed nature, his confidence and his genuine sincerity…
Mike’s groomsmen were a mixture of friends and family, and two are married to Alessia’s bridesmaids!
The first look– what an incredibly beautiful moment! I love the expression on Mike’s face and their body language. you can tell that these two belong together.
“I had heard her talk about her wedding dress to practically everyone in the entire world and I thought I knew exactly what she would look like just from her descriptions but I never expected to see her looking as beautiful as she did. I was honestly shocked that what I assumed she would look like was nothing compared to how much she exceeded my expectations. “
There was a park right by liberty warehouse that overlooked New York Harbor and had a lovely canopy of trees. It was the prefect place to walk together and take in that incredible moment.
The happy couple:
They walked hand-in-hand and took some time to be alone and enjoy the city, stopping at their favorite Key Lime Pie place, walking by some of Alessia’s favorite art, and just taking it all in. It is such an interesting neighborhood to be in and explore!
We headed to the Liberty Warehouse where all of the final touches were being put out for their ceremony and reception. I love the signage– authentic, and perfect for this venue.
Here are Alessia and Mike standing in front of the archway of greenery set for their outdoor wedding overlooking New York Harbor.
The bridal party met on the steps of Liberty Warehouse. Alessia shared that her bridal party was a mixture of friends and family, but that they consider their family friends and their friends to be family. She shared that the whole group really bonded through the wedding planning and activities.
The exposed brick and wood beams the arched metal doorways, topiary and market cart all really brought the aesthetic of their wedding together.
The children arrived– The flower girls are Alessia’s nieces and the ring bearers are Mike’s nephews. They were dressed so sweetly with little navy bow ties and suspenders for the boys and ivy floral crowns for the girls. How cute are they?
At that point, the wind really picked up, the sky grew dark and it became apparent that having an outdoor wedding as planned was not on the agenda. Alessia & Mike just rolled with the punches and remarked how happy they were to have had such a beautiful morning. Such awesome attitudes!
I like the symmetry and balance of this image and how you can see lady liberty looking right in their direction!
It rained for 30 minutes before their wedding and cleared as the procession stated. This gave time for the Liberty Warehouse staff to set up everything for cocktail hour during the wedding ceremony.
Upstairs, Alessia’s father was escorting her down the aisle. Her father is her rock, while he can look serious, Alessia said he is the sweetest most loving, patient, understanding and kind father anyone could ever hope to have. Her father and mother have had a huge impact on her life and mean the world to her.
Alessia said that walking beside her father about to marry the man of her dreams with all of her family members and friends by her side was everything that she had ever wanted. Her eyes glistened as she held back tears.
“When I saw her walking down the aisle, I was all smiles,she took my breath away We had a room filled with people and all I saw was Alessia. Our families have always gotten along and couldn’t be happier for us. I remember shaking John’s hand ( her dad ) and him placing her hand in mine.. It was a great feeling to finally be marrying my best friend.” –Mike
I love this moment, Her father is shaking Mike’s hand, you can see Mike’s father and mother standing proudly in the background and several guests overcome with emotion.
The new Mr & Mrs!!!
The rain stopped and even dried and the amazing coktail hour began! Alessia & Mike are foodies so the fare was a real focus for them. Mike graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and is the owner of Gios Premier Catering, so every detail was out-of-this-world amazing.
The food in the pics from top to bottom, left to right:
1.The drinks are spicy Margheritas that were part of the “Mexican Station” which served, pork belly, mahi mani and chicken tacos a well as quesadillas, guacamole and a mixture of salsas among other items
2. Foie Gras roulade with sweet and sour shallots on toasted brioche
3. The plate was filled with items from the Seasonal fruit, Charcuterie and Mediterranean display
4. Crispy marinated salt and pepper shrimp ( Alessias favorite )
5. rare seared tuna, wasabi seaweed salad and sesame chili oil
The indoor reception decor was so rustic and really gave that relaxed vibe that Alessia & Miek were going for. The farm tables held rustic wooden flower boxes which make stained and sanded himself as well as candles and more lovely florals from Eltingville florist:
When Alessia & Mike went for their cake tasting, they couldn’t decide on one cake flavor so they offered three cakes of three different flavors!
The deconstructed cake is called a “Naked Cake”, very earthy and organic looking the flavor was ginger lime: Vanilla cake with ginger buttercream & crystallized ginger
2nd cake ( chocolate dripped cake) Almond cake with rosewater buttercream & fresh raspberries
3rd cake ( white ruffle cake) Citrus lemon cake with lime curd & orange zest butter cream
The cake designer, Nine Cakes is a true artist, not only do the cakes look beautiful, but the taste is incredible!
While many aspects of their wedding reception were not traditional, they did want parent dances and for the maid of honor and best man to give a speech.
Veronica & Danny worked on the speeches together, they would meet at each other’s house and reherse the speech in front their spouses (!) It was heartwarming for Alessia & Mike to know that they put so much time and effort into it for both of them!
Mike shared that he and his mother have always been very close so it meant he world to dance with her…
The food did not end at cocktail hour! They opted to do a progressive cocktail hour, which meant all throughout evening there were different stations set up & people could get up at their leisure and explore all the different options. They offered guests a variety of options from handmade ricotta cavatelli pasta to Maryland crab cake sliders and sushi, there was an incredible amount of exquisitely beautiful and tasty food served all night long!
People ate at their leisure and danced at their leisure!
A view from behind Alessia & Mike’s sweetheart table– those are the chairs that I photographed their rings in earlier!
Happily ever after– at the end of the day, Alessia and Mike were completely overjoyed and said that they they couldn’t have asked for more!
Alessia and Mike– Thank you for sharing your wedding day story with me and choosing to spend the day with me at your side capturing this for you! You mentioned feeling natural and like we were sharing the day as friends, and I must say the feeling is totally mutual! I wish you both all the best and hope that you enjoyed your first look at your wedding photos, there are hundreds more coming your way!