The epic SmogShoppe shindig I posted last week got me thinking about the numerous other weddings I’ve developed mild to severe crushes on over the years. Most I still have stashed away in bajillions of folders which currently inhabit my computer. I thought it might be fun to open up the vault and share with you some of the goodies: weddings which are, in my opinion, truly one in a million. I figured it’d be most appropriate to start with my Favourite Wedding of All Time (except, of course, my parents’); out of all the thousands of weddings I’ve seen, pinned, tweeted, tumbled and e-mailed to my mother at 3 A.M., I don’t think any have inspired me so much as this one. To me, it’s more than just a wedding. It’s a philosophy. I didn’t realize it at the time, but when I first gazed upon this masterpiece, I began to understand that weddings weren’t just forbidden fluff for engaged women to enjoy (and stealthy single girls, behind bolted doors, in the dead of night) but living, breathing works of art.
Rachel’s Favourite Wedding #1
Snapped by: Belathée Photography
Hosted by: 632 on Hudson
Planned by: Daughter of Design
Designed by: Hatch Creative Studio
Baked by: Ron Ben-Israel
Calligraphed by: Bernard Maiser
Serenade by: West Village Chorale
I know. You want more, just like I did when I first set eyes on this visual feast. Luckily, wedding planner Annie Lee of Daughter of Design dished all the deets for us to devour like a big slice of wedding cake.
Sarah Joy Kubanack and David Miller are both performers, just like you’d expect from the bride and groom behind such a delectably dramatic celebration. Miller is a member of Il Divo, the operatic pop group created by Simon Cowell, and Kubanack is a stage actress and singer in her own right. The two met, quite appropriately, while performing in Baz Luhrmann’s L.A. production of La Bohème, a modernized opera about a writer and artist in Paris who fall in love and do marvelous things like go to cafés until one of them tragically dies. The opera would later inspire Miller and Kubanack’s entire wedding celebration (“sans the tuberculosis,” says Lee).
Miller and Kubanack’s guests received remarkable invitations calligraphed by Bernard Maisner in white ink on thick black card stock. “If you are thinking of doing black invitation sets, that’s all fine and dandy, but it’s always best to do your response cards in a lighter color so that people can write with blue and black pens without any issues,” advises Lee. “Most people don’t have white marker lying around.” In lieu of a standard RSVP, Miller and Kubanack injected some French formality by spelling out “Responde S’il Vous Plait” (where the term “RSVP” actually originates). The pair also expressed their positive spirituality by requesting guests indicate if they would be attending the celebration “in body” or “in spirit”.
Daughter of Design worked with Hatch Creative Studio to fashion the ceremony location after a French café. Bistro chairs and tables were towed into the event space at 632 on Hudson (one of my favourite venues on the entire North American continent) along with an assortment of park benches and garden furniture. Envisioning an old, abandoned building overgrown with plants and vines, the floral designers at Hatch arranged “flowers pouring in from the open windows and vines and flowers growing on the walls,” describes Lee. As a festive touch, old French opera posters were displayed throughout the venue, which was also decorated by Maisner with lavish calligraffiti. “From their first song lyrics on the mirror to opera libretto on chalkboard, there were a lot of great details we added,” says Lee. Maisner also calligraphed a chalkboard sign positioned outside 632 on Hudson, baptizing the space “Café Mommus” for the evening (the name of the café in La Bohème).
Kubanack wore a silk sheath by Michelle Rahn from Gabriella New York and Miller a suit custom tailored by Giorgio Armani himself. In lieu of a traditional bridal march, Kubanack walked down the aisle to a piece Miller composed for her (adorably titled “For Sarah”) which was played by a string trio and harpist. The maid of honour and best man both performed ceremony readings which had been taped inside vintage tomes to appear as if being read directly from the books themselves. Guests were surprised by West Village Chorale who had quietly slipped into the room before singing “Set Me as a Seal” and a jubilant Ossana recessional. The music switched gears for the reception, where Miller and Kubanack enjoyed their first dance to “Such Great Heights” by Iron and Wine; an energetic Postal Service cover of the same song was later played as the final dance of the night.
Instead of a traditional sit-down dinner, Miller and Kubanack “opted for a cocktail party style reception with both passed courses and stations. Each room was themed to correspond with an opera, for example the ‘Madama Butterfly’ Asian room, ‘La Boheme’ French room and ‘La Traviata’ Italian room,” says Lee. As a surprise, Kubanack arranged for Miller’s favourite Japanese restaurant, Nobu, to set up camp in the Asian room. Guests also enjoyed a decadent dessert bar and wedding cake created by Ron Ben-Israel (who was shown a picture of a tree the couple had snapped on a camera-phone in upstate New York and wanted to incorporate in the design). Framed by two L brackets, the cake became a focal point for the entire reception. “I don’t think I’ve ever had a cake more photographed at a wedding,” says Lee.