A cozy waiting area for your guests. Clean bathrooms — and plenty of them. Soft colors in ivory/cream-ish, beige, and dashes of greens and pinks on the carpeting (not that tacky over-done carpeting with bright gold and pink). A huge, tall room with windows on three sides that can seat 200 guests comfortably and leave room for the photographer to move around. A sleek black piano in the corner. An attentive staff. And a nearly panoramic view of the Long Island Sound during the ceremony and reception.
I’ve frequented many fabulous sites for small weddings. But few “catering halls” are actually elegant. Some are grand and yield a Cinderella atmosphere. Others are wonderfully historic. For those looking for a more understated wedding ceremony site, though, few reception halls are available. Some hotels, yes. Yet even nicer catering halls are rarely genuinely memorable. The Westbury Manor in Nassau is an exception, although having more than a hundred gusts there seems undesirable. Weddings held at the Glen Island Harbor Club, which is easily accessible in New Rochelle, are an exception. If you are inviting everyone you know, definitely consider this place.
Every so often, a couple who lives in my neighborhood or in a nearby one contacts me. Judy and Ru live a few short blocks away from my apartment, so meeting them three times over the course of eight months was breezy for all involved. At the last meeting, which was the night prior to their wedding, I even had the honor of meeting them in their home. Their wedding fit the description of New York elegance. Even if they had trouble sleeping, Judy and Ru looked radiant and glowing. Their flowers — white roses, some greenery, and hydrangeas — were classic: they needed only bouquets and two arrangements to warm-up the ceremony space. I did take a few photos, which I’ll post after their developed.
And their ceremony had no pretentiousness at all. A contemporary couple in all aspects, they selected a pre-written ceremony semi-traditional in tone that linked marriage to the outside world. After all, many view marriage as the ultimate civilizing mode: intimate bonds help us to practice and refine communication and sympathy for others. To add some of their personality, they picked a passage by Edmund O’Neill to open the ceremony, which I read. The sister of the bride then read a more romantic piece, Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116, just before they exchanged their vows. Judy even gave her sister a book from which to read (I also use a book for pre-written ceremonies), which looks far more sophisticated than reading from a binder, however neutral it may be. Once the rings safely encircled their fingers, their lives were yoked into one new family — united — for the rest of their lives.