If Lauren and Emily had to describe their meeting in six words, they would do so as follows, “Mock trial, very real love affair .” In 2010, the two were both working as associates at a New York law firm and were paired together for a mock trial program. Neither of them were enthusiastic about the exercise, but, surprisingly they soon found themselves looking forward to their strategy sessions. “We were supposed to be talking about the case,” says Lauren, “but conversation kept veering to what we had in common outside of work: a love of cooking, foreign travel, endurance sports, and upbringings based on similar values and beliefs.”
The two quickly became fast friends but a romantic relationship would have to wait. Lauren had accepted a job at the State Department in Washington, D.C.
Over dinner one night before the move Emily recalls that she suggested the two of them would make a good match. Turned out Lauren was thinking the same thing. Soon after the couple started dating and a few months later Emily found a job in D.C. at the Federal Election Commission so the two could be together.
In 2012 they started shopping for engagement rings. “We realized quickly that being two women of rather particular taste, we’d be best not to have any surprises in the jewelry department, so we worked closely together in the design process,” Emily tells Twirl New York.
The pair proposed to each other in January 2013. “We planned a low key mutual proposal for the day our rings arrived, but Emily surprised me with a photo book celebrating all of the important moments in our relationship,” remembers Lauren. “It was so thoughtful and sincere, which is how Emily always is.”
The couple hired New york based wedding planner Ellen Kostman from Sidekick Events to help them execute their vision. “The first and best decision we ever made,” says Emily. “We were still intimately involved in all of the decision making, but Ellen’s calm and experience made everything easier.”
The couple chose a location for their ceremony that had personal meaning to them. Lauren’s paternal great- granduncle, Dr. Julius Mark, had been the senior rabbi at Congregation Emanu-El on Fifth Avenue from 1948 through 1977, so they chose to recite their vows at the historic synagogue Beth-El Chapel. “It’s a stunning space. Warm and intimate, accented with intricate mosaic work and stained glass,” explains Lauren. “But more than that, it meant a great deal to us that, as two women, we were able to get married in a holy space.”
The building evokes such a sense of elegance and grandeur, it had exactly the type of physical gravitas we wanted for a celebration of the most important day in our lives.” —Emily
After the ceremony, the couple and their guests celebrated their marriage at the New York Public Library. Lewis Miller Design created a long banquet table in Astor Hall, an arched promenade framed by gilded ceilings. “It was an intimate setting for a formal venue,” adds Lauren. “We wanted our wedding night to feel like the dinners we host in our home—a warm, intimate gathering that just happened to have 220 of our closest friends and family members.”
The table was set with a variety of winter blooms—anemones, black calla lilies, ranunculus, tulips, roses, hyacinths, cyclamen, passion vine, and begonia—in painterly arrangements on multi-textured linens in earthy tones. Candles placed in hurricanes and votives added to the romantic atmosphere.
For “food-driven people,” as the couple describe themselves, a locally-sourced and seasonal menu was preferred. Working with Olivier Cheng Catering and Events the brides created a menu that began with charcuterie and cheeses from the Hudson Valley, crispy oxtail ravioli with pickled vegetables, braised radishes with black truffle parmesan butter, and mille-feuille of smoked salmon and fromage blanc with lemon and dill on a pumpernickel crisp.
For the seated three-course dinner, guests enjoyed a warming mixed mushroom and Italian chestnut bisque, followed by braised short ribs of beef with celery root puree and shredded brussels sprouts.
A dessert buffet was purposely served by the dance floor so guests didn’t miss a beat. It included bite-sized sticky toffee puddings and chocolate caramel fleur de sel tartlets, and a small two-tiered wedding cake the couple could cut.
Emily’s love of popcorn inspired the wedding favor: gourmet truffle, caramel and cheese varieties of the salty snack.
“The significance of us even being able to get married is not something that passes us by,” says Lauren. “We feel blessed to have had our union sanctified by the laws of our religion and sanctioned by the laws of the great State of New York. A marriage is about two people forming a lifelong union, but it is also about that union being recognized and validated by their community. We are grateful that we live in a day where our union can be welcomed by our friends, our family, our federal and state governments, and our faith.”
Wedding Planning Ellen Kostman, Sidekick Events
Ceremony Venue Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York
Reception Venue New York Public Library
Floral Design Lewis Miller Design
Emily’s Wedding Dress Designer Amanda Wakeley
Lauren’s Wedding Dress Designer Jenny Packham
Both Dresses from Bridal Salon Mark Ingram Atelier
Invitations: The Dandelion Patch
Calligraphy Bella Figura
Catering & Wedding Cake Olivier Cheng Catering and Events
Music, Ceremony Andrew Park, friend of the brides
Music, Cocktail Hour Rachel Brotman
Music, Reception: DJ Marvin Myers
Rentals Party Rental Limited
Transportation Campus Coach
Hotel for Guests The Refinery Hotel
Hotel for Bridal Party The Chatwal Hotel
Lauren’s Shoes Manolo Blahnik
Emily’s Shoes Jimmy Choo
Earrings estate pieces on loan from Provident Jewelry
Lauren’s Veil Monique Lhuillier, borrowed from her sister, who purchased it at Mark Ingram Atelier
Emily’s Headpiece Jenny Pakcham, Gabriella New York
Wedding & Engagement Rings Suzy B Jewelry
Lauren’s Hair Simone Margin
Emily’s Hair Heidi Powers
Emily’s Hair Combs Hitched Bridal Couture
Lauren’s Makeup Ashlee Glazer
Emily’s Make Up Hayes Nabozny