Ask Leya about how she met Joel and she’ll tell you that they first met at a UJA Generosity event. “She loves telling everyone we met that night,” smiles Joel. While it’s true that they did have a brief interaction that evening, Joel likes to tell a different story. “I asked my friend how I could take Leya out after stumbling across their friendship on Instagram,” he recalls. “Somehow she agreed to meet me for a run at 5:30am a few days later, and we both showed up.”
“I had to keep sneaking side-glances without tripping to catch his eye,” says Leya. “He was effortlessly funny, confident, and, quite frankly, he was hot. We talked the entire time and I couldn’t stop smiling.” Needless to say, the run was a success. Leya and Joel continued to see each other and after a few “fancier, normal dates,” as Joel puts it – the two had become a couple.
What was the first wedding planning decision you made?
We knew we wanted to get married in New York – in the city we met, where we fell in love, where we would start our married lives together. Shortly thereafter, we found our dream venue in the center of Manhattan. When we walked into Cipriani 42nd street, all we could do was look up.
Where did you turn for ideas and inspiration?
We relied on our true instincts and style to bridge the gap between fall and winter. I wanted metallics, neutrals, black, and white to dominate the space and didn’t want anything too feminine to overpower our day. But then to find the best visual representations of what I loved or what I wanted to stay away from, I lived on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Vogue Weddings, New York Weddings, and The Day Journal. Never underestimate the power of stalking any and every wedding in your network. Ellen Kostman from Sidekick was also an invaluable resource. We wanted to create an air of timeless elegance. But Ellen also reminded us to have fun.
When we walked into Cipriani 42nd street, all we could do was look up.
Do you have advice for couples who are planning their wedding?
Try to remember that it’s an important moment for you but also for your family and friends. Planning a wedding can be stressful but when you remember who’s in your wedding party, who you’re marrying, and who will be in the room, it feels less like a frantic stressor. Think of the people who will be dancing with you when you start to panic about the escort cards.
Oh, and don’t stress too much about the tables. Very few tables will ever be perfect. People understand. People will love you anyway.
What do you think is most important to keep in mind on your wedding day?
You’re about the marry the love of your life. In the end, nothing else really matters. Smile and get ready to marry your soulmate with everyone else you love around you. Take a deep breath, and just go!
We wanted people to be dancing. We wanted to be celebrating life with everyone the entire time...
We knew we wanted to get married in New York – in the city we met, where we fell in love...
You’re about the marry the love of your life. In the end, nothing else really matters.
- Photographer Joanna Toto
- Second Photographer Virginie Carolina
- Planning Sidekick Events
- Cake Momofuku
- Catering Cipriani 42nd Street
- Floral & Event Design David Beahm Experiences
- Hair & Makeup Stephen Wang & Kimara Ahnert
- Lighting Star Group Productions
- Music Hank Lane Music, Erik Marshall Band
- Photobooth MVS