Sometimes art imitates life but then there are those times when it’s the other way around. At least that’s what it seemed as Michelle and Leon lounged in The Plaza’s renowned Oak Room bar for a breather before making their way to the ballroom to walk up the aisle. Seated in front of a plate-glass window facing Central Park and a picturesque snow storm blustering outside, the couple was backed by a similar scene in the form of painter Everett Shinn’s famous 1944 mural of a wintry New York street. The cascading white of Michelle’s dress only served to enhance the surrounding snowscapes, although the mood was anything but cold that day. “When I woke up that morning in the hotel there was already a white powder coating the city outside the window,” remembers Michelle. “To be getting married at The Plaza during Christmas season was incredible.”

New Yorkers aren’t usually known for their warmth to strangers, but there’s something about a bride and groom on the street that can make even city Scrooges smile—especially when said couple braves the snow in their wedding day finery. Michelle and Leon were such a featured attraction, in fact, that they became the subject of more than just our photographic attention. “I felt like a movie star,” says Michelle, “and Leon was my leading protagonist.”

Whether meeting each other under the chuppah or coming together for their first dance, Michelle and Leon exuded warmth. As the storm beat on outside blanketing the streets with snow, the couple and everyone lucky enough to celebrate their union were covered in enough love to keep a lifetime of winters at bay.

Location
The Plaza
Date held
Sat Dec 9th
To be getting married at The Plaza during Christmas season was incredible. When snow is added to that equation, well jackpot! I was on cloud nine.

– Michelle

The Ines di Santo gown was not the silhouette I envisioned myself in, but once I put it on I knew it was the one.

– Michelle

Q1

What was the wedding planning experience like for you?

I had never ever imagined what my wedding would be like. But as soon as Leon proposed to me, my mother forced me to make appointments to find my dress—and I found it on the first day! The Ines di Santo gown was not the silhouette I envisioned myself in, but once I put it on I knew it was the one. Having found my dress, I could move on to actually planning the party. We only had three months to plan the wedding so I didn’t have the liberty to dwell over any details of the wedding, which turned out to be a boon considering I am extremely indecisive. Fortunately Leon’s sister had just gotten married in March and having her first-hand experience on planning and executing a perfect wedding was priceless.

Q2

Describe what it was like to be married on a snowy day in New York City at The Plaza.

Snow was in the forecast for Saturday and when I woke up that morning in the hotel there was already a white powder coating the city outside the window. To be getting married at the Plaza during Christmas season was incredible. When snow is added to that equation, well jackpot! I was on cloud nine.

Q3

What were your feelings when you saw each other for the first time on your day?

I was excited to see Leon’s reaction as I had kept the gown a secret from him. I was hoping he’d be blown away. As he stood at the foot of the staircase, we could see one another through the reflection in the mirror. My heart swelled with emotions and I felt cherished.

I was excited to see Leon’s reaction as I had kept the gown a secret from him. I was hoping he’d be blown away.

– Michelle

Leon and I braved the winter conditions to shoot in front of the iconic hotel entrance. It was quintessential New York. All the tourists engaged with us. We were congratulated and even photographed by friendly onlookers. We had our own paparazzi. I felt like a movie star and Leon was my leading protagonist.

Michelle

Q4

What moments from your day hold the most meaning and significance for you?

Having our parents and siblings with us to celebrate our union meant the world to us. Knowing how truly happy our families were was all I needed. After the wedding, we were flooded with phone calls and texts by our guests. All of the planning was well worth it. Your guests enjoying themselves is the ultimate satisfaction!

Q5

Are there any other moments that stand out in your memory?

Leon and I braved the winter conditions to shoot in front of the iconic hotel entrance. It was quintessential New York. All the tourists engaged with us. We were congratulated and even photographed by friendly onlookers. We had our own paparazzi. I felt like a movie star and Leon was my leading protagonist.

Q6

If you were allowed to keep only one memento from your day, what would it be?

The wedding elapsed in the blink of an eye. If I could, I’d bottle up all the sentiments I experienced that day and save them in a jar. I could then go back to it to remember every fleeting moment. Luckily, Adrian and Ira captured those moments. Looking at our pictures and film I am mesmerized and momentarily taken back to those emotions.

Q7

What song did you choose for your first dance?

Our first dance was Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” I thought it was the perfect song because I imagined Leon singing those lyrics to me. Guess what? In front of all our guests, he actually did “take my hand, take my whole life too!”

Q8

What are some of the qualities that you admire most about each other?

Leon has a heart of gold. He is the most selfless, altruistic individual I know. He regards his parents with the highest esteem and cherishes his sisters. He has embraced my parents and brothers like they are his own. Leon is a man of honor and values, and that is why I fell in love with him.

Michelle & Leon
A film by
Adrian Toto
play-video
Our first dance was Elvis Presley’s ‘Can't Help Falling in Love.’ I thought it was the perfect song because I imagined Leon singing those lyrics to me. Guess what? In front of all our guests, he actually did ‘take my hand, take my whole life too!’

– Michelle

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Credits

  • Photography

    Ira Lippke
  • Filmmaking

    Adrian Toto

With a distinctive ability to capture the timeless substance of events in images marked by elegance and exuberance, The Day founder Ira Lippke is one of the country’s most celebrated event photographers. Using photojournalism as a starting point, he infuses every shoot with a distinct artistic sensibility—an approach he has come to term “fine art documentary photography.”

Ira Lippke