The strapless ivory gown offered the chromatic element Julia had envisioned thanks to lengths of colored silk that started at the hidden side pockets and extended into a glamorous train. “We went through many different color combinations before finally settling on ivory on the front (so that there was still a resemblance of traditional white), hot pink on the side, and then the navy train,” says Julia, who credits the house’s creative director, Wes Gordon, for completing her vision. “Wes was so wonderful to work with, he made me feel so comfortable and really helped me embrace being a ‘bride,’” she says. “He knew exactly what I was looking for before I even knew myself!”
For the finishing touches, her “something borrowed” came in the form of extended-family jewels. “My sister’s sister-in-law Bee Shaffer generously lent me the most incredible ruby and diamond earrings that her husband had gifted her on her own wedding day,” says Julia. “Not only were they absolutely beautiful, but the connection to family made it so much more special.” Natural, glowing beauty felt right to balance out the showpiece gems and stay true to the bride’s minimalistic style. “Melissa Silver, who did my makeup, and John Gaita, who did my hair, understood immediately my vision of classic and understated,” says Julia. To complement the navy tones in her dress, Sam chose a midnight blue Denis Frison tuxedo, and the entire bridal party wore Carolina Herrera.
Day-of arrangements required a capable pro, and Julia relied on her calligrapher Ashley Gunsteens as the point person “who made sure everything ran smoothly on the day and allowed me to let go and enjoy the moment,” she says. “The ceremony was short and sweet—I think it lasted seven minutes, max.” Those closest to them stepped into the spotlight, with Sam’s oldest friend Gregory Honan performing the ceremony, one of Julia’s best friends Rebecca Wicker sharing a reading, and her cousin Kate Powers playing guitar and singing as guests arrived.
A rendition of Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love” could be heard as Julia walked down the aisle with her father. “I don’t enjoy being in front of crowds and was very nervous about standing up in front of everyone, but once the ceremony started and I saw that I was surrounded by everyone I love, I calmed down and began to enjoy the moment,” says Julia. “Sam was perfectly calm and collected and really helped steady me during the ceremony—he knew I was going to be super nervous, and as soon as he smiled at me I was able to ground myself.”
After the vows, guests enjoyed cocktail hour in the drawing rooms of the Harold Pratt House while the couple took photos. “Once we were done, we moved through to the dining room where we had dinner and speeches,” says Julia. “My favorite thing about the venue is that we moved throughout the house as the night went on—each space had its own character and we didn’t have to worry about resetting rooms.” Once the cake was cut, DJ Samantha Michele kicked off the evening with their first dance in the ballroom. “After that, we partied!” Julia enthuses. “It was honestly the best night of our lives.”
“We look back at it with pure joy and no regrets,” Julia continues. “Sam and I both had a vision of what we wanted our wedding to be—we wanted color, we wanted drama and whimsy, and we wanted it to be very ‘New York,’ where we met and fell in love—I think we got it all in there!”