Photos by Patti Hale, Chosen Moments Photography
A New York power couple celebrate their love for each other and for Ireland with a nontraditional winter micro-wedding.
Lauren & Nick
March 11, 2022
Walking into Newburgh’s Liberty Street Bistro — with its exposed-brick accent wall, emerald-green paint, eclectic decor, and hanging Edison-bulb light fixtures — it’s impossible not to be charmed. And when Nicholas Leiss and Lauren Johnson dined there on their first date, in 2019, they were equally charmed by the company. After a love-at-first-sight evening, the couple bonded over their shared entrepreneurial spirit and love for the Hudson Valley.
From there, things progressed quickly as the two celebrated each other’s career gains. In 2019, Johnson launched a digital-marketing firm geared toward helping woman- and Black-owned businesses, called The Hyacinth Group. Her first client? Leiss’ new blog, Farm2Chef’sTable.
At the turn of the New Year, the couple took their first trip together to Ireland to celebrate their shared love of the country and Irish heritage. And in late 2020, Leiss completed a stage at Copenhagen’s renowned Noma restaurant. Soon after returning to New York in early 2021, he popped the question with Johnson’s dream ring — an emerald design by Greenwich St. Jewelers.
The duo began planning their winter wedding for March 2022, while continuing to make career strides. Leiss hosted his first Farm2Chef’sTable dinner, cooking upscale Hudson Valley cuisine, and Johnson became a professor of digital marketing.
When the big day finally arrived, the bride got glammed up with the help of Jersey City’s Felicia Graham Beauty and donned a vintage mink (a gift from her aunt) over an understated Lamb’s Hill Bridal dress to meet her groom for snowy photos at Storm King Mountain. “My dress fit like a glove, and I felt so happy in it,” Johnson remembers. “I cut my hair off when I moved back home in 2018, so I was able to wear my hair natural and really be me in that dress.”
She finished the look with baroque pearl earrings and Dior shoes for an overall estate look inspired by the bride’s mother, who got married in the 1970s sporting an afro. Leiss wore a custom suit by LS Men’s Clothing, a brown Irish tweed, helping to set the theme for the day.
After photos, the couple headed to St. George’s Episcopal Church in Newburgh to exchange vows in front of an intimate group of friends and family and farther-flung loved ones via live stream. The couple’s siblings served as the wedding party, donning gold dresses and brown suits complemented by ivory bouquets and boutonnieres.
“My favorite moment of the day was seeing Lauren walk down the aisle,” the groom remembers. “That was really special.” The ceremony was a highlight for the bride as well: “The vows, the ceremony itself — it felt so right,” she muses. “The priest, Mary Barber, was excellent. It was her first wedding, but she made everything so comfortable for us, and she just aced it.”
From Ireland With Love
For the reception, there was no choice better than where it all started: Liberty Street Bistro. Not surprisingly, Leiss was tasked with heading up the food. “Being in the chef world, owner Michael Kelly and chef Maggie Lloyd gave us the opportunity to have a brunch and do things we love,” he explains. Since morning weddings are popular in the UK, Johnson adds, an Irish brunch provided the perfect opportunity to capitalize on their theme. “It brought us back to our first trip and our first connection,” she says. Leiss enlisted Kingston-based butcher The Meat Wagon to provide fresh Irish sausages. And the restaurant’s emerald-green interior? A serendipitous bonus, the couple affirm.
Patti Hale, Chosen Moments Photography
Nikki Moseley Events
Bride’s Dress & Veil
Lamb’s Hill Bridal Boutique
Greenwich St. Jewelers
Felicia Graham Beauty
LS Men’s Clothing
Liberty Street Bistro
Heather Christian, Adams Fairacre Farms
Mad Batters Pastries