Chrystalle and Michael met in the fall of 2004 on Match.com and became engaged in 2007. In the beginning, they were thinking of having a small, low-key affair, with 50 to 75 people. They soon learned that the longer you have to plan, the larger and more elaborate the wedding becomes.
Traditionally, that planning is done by the bride. Typically, she takes charge and makes all the decisions with the groom just nodding along. “Luckily, my wife was very clear that it was our wedding and she wanted me to be involved,” says Michael. And with that little opening, Michael admits he evolved into a Groomzilla. “Of course, I was not as bad as the that term connotes,” he assures, “but I did start to take charge of the event.” Did Chrystalle mind the role reversal? Not at all. “Mike had the vision,” she says. “And he did ninety-nine percent of the work. I took care of my dress and the band.”
The first order of business was hiring a wedding planner. “Andrea Most Gottschall from A Most Creative Affair went above and beyond as a wedding planner,” Michael says. “I’m not sure what we would have done without her recommendations and calming influence as the wedding day approached.”
Second on the list was finding just the right photographer, and the couple found him in Anthony Vazquez of New York. And it’s a good thing they booked him so early. “He was fairly popular then, but now he is one of the hottest wedding photographers in the country,” Michael says. True enough; his photographs of the Kevin Jonas wedding were recently published in People Magazine.
The couple, who reside in Tarrytown, wanted to incorporate their town into their wedding as much as possible. They were married at the Immaculate Conception Church in Sleepy Hollow (which we all know started out as North Tarrytown) and had their reception at the Castle on the Hudson. Included in the gift boxes for out-of-town guests were handmade maps marking their favorite places, along with treats from some of them: coffee from Coffee Labs Roasters and sweets from Mint and Anna Shea.
There were other personal touches. “Mike spent three Sundays in a row, working sixteen hours a day cutting, slicing, matting, gluing to create bookmarks with a personal message for each guest,” says Chrystalle. These were inserted into a journal at each table so everyone in turn could write in their own personal message to the couple.
“When we planned this wedding, we wanted to exude classy without being over the top,” Chrystalle says. “The band was a big part of this image. Andrea had told us about NationBand headed by Ira Gonzalez , and when I went to investigate, I liked their music so much I downloaded all of it from iTunes—I really became an Ira groupie.”
The couple had looked at a lot of places before choosing a venue but the Castle was “something special,” Michael says. “The staff was outstanding and the food was top-notch.” The 97 guests dined on jumbo Maine lobster and truffle potato ravioli followed by a salad and choice of horseradish-crusted filet mignon or sole en croute with braised leeks. In addition to the three-tier spice wedding cake, there was a Viennese dessert table.
“The whole day went off without a hitch,” Michael reports. “We had the opportunity to work with the best vendors locally and nationally to pull of a wedding that many of our friends and family are still talking about. We saved for three years to pull it off, and although it was a large sum we often ask ourselves: was it worth it? And the answer is always a resounding yes!”
So there you have it: a fairy-tale wedding in a castle. We hope they live Happily Ever After.
The following film clip was developed by Still Motion, a small boutique cinema team based in Canada, as part of a larger film that is set to be completed by the end of 2010. The team followed the couple around for a week to create a documentary of all of the work and preparation leading up to a wedding.
Photography by Anthony Vazquez
Videography by Still Motion Cinema
Collette Foley Specialty Baking
67-59 214th Street, Bayside, NY
Fontana Bridal Salon
678 White Plains Rd, Scarsdale
Diana Gould Ltd.
12 Frontage, Elmsford
HAIR & MAKEUP
180 Mamaroneck Ave, White Plains
Harnik Brothers Jewelers Inc.
6 N Broadway, Tarrytown
Anthony Vazquez Photography
Silver Star Limousine
47 Ash St, Yonkers
Gotham Dream Cars Exotic Car Rental
75 W End Ave, New York, NY
Castle on the Hudson
400 Benedict Ave, Tarrytown
Still Motion Cinema
Patrick Morau/Jessica Lewingston/Amina Morau
A Most Creative Affair
Andrea Most Gottschall
42 N Broadway, Tarrytown