For four years, Morgan Manasse and Andrew Borsen attended college a few miles from each other in Boston. But they never met. They shared mutual friends and kicked back in the same places. But their paths didn’t cross even once. After graduation, in New York City, they lived right across the street from each other for an entire year. And still, they remained strangers.
Then, one day in October 2007, Morgan went to study at her favorite Murray Hill coffee shop. Little did she know, this seemingly ordinary java jaunt would change her life. A friend unexpectedly stopped by to see Morgan, bringing with her the perfect excuse for a study break: Andrew. They began to talk and, before the break was over, Andrew invited Morgan to his Halloween party. They’ve been together ever since.
They wanted their wedding to incorporate elements from both of their cultures: Morgan’s Spanish Sephardic Jewish family and Andrew’s Russian roots. The ketubah, or Jewish marriage certificate, was written in both Spanish and Hebrew. The 100-plus-year-old lace cloth that topped the chuppah belonged to Andrew’s grandmother. The band played Spanish songs, Russian songs, and, of course, everyone danced a traditional hora. No guest would have to settle for American caviar at this wedding: Andrew’s father imported his own—red and black—from Russia, and guests were offered a choice of Champagne or vodka for each special toast.
Visually, Morgan wanted a vintage theme, and Judy Gilmartin-Willsey, owner of Framings Event Design, helped bring that idea to life. She dressed tables in lace cloths, wrapped napkins in lace doilies, and placed gold-rimmed plates on top of Tappan Hill’s chargers. She found mercury glass containers to house—and surround—the centerpieces, and strung pearls everywhere: in and out of flowers, on the backs of chairs, around candles, even from wall sconces. In the end, what did the bride like best? The pearls? The lace? The caviar? Surprisingly, no. While the décor was stunning, bringing the past into the present resonated most. Says Morgan, “By incorporating our families’ traditions, it was like the people from our past were there with us.”
— Mary Lynn Mitcham Strom
Ceremony: The patio at Tappan Hill Mansion, 81 Highland Ave, Tarrytown (914) 631-3030; abigailkirsch.com.
Reception Venue: Tappan Hill, 81 Highland Ave, Tarrytown (914) 631-3030; abigailkirsch.com.
Cake: Abigail Kirsch at Tappan Hill, 81 Highland Ave, Tarrytown (914) 631-3030; abigailkirsch.com.
Flowers: Forever in Bloom, 431 E Main St, Mount Kisco (914) 241-1963; foreverinbloomonline.com.
Photography: Catherine Leonard Photography New York, 37 W 20th St, Suite 1203, New York, NY (800) 292-3092; celimages.com.
Bridal Dress: Oscar de la Renta, Saks Fifth Avenue, 611 5th Ave, New York, NY (212) 753-4000; saksfifthavenue.com.
Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Vera Wang, 991 Madison Ave, New York, NY (212) 628-3400; verawang.com.
Music & Entertainment: The Village Underground Band, 130 W 3rd St, New York, NY (212) 777-7745; thevillageunderground.com.
Event Designer: Judy Gilmartin-Willsey, Framings Event Design, 420 Main St, Armonk (914) 714-2514; framingseventdesign.com.
Invitations: The Village Invites, 25 W 43 St, New York, NY (212) 220-6199; villageinvites.com.