Leya & Joel, Cipriani 42nd Street, NYC

POSTED BY Joanna Toto on 2016/12/21

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How did you meet? What were your first impressions of each other?

Leya: We actually met really briefly at a UJA Generosity event in January 2014. A few months later we were set up by one of our closest mutual friends and met for an 8 mile run at 5:30am along the west side highway. We were mid-run throughout our entire first date so I had to keep sneaking side glances without tripping to catch his eye. He was effortlessly funny, confident, and, quite frankly, he was hot. We talked the entire time and I couldn’t stop smiling.

Joel: I asked my friend how I could take Leya out after stumbling across their friendship on Instagram. Somehow she agreed to meet me for a run at 5:30am a few days later and we both showed up. After a few fancier, normal dates, we were seriously dating. I then realized that I had met her and asked about her at a UJA Generosity event. Now she loves telling everyone we met that night. At some point on our first date/run, I knew I wanted to marry her.

What was the first wedding planning decision you made?

Both: We knew we wanted to get married in New York – in the city we met, where we fell in love, where we would start our married lives together. Shortly thereafter, we found our dream venue in the center of Manhattan. When we walked into Cipriani 42nd street, all we could do was look up.

What was your goal for your day?

Both: We wanted people to be dancing. We wanted to be celebrating life with everyone the entire time. And we wanted the day to be just as much about us as it was about our parents, grandparents, siblings, and lifelong friends.

Where did you turn for ideas and inspiration?

Leya: We relied on our true instincts and style to bridge the gap between fall and winter. I wanted metallics, neutrals, black, and white to dominate the space and didn’t want anything too feminine to overpower our day. But then to find the best visual representations of what I loved or what I wanted to stay away from, I lived on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook (never underestimate the power of stalking any and every wedding in your network), Vogue Weddings, New York Weddings, and the ILS blog. Ellen Kostman from Sidekick was also an invaluable resource. We wanted to create an air of timeless elegance. But Ellen also reminded us to “have fun.”

Do you have advice for couples who are planning their wedding?

Both: Try to remember that it’s an important moment for you but also for your parents, your siblings, your grandparents, your cousins, and your best friends. Planning a wedding can be stressful but when you remember who’s in your wedding party, who you’re marrying, and who will be in the room, it feels less like a frantic stressor. Think of the people who will be dancing with you when you start to panic about the escort cards.

Oh, and don’t stress too much about the tables. Very few tables will ever be perfect. People understand. People will love you anyway.

What do you think is most important to keep in mind on your wedding day?

Both: You’re about the marry the love of your life. In the end, nothing else really matters. Smile and get ready to marry your soulmate with everyone else you love around you. Take a deep breath. And just GO!


Photos by Joanna Toto and Virginie Blachère


Planning: Sidekick Events
Cake: Momofuku
Catering: Cipriani 42nd Street
Floral & Event Design: David Beahm
Hair & Makeup: Stephen Wang and Melissa of Kimara Ahnert
Lighting: Star Group Productions
Music: Hank Lane Music, Erik Marshall Band
Photobooth: MVS
Venue: Cipriani 42nd Street

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