After a proposal at The Unisphere at Flushing Meadow Park, Cat and Justine shared a beautiful, romantic outdoor wedding at the Vanderbilt Museum & Planetarium.
How long have you been together, and how did you meet?
We met as waitresses at a greasy burger joint in college and have been together since (11 years!). We worked opposite shifts, so our paths didn’t really cross until one fateful day. Justine offered Cat a ride home, and they bonded over a really solid iPod shuffle.
Tell us about the proposal.
Cat is notoriously hard to surprise, so Justine had to concoct an elaborate plan! She wanted to propose somewhere iconic that they both loved, so she chose The Unisphere at Flushing Meadow Park. Cat was tricked into believing that they would watch her nephew’s soccer game when Justine dropped down on one knee and proposed right in front of the globe. They celebrated and picnicked with three of their closest friends and a lot of champagne in the park.
Tell us about planning a wedding during Covid.
It was primarily stressful, which was expected due to the ongoing pandemic. However, we saw so many couples affected by this so chose not to plan anything and risk postponing. Thankfully, the vaccine rollout in NYC was very smooth, and the infection rates plummeted. We’d always planned for a completely outdoor event, so we were lucky to celebrate relatively normally.
What led you to the destination?
We initially planned to do a destination wedding in the French Quarter area of New Orleans. However, when we took our parents on a trip there to gauge their interest, we knew right away that a New York-based wedding was a better fit for us. Back home, we only checked out the Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium, and we knew right away that this was the spot. We fell in love with the Villa-Esque aesthetic and the dreamy garden area where cocktail hour was held.
Talk to us about your experience finding the perfect outfits.
Cat knew exactly what she wanted. Something classically romantic and lacy and found the perfect dress at Kleinfeld’s, which her mom (a huge Say Yes to the Dress fan) had always dreamed of going to.
Justine shopped around a bit before coming across a gorgeous, super sleek gown with a curve-hugging trumpet silhouette. We chose not to see each other’s dresses beforehand and were so pleasantly surprised by how the looks complemented each other- cap sleeves and all!
Talk to us about the wedding day.
It went by way too fast- a complete blur! We hardly slept at all the night before, and we were too nervous. We spent the entire night worrying about the weather, guests, and vendors showing up on time and were dreading the awkwardness of having all eyes on us during the ceremony. However, that all completely melted away as soon as we laid eyes on each other. If anything went wrong the day of, we have no clue because our wedding coordinators at Modern Rebel did a fantastic job hiding it.
As far as we’re concerned, the entire day was perfect. Seeing all our closest friends and family together in one place like that, celebrating and breaking bread together, was unforgettable. We’d do it all again in a heartbeat!
What are your favorite moments?
There are too many to list! But something that certainly comes to mind would be our mother’s speeches during the reception. So many of our friends and family told us afterward that they enjoyed this. We also had about an hour of extremely sweaty, glorious dancing (courtesy of our live band) at the end of the night which was one of the highlights.
Do you have a standout vendor?
Our caterer, The Rose Experience, is owned and operated by Chef Kamal Rose and his wife, Shanna. Cat had previously worked with Chef Kamal at a restaurant and was a massive fan of his food. His standalone events company could not have come at a better time as he’d always joked back then about how much he wanted to do the honors for our big day. Chef Kamal is an insanely versatile talent who delivered a delicious, beautifully platted meal that perfectly blended our Latino and Italian-American cultures. He also sourced a fantastic team of waitstaff who helped transform the bare, cobblestone courtyard into the reception wonderland of our dreams.
Photography by Claudia V Ayala Photography
Bartenders & Staffing Krisp Events
Catering The Rose Experience
Desserts Blondie’s Bakeshop
Dress Designers Maggie Sottero, Kelly Faetanini
Florist Hengstenberg’s Florist
Makeup The Beauty Bar
Officiant Our Wedding Officiant NYC
Photo Booth Incredi-Booths
Planner & Stylist Modern Rebel
Venue Vanderbilt Museum & Planetarium