Two creative grooms and a strong desire to boldly paint their love story for their guests? I couldn’t have asked for a better couple than Ryan and Alek to be the first official wedding of Jason Mitchell Kahn and Co. After touring several venues, we landed at the newly renovated Second Floor in Midtown. With exposed brick, industrial ceilings, a retractable roof and phenomenal in-house catering, it’s only a matter of time before this place develops a waiting list.
The design inspiration came from their love of the arts, travel and the era of the Speakeasy. On the long wooden dining tables, we created table runners out of old sheet music, and then topped them with a mix-matched spread of apothecary bottles in varying heights and colors that each held taper candles; arrangements in bud vases by The Arrangement NYC; and a fun mix of all the rental props I could get my hands on such as vintage cameras, trophies and books. Above every table we installed Edison bulbs to dangle at different lengths.
The escort card table was composed of individual telegrams informing guests which significant location in Ryan and Alek’s life they’d be sitting at. There was also a vintage typewriter so guests could leave a wish for the grooms. The wall of windows at the venue overlooks a courtyard with a giant screen. When Ryan and Alek recessed after saying “I do,” the screen activated with a firework display and a message of congratulations in both English and Spanish. All of this fun was accentuated by the live music of the Melanie and the Bianco Martinis, the spinning of DJ Steven Paul, and captured by GT Modern Creations on video and one of my favorite photographers Laura Marie Duncan.
It was a true joy to see all the planning details come to life. But what was more fulfilling was helping them navigate the emotional journey of this wedding. Alek’s parents are divorced, and not long before the date, his father expressed he would not attend as he doesn’t support same-sex marriage. But his step-mom did come, and we figured out a way to include her alongside Alek’s mom and grandmother in the processional and have a mother-son dance with all three. The ceremony also included a group sing-a-long of The Rainbow Connection. I think all the lovers and dreamers had chills.
The best part of night was facilitating the separate surprises they planned for one another. Ryan compiled a video of wishes from all of Alek’s relatives in Mexico who couldn’t attend, and after it played he transitioned into a choreographed flash-mob with his groomsmen. Alek led a group number from Ryan’s favorite musical Sunday in the Park with George. As he lined up their closest friends and family with parasols to recreate the famous Seurat painting, I was overcome with how fitting the lyrics represented their wedding journey.
“White. A blank page of canvas. His favorite. So many Possibilities.”
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