From the moment I stepped through the doors of the Lotos Club, I knew this venue was going to be unlike any other I'd been to before - and was I ever right! There is a timeless elegance about the space with it's elaborate columns and mantels, eclectic art collection, and glossy grand piano set against the white walls at the top of a red carpeted staircase. And yet an undeniable sense of comfort also exists here: by the warmth of the fireplace, in the tufted leather seating, on the floral wallpaper in the bathrooms, and in the rows upon rows of bound books that are begging to be thumbed through. It feels like a formal affair held in friend's home... if that friend happened to be the owner of a building from 1900, located just off Fifth Avenue and exemplifying fine French Renaissance architecture. Needless to say, it is an incredible setting for a wedding.
Gary and Alyssa fit right in with their classic wedding attire - he in his bow tie, she in her lace and pearls - and embraced the tradition of Alyssa's father walking her down the aisle and presenting her to her groom.
Early in the ceremony, we incorporated a modern take on another tradition - one from their Chinese culture - honoring their parents with a tea ceremony. I moved aside to reveal a table behind me with tea already steeped in a beautiful pot and four delicate cups with saucers. I explained the origin and meaning of the ritual to their guests as the couple carefully poured the tea, then graciously offered a sip to each set of parents to show their respect and appreciation. As they settled back into place to continue with the ceremony, Gary gently reached to hold Alyssa's hand and she smiled back sweetly.
The ceremony felt intimate with only about 80 guests. It was nice to be unamplified and speak in a natural tone as I told their friends and family about the reasons Gary and Alyssa had chosen to marry, their belief that a strong relationship is based on open communication and a shared sense of humor, and their hopes and dreams for their wedded future. The couple wrote their own heartfelt vows, and as I looked out at their family and friends, I saw nods of recognition and a few tears shed.
September 6th had always been very special to Gary and Alyssa. It was on that date exactly two years prior that the pair had their first date, and on the same date a year ago that they became engaged. It was also the date they took each other as husband and wife, and will now forever be the date they celebrate their wedding anniversary. Congratulations to the couple!