Like a scene right out of a romantic movie, Athenes and Gino literally bumped into each other one evening at the lounge. Turning towards each other they unknowingly looked right into the eyes of the love of their life. A casual conversation began and ended with them exchanging numbers. That night would eventually lead to a first date that placed them on the path of happily ever after...
Read all about Athenes & Gino's love story, proposal, and experiences in their historic carriage house wedding in Chappaqua, New York.
Bride & Groom: Athenes & Gino
Occupations: Residential Real Estate Sales & Senior Software Engineer
Wedding date: April 14th, 2018
Wedding location: Crabtree’s Kittle House, Chappaqua, NY
How did you meet? Verlaine Bar & Lounge. We literally bumped into each other at a crowded bar in fall of 2012, casually discussed his profession and exchanged numbers. It took nearly two months to lock in a first date, a romantic dinner that lasted for hours of conversation. We bonded over the importance of our families in our lives, a huge appreciation for different cuisine, an aspiration to travel the world and an easy sense of humor. We dated and got to know each other's family, traveled and decided to move in together in 2016. Six months later he proposed.
Tell us about the proposal. January 14th, 2017, the proposal was a complete surprise to the bride, a shared bucket list destination of New Orleans, LA. The significance behind New Orleans began when Gino requested Athenes to obtain a passport that way they would gain the ability to travel internationally. Gino then asked Athenes where her first destination with her new passport would be, and she responded with “New Orleans”.
Gino had been searching for a ring for four months and after dozens of sites and vendors' rings he decided to come up with a design for a custom ring. He knew Athenes enjoyed antiques, so Gino custom designed a ring with beautiful vintage swirls on the band and a high imperial bezel built with small diamonds eventually leading up to the main diamond. Leading to the proposal was a heart-pounding experience. It was a bright sunny day and Gino carried his GoPro video camera around as they marched down Bourbon Street towards Jackson Square (landmark Park in French Quarter). He approached a stranger to film the event with his GoPro and got down on one knee to pop the question…while trembling in nervousness. The rest was pure joy except that he forgot the put the ring on her when she said yes!
Wedding Style: We wanted an elegant aesthetic that lent itself to the historical venue 1790 (200+ year old timber frame farm & Carriage house) currently in use as a luxury farm-to-table Restaurant and Inn. We selected fresh flowers (tall white cherry blossoms and smaller peonies, ranunculus & sweet pea) for every table and an ornate floral arch for the ceremony overlooking hills from the glass paneled Carriage Room.
Describe your wedding attire: Gino designed a custom wedding tuxedo with Indochino, comprised of a textured midnight navy dinner coat (light wool) with satin lapels and silk paisley inner lining with black tuxedo pants. Black BOSS patterned shoes, custom tie clip and cuff links, colorful socks.
Athenes selected a Modern Trousseau Fall 2016 design and worked with their designer to add a lace beaded shoulder band and satin buttons (“Georgia” –a French lace embedded with crystal and pearl with fit to flared chapel train). The dress is made from scratch in Connecticut, including four visits (initial measure, muslin fabric fitting, dress with lace fitting and final fitting). They made a waterfall (two tiered) veil for the dress.
What was the wedding shopping experience like for you? Athenes: "Selecting the dress itself was the most impactful for me because with the styling in mind, it helped materialize a tonal vision of the day and made the decisions on everything from floral to bridesmaids attire easier."
Gino: "The wedding shopping experience for me was extremely fun. Shopping for a wedding outfit to look as sharp as James Bond was exciting. I knew I wanted a custom suit but wasn’t sure if I wanted a suit or a tux until I walked into Indochino. Great thing about having a suit is re-usability, but I essentially went with a tuxedo since I wanted to stand out a bit more than the groomsmen dressed in suits (Don’t forget to get your tux or suit pockets engraved, made for a very special memory and great photo opportunity). My shoes, shirts (I bought two in case I decided to change or spilled food), and some accessories were from BOSS, who indulged me in champagne and wine, an on-site tailoring. My tie clip and cuff link were custom made with my initials."
Did you incorporate any culture into your wedding? Gino is 1st generation Taiwanese American. Athenes is 1st generation Puerto Rican and Jamaican. We included a wishing tree (we had come across them on Lotus Pond, a large lake and home to Dragon Tiger Pagoda– Kaohsiung, Taiwan), custom paper flower lanterns over the dance floor. The table setting gift was a mini bamboo dumpling steamer packed with bridal theme M&M’s. A traditional Jamaican “black cake” was also offered. The guest gifts nodded to our mixed heritage including monogrammed chopsticks, fresh imported Jamaican jerk seasoning, and Puerto Rican rum enclosed in whimsical take out boxes. The bride changed to a deep red dress during reception as a respectful homage to Asian wedding tradition.
The wedding was extremely diverse, ranging from Asian, Spanish, and Caribbean family and friends. It was a mixture of people with different ethnicity partying and having a good time. It was exactly how we envisioned it.
Wedding party gifts: Bridesmaids Gifts: Bridesmaid proposal boxes with picture frame, fortune cookie and monogram candle. Bridesmaid Wedding day gifts; floral print kimono robes, drop earrings for the ceremony, held in Coach leather travel jewelry box in rose & pink hues, handmade faux crystal dress sashes (sewed costume choker necklace onto ribbon).
Groomsmen Gifts: Groomsman proposal gift monogrammed metal flask with wedding date & travel knife groomsmen. Wedding day gifts; Initialed cuff links and tie clips and fun colorful socks for ceremony.
Gifts for each other: Rustic Leather Medium Travel bag (for him)
Ceremony entrance song: (bridal party) "A Thousand Years" by Christina Perri (played by strings)
Bride Entrance: "Canon in D"by Pachelbel
First dance song: "Can’t Help Falling in Love" by Hailey Reinhart
What is your best memory from your wedding? Gino: "Definitely the first look. We were standing outside near the stairs where Athenes would later walk down for her grand entry with my back turned away from her. After I turned around I was overwhelmed with joy and happiness. The anticipation of seeing my bride to be finally hit me and I couldn’t hold back my tears. The wedding finally felt real immediately after I saw her. She was more gorgeous than I had imagined and all I could think of was how lucky I was!"
Athenes: "The venue had a glass enclosed area with double staircase to the outdoor ceremony (I could see the guests and aisle but they couldn't see me!). It was incredible to have a birds-eye view of my future husband taking his position, my mother and the wedding party and the serene quiet of our guests as I descended the stairs to meet my father. Any nervousness faded to excitement to stand next to him and announce our vows. A close second would be the discreet moment we sat alone after the ceremony, exhaled and toasted before executing our marriage license. A moment of calm and reflection in the middle of it all."
What is the best wedding advice you can give to engaged couples? Athenes: "You can not predict the things that may go wrong the day of the wedding. I am immensely grateful for our wedding planners, and the venue director who behind the scenes doused concerns so the day of I could only be concerned with honoring each other, our family and our guests. It is only fair for the couple after all the planning leading to this moment to free yourself of control, live in the moment and enjoy it. It will all go by so quickly."
Gino: "I don’t think the bride and groom will ever feel 100% prepared and ready the day of the wedding so just soak in the moment and enjoy every second of it. Be grateful that your family and friends are there to celebrate with you and your bride. No one is going to hold you accountable for missing the little details, just be present and happy that you are about to be married to the love of your life…just don’t forget the marriage license."
Wedding dress salon – Modern Trousseau
Bridesmaids dresses – BHLDN
Hair – An’Jel’s Salon, Jamie Clayton (owner)
Makeup – Your Face My Canvas, Shameika Simmons
Bride shoes – Jimmy Choo
Ceremony & reception location – Crabtree’s Kittle House
Photography – Hales Studio, Rebecca Hales
Videography – Joyful Video
Wedding planner – Two Kindred Event Planners
Florist – August Sage & Violet
Cake – Lulu’s Cake Boutique
Stationery – Minted
Groom's attire – Indochino
Groom shoes and accessories – Hugo Boss
Groomsmen attire- Mens Warehouse
DJ – 74Events, Constantine Ptohos
Live Musicians – Harmonia Strings (string quartet)
Engagement Ring - Jack Fung Jewelry Inc, Flushing, NY
Wedding Bands - Malidani Jewelry, Diamond District, NY
Bridal Jewelry – Nadri drop earrings (silver/pearl), Swarovski bracelet blue & crystal pave
Gift vendors Paper lanterns (etsy – PrettyPaperBlossoms)
Gift vendors Jerk Sauce (Etsy - Jamaicacoffee)
Gift vendors Tie clips and cuff links (Etsy - aandlengraving)
Gift vendors Groomsmen gifts - flask | pocket knife | designer box (Etsy - EverythingDecorated)
Gift vendors monogramed chop sticks (Etsy - YourHappyDay2016)