Monica & Manolo share the details of their one-of-a-kind pop-up NYC Wedding ceremony and cocktail party reception at Midtown Loft. This non-traditional wedding was full of personal details, handmade elements, and high fashion style!
Tell us a little about yourselves!
Monica is a native New Yorker and event marketer who moved to Spain where she met Manolo, a pilot from Sevilla, Spain who flies for the Spanish Air Force. Monica was teaching English abroad for a year in Sevilla, Spain. She met Manolo in a local bar through some mutual acquaintances and they have been through it all, maintaining a LDR for many months/years, until Monica settled permanently in Sevilla with Manolo.
Manolo asked Monica's parents if they'd accept him as family and if he could have their blessing to marry their daughter in both NYC and Spain. Knowing Monica's grandmother's Alzheimers had set in, he asked her mother (and the new owner of the heirloom) if he could give Monica her grandmother's engagement ring (something she always wanted). He worked along with his family jeweler to design a piece that boasted the family diamond and something that Monica would cherish. The original ring's stone was replaced with a garnet, Monica's grandmother's birthday month stone, and given to Monica's mother during her first bridal gown trial.
He asked Monica to marry her at their favorite landmark in Sevilla: the Plaza de España. Seated together on a park bench made of hand-painted ceramic tile, they had their dog, Nico, next to them the entire time.
Their wedding rings were also from their families that kept those that are no longer with them near to heart and spirit. Monica wore her paternal grandmother's wedding band and Manolo wore his maternal grandmother's band. (They reused these for their nuptials in Spain nearly one month later.)
Tell us about your wedding!
The wedding was a surprise location and a surprise ceremony. The invitation only indicated an MTA bus stop where 115 guests had to meet at a certain time. At 4pm on August 25, 2018, three tour buses via The Ride Experience pulled up to take guests on an interactive tour throughout NYC. (If you've never gone, it's HIGHLY recommended!) Monica and Manolo did this tour twice and thought it'd be neat to incorporate it into their wedding day - and The Ride agreed!
With their amazing operations team, the ceremony went off without a hitch - three times. (Three buses, three short ceremonies!) Monica's childhood friend married them in front of family and friends. She hopped on the third bus and the bride and groom walked to the venue, a mere 5-minute walk from the ceremony place. While guests enjoyed the rest of their NYC tour experience, Monica and Manolo took the time to see their wedding vision come to life, snap some photos, and be on the terrace to greet guests (who were dropped off only 3 blocks from where they met and had no idea)!
Manolo's suit was custom made by a family tailor in Andalusia. He handpicked the fabric and researched a trendy - yet timeless - style for the Big (NYC) Day.
Monica surprised her mom by wearing her wedding dress, donned by her mother over 41 years ago. She snuck it out of its box and tissue paper packaging and stuff the box with towels (Great idea, Dad!) to compensate for the weight. She brought it back with her one trip to Spain to get it sized, replace buttons, and clean it before the Big (NYC) Day. Good thing for those towels - Monica's mom went to cut a sleeve off the dress to make her a keepsake handkerchief but was caught by Monica's brother who saved the day - and the dress! The sleeves were detached and reattached to make for a different look post-ceremony.
Monica and Manolo desired something cool, chic, and comfy - and "extension of the living room" - and worked with the most epic vendors to bring this vision to life. Fabrics, candlelight, and mixed materials like glass and metal were used throughout. Touches of greenery and light and bright flowers by Lindsay Rae Design made for the perfect vision complete. Manolo and Monica's brother, Kevin, set up a beautiful glass orb installation for the stairway. (These same orbs were suspended over the dance floor by Manolo and Monica at her mom's 60th birthday party a few years ago.)
There were several DIY Paper Details from handmade paper flowers by Monica and her Mom for the photo booth backdrop (put together by the groom himself), in the bouquet (Thanks to Margie at The Lovely Ave), handmade paper bride and groom cake toppers (Thanks, Mom!) and a paper version of their sweet dog, Nico, made by the bride. Monica also tried out her typography skills by doing the signature cocktail signs.
The cake itself was gorgeous and only 1/3 of it real! The top layer was a rich, dense cheesecake (Manolo's favorite) made by Bartleby and Sage's amazing pastry chef, Hans. Guests enjoyed a light and airy spongecake filled with fresh summer berries and a mascarpone cheese center, covered in whipped buttercream. (The bride and groom enjoyed both cakes thoroughly!)
After the first dance, Monica told the guests a quick story about the wedding dress and invited her parents to dance their first dance song in honor of being so wonderful, helpful, and supportive throughout the entire process. The Polka, the Tarantella, and Sevillanas were played to give musical nods to the different family cultures present. (And Monica's brother's favorite, Toto's "Africa," because, well, you can't have an epic party without that classic!)
The music, food, venue, ambiance, energy, EVERYTHING was truly a night to remember. Monica's mom even worked it out that her mother/Monica's grandmother could be at the party for a bit. Seeing her grandmother in the loft area before the first dance was the moment that made Monica tear up.
This was quite a unique gathering and the first of two international celebrations. Monica and Manolo planned an equally epic fiesta in Sevilla, Spain about a month later.
What was totally worth it?
Everything. It's a learning process and we've met so many cool people (and a few ding-dongs) along the way that became more like friends. So amazing!
What was not worth it?
Letting the complaints or others get between the us. Luckily, Manolo is a great teammate AND is efficient AF - it was all about efficiency and getting some good laughs out amongst anything dramatic.
What did you throw in the Fuck-It Bucket?
Bridal party, bouquet toss, garter toss, seated meal, we threw sooo much in the Fuck-It Bucket that family started complaining, saying I was against anything traditional...
What advice do you have for other couples planning their weddings?
People are going to tell you to do what you want and I agree HOWEVER: do your research, ask questions, and be considerate, not just to family/friends but the people working with/for you!. And dance - dance like everyone is watching with your hands in the air like ya just don't care!
Monica & Manolo's Rockstar Vendors
Photography: Maggie Marguerite Studio
Ceremony: Madison Square Park
Reception Venue: Midtown Loft & Terrace
Catering: Bartleby & Sage
Floral Design: Lindsay Rae Design
Transportation: The Ride
Bouquet: The Lovely Ave
Band: Silver Arrow Band
Hair/Makeup: Danielle Schanel
Photo Booth: SharingBox
iPad Portraits: Drawing Booth