New Yorkers Maya and Ben first met in February of 2010. “We are both from New York City, but didn’t go to the same high school,” Maya says. It wasn’t until five years later that their relationship turned romantic. In July 2021, the two vacationed at the Mezzatorre Hotel in Ischia, Italy. “Ben pretended that there was this cool, hidden bar in the hotel and led me to it,” Maya says. He brought her to a dock overlooking the ocean where a bottle of chilled Champagne was waiting for them—and popped the question. “Then the photographer jumped out,” Maya says. “I started crying right away.”
Maya and Ben knew they wanted to invite their 350 guests to celebrate their wedding in New York City, where they met and grew up, but had difficulty finding a venue without strict curfews or time constraints. “When we toured The Glasshouse, it was such a raw space that we felt we could really do whatever we wanted,” Maya says. “We could also have our after-party until very late, which was a plus.” The couple worked with Jennifer Zabinski, Kimberley Curtin, and the team from JZ Events to design a classic New York event with out-of-the-box ideas, like using faux trees for a garden-inspired chuppah at the ceremony and bringing in a Swedish bonbon candy cart for the late-night part of the celebration.
Read on to see all of the details from this couple’s black-tie, New York-themed wedding, which was photographed by Ryan Ray.
Maya and Ben hired Cheree Berry Paper Design to create their invitation suite. They went with a color scheme of white, ivory, and various gray tones, incorporating script fonts and a custom monogram of the first initials of their names. Ben came up with the idea of featuring the New York City map on their invitation suite. “He can get pretty creative,” Maya says.
The morning of the wedding day, Maya got ready in a white lacy robe surrounded by her loved ones. Her 91-year-old grandmother, a Holocaust survivor, flew in from Israel for the wedding. “Seeing her there gave me chills throughout the entire night,” Maya says.
Maya shopped around with a specific vision of her wedding dress in mind before choosing the team at Oscar de la Renta to create her dream gown. The result was a corseted lace ensemble with a full tulle skirt. “I can’t even describe [how much I] love my wedding dress,” Maya says. “It was so me and exactly what I dreamed of.”
Leading up to the big day, she went to her facialist, who gave more definition to the muscles in her face using microcurrent and brightened her eye area with radio frequency. She wanted a natural makeup look and an up-do for the ceremony. Instead of a wedding day fragrance, she wore a sugar lemon body cream by Fresh for extra moisture.
Maya’s sister, Clara, served as her maid of honor; the bridal party wore black gowns in varying designs to hit the black-tie dress code. “After going back and forth between black tie and black tie optional, we felt that the formality of black tie coupled with it being a New York City wedding felt special and luxurious,” Maya says. “We also got the sense that after two years of the pandemic, people wanted an excuse to wear a gown or a tuxedo!”
The flower girls wore white dresses with black sashes that featured a sweet touch. The team at Oscar de la Renta saved some of the lace flowers from Maya’s wedding gown to sew onto the belts. “That felt really special,” the bride says.
Ben wore a Tom Ford slim-fit shawl collar tuxedo paired with Christian Louboutin shoes. He accessorized with a Cartier de Santos watch that was a graduation present and Seaman Schepps cufflinks. He wore Bulgari’s Tyger as his wedding-day fragrance. “Maya always compliments this scent,” he says. The groomsmen, including Ben’s brother Alex, who was his best man, chose classic black tuxedos with black bow ties and simple white floral boutonnières.
Maya and Ben shared private vows with each other during a first look. “It felt super weird because we spend so much time together and it was the first time in so many years where I had (good) anxiety before seeing Ben for the first time—almost like one of our first dates,” Maya says. “It was funny to feel that again.”
For the ceremony, guests were invited into a magic garden-themed space; HMR Designs brought in faux trees to create a chuppah on an elevated platform. The chuppah was covered in moss, greenery, and florals in autumnal hues. “My dream was to have the ceremony be warm, cozy, and cocoon-like,” Maya says. “The chuppah was one of my favorite parts of the entire design.”
Maya and Ben had a six-piece string quartet play during the ceremony. The bride’s grandmother, brother, and one of her bridesmaids walked in to Bach’s “Air on the G String” before Ben and his parents made their way down the aisle to Debussy’s “Clair de Lune.” Then came the wedding party, who all processed in to “Intermezzo Rusticana.” The music shifted to Pacobel’s “Canon in D” for Maya’s aisle debut, which she made with both her mother and father. “I’m very close to both of them and it was so special to have them both included for that moment,” Maya says.
At the alter, the couple exchanged vows they wrote for each other. “Ben made sure to include the most important details like adopting a lot of animals,” Maya says. Maya is a big fan of the musical Grease, so the couple recessed back down the aisle to “We Go Together.” “After they pronounced us husband and wife, we were so distracted, we actually recessed the wrong way,” Maya says. “Oops!”
One of the biggest highlights of the wedding day for Maya and Ben was sharing time together right after the ceremony. “Sharing that intimate moment together was so special,” Maya says.
Guests took in views of New York City’s skyline as they enjoyed the couple’s signature margaritas and passed appetizers at cocktail hour. Modern lounge furniture took center stage; high top tables were dressed in patterned, floor-length linens with white and blush floral centerpieces. Geometric gold shelves behind the bar were decorated with candles and white hydrangea arrangements.
The couple also enlisted Cheree Berry Paper Design to create an escort display with personalized envelopes for every guest, complete with their table numbers. Attendees made their way to the reception space, which was separated by velvet curtains for a dramatic reveal. The room was draped in gold floor-to-ceiling fabric; curved reception tables created movement throughout the space. “We wanted the reception to feel glamorous, but not overdone,” Maya says.
Reception tables were paired with blue velvet cushioned chairs and centerpieces included oversized arrangements of white, yellow, and orange florals, along with glass and blue bud vases scattered throughout. Tablescapes also included bowls of fruit, tea candles, and taper candles on tall glass candle holders to create height.
The place settings included black plates, gold flatware, colored glass coupes, and emerald napkins. “I loved the emerald tones and the way all of the colors worked together,” Maya says. Square tables had fringed tablecloths for a fun, textural element.
Maya let her hair down for the reception, added a bold lip color, and changed into an Alex Perry strapless dress with buttons down the back and sheer gloves.
The couple wanted a simple white wedding cake. Nine Cakes decorated the three tiers with white sugar flowers and included funfetti, chocolate hazelnut, and strawberry shortcake flavors.
Ben and I are both big family people. This was a wedding filled with so much love and warmth.
Maya and Ben shared their first dance to “Come Away with Me” by Nora Jones. Maya and her father shared a dance to “Volare” and then did a choreographed number to Barry White’s “My First My Last My Everything.” Ben and his mom swayed to “Stand By Me” before opening up the dance floor to everyone for the rest of the night. “Ben and I are both big family people. This was a wedding filled with so much love and warmth,” Maya says.
Maya changed one more time for the after-party; she slipped into a semi-sheer sequined outfit with a sparkly star tiara. The couple served lots of late-night food, including a Swedish bon-bon cart. “Maya’s parents are both from Sweden, so Swedish candy has always been an important part of their household,” Ben says.
Maya and Ben went to Rwanda and Tanzania for their safari honeymoon. “We were there for the Great Migration and it was absolutely incredible,” Maya says. To couples planning their own celebrations, Ben and Maya share the reminder that the little details don’t matter much. “Do not fight over the small things. You won’t notice them on the day of,” they say.