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Two Grooms’ Richly Glamorous Wedding Reception in New York City

by Staff

Roberson Keffer and Anthony Rine met in romantic Rome, studying abroad from their respective colleges. They were from different backgrounds and had different goals—Roberson came from Texas and was studying Italian; Long Island native Anthony was studying Fine Arts and Photography. But, the stars aligned when they were paired together as roommates at the American Institute for Foreign Study.

Though they hit it off right away, it took more than a decade and a global pandemic to finally make the couple look inward at what they wanted for their future. “Like many people, it gave us time to really think and evaluate what really mattered to us,” they share. “After 15 years of dating and building our own careers, it was time for us to put our relationship first.” They had reservations at first. “Growing up in a Southern, conservative, and religious family, Roberson never really imagined getting married or having his family at the wedding,” the couple continues. “So originally, we wanted to do a small ceremony at city hall. When we finally told Roberson’s family, his dad said his family fully believes we were meant to be together and they were excited to celebrate our love. Needless to say, Roberson was hysterically crying through the conversation.” 

And so, their love was to be celebrated after all. “Our vision for the wedding was really to evoke a feeling more than anything else,” they say. “For most of our guests, this was going to be their first New York City wedding and their first gay wedding, so the stakes were high! We wanted drama and glamour and utter sophistication—flowers like a Dutch masterpiece, hundreds of tapered candles, live jazz music, and fabulously dressed guests—yet a casual and relaxed feeling.” 

They started with mood boards and design inspiration, and pegged a diverse group of vendors to make it come to life. “Surrounding ourselves with talented women and diverse and queer artists made our wedding even more special,” they say. The resulting celebration on November 6, 2021, was a beautiful embodiment of their love. Read on to see more from their day, planned by Carrie Sartor Events and photographed by Les Loups.

The vision began with a rich color palette of green and gold with touches of purple, lilac, blush, and rust tones. This was echoed in their elegant invitation suite.

Though their reception guest list was 135, Roberson and Anthony did have a smaller ceremony, as originally planned. They recited traditional vows in front of their immediate families somewhere close to home: the rooftop of their building in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. “Our ceremony was officiated by our gay barber, who happens to also be a minister and good friend,” the couple says. “It was incredibly special to have him take part in our day.” They exchanged rings made from Roberson’s great-grandmother’s diamonds, and served pignoli cookies from a nearby bakery.

We each wore oversized brooches instead of a traditional floral boutonniere.

For the reception, of course, the duo upped the glam. They donned sleek black tuxedos—Roberson’s custom Tom Ford and Anthony’s by Indochino—with unique accessories. “We decided to each wear oversized brooches instead of a traditional floral boutonniere,” they say. “Roberson’s was a rhinestone and pearl brooch, and Anthony’s was a baby’s breath boutonniere made from gold wire and seed pearls.”

The reception was held at an iconic venue, The Bowery Hotel. “We wanted someplace intimate, and one that had character,” the duo says. “We wanted the flowers and decor to enhance the space, as opposed to being in a blank canvas that needed so much added decor to make it feel like anything.” They leaned into the theme with a striking photo moment. “Instead of a traditional photo booth, we wanted to create a backdrop that felt more like a Vanity Fair photoshoot or an oil painting. Some guests just posed and others really posed! The pictures are priceless and one of my favorites parts of the wedding.”

Guests sipped signature spicy margaritas to kick off the party at cocktail hour. 

“When cocktail hour was finished, all the guests were in the front bar and around the terrace that wrapped the dining area, but there were tall velvet curtains hiding the tables,” the couple returns. “All at once, the staff opened the curtains to reveal the dining room and there was an audible gasp from the guests, and applause. This level of drama is exactly what we were hoping for!”

“The flowers were a mixture of purples, blush, and rust tones that felt very fall but elegant and unexpected,” they describe. “In the dining area, we wanted no flowers at all, but to use greenery along the table so that the focus was more on the lighting and the food.”

A jazz band serenaded guests while they dined on grilled vegetable terrine, roasted chicken with romesco sauce, and seabass with haricot verts, potatoes, and olives.

“The speeches from Roberson’s father and Anthony’s sister were incredibly moving, and hilarious at times,” the couple recalls. “When Roberson’s father—who was a former member of the Texas House of Representatives, a Republican, and Southern Baptist deacon—said that love comes in all forms and that he welcomed Anthony into the family wholeheartedly, everyone who was intimately aware of how hard coming out was for Roberson immediately started crying.” 

The newlyweds danced to “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” then cut into a deep green fondant cake with gilded edges and sugar flowers that matched the fresh florals. Each tier had a unique flavor: almond sponge with raspberry puree, chocolate sponge with chocolate ganache, and vanilla cardamom with poached pears.  

Two vocalists and a DJ replaced the laid-back jazz band to up the energy for the dance party. “The song list was ‘divas only,’ with Whitney, Beyonce, Mariah, and Celine taking center stage,” the couple says. It was the perfect celebration of their love—and their romantic honeymoon brought the whole thing full circle. “We spent two weeks in Sicily and a few days in Rome, where we met,” Roberson and Anthony share. “We even visited our old apartment and walked down the street where we fell in love.”

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