Real Wedding | Besa & Shpend

Besa and Shpend’s wedding literally went from one end of the spectrum to the other.  From a simple, intimate and casual ceremony to a reception that was all about impact and glamour. And all planned by Besa without the help of a wedding coordinator.  Wow!

Besa & Shpend | June 5th & 6th 2010 | New York, New York

How he proposed
My, now husband, is an Actor and I am a graphic designer in NY and we both love arts, culture and food. When 2 years ago we were invited to our friends’ wedding in Paris, France, we didn’t have to think  twice about it, even though we had already booked our summer vacation in Aruba 2 weeks before their wedding. After coming back to NYC from Aruba, few days later we flew to Paris.

It was there, in the City of Light, of Lovers, of Art, that he bent on his knee and proposed.

While he was still holding a beautiful antique looking ring from Fortunoff,  I said yes and I was the happiest girl in Paris. Everyone around us clapped, smiled and cheered.  We walked to a restaurant near Eiffel Tower and continued celebrating our engagement the whole week in Paris and Versaille.

While I always said that our love is greater and far better  than movies or love stories, being proposed in Paris just added to the exterior of my love story.

The ceremony Central Park Conservatory Garden | June 5th 2010
Shpend and I wanted something that reflected us, something simple with a small number of our closest friends and family members in New York City. We chose the Conservatory Garden at Central Park as it is our city and also it reminded us on one of the gardens from The Palace of Versailles that we visited when in France.  We gathered everyone in front of our building and took 5 yellow cabs to the Central Park Conservatory Garden. We all walked together in a crowd in the park and to our destination.

We got married on the evening hours under the wrought-iron wisteria pergola which looks down on a beautiful geyser fountain and the green lawn. We were married by a retired Supreme Court Judge which was what an honor and were surrounded by our loved ones.  I was wearing a white bustier knee length white dress with a black ribbon and had a birdcage veil with pearl necklace, inspired by Audrey Hepburn and old Hollywood Glam.

After the ceremony we shared some sweets, laughs and took some photos and came to our apartment to continue the celebration over  dinner, drinks and laughter.

The reception Russo’s on the Bay located on Howard Beach, NY | June 6n 2010
The reception and the most important part of my wedding was at the Russo’s on the Bay on Howard Beach, NY. Being that we are Albanian- Americans, our wedding was going to be sophisticated with modern Albanian traditions, and our artistic values.

We chose Russo’s on the Bay as it is pretty old Italian 5 star hall with great reputation. The theme was champagne sophisticated colors with bold red flowers. My flowers were a short arrangements of dark red Roses and  a tall arrangements of exotic Orchids from Taiwan with tiger pattern in plum-reddish color. My bouquet was dark red roses with dark red calla lilies and complemented  perfect my Ines Di Santo gown.

The one highlight of the reception was our grand entrance. My beautiful flower girls were holding hands with my nephew in the middle who was holding a basket of rose petals for the girls to throw when entering from the main entrance to the middle of the banquet. When we were pronounced, everyone with their camera was expecting us at the main entrance but instead, we entered from an elevator which rose up in the middle of the hall. Our first dance was with Etta James, “At Last”.

Splurges & Savings
I splurged on the Wedding Hall as it was important to us that we have great food and great service. I also splurged on my gown.
I saved on my invitations as I designed them myself. I also did not hire a wedding coordinator but did it all myself.

What made her wedding dress “The One”

I always knew the type of dress i wanted and  I knew I wanted a high-end designer gown. Ever since i had seen Melania Trump’s gown i knew i wanted a similar bustier with drama on the skirt. Something that I can wear in the The Vienna Opera Ball perhaps or Red Carpet Glam.

I had known of Ines Di Santo from magazines and that was the first dress i tried on and knew right away that was the one, Love at first sight.  Although it was more then what I had in my budget but after trying so many other dresses nothing was not even close to my liking. I decided to splurge on the gown since I had saved on my invitations.

The style was modern glam and perfect for my setting. Then I asked a new European Designer whom I  neighbor, to assist me with few details and added extra volume for extra drama to the skirt. It was very worth it for me to splurge on this dress as it made me feel like a “bride” indeed and that is a priceless feeling.

Her advice for other brides
Relax and enjoy the ride! Don’t get so worked up that you can’t enjoy with your spouse the wedding that took you months to plan, after all it is only one day.  Do not let the details spoil your or your family’s mood, as imperfections are only noticeable to you and if enjoy the party, everyone else will join you.

Besa’s Wedding Dress: Ines Di Santo