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An Elegant Wedding at the Museum of Natural History

By Alexandra Macon | Photography by 

Shawn Connell/Christian Oth Studio

Food and lifestyle writer Daisy Melamed met Jordan Sanders at Grey Lady on the Lower East Side. “He likes to say we met through friends because we had some in common—and that’s how we started talking at the bar—but it was definitely a chance encounter, not a set-up,” admits Daisy. “Afterwards, he asked a mutual friend for my number, and we went on a double-blind date (he brought a guy friend and I brought a girl friend along), which was hilarious, and hilariously awkward at times.”

After that double date, the two texted back and forth and went to dinner one-on-one, which they now consider their first real date. They saw each other casually and then ended up trapped inside Jordan’s apartment during Hurricane Sandy. “That definitely brought us closer—a few days of no power and no showers will do that to anyone,” laughs Daisy. “We ultimately ended up going out to his parents’ house in Connecticut that weekend, too. Anyway, something clicked, and we kind of went into hyper speed. We moved in together eleven months after first meeting, and got engaged eight months after that.”

Daisy and Jordan had talked about thier future and getting married on a number of occasions, but she had no idea when exactly he was going to propose, so it was a total surprise when he popped the question. “A few weeks before, he intentionally threw me off course by saying he thought we should live together for a least another year before getting engaged,” remembers Daisy. “He planned it all perfectly—it was incredible. I’m a total birthday brat, and he used that to his advantage. My birthday was on a Friday, and the next day, he told me he was going to make me brunch in bed. He brought me coffee and suggested I brush my teeth and get myself together a little before we ate. I was, admittedly, totally annoyed–who wants to get dressed for breakfast in bed? Then, when I came out of the bedroom at his calling, there were rose petals leading to the living room, a bottle of amazing champagne on the table, and he got on one knee. I’m not sure I ever even said ‘yes,’ so much as shrieked a lot. My family is located all around the country—my parents are based in San Francisco, my dad was, at the time, on a business trip in China, my three sisters are in San Francisco, Boston, and DC—and he secretly coordinated with all of them to fly in that day. Later that night, he planned a big dinner with his family and, to my complete surprise, mine as well, in the downstairs room at the Marrow. We then walked to get drinks at Analogue, a bar in the Village, and about thirty to forty of our friends were there to surprise me, again. There was also a giant Momofuku Milk Bar birthday cake, my favorite. It was the best day!”

Daisy was never the kind of girl who pictured a dream dress or ring or wedding in her head. “I am not as into fashion and accessories as perhaps I should be, so it wasn’t a focal point,” she says. “My style is very classic and simple, so Jordan worked off that for the ring and designed it himself with some guidance from his super-stylish mom. It’s a stunning square emerald cut diamond with two tapered emerald cut baguettes on either side in a platinum band. I still can’t stop staring at it, eighteen months later!”

The couple quickly set a date of May 16, 2015. “Totally dorky, but we love that it’s a palindrome!” laughs Daisy. Picking the location wasn’t quite as easy though. “We knew we wanted a New York wedding—our whole relationship had taken place in the city, and that just fit for us—but the venue was harder to land on. When we talked about it before we were engaged and even just after, we were thinking something outdoors and airy like the Botanical Gardens in the Bronx. But given the size of our wedding list—we had about 275 when we first drafted the list—our amazing planner, Loulie Walker (she’s the best) showed us a variety of places that could hold us. Because we wanted the logistics to go smoothly (a.k.a. not having to worry about busing people too much), we kept it in Manhattan, and it came down to the American Museum of Natural History or a loft space downtown. The museum was just so special, we couldn’t turn that down! Plus, my mom grew up in New York and the museum held a very important place in her heart from her childhood, so that was just the icing on the cake. Oh, and I love dinosaurs. We didn’t let that effect our decision, but again, an added bonus.”

The aesthetic they opted for was minimal, chic, and elegant. “We used all white flowers with green pops of color, these gorgeous blue tablecloths that our designer/florist, Renny & Reed, found, and tons of candles of different heights. We didn’t want anything to be overly bridal, or overly stuffy. In such a cool space, all you need is a little touch here and there to make the room shine.”

At the beginning of her dress search, Daisy went to Saks with her mom and tried on a bunch of silhouettes. Then, her planner suggested she go to Mark Ingram. “That’s where we really hit our stride,” says Daisy. “I was looking for something something simple that could still hold its own in such a huge room, amongst hundreds of black tie-dressed guests. I tried on a Monique Lhuiller dress during our first visit, and kept coming back to it. It has such clean lines but such a stunning train in the back. Nothing else seemed as unique or flattering on my body.”

Daisy wanted to look like the best version of herself on her wedding day. “I wear very simple makeup—bronzer, blush, mascara—every day, and don’t even know how to use a round brush on my hair, so I wanted to be true to myself. I was very set on a ponytail, even though my hair stylist at first was concerned it may be too casual of a look. She worked with me, though, and I loved the final result. Same for makeup—my makeup artist totally listened to what I wanted, and gave me a natural-but-better look that I was obsessed with. I wish I could look like that every day!”

In planning the reception, the couple’s goal from start to finish was to make sure everyone had fun. “My husband, I joke, is the mayor of anywhere—the social director of any group of friends,” says Daisy. “The whole night was planned to be a great guest experience, beginning with the champagne we served before the ceremony—which was held in the New-York Historical Society library. We then had a Second Line-style band, a nod to my Tulane/New Orleans college years, play everyone down the block from the Historical Society to the Museum before the cocktail hour started. It was so much fun. The toasts were in keeping with that, too—all very funny and very touching at the same time. My sister spoke, as did Jordan’s best man, his best friend Will Menkes, and both of our fathers.”

The party started with about thirty seconds of Daisy and Jordan dancing alone to a slow version of “All of Me” by John Legend, then immediately went into the techno version, and they invited everyone to join them on the dance floor. They did the Hora, and then, after a few more songs, sat down for dinner and toasts. After the whole meal was finished, the dance party started and didn’t stop. Desserts were served as passed bites on the dance floor. “Lead singer Bobby Attiko and his Hank Lane band were true champions—at one point, I think Bobby was wearing a tiger spirit hood in a dance-off with two of our more coordinated guests,” says Daisy. “They made it so much fun, the dance floor was packed until the very end.”

Everyone had to be out of the venue by midnight, so at around 11:45 P.M., the couple’s planner started corralling people onto buses, and guests grabbed a package of Momofuku Birthday Cake Truffles on the way out as a road snack. “We organized a very informal after-party that was meant to be just what it was—a dance party that rivaled late nights in our early twenties in the city,” says Daisy. “It was at Hudson Terrace on the West Side Highway. We simply reserved a bunch of tables in a roped off area and had tons of bottles available and food passed around. The truffle fries were great, and the music was fantastic. It was definitely a night to remember, but it hurt a little the next day.”

The newlyweds snuck away at 1:30 A.M. “I slipped on the dance floor a bit—not because I couldn’t stand, I promise, the floor was slippery—and I decided it was time to leave, given that we had an early wake-up for the brunch the next day,” says Daisy. “Jordan was none too pleased with my decision, but eventually gave in, so we headed back to the hotel with my sister and maid of honor, Katie. The best part was, we had Dominos pizza waiting for us in the room—something that Jordan, Katie, and I all share a love for. Then Katie went to her room, and Jordan and I immediately passed out. Ah, romance. It was the perfect way to end our night!”