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POPUPFLORIST Founder Kelsie Hayes Wed Wolf & Badger Chief Revenue Officer Justin Fine at Their East Village Home

By Sara Dial | Photography by 

Christian Garcia and Samantha Keller

Five years after POPUPFLORIST Founder Kelsie Hayes and Wolf & Badger Chief Revenue Officer Justin Fine shared a first date at Barrio Chino in the Lower East Side, he dropped to one knee during an intimate moment at home. “I was a little over 12 weeks pregnant, and we had a special date at home to find out the sex of our child. We were both so nervous, but he was especially nervous!” Kelsie remembers. “After we opened the envelope and found out we would be having a baby girl, Justin turned to me and started saying the most beautiful words that I’ll never forget. All of this was followed by him pulling out a gorgeous blue velvet box, and the most elegant and gorgeous marquis diamond ring.” 

After the birth of their daughter, Justin and Kelsie began scouting wedding venues and eventually came across a gardenfront townhouse in the East Village. “I saw the garden I turned to Justin and said, ‘We need to get married here!’ This was before even signing a lease. Fast forward a year and a half later, we not only lived here but our landlords let us open up the entire garden to host 90 of our closest friends and family!” she exclaims.  Photographer Christian Garcia (who Kelsie found while browsing Over The Moon’s Real Weddings section) shot digital images, while Samantha Keller used a film camera to capture every moment of the floral affair. 

The florist bride of course let seasonal blooms dictate when she’d say, “I do.” “October in my opinion is the peak month for local flowers,” Kelsie notes. “With all of my designs, I like to create something that complements and enhances the space…At Dante, it’s such an iconic corner, and we’ve done countless installations at the entry of the restaurant, so for the reception, I wanted to do something larger than we’ve ever done before.”

The couple, who took to all of the wedding planning themselves, always knew they’d wed in classic New York fashion, hosting all of their guests in the city. “Dante owners Nathalie and Linden and their girls are like family to us,” Kelsie explains. “They generously shut the restaurant down for us on a Saturday night, no easy feat!” For the after party, everyone ended up at Jean’s—“It felt so different from the other two venues: dark, sexy, and romantic.”

Kelsie worked with a factory in the New York City Garment District to create her look for the day-of. “I am a trained fashion designer and though I had a career pivot about eight years ago, I always knew I wanted to design my own dress. I wanted to create something timeless and romantic. I sourced three complementary French laces, and referenced shapes from the 1960s for the silhouette,” she says. A cropped hem modernized the look, which the bride completed with satin Manolo Blahnik slingbacks.

As for the veil, the handmade, cathedral-length style was appliquéd with horseshoe lace. ”It ended up being my favorite piece I wore from the day,” the bride shares. Callie Filion and Justine Sierakowski created the bride’s glowing day-of beauty look. 

Kelsie’s second look of the day was by Jakarta-based designer Yogie Pratama. “The dress arrived, and it weighed 25 pounds,” she remembers. “It’s a sheer fabric with thousands of hand-sewn crystals. It was a true work of art, and it had the exact wow factor I was looking for!” 

Her final look—a spotted mini dress by Jacquemus—was made for the ruby-lit dance floor. She also wore Mach & Mach shoes adorned with crystal hearts. Angel Ramos created Justin’s classic ceremony tuxedo and a blue velvet jacket for afterward. 

On October 7, 2023, Justin walked down the aisle outside of their home with his and Kelsie’s daughter, as the rain took a harmonious 30-minute break for sunshine. In a comedically ironic moment on the way to the ceremony, Kelsie forgot her bouquet. “I immediately called my best friend, who is also a florist, and she quickly foraged from our chuppah, ran to meet me inside, and together we created a new bouquet,” she laughs. “It was such a fun moment that I will never forget. I can’t think of anything better to ‘go wrong.’” 

With flowers in hand, Kelsie made her way to her family. “I had been thinking about this moment for years, and being able to walk down to my now-husband and my daughter in our home was such a special feeling,” she reflects. The two said, “I do,” and exchanged Tarin Thomas rings before a cascading floral chuppah detailed with Japanese anemones, passion vine, and ivy. Loved ones cheered and “One Fine Day” by The Chiffons rang out as the newlyweds exited the ceremony. 

Champagne accompanied every guest to the reception, and once arrived at Dante, martinis and caviar made their way around as Charlie Roman Jazz played. Everyone found their seats by way of illustrator Crystal Ochoa’s portraits. At the entrance of Dante sat a grand installation of the bride’s favorite flower, dahlias—courtesy of the POPUPFLORIST team. Kelsie hand-selected every arrangement for the day-of, which was planned with dahlia season top of mind. 

The newlyweds featured second looks and entered the party as DJ Bailey queued “At Last.” “After our first dance, our daughter, Lenny, joined us,” Kelsie recalls. “We wanted everyone in the wedding party to sing Lenny’s bedtime song, ‘My Girl’ by the Temptations. Not only did our guests sing, but every person who worked at Dante sang too. Lenny was so happy, and had the biggest smile on her face.”

Following heartfelt speeches and the cutting of their Balthazar wedding cake, everyone spent the night celebrating—martinis in hand—as music set the tone. Once dinner came to a close, Justin and Kelsie hopped on the bar and belted “New York, New York.” “It really got the party going,” the bride shares. “Everyone sang along with us, and some of the best photos came from that moment.”

Then everyone headed to Jean’s for the after-party. Mariah Carey’s “Heartbreaker” played as Kelsie and Justin poured the Champagne tower. “We never left the dance floor, and we kept the party going very very late. Our last dance was to Donna Summer’s ‘Last Dance,’” she says. “I never wanted it to end, but it was the perfect ending.