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An Intimate Wedding at a Secret Garden in New York City

By Meredith Bragg | Photography by 

Sophie Kaye Photography

Gardens in Manhattan are often thought to be oases. They’re hidden gems in the midst of the concrete jungle that can serve as the perfect resting spot when you need a break from all of the hustle and bustle, or in the case of Kerry Ryan and Michael Potolicchio, the serene backdrop for their urban wedding this past October.

Kerry, a digital merchandising manager in the wine industry, and Michael, an investment banker, met at a corporate holiday party in D.C. The two gravitated towards one another immediately. “The next day I told my parents I was going to marry him,” recalls Kerry with a smile.

Five years later, Michael asked Kerry to grab dinner post work, a usual activity for the pair on a Friday. “He was running late, so I went to his parents’ house to see his nephew who his mom was watching at the time. Once Michael finally left work, I told him to just pick me up from his parents’ on the way to dinner, but he insisted I come to his house first. Something was definitely up,” remembers Kerry.

“Once I arrived at his place, I opened the door to candles, flowers, wine, and a handwritten card, which he claimed was for our anniversary. Michael’s handwriting isn’t the best, so it took me a while to get through his note, so much so that he eventually took the card out of my hand and got down on one knee,” laughs Kerry. The couple intended to go out and celebrate but it was starting to snow, so their favorite neighborhood pizza place served as the perfect spot for a toast.

When it came to the ceremony, the down-to-earth couple went with a low-key celebration as well. “We knew we wanted a smaller wedding and had a hard time finding somewhere in Washington D.C. that fit the vibe we were hoping for for the day,” says Kerry. So, after some thought, they ultimately decided on a destination wedding in New York City—an ideal middle ground between Kerry’s family in Maryland and Michael’s northeastern family—plus as foodies, the restaurant options were bar none.

“My family has been going to L’Atusi in the West Village for years, so we knew that had to be the location of our reception,” Kerry explains. Just down the street was Jefferson Market Garden, a hidden gem in the West Village, and a casual, yet very lovely backdrop for their small ceremony. Kerry’s brother-in-law performed the short service and her uncle played acoustic guitar as they walked down the aisle. The pair ensured the garden was reserved just for them so it felt extremely private, but a crowd of strangers did end up gathering along the garden’s fenced perimeter to watch the vows, which the couple found endearing.

Kerry’s aesthetic was “neutral and natural” so the ceremony and reception venues took center stage without additional florals or adornments. But unlike everything else, which seemed to just come together, finding her perfect gown proved challenging. Kerry didn’t want something “too bridal” or too plain, like a simple sheath. After countless failed online orders, she eventually fell in love with a Tadashi Shoji design from a few years prior and begged a D.C. bridal boutique associate to help her track it down. Much to her delight, the associate explained that Tadashi was known for creating custom pieces if requested, and after two days of heightened anticipation, Kerry got a call that there was just enough fabric left in Tadashi Shoji’s studio to make a custom dress in her size. It was fate.

For shoes, Kerry donned blue velvet Loeffler Randall mules—perfect for the grassy ceremony—and stud earrings Michael gave her for a previous birthday, along with an heirloom ring her grandfather had once gifted her grandmother. Anny Chow Bridal, a Brooklyn-based makeup and hair team ensured that Kerry’s hair and makeup was flawless. To complement the bride’s laid back elegance, Michael donned a Bonobos suit, Vineyard Vines tie, and dress shoes from Bally.

After the ceremony, guests walked through the West Village to L’Artuisi for a long lunch. Roasted beets, mushrooms, an assortment of pastas, hanger steak, carrots, and a cornucopia of Italian deserts served as the main entrée. After the reception, guests went back to 11 Howard to relax, enjoyed cocktails on the terrace, and eat more passed appetizers from Murray’s Cheese Bar and Dough Doughnuts. Later that evening, everyone reconvened to dance the night away in a private room at Bowery Electric.