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Designer Molly Moorkamp Created 3 Bridal Looks For Herself and 45 Guest Ensembles For Her Nuptials in New York City

By Cathleen Freedman | Photography by 

Heather Waraksa

|Planning by 

Augusta Cole

Fashion designer Molly Moorkamp and Dr. Sarp Aksel were both so over the dating “bar scene” in Manhattan when they connected on Hinge. After just one Sant Ambroeus coffee in Central Park, they knew their days of swiping were done. They found “the one.”

Two-and-a-half years later, Sarp completely surprised Molly with a proposal while she packed for their upcoming trip to Mexico. She did not see the Couplet emerald-cut engagement ring coming—or Sarp’s itinerary change to a week-long trip to Paris!

The two most important things for Molly were finding the right wedding venue in New York City and securing the right wedding planner. “I interviewed a handful of planners, and I knew after my initial call with Augusta Cole that she was our planner,” Molly recalls. “She understood how to fuse the femininity of my ethos with the masculine glamour of New York City. Not an easy task.” Augusta immediately impressed the couple when she recommended the New-York Historical Society, the oldest museum in Manhattan, for the reception. “It feels like a secret jewel box hiding in plain sight,” Molly says about NYHS. “When I walked into the gallery and saw the Picasso that used to hang in the old Four Seasons Restaurant, I knew this was our spot.” They enlisted Heather Waraksa to photograph the event.

As a designer who earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in bridal design, Molly has had her bridal look in mind for decades. For the ceremony, she donned a custom traditional ensemble made out of specially-sourced French corded appliquéd lace. The France-based design team wove an additional fifty meters of the lace trim and applied it by hand around the edge of her cathedral-length veil.

Then, Molly changed into a strapless silk faille look with a bow detail for the reception. “The key to a perfectly draped silk faille gown is the treatment of the fabric,” the designer shares. “We block-fused forty yards of white silk faille before my gown was cut. This led to a stiffer fabric, which meant zero wrinkles!” Her mother surprised her with pearl earrings from Croghan’s Jewel Box as her finishing touch.

Sarp put just as much thought into his wardrobe, which his bride-to-be greatly appreciated. His two suits and tuxedo were crafted by Varham Mateosian, owner of Mr. Ned in New York City. “I’ll be eternally grateful to Varham for the time he backed me up when I insisted my groom wear socks with his tuxedo,” Molly confesses. For the garden ceremony, Sarp paired a navy linen suit with brown Gucci loafers and a light blue silk tie from Seigo Neckwear. He found a pair of vintage silver chess piece cufflinks from The Missing Link, as a nod to his favorite pastime, and honored his grandmother with a timepiece she gifted him at his high school graduation. For dinner and dancing, Sarp changed into a classic black silk wool tuxedo and black Belgian loafers.

Molly’s brother Sam (and her man of honor) also sported a Mr. Ned style for the wedding. “Custom clothing is such an integral part of our brand’s history,” she explains. “Sam and I started Molly Moorkamp in 2016 as a custom clothing business. When we sat down to organize who we were going to dress for the wedding, it started with just my mother and myself. That lasted about thirty seconds. Designing special occasion clothes is my greatest passion.” Over the next year, they designed and made 45 custom pieces for guests. The looks were split between the ceremony and the reception. She smiles, “It was beautifully overwhelming to see so many of our loved ones wearing my designs on our wedding day.”

On May 20, 2023, the wedding day rain plan was put into motion with a tent in the Cooper Hewitt garden space. “The lush gardens were electric green because of the rain, and everyone felt very tucked in together,” Molly says, still pleased with the turn of events. A beautiful quartet of strings played “Canon in D” as Sam walked his sister down the aisle. The bride and groom then exchanged their vows as the rain gently fell.

The evening was quintessential New York. Guests enjoyed a raw bar and passed hor d’ouvres in Dexter Hall, while jazz standards hummed in the background in front of a custom 16-foot mural created by Oliphant Studio. The backdrop was inspired by the party’s vibes and paid homage to Picasso’s Le Tricorne that greeted guests as they entered the hall.

Guests then moved into the library for the dinner by Abigail Kirsch. “Prints are a huge part of my business, so I designed an exclusive print for our wedding dinner with a 48″ repeat,” Molly elucidates. “Typically, repeats in clothes are no bigger than 22 inches.” Their custom tablecloths, chair cushions, and lamp shades were all made in this lush, colorful floral and paired with arrangements of peonies, tulips, snow peas, and muscari to echo the motifs in the hand-painted print. Arthur Golabek perfectly captured the floral vision.

Since the couple did not have a traditional wedding party, toasts were brief, allowing Mr. Chris Norton to kick off the night early and serenade a few lucky guests. Molly’s mother made a beautiful speech honoring her late father and set the mood for the rest of the evening with a rakı toast—a traditional Turkish liquor, a nod to Sarp’s Turkish heritage.

Molly and Sarp’s “song” has always been a duet, “Neon Moon” by Brooks & Dunn featuring Kacey Musgraves. Because the version they prefer includes female vocals and their band only had male vocals, she and Sarp chose “Don’t Worry Baby” by The Beach Boys. Or so Molly thought. “Imagine my surprise when my friend, Renee Blair, walks on stage and starts singing ‘Neon Moon’ with Mr. Chris Norton!” The bride exclaims. Sarp flew Renee and her guitarist brother, Lenny, to New York for the occasion.

Guests hopped into one of the waiting yellow cabs and headed East for Dorrian’s Red Hand. “I had a hunch that asking for no photography at the after-party was the right move,” Molly shares. “Let’s just say no one needed cameras to remember the memories we made at Dorrian’s that night!”