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Wedding Bells Tolled During the First Kiss at this Garden Ceremony in Manhattan

By Alexandra Macon | Photography by 

Alexandra Wolf

Accessories designer Olympia Kyriakides and finance executive Michael Thomson first met while they were both working at a bank in Connecticut. “From day one it was clear that we shared the same business philosophies, approach to problem solving, and not least of all, sense of humor!” Olympia says. The two hit it off quickly, and one day, Michael confessed he dreamed of starting a luxury duffle bag company. Olympia was intrigued and from that day forward, they both couldn’t stop talking about the project. They eventually took a year off to build the company and launched OM NYC, a handbag and accessories brand based in New York.

After three years of dating and launching their business, Olympia was busy preparing one of her homemade pizza dinners one Friday night when Michael called and asked her to go into the bedroom because he didn’t want her to see the shopping bag he was carrying home. “When we finished our pizzas, Michael insisted that I close my eyes while he plated dessert,” she says. When she opened her eyes, Michael was down on one knee holding a pastry from their favorite bakery, Dominique Ansel, with an emerald cut diamond ring stuck into the whipped cream peak.

There was never any question that they would tie the knot in the West Village, the New York neighborhood they call home, and where Olympia regularly volunteers at a quiet park called Jefferson Market Garden. “It’s a beautiful little gated oasis that has been the jewel of Greenwich Village since the land was converted to a public garden over 40 years ago,” she explains. “Each season, Jefferson Market Garden hosts about two dozen wedding ceremonies, but I was the first volunteer to ever marry in the garden.”

Their wedding day aesthetic was heavily inspired by the greenery of their location, the West Village, and calligrapher Bernard Maisner. “From a young age, whenever I imagined my wedding, there was always one detail that held true: Bernard Maisner would create the invitations,” Olympia says. “I liked to joke that even if I was married at a fast food restaurant, Bernard’s calligraphy would announce the occasion!”

For the reception, the couple chose to host their guests at the historic restaurant One If By Land, Two If By Sea, a late 18th-century carriage house located nearby. And instead of hiring a planner, Olympia happily took the wedding duties on herself. “The opportunity to be hands-on with everything from flower arranging to cake decorating was truly a once-in-a-lifetime dream,” she says.

When it came time to look for her dress, Olympia knew exactly who to turn to: her friend and designer Cristina Ottaviano, whom she met back when they were both in college. “I tried on just one gown at Cristina’s magical West Village atelier—a blue version of the dress that would be my wedding gown,” the bride explains. “The gown was simple, elegant, and understated—a bit of an Audrey Hepburn moment—and it felt a lot like me.” She later found a small piece of vintage cotton lace and hand sewed her own veil. Her accessories were rounded out with a special OM NYC clutch lined with white rabbit fur as her something new, diamond and pearl stud earrings that her father had gifted her mother on their wedding day 32 years ago as her something borrowed, and a Greek evil eye charm carried in her clutch as her something blue. “I used to tell people that Michael was my ‘something old’ because we have quite a few years between us,” the bride jokes.

As for the groom, for the big day Michael wore a deep blue Tom Ford shawl-collar tuxedo with black grosgrain trimmings and matching grosgrain bow tie, paired with a pair of gold bumble bee cufflinks (a wedding gift from his future wife), and Ferragamo lace-up tuxedo shoes. Michael’s daughter, Dauphin, served as maid of honor and wore a white Marchesa Notte cocktail dress, while Olympia’s brother was best man while wearing a navy suit from J. Crew.

On a late September morning, their wedding ceremony took place under a yellow wood tree in Jefferson Market Garden. A harpist played music, while Olympia and Michael each shared traditional vows. The couple had also planned on being pronounced husband and wife exactly at noon, which is when the bells ring at the adjoining old court house. “We nailed it and shared our first kiss as our “wedding bells” tolled,” she says.

An intimate luncheon for sixty people at One If By Land, Two If By Sea followed, where the restaurant’s famous Beef Wellington was part of the menu. As for dessert, the couple chose a Milk Bar strawberry-lemon cake, but ended up decorating it themselves. “None of Milk Bar’s cakes come frosted, and with my heart set on a white wedding cake, I convinced Michael to take up the challenge of decorating it,” she explains. After months of trying recipes out, the morning before the wedding, they picked up two cakes at Milk Bar and went to work slathering and smoothing buttercream, and coating the entire cake with white nonpareils. They finished it off by attaching decorative medallions, including a pair of gum-paste Greek god and goddess figures standing in as the bride and groom.

During dinner and dessert, music was provided by a jazz quartet led by Ryo Sasaki. “Ryo is a well known act in Washington Square Park, where Michael and I spend many a Saturday listening to excellent jazz musicians,” the bride shares. (Their first song was Duke Ellington’s “In a Sentimental Mood.”) As a surprise, Olympia’s aunt also arranged for the restaurant to play one Greek line dancing song. “Everyone joined hands and danced in a circle,” she says. “I’m grateful that we carried out that tradition, and considering that I was privy to every other detail of the day, it was a lot of fun to be surprised.”

While most couples take a few days after their wedding to recuperate before jetting off to their honeymoon, Olympia and Michael didn’t even take a night. “We headed straight to the airport after the reception ended around 5:00 p.m.,” she explains. “It was one of  the best wedding planning decisions we made. You won’t believe how friendly the airport becomes when you’re gliding through the terminal in a white lace mini dress and pumps!”