Renee A. Brutus and Ibrahim O. Yusuf had been looking at The Foundry in Long Island City months before they actually got engaged. “I wanted a modern industrial aesthetic with elements of classic wedding design,” Renee says. “Ibi and I are both native New Yorkers and knew that we wanted to get married here but didn’t want the typical NYC wedding.”
For her wedding dress, Renee also had something in mind, and it had to be understated and elegant—a dress “that spoke for itself without too much embellishment.” “I always imagined that I’d wear one of the classic go-to wedding designers like Monique Lhuillier or Oscar de la Renta, but I absolutely fell in love with the last dress I tried on, designed by Viktor & Rolf,” she reveals. The asymmetric ballgown with a fitted sweetheart top was a perfect fit, and to complete the look, she also wore vintage gold and mother-of-pearl Alhambra earrings by Van Cleef & Arpels.
Bridesmaids complemented Renee in dove gray Amsale dresses, and Ibrahim kept things classic in a custom, midnight blue tuxedo from The Knot Standard with their wedding date embroidered on the underside of the shawl collar.
On the day of the wedding, in October 2019, the couple had their first look at Fort Tryon Park, near the Cloisters in Washington Heights. “We instantly fell in love with the park when we first discovered it and have always thought of it as Central Park’s gothic and lesser-known rival,” the bride remarks. “We love the history in the stone arches and all of the natural beauty and thought it was the perfect place to have a moment for ourselves before the hustle and bustle of the day began.”
Inside the warehouse, decorated with plush greenery and hanging crystal chandeliers, Renee walked down the aisle with her father. “Our ceremony was my absolute favorite part of the wedding,” she says. “Ibi is Muslim and I am Christian, so we had an interfaith ceremony with an Imam and reverend.” The service beautifully weaved cultures and traditions from the two religions, and the couple recited their own vows in the intimate space before sharing a first kiss as Mr. and Mrs.
The reception dinner also combined Ibi’s Nigerian and Renee’s Guyanese heritages in the dishes served. Jerk chicken, plantain, and other traditional Caribbean spices were incorporated into hors d’oeuvres, and West African jollof rice accompanied the main courses.
Once on the dance floor, the newlyweds had a special first dance to “Just the Two of Us” by Bill Withers and Grover Washington. “We slow danced for the first half and then did a fun choreographed routine by one of my best friends, professional dancer and model Ehizoje Azeke,” Renee explains. “This was so special because we spent two weeks before the wedding learning and rehearsing the routine, and, in some ways, it was my friend’s wedding gift to us!”
After the reception came to a formal close, the after-party kicked off at Penthouse 808 at The Ravel. And following the wedding, the two had a mini-moon at Amangiri in Utah and had plans for a bigger honeymoon, but the pandemic postponed their plans. Here’s hoping for an elaborate anniversary celebration in 2021!