Sara Marie Cusick thought she and her boyfriend, Ty Robert Gretzky, son of hockey great Wayne Gretzky and founder of The Gretzky Hockey School, were going to his parents house to celebrate his younger brother’s high school graduation. However, he had another idea and proposed in the gazebo with a ring his grandmother had given him. After she said, “Yes,” a banner flew by that read, “SARA WILL YOU MARRY ME <3 TY.”
From the very beginning of wedding planning, the engaged couple agreed that they didn’t want to tie the knot in either of their home states, California and Texas. “I always wanted a winter wedding with winter vibes, so I knew it had to be somewhere that could give us weather below 70 degrees,” Sara shares. New York had a special place in their hearts, as Ty’s father played for the Rangers, and the city was something they bonded over instantly. Two weeks after Ty suggested NYC as a destination for their nuptials, the bride-to-be and her mother were off looking at venues.
“I knew I didn’t want a hotel for the venue,” Sara explains. “I had envisioned an old building with lots of history and character because I wanted to be very neutral, clean, and classic.” When they walked into the Weylin, the bride’s breath was taken away and she loved the idea of the 1875 architecture mixed with her elegant, all-white aesthetic. “It was a very classic Gatsby vision, but if Gatsby was in Brooklyn in 2020.” To help plan everything, they hired Alexandra of Lyndsey Hamilton Events, who also handled all the day’s florals.
“The only thing I always knew about my wedding dress was that it would have long sleeves,” Sara remarks. As long sleeves are hard to come by in Los Angeles during the summer, she went to Vera Wang first. The dress she tried on initially wasn’t the one, but it fit so well that she knew she’d be wearing the iconic label down the aisle on the opposite coast in February.
By herself, Sara visited Vera Wang in Beverly Hills and fell in love with her gown, the Waverly, and its matching pearl belt. She made a minor change to the neckline, but it was absolutely perfect for her winter wedding. And on the day-of, she got ready with hairstylist Jill Buck and makeup artist Emma Willis.
Months after purchasing her aisle style, the Vera Wang team contacted Sara again with the Fall 2020 collection. She became obsessed with the offering and all the gothic writing on the designs, so she put in a rush order to have a custom dress made to change into for the reception. “I loved the cool party vibe and the long sleeves; it was very ’70s chic to me,” the bride remarks. “It was a dream come true to wear not one but two Vera Wang dresses in one night!”
And during one of their trips to the city, Ty spotted a velvet black tuxedo at Ralph Lauren and stated that that was what he was wearing to say, “I do.” “I loved that we wore Ralph and Vera—an iconic New York duo,” Sara says.
On February 29th, 2020, guests were greeted with mini Moet sippers, as they found their seats under the domed ceiling. Then, Sara walked down the aisle with her father to “Here Comes the Sun.” “My dad said, ‘Well, Sara, we’re doing this,’ and held my hand,” the bride recalls. “I saw Ty with tears in his eyes, and I just wanted to hug him!”
Once announced as husband and wife, the reception began and guests found their seats via custom mini Gretzky Whisky bottles. When everyone was seated, their officiant, Max Lucado, recited a pre-meal blessing, and then the fathers of the newlyweds spoke. The delicious meal concluded with a Funfetti cake by Abigail Kirsch and a candy bar. “Ty and I are sweets lovers!” the bride exclaims.
During the evening, Ty had the great idea to switch off the Hank Lane band and DJ, as some songs are received better live and vice versa. The new Mr. and Mrs. had their first dance to “One Man Band” by Old Dominion. “He didn’t know one country song when we met, so when he came to me and asked me to listen to a song he wanted us to dance to, I started crying!” Sara says.
Halfway through the reception, black cowboy hats were passed out, the disco ball turned on, and Shania Twain’s voice said, “Let’s go girls,” and the crowd went wild. At that moment, pizzas were also served to provide extra fuel. “250 people in black-tie attire wearing cowboy hats,” Sara begins. “It was the perfect way to pay tribute to my Texas roots, and I don’t think Brooklyn has ever seen that many cowboy hats in one space! The next day we kept getting pictures of all our guests wearing their cowboy hats through JFK.”
After making their grand exit through a tunnel of their friends holding glow sticks, Sara surprised her husband with two burgers and fries from Pies N’ Thighs waiting in their getaway car. They enjoyed their late-night treats on the way to The New York Edition. “When we walked in the lobby, all our guests had gotten back before us and were still celebrating,” she says. “So we stated for an hour…or two…”
The two were packed and ready for their honeymoon to Italy, but overnight, the country started its lockdown measures in an effort against the pandemic. They cancelled their trip, but Ty took the initiative and planned a last-minute trip to Hawaii for them. Sara confesses, “I was so thankful for him doing that.”