When Tess Ramirez of My Father’s Daughter Designs was in high school and toured Bucknell University, her guide shared an urban legend that 20 percent of Bucknell undergraduates marry each other.”Some dark corners of the internet say that percentage is closer to 60 perecent, which honestly checks out in my college friend group,” Tess confides. Little did she know at the time that she would be part of the statistic when she met David Rold.
After nine years together, Tess and David designed her engagement ring together, so she anticipated a proposal on the horizon and even attempted to hurry the process. David, however, was adamant that the proposal would be a surprise. One day, when Tess came home from walking their dog, she found him down on one knee with the engagement ring. He had hidden her phone beforehand, which allowed them to soak in the moment for themselves until the next morning.
David and Tess are born and bred New Yorkers, so it only made sense to host their nuptials in such a sentimental, meaningful city. Both spent their formative years on the Upper East Side, so they set their sights on the historic neighborhood. They serendipitously discovered the Harold Pratt House, a former private mansion that serves as the Council on Foreign Relations by day and a shooting location for HBO’s show Succession. Located on East 68th Street, the house also happens to be several blocks away from where David spent his childhood and seven blocks from where Tess would spend the weekends at her grandmother’s apartment.
The Harold Pratt House was constructed in 1919 and is still in prisitine condition. “Everything we brought in for the wedding was intentionally picked to seamlessly blend in with the English Regency style that the original architect, William Adams Delano, had created,” Tess explains. She relished the experience of sourcing brass candlesticks, baroque picture frames, vintage butler trays, and antique vanity mirrors that were used as signs throughout the reception.
One month after she and David got engaged, the bride-to-be saw a behind-the-scenes photo on Monique Lhuillier’s Instagram of a tulle bodice adorned with lily of the valley appliqué. She saved the photo and waited for the first possible trunk show she could attend in person. When that day came, she was by herself, and it was the only dress she had ever tried on, but she knew it was the one. David and Tess didn’t even have a date in mind yet.
While Tess knew exactly what she wanted for her wedding dress, her bridal aesthetic didn’t immediately come to her. She turned to OTM’s stylist Anny Choi for help. “Coincidentally, she was one of my first commission clients, when I started my business,” Tess recalls. When Tess told Anny that she was considering long formal gloves with her gown. Anny knew how to pull it together and introduced Tess to Patricia Voto of One/Of, who immediately understood the vision and created custom tulle gloves. Tess adds, “I can’t wait to pass them down to my daughter one day.” Anny then connected Tess with jewelry rental company Beekman New York for a sparkling “something borrowed.” It was certainly hard to part with their pearl and diamond stud earrings after the wedding. Erica Martell applied Tess’s makeup, and Renee Russo styled her hair.
For the rehearsal dinner, hosted by David’s parents at Harry’s, Anny and Tess chose a white strapless Emilia Wickstead dress and matching shawl that felt very Mad Men, perfect for the classic New York setting. The bride paired the look with her mother’s diamond necklace, Alexandre Birman rhinestone heels, and a vintage beaded Judith Leiber clutch.
On the morning of the wedding, Anny selected a vintage Christian Dior set with sage green feather flippers from Sleeper for a touch of drama. For the reception, Tess changed into a Dolce & Gabbana lace set with sequined silver pumps from No.21. Tess recalls, “The dance floor had clustered disco balls, so I fit right in!”
The bridal party coordinated perfectly in shades of springtime green. Tess’s maid of honor wore the green Rose dress by Damaris Bailey, while another bridesmaid chose a toile Cara Cara design. David’s groomsmen sported dapper tuxedos.
On May 14, 2022, a string trio from Juilliard serenaded guests. The wedding party descended the aisle to Betty Who’s “I Love You Always Forever.” Tess walked with her mother to the tune of Twilight’s “A Thousand Years,” which is a layered inside joke. She used to refer to David as her “Edward Cullen” to her friends and then she also mused that it took “a thousand years” for him to propose. But as she walked, she knew it was all worth the wait. The couple’s friend from Bucknell, Vikram Saini, officaited. “Choosing a close friend to officiate was one of the best decisions we made,” Tess divulges. She and David shared their own vows, and there was not a single dry eye in the house.
Cocktail hour in the library followed, and guests were shocked to discover that space resembler the legendary Bemelmans Bar. Tess’s family celebrates every milestone at The Carlyle bar—a tradition started by Tess’s grandmother. Tess herself hand-painted all of the tabletop lampshades in Bemelman’s style, except she replaced most of the animal characters with illustrations of the couple’s dog, Ollie.
Their florist Olivia Howard brought the spring splendor of Central Park indoors for the European-style dinner. She strewed cherry tree blossoms and wildflowers around the tables. Tess’s mother kept an empty chair beside her at the table in honor of Tess’s late father. Toasts and speeches from a coterie of the couple’s nearest followed. Instead of wedding cake, the couple opted for a champagne tower.
After a thoroughly satisfying dinner by Alexandra Dettori Catering, guests ventured downstairs for espresso, tea, New York-style desserts, and the first dance. David and Tess took lessons with Brooklyn Dance Center for six months. Working with their choreographer was by far their favorite part of planning. Guests were shocked by how well they swayed to “The Best” by Tina Turner. A saxophonist emerged for a solo at the end, bringing everyone else to the dance floor surrounded by disco balls. DJ Phil Karatzia kept them all dancing, all night long.